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5/9/2011

OSHA Issues Final Rule to Protect Shipyard Workers

Safety


OSHA has published a final rule that updates existing requirements to reflect advances in shipyard industry practices and technology, and provides new protections from hazards that previously were not previously addressed in earlier shipyard standards, including the control of hazardous energy. The new rule is expected to prevent about 350 serious injuries each year.

“This final rule is the result of collaboration between OSHA and the maritime industry,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “Shipyard work is dangerous, and we believe we have crafted a rule that protects workers while balancing employer concerns regarding implementation”

Fourteen workplace safety and health categories are being addressed in this final rule, which updates and clarifies provisions in the shipyard employment standards that had largely gone unchanged since OSHA adopted them in 1972. Such updates include establishing minimum lighting for certain work sites, accounting for employees at the end of job tasks or work shifts when working alone, and adding uniform criteria to ensure shipyards have an adequate number of appropriately trained first-aid providers. The rule also updates sanitation requirements.

In addition, OSHA added new provisions for the control of hazardous energy and motor vehicle safety. Until this final rule, the maritime industry did not have a specific standard to address the control of hazardous energy. Some employers have implemented portions of other lockout/tagout rules, such as 29 CFR 1910.147, to protect their employees. Also, according to data from the Labor Department’ Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, transportation incidents account for nearly 20% of all shipyard fatalities. The new rule’ provisions seek to significantly reduce such incidents by requiring the use of seatbelts when operating motor vehicles in a shipyard.

To educate employers and employees regarding the new rule, OSHA updated a designated Web page to include answers to frequently asked questions regarding the final rule. The rule itself also is available at that page.

How to Prepare for OSHA Adoption of the GHS for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals

OSHA has announced that by August of this year, it will finalize a rule adopting the globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, material safety data sheet (soon to be called “safety data sheet”), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard. Worker training must be updated so that workers can recognize and understand the symbols and pictograms on the new labels as well as the new hazard statements and precautions on MSDSs.

Environmental Resource Center is offering a 1-hour webcast to help you learn about how the new rule differs from current requirements, how to implement the changes, and when the changes must be implemented.

The $99 webcast will be conducted from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on the following dates:

  • May 16th
  • June 2nd
  • June 17th

The first four webcasts held this year were completely sold out. Register early to ensure your spot in one of the remaining sessions. Click here to register online or call 800-537-2372 to register by phone.

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 aknight@ercweb.com or 919-469-1585 for details.

MSHA Extends Comment Period on Proposed Respirable Dust Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced that it has extended the comment period on the proposed rule, Lowering Miners’ Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors. In response to requests from interested parties, the comment period, which originally was to end May 2, has been extended until May 31.

“Our goal to end black lung is a long-standing one and was one of the commitments I made when I came to MSHA,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “Not surprisingly, there has been an overwhelming response to this proposed rule. The additional time hopefully will give everyone who wants to comment the opportunity to do so.”

Comments must be received or postmarked by midnight EDT on May 31. They must be marked “RIN 1219-AB64” and may be sent to MSHA electronically through http://www.regulations.gov; by fax to 202-693-9441; by mail to MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, 1100 Wilson Blvd., Room 2350, Arlington, VA 22209-3939; or hand delivered to the same address. For hand delivery, sign in at the receptionist’s desk on the 21st floor.

For further information, contact Roslyn B. Fontaine, acting director, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, by email at fontaine.roslyn@dol.gov, by telephone at 202-693-9440, or by fax at 202-693-9441.

OSHA Picture It! Photo Contest

OSHA announced a nationwide photography contest: Picture It! Safe Workplaces for Everyone. OSHA challenges anyone with a passion for photography to capture an image of workplace safety and health and share it with the agency. The goal of the contest is collaborate with the public—relying on the talent, imagination and creativity of participants—to kick off a national effort to raise awareness about workplace safety and health.

The contest, which is part of OSHA’s year-long 40th anniversary celebration, is open to members of the public ages 18 and older and will run through Friday, August 12. Both professional and amateur photographers are welcome to enter. You can find contest rules and submit photographs at http://www.osha.gov/osha40/photo-contest.html.

Photographers may interpret “image of workplace safety and health” in any way they choose; they are not restricted to particular subject matters or themes. Photographs must be taken in the United States and its territories. First-, second-, and third-place prizes will be awarded for the most outstanding portrayals of occupational safety and health in terms of artistic value, and ability to raise awareness about safety and health to the general public.

An expert panel of judges—all accomplished professionals in the fields of photography and public affairs—will determine the contest winners. The panel is made up of Earl Dotter, renowned photojournalist; Carl Fillichio, senior advisor to Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis for communications and public affairs; Kathleen Klech, photo director for Cond? Nast Traveler magazine; Shawn Moore, chief photographer at the U.S. Department of Labor; and George Tolbert, retired photographer for the U.S. Senate.

All winning and finalist photographs will be displayed on the OSHA photo contest Web page. The first-place winner also will receive a framed letter of congratulations from Secretary Solis, and the three winning photos will be framed and hung in OSHA’s national office in Washington, where they will serve as a daily reminder for leading policymakers and prominent professionals of the real-life impact of OSHA’s mission.

Along with the general public, OSHA contractors and special government employees may participate in the contest. However, federal OSHA, state plan-state OSHA employees and on-site consultation employees are not eligible. A separate, internal contest is running simultaneously for the latter group.

New Evidence that Caffeine is a Healthful Antioxidant in Coffee

Scientists are reporting an in-depth analysis of how the caffeine in coffee, tea, and other foods seems to protect against conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease on the most fundamental levels. The report, which describes the chemistry behind caffeine’s antioxidant effects, appears in ACS’ The Journal of Physical Chemistry B.

