New OSHA Enforcement Guidance on PPE


OSHA has issued the Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry, a directive that provides enforcement personnel with instructions for determining whether employers have complied with OSHA personal protective equipment (PPE) standards. The directive was effective February 10.

OSHA issued a final rule on Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment in November 2007. The rule required employers in general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, marine terminals, and construction to provide most types of required PPE at no cost to the worker. The agency also issued a final rule in September 2009 updating its PPE standards so that they are more consistent with current consensus standards.

This directive replaces Inspection Guidelines for 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I, the revised Personal Protective Equipment Standards for General Industry issued in June 1995. Changes in this directive include clarifying what type of PPE employers must provide at no cost to workers and when employers are required and not required to pay for PPE. The directive also provides guidance that allows employers to use PPE that complies with current consensus standards and updates PPE enforcement policies based on court and review commission decisions.

These PPE standards require employers to provide—at no cost to workers—protective equipment, such as goggles and face shields that fit properly without restricting vision; earplugs and earmuffs when they will reduce noise to acceptable levels and are less costly than administrative and engineering controls; and respirators to protect workers from exposure to air contaminants. Additionally, the directive lists PPE and other items exempted from the employer payment requirements and includes questions and answers useful in clarifying PPE payment concerns. See OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics page on Personal Protective Equipment for more information.

Nashville, Tennessee RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Nashville, Tennessee, from March 1–3 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.

Advertising Opportunities Available

Environmental Resource Center is making a limited number of advertising positions available in the Safety Tip of the Week™, the Environmental Tip of the Week™, and the Reg of the Day™. If you have a product or service that would be of interest to over 25,000 weekly readers, contact Amy Knight at or 919-469-1585 for details.

Novelty Items Containing Mercury Banned in Ohio

To protect the public and environment from harmful effects of mercury, novelty items that contain mercury button cell batteries may no longer be sold in Ohio.

A novelty item is described in Ohio law as a product in which mercury is present that is intended mainly for personal or household enjoyment or adornment. Items covered include, but are not limited to, those intended for use as practical jokes, figurines, adornments, toys, games, cards, ornaments, yard statues, figurines, candles, jewelry, holiday decorations, footwear, and other items of apparel or similar products.

Mercury travels up the food chain, accumulating in human, fish, and wildlife tissue and does not break down. It can be absorbed through skin, ingested, or inhaled and is a neurotoxin. It can affect developing fetuses and children which could result in learning disabilities. Exposure to high doses of mercury can also cause vision, speech and hearing impairment, or respiratory problems.

Previous bans under the law include:

  • Prohibiting the purchase by K-12 schools of mercury, mercury-compounds, and mercury-measuring devices for the classroom as of April 2007;
  • Prohibiting the sale of mercury thermometers in Ohio as of October 2007; and
  • Prohibiting the sale or installation of mercury-containing thermostats in Ohio as of April 2008.

Exceptions for thermometers include a device required to comply with federal law, or required as the only feasible tool available for purposes specified in the law. Exceptions for thermostats include residences with a visually impaired person, or a manufacturing process where the device is used to sense and control temperature.

Mercury-added novelties with a fluorescent light bulb—such as hand-held video game consoles or cell phones—are not included in the ban.

See Ohio EPA’s website for more information on Ohio’s mercury product ban.

OSHA Statement on Job Creation

Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, issued the following statement as the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce holds a hearing on “Investigating OSHA’s Regulatory Agenda and Its Impact on Job Creation.” Michaels understands the committee’s interest in examining the relationship between OSHA’s regulatory agenda and job creation. The Labor Department is focused on doing everything possible to support the creation of good, safe jobs.

    I think we can all agree that the American economy must succeed but never at
    the cost of the safety or health of American workers. OSHA’s goal is to ensure
    that everyone who goes to work returns home safely. I think we can also agree
    that the size of a business should not determine the level of protection that a
    worker receives. All workers have the same right to a safe workplace."

    Despite concerns about the effect of regulation on American business, there is
    clear evidence that OSHA’s commonsense regulations have made working
    conditions in this country today far safer than 40 years ago when the agency was
    created, while at the same time protecting American jobs. The truth is that OSHA
    standards don’t kill jobs. They stop jobs from killing workers. OSHA standards
    don’t just prevent worker injuries and illnesses. They also drive technological
    innovation, making industries more competitive.

    Many OSHA standards cost little and easily can be adopted by employers with
    nominal effect on the bottom line. OSHA, by law and by practice, always looks at
    both the overall cost of compliance with a proposed regulation and at the
    expected benefits. The evidence shows that OSHA generally overestimates the
    cost of its standards. Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment, comparing
    the predicted and actual costs of eight OSHA regulations, found that in almost
    all cases ‘industries that were most affected achieved compliance
    straightforwardly, and largely avoided the destructive economic effects’ that they
    feared. Standards intended to protect workers from cancer-causing chemicals
    such as vinyl chloride and ethylene oxide were shown to not only protect workers
    but also to increase productivity. OSHA’s trenching standard has significantly cut
    the death rate for construction workers, and OSHA’s bloodborne pathogens
    standard has almost eliminated work-related cases of hepatitis B and HIV.

    The failure to issue sensible regulations endangers not only workers’ health and
    safety but also hurts American competitiveness. For example, because OSHA
    has a weak noise standard and weak enforcement, U.S. employers have no
    incentive to buy modern, quieter machines, which means that U.S.
    manufacturers don’t build them, and there are few jobs in the U.S. for engineers
    who could design them. A recent study by the National Academy of Engineering
    concludes that European manufacturers are way ahead of us in designing and
    building modern, quieter machinery. Today, when businesses anywhere in the
    world want to buy quieter equipment, they look not to the United States but to

    As we approach OSHA’s 40th anniversary, the agency’s success has been well
    documented. An estimated 14,000 workers were killed on the job the year that
    Congress created OSHA. That number had fallen to approximately 4,340 in
    2009. At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled and now
    includes more than 130 million workers at more than 7.2 million worksites. Since
    the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the rate of reported
    serious workplace injuries and illnesses has declined from 11 per 100 workers in
    1972 to 3.9 per 100 workers in 2008.

    But OSHA’s job isn’t over. More than 3 million workers in America are injured
    every year. Every day 12 workers die on the job. OSHA’s commonsense
    regulations are helping to drive these numbers down and, at the same time,
    helping American businesses modernize and compete in the global economy.

CONN-OSHA Interactive Recordkeeping Workshop Scheduled for March 7

Employers required to maintain the document known as the OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (often referred to as Form 300), know the important role it plays in offering a quick summary of a company’s health and safety records.

A March 7 record keeping workshop being sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA) will provide attendees with guidance and tips for ensuring information is accurate and properly kept up-to-date.

The free training session, led by CONN-OSHA Research Analyst Erin Wilkins, will be held in the agency’s Central Office, 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, from 9 a.m. to noon. “When an OSHA inspector visits an establishment, he or she will typically start with a review of the OSHA record log,” Wilkins explains. “Unfortunately, too often the forms are outdated or not properly completed. OSHA recordkeeping rules can be confusing, but our training strives to make them more user-friendly.”

According to Wilkins, Record keeping rules changed dramatically in 2002, and as a result, many employers are reporting occupational injuries and illnesses inaccurately. She noted that attendees will learn how to properly maintain the following three OSHA documents:

  • Form 300: Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
  • Form 300A: Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
  • Form 301: Injury and Illness Incident Report

To register for the workshop, contact CONN-OSHA Training Officer John Able at 860-263-6902 or via e-mail at

OSHA Cites Safety-Kleen Systems for Safety and Health Hazards

OSHA cited Safety-Kleen Systems Inc., with five workplace health and safety violations at its Burlington, New Jersey, facility for exposing workers to dangerous chemicals and other hazards. Proposed penalties total $77,000.

“The lack of employee protections from chemical and other workplace hazards is completely unacceptable,” said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA’s Marlton Area Office. “It is vital that the company abate all of the identified hazards to ensure that employees have a safe and healthful work environment.”

OSHA initiated an inspection on October 1, 2010, in response to a complaint alleging the hazards. One alleged willful citation, with a penalty of $60,500, was issued for failing to provide workers with hand protection when exposed to hazardous chemicals. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Three serious citations, with a penalty of $15,400, were issued for the use of flexible cords as a substitute for fixed wiring, storing materials in deformed and unstable drums, and allowing employees to drive forklifts with an obstructed view. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company also was issued one other-than-serious citation, with a penalty of $1,100, for failing to record chemical exposures on OSHA’s Form 300 for workplace injuries and illnesses. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Safety-Kleen Systems Inc., which is based in Plano, Texas, with facilities throughout the United States and Canada, distributes chemicals and cleaning equipment, and processes hazardous waste.

Construction Site Safety CONN-OSHA Class: Fall Protection, Scaffolding and Ladders, Electrical Hazards, and Trenching Safety

Knowing the possible hazards that can hinder a job and cause injuries, properly preparing, and taking adequate safety precautions are basic requirements for every construction worker.

Critical concepts and other construction site safety issues also form the basis of a March 9 session titled “Construction Site Safety” being offered by the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA). Taking place at the Labor Department’s Wethersfield Central Office, located at 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, the session will run from 9 a.m. to noon.

“Knowing how to properly protect yourself and realizing what to look out for in any of these types of jobs can literally mean the difference between life and death,” notes John Able, CONN-OSHA Occupational Safety Training Specialist and Certified Safety Professional, who will conduct the class.

“Each person must have a clear understanding of the hazards that may exist on the job, which is what we will be discussing in this class,” he explains. “People must have the ability to recognize these hazards and the knowledge to minimize their exposure through the application of proper safe work procedures. We’ll be looking at OSHA requirements for fall protection from scaffolding and ladders, examining electrical hazards, and taking an in-depth look at trenching safety. Upon completion of this class, participants will be able to improve their OSHA compliance and overall site safety.”

Adequate time for questions will be allotted. Admission is free, but pre-registration is required. To register or for additional information, contact John Able at 860-263-6902, or by email at

Bona Via Inc. Fined $195,000 for Failing to Correct Workplace Hazards

OSHA has cited Bona Via Inc., a Rochester, New York, manufacturer of pizza shells, for failing to correct safety hazards identified during a prior OSHA inspection and for newly identified hazards at its 10 White St. plant. The company faces a total of $195,200 in proposed fines.

“The sizable fines proposed here reflect the fact that this employer was given ample opportunity to correct several hazardous conditions that can have a negative impact on the safety and well-being of its workers, yet failed to do so,” said Arthur Dube, OSHA’s area director in Buffalo.

Following an inspection in late 2009, OSHA cited and fined the company $12,000 for a variety of hazards. The company agreed to correct those hazards. However, an OSHA follow-up inspection opened in August 2010 found that several of the hazards remained uncorrected. These included failing to install and maintain electrical equipment that was safe for a hazardous location, not replacing pressure relief devices on the oil separator for an ammonia refrigeration compressor, failing to develop a written emergency action program, not ensuring the flour silo area was clean of flour dust to avoid creating a dust explosion hazard, and not evaluating employees to ensure they were qualified to safely operate powered industrial trucks. The conditions resulted in the issuance of five failure-to-abate notices with $188,000 in proposed fines. A failure-to-abate notice is issued, and additional fines proposed, when an employer fails to correct previously cited hazards.

During the latest inspection, OSHA also identified several new conditions that resulted in the issuance of three serious citations with $7,200 in fines. These included failing to implement proper procedures to lock out machines’ power sources prior to performing maintenance, an uncovered electrical junction box, and a lack of fire extinguisher training.

“One means of eliminating recurring hazards such as these is for employers to establish an injury and illness prevention program in which workers and management jointly work to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

Sawmill Fined $67,800 for Willful and Serious Safety Violations

OSHA cited the Joe N. Miles & Sons Inc., sawmill in Silver Creek, Mississippi, with 19 safety violations. Proposed penalties total $67,800. OSHA began its inspection in October 2010 as part of a national emphasis program (NEP) on combustible dust in the workplace. The citations include one willful violation carrying a $44,000 penalty for allowing an electrical junction box to be left open in an area where combustible dust accumulates, exposing workers to fire and electrocution.

The company also was cited with 16 serious violations and a penalty of $23,800. The violations include a dangerous accumulation of combustible dust, unsafe exit routes, improper dispensing of flammable liquids, failing to inspect lockout/tagout procedures of energy sources, failing to recharge fire extinguishers, lack of signage prohibiting foot and vehicle traffic in the log unloading and storage area, handling corrosive chemicals without required eyewash and safety showers, using damaged hooks on hoists to lift loads, using damaged welding cables, failing to have guardrails on elevated walkways, and failing to provide machine guarding.

Two other-than-serious violations with no penalty were issued for failing to provide warnings or labels on hazardous chemicals.

“Combustible dust is dangerous, but OSHA’s standards provide safeguards that this employer needs to implement,” said Clyde Payne, OSHA’s area director in Jackson, Mississippi.

OSHA Cites Contractor Following Scaffolding Collapse Inside Water Tank

OSHA cited M Brothers Paintings Inc., of St. Augustine, Florida, with 15 safety violations following a scaffolding collapse at a Hollywood, Florida, worksite that seriously injured two workers. Penalties total $69,168.

In October 2010, two employees were painting the inside of a water tank when a suspended scaffold device anchored on the outer surface of a roof hole fell through the hole, causing one side of the scaffold to collapse. The two workers fell approximately 25 feet.

“If proper safety precautions had been taken, these injuries could have been prevented,” said Darlene Fossum, OSHA’s area director in Fort Lauderdale. “It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure all aspects of OSHA’s standards are followed.”

Fourteen serious safety violations were cited with a penalty of $59,928 for failure to inspect the scaffold and its components for defects, ensure the suspension scaffold device could rest on surfaces capable of supporting at least four times the load, protect workers with adequate fall protection, train workers to recognize the hazards associated with the use of shackles as anchor devices on supporting surfaces, and provide a safety and health program that includes hazard prevention and control.

A repeat citation with a penalty of $9,240 was issued for failing to equip the load end of the wire suspension rope with thimbles. The thimbles can prevent the wire from pitching and abrading while preventing the load from coming into direct contact with the wire. OSHA cited the company in September 2010 for failing to meet the agency’s safety standard for scaffolding. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule, or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Prologix Distribution Services Fined $239,000 after Amputation

OSHA has cited Prologix Distribution Services-East LLC, with 14 safety and health violations following an incident in which a worker suffered an amputation at the company’s Doral, Florida, facility.

OSHA began a safety investigation in August 2010 following a report that an employee had his right arm amputated at the elbow after he was trapped in a machine. In September, the agency began a separate inspection focused on health-related concerns at the plant.

“Employees should not have to risk their lives for a paycheck,” said Darlene Fossum, OSHA’s area director in Fort Lauderdale. “This amputation would not have occurred if the company had been following proper safety procedures and maintaining its equipment.”

Penalties for the citations total $239,000. Following the safety inspection, OSHA cited Prologix for three willful violations carrying a proposed fine of $210,000. The violations include exposing employees to being caught in moving machinery parts due to a lack of procedures to lock out accidental energy start-up, failing to provide employees with training related to lockout safety procedures and allowing access guard doors to remain fully open while machinery is being operated.

Eight serious safety citations, with $25,500 in penalties, have been issued for allowing materials to accumulate around equipment and under the conveyor belt, storing propane indoors, failing to conduct annual inspections of lockout procedures, using a forklift truck with a broken propane strap, failing to maintain equipment in good working order, and exposing employees to electrical hazards in three separate situations.

OSHA’s health inspection resulted in one serious citation with a $2,500 penalty for exposing workers to an explosion hazard from combustible paper dust contained within the ductwork, one other-than-serious citation with a $1,000 penalty for failing to include descriptions of incidents when recording them in the OSHA 300 logs for years 2007 through 2010, and one other-than-serious citation with no monetary penalty for failing to develop and implement a written respirator protection program for an employee emptying paper dust collection bags.

Prologix Distribution Services specializes in magazine and book distribution, and recycling the unused surplus magazines and books by shredding and baling them. Prologix is owned by The News Group, a periodical wholesaler with about 33,000 employees in North America.

Bade Roofing Co. Fined $56,210 for Repeat Fall Hazards and Other Safety Violations

OSHA cited Bade Roofing Co., Inc., in St. Louis, Missouri, with nine alleged safety violations for repeatedly exposing workers to fall hazards during roofing operations, as well as other hazards. Proposed penalties total $56,210.

“Falls remain the number one killer of workers in the construction industry,” said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, Missouri. “OSHA will not tolerate employers who place workers’ lives at needless risk by repeatedly failing to provide and ensure the use of fall protection.”

OSHA’s inspection, which began in October 2010, resulted in the issuance of seven serious and two repeat citations.

Serious citations are associated with the misuse of portable ladders, a lack of portable firefighting equipment, improper storage of flammable and combustible liquids, and deficient fall protection and ladder training.

Repeat citations are similar to those issued on August 9, 2010, against the same company. They address hazards associated with the lack of a fall protection system at a side or edge 6 feet above a lower level and the lack of a stairway or ladder at a point of access where there was a break in elevation of 19 inches or more.

Detailed information on fall protection in construction and safe work practices in the construction industry, including an interactive e-Tool, is available online at

Contractor Cited for Scaffold and Fall Hazards

OSHA has cited the general contractor for the Sheridan Avenue Steam Plant renovation project in Albany, New York, for repeat and serious violations of safety standards. Plato Construction Corp., of Hopewell, New Jersey, faces a total of $45,540 in proposed fines, primarily for scaffold and fall hazards.

“Falls are among the deadliest hazards in construction. They can end a life or a career in seconds,” said Edward Jerome, OSHA’s area director in Albany. “Proper scaffold erection, safe work practices and effective fall protection are critical in protecting workers against this potentially deadly hazard.”

OSHA found employees exposed to fall hazards ranging from 27 to 41 feet while working without fall protection on a scaffold that was not fully guarded, climbing atop the scaffold’s guardrails, and standing on an empty plastic bucket on the scaffold’s deck. The agency has alleged that scaffold’s tiebacks were not anchored securely, its pulley block was damaged, and it had not been erected by a competent person. Other hazards included an electrical panel box that was not protected against water, a power cord that lacked strain relief, an unguarded grinder blade, and a damaged power cord with exposed wiring.

OSHA issued Plato Construction Corp., two repeat citations with $13,200 in proposed fines for the lack of scaffold fall protection and the damaged power cord, and nine serious citations with $32,340 in fines for the remaining items. The repeat citations stem from OSHA’s having cited the company in December 2006 for similar hazards at a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, worksite.

“One means of eliminating recurring hazards such as these is for employers to establish an injury and illness prevention program in which workers and management work together to continually eliminate hazardous conditions,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

Annual DIOSH Day will Offer New Approaches to Protecting Workers

Construction safety, PPE, green building, and a look at the new Illinois Occupational Safety and Health Administration program will be featured topics at the workshops and breakout sessions of this year’s Downstate Illinois Occupational Safety and Health (DIOSH) Day. The event will be held Wednesday, March 2, at the Peoria Civic Center located at 201 Jefferson Ave. SW, in Peoria, Illinois.

DIOSH Day sponsors include the Peoria Area Office of U.S.OSHA; the American Society of Safety Engineers, Central Illinois Chapter; the American Industrial Hygiene Association, Prairie Section; the Greater Peoria Contractors and Suppliers Association Inc.; the Illinois Department of Labor; the AAIM Employers’ Association; and the Tri-County Construction Labor-Management Council.

Sessions on lead abatement, fall protection, office safety, and confined space training, among others, are designed to help employers keep their workers safe and healthy while improving the bottom line for their businesses. This DIOSH Day also will feature a mini-health fair with free screenings provided by the American Red Cross, OSF HealthCare, and the Methodist Wellness Center.

“The conference will offer safety professionals in downstate Illinois the chance to gain important information, learn about valuable resources and network with hundreds of their peers,” said Thomas Bielema, director of OSHA’s Peoria office. “Numerous exhibitors will join governmental and nonprofit organizations in demonstrating products designed to make the workplace safe and healthful.”

Early registration is encouraged, but on-site registration will be available beginning at 7 a.m. CST. The workshops and breakout sessions will run from 8 a.m.4 p.m. Exhibit area hours will be from 7 a.m.3:10 p.m., and the health fair will be open from 7 a.m.11:30 a.m.

For registration and additional information, call 877-DIOSH-DAY (877-346-7432) or go to

Cimbar Performance Minerals Fined for Exposing Workers to Hazardous Chemicals, Excessive Noise

OSHA cited Cimbar Performance Minerals in Cadet, Missouri, for exposing workers to hazardous chemicals and excessive noise levels at its drilling mud manufacturing plant. OSHA initiated an inspection of the facility in August 2010 in response to a complaint and alleges three willful, 18 serious, and two other-than-serious violations of health and safety standards. Proposed penalties total $214,550.

“Workers were not protected from the hazards of exposure to lead and arsenic and to excessive noise levels while working in the ore crushing facility,” said Charles Adkins, OSHA regional administrator in Kansas City, Missouri. “The company needs to address these issues quickly and sufficiently to ensure the safety and health of its workers, and the workers of other employers who purchase and use its product.”

Willful citations were issued for not providing workers with an effective hearing conservation program, not providing hearing protection for workers exposed to excessive noise levels, and a lack of training for employees who operate powered industrial trucks. Proposed penalties total $136,500.

Serious citations were issued for worker exposure to lead at levels exceeding the permissible exposure limit (PEL); failure to conduct initial monitoring for lead and arsenic exposure; failure to provide appropriate protective work clothing, medical monitoring and bathroom facilities for workers; noise levels exceeding the PEL without hearing protection for workers; and manufacturer material safety data sheets lacking the identity, health hazards, exposure limits, and carcinogenic information of the chemicals manufactured at the worksite. Proposed penalties total $78,050.

Two other-than-serious citations with no penalties were issued for failure to provide eye protective side shields and fire extinguisher training for all workers.

OSHA Cites Northeast Hospital Corp. for Electrical Hazards

OSHA cited Northeast Hospital Corp., for alleged repeat and serious violations of electrical safety standards at its facility in Beverly, Massachusetts. The employer faces a total of $63,000 in proposed fines following an OSHA inspection prompted by a worker complaint.

OSHA found that some hospital employees were exposed to potential electric shock, burns, arc flash incidents, and electrocution while changing circuit breakers on live electrical panels. Specifically, the employees lacked or did not use PPE while working with energized electrical equipment, electrical protective equipment was not periodically tested, electrical safety related work practices were not used, and specific procedures were not developed for the control of hazardous energy while replacing electrical breakers.

These conditions resulted in the issuance of four serious citations with $28,000 in fines.

The hospital also was issued one repeat citation, with a fine of $35,000, for failing to ensure that unused openings in electrical panels and cabinet motor control centers were effectively closed. The citation was classified as repeat because OSHA had cited the hospital in May 2010 for a similar condition.

“Electricity can kill or severely injure workers, literally in a flash. There is no margin for error here,” said Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA’s area director for Essex and Middlesex counties. “That’s why it is vitally important for the safety and well-being of employees working with electricity that they be properly trained and equipped with effective protective equipment.”

OSHA Cites 2 Alabama Companies for 40 Violations with $121,800 in Penalties

OSHA is proposing $121,800 in penalties for 40 safety and health violations at Tri-Cities Manufacturing Inc., and Tool Masters Inc., two Tuscumbia, Alabama, companies with shared family ownership.

OSHA began its safety investigation at Tri-Cities Manufacturing as part of its national emphasis program (NEP) on amputations and later expanded it to include a health inspection. A safety and health inspection was initiated at Tool Masters once it was determined that both plants share equipment and employees.

“Employers are responsible for the safety and health of their workplaces, and this owner needs to take the steps necessary to eliminate workplace hazards,” said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA’s area director in Birmingham, Alabama.

OSHA cited Tri-Cities with 15 serious safety violations and Tool Masters with six serious safety violations for a combined $72,100 in proposed penalties. The violations cited include failing to lock out/tag out energy sources for equipment, remove blocks around fire extinguishers and exit doors, provide machine guarding, and address various electrical deficiencies.

Health inspections at Tri-Cities and Tool Masters revealed seven serious violations for each company with a combined $48,300 in proposed penalties. The health hazards for both companies include failing to provide automatic extinguishing systems for spray booths, use administrative controls for noise, provide proper PPE, provide a respiratory protection program, provide a hazard communications program, and train workers regarding exposure to flammable or corrosive chemicals. They also include hazards related to spray booths built of combustible material and exposing workers engaged in powder coating spraying operations to total dust at 1.4 times the PEL.

OSHA cited Tri-Cities with two other-than-serious safety violations for failing to complete OSHA 300 logs for two years. These violations carry $1,400 in proposed penalties. Also, Tri-Cities received one and Tool Masters received two other-than-serious health violations with no proposed penalties.

Only One of 1,900 People Met AHA’s Definition of Ideal Heart Health

Only one out of more than 1,900 people evaluated met the American Heart Association (AHA) definition of ideal cardiovascular health, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Their findings were recently published online in Circulation.

Ideal cardiovascular health is the combination of these seven factors: nonsmoking, a body mass index less than 25, goal-level physical activity and healthy diet, untreated cholesterol below 200, blood pressure below 120/80, and fasting blood sugar below 100, explained senior investigator and cardiologist Steven Reis, M.D., associate vice chancellor for clinical research at Pitt.

“Of all the people we assessed, only one out of 1,900 could claim ideal heart health,” said Dr. Reis. “This tells us that the current prevalence of heart health is extremely low, and that we have a great challenge ahead of us to attain the AHA’s aim of a 20% improvement in cardiovascular health rates by 2020.”

As part of the Heart Strategies Concentrating on Risk Evaluation (Heart SCORE) study, the researchers evaluated 1,933 people ages 45 to 75 in Allegheny County with surveys, physical exams, and blood tests. Less than 10% met five or more criteria, 2% met the four heart-healthy behaviors, and 1.4% met all three heart-healthy factors. After adjustment for age, sex, and income level, blacks had 82% lower odds than whites of meeting five or more criteria.

A multipronged approach, including change at the individual level, the social and physical environment, policy and access to care, will be needed to help people not only avoid heart disease, but also attain heart health, Dr. Reis said.

“Many of our study participants were overweight or obese, and that likely had a powerful influence on the other behaviors and factors,” he noted. “Our next step is to analyze additional data to confirm this and, based on the results, try to develop a multifaceted approach to improve health. That could include identifying predictors of success or failure at adhering to the guidelines.”

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

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