Annia Galano and Jorge Rafael Le?n-Carmona describe evidence suggesting that coffee is one of the richest sources of healthful antioxidants in the average person’s diet. Some of the newest research points to caffeine (also present in tea, cocoa, and other foods) as the source of powerful antioxidant effects that may help protect people from Alzheimer’s and other diseases. However, scientists know little about exactly how caffeine works in scavenging the so-called free radicals that have damaging effects in the body, with the few studies on the subject having reaching contradictory conclusions in some cases.

In an effort to bolster scientific knowledge about caffeine, they present detailed theoretical calculations on caffeine’s interactions with free radicals. Their theoretical conclusions show “excellent” consistency with the results that other scientists have report from animal and other experiments, bolstering the likelihood that caffeine is, indeed, a source of healthful antioxidant activity in coffee.

Oregon Blue Mountain Conference Aims to Improve Workplace Safety Culture

Improving on-the-job safety and employee involvement is the focus of the fifth annual Blue Mountain Occupational Safety and Health Conference. Scheduled for June 15, 2011, at the Pendleton Convention Center in Pendleton, Oregon the event will highlight workplace safety and health topics, including having sessions taught in Spanish.

Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA), a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, encourages workers and employers to attend this event to help improve safety and health performance. Transforming the workplace safety culture is a major step in reducing injuries and accidents, and decreasing workers’ compensation costs.

Keynote speaker Todd Conklin will present, “Preventing the Human Error: What’s Stopping Us!”—a look at what’s behind human performance and why the perception of human error needs to change. Conklin is a senior advisor to the associate director at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and has earned a national reputation for his creative and humorous approach to sensitive and difficult topics. Other conference sessions will cover:

  • Hazard identification
  • ATV safety demonstration
  • Food manufacturing safety

The event will also include exhibits showcasing the latest in safety and health products and services. Registration for the event is $50, which includes lunch. For more information about the conference or to register, call Oregon OSHA’s Conference Section at 503-378-3272 or 888-292-5247 (then chose option one) or visit the Conferences webpage at www.orosha.org/conferences. The conference is a joint effort of the Oregon SHARP Alliance (Safety and Health Recognition Program), Oregon OSHA, and a coalition of employers and employees from northeast Oregon.

Study Reveals Top 10 Germ Hot Spots and Dangers

Findings from a study by NSF International indicate that there are common misconceptions about where the highest concentration of germs are found in the home. NSF International, an independent public health and safety organization, conducted a swab analysis of 30 everyday household items in 22 different homes and found that the germiest place in the home is the kitchen, while many people perceive the bathroom to be the room with the most germs.

NSF International’s “Germiest Places in the Home 2011” study was conducted in an effort to identify germ “hot spots” in the home. NSF microbiologists measured the levels of yeast, mold, coliform bacteria (a family of bacteria that includes Salmonella and E. coli and is an indicator of potential fecal contamination) and Staph bacteria. Surprisingly, the data showed that the germiest item in the kitchen—the germiest overall room in the house—was actually the sponge, ironically the item frequently used to clean dishes and countertops.

“Sponges pick up bacteria during the cleaning process and are typically not properly—or regularly—sanitized before their next use,” explained Dr. Rob Donofrio, Director of Microbiology at NSF International and lead researcher for the study. “Additionally, sponges are often wet and left in damp areas in or near the sink, providing optimal conditions for germ growth. They also have many nooks and crannies which can be great places for germs to multiply.”

The kitchen also was the area of the home in which coliform bacteria was most prevalent. In the homes tested, NSF found coliform on multiple kitchen surfaces, including dish sponges/rags (75%), kitchen sinks (45%), countertops (32%), and cutting boards (18%). The high coliform count on these surfaces is likely attributed to an individual’s cleaning process. While these surfaces tend to be wiped-down regularly, NSF International’s analysis indicates they typically are not being properly disinfected. Sources of coliform can be traced to many food items, including unwashed produce as well as raw meat and poultry. In addition, coliform can be introduced into a kitchen area through improperly washed hands and through contact with household pets, including pet dishes and toys. Coliform and Staph can both cause serious infections in individuals with a compromised immune system, as well as the very young, elderly, and pregnant women.

Perhaps not as surprising, the NSF survey found the second germiest place in the home was the bathroom, where the toothbrush holder was identified as having the most germs.

“The high bacteria levels on and in the toothbrush holder are likely attributed to two causes. First, toothbrush holders are typically situated near the toilet, especially in smaller bathrooms. Flushing of the toilet causes aerosols, containing fecal bacteria, to land on items near the toilet, thereby potentially contaminating the holder,” explained Dr. Donofrio. “Additionally, toothbrush holders often are neglected in the cleaning process, providing an ideal breeding ground for germs. Toothbrush holders should be regularly cleaned in the dishwasher.”

Before conducting the swab analysis, NSF International asked a member of each volunteer household to rank the items they thought would have the most germs in their home. The survey revealed misconceptions about which household items had the most germs. Items found in the bathroom were most frequently ranked by survey respondents as being perceived to be the germiest items in the home; however the swab analysis revealed that kitchen items actually had higher germ counts than bathroom items. For example, kitchen items such as the coffee maker reservoirs, countertops, and stove knobs actually had higher germ counts than bathroom items, such as the bathroom door knob and light switch.

Following is a list of what were perceived to be the germiest items in the home versus the actual germiest items (ranked from highest to lowest in germ count):

Volunteers Thought:

Actual Findings:

  1. Toothbrush holder
  1. Dish sponge/rag
  1. Dish sponge/rag
  1. Kitchen sink
  1. Money
  1. Toothbrush holder
  1. Pet toy
  1. Pet bowl
  1. Kitchen counter top
  1. Coffee maker reservoir
  1. Bathroom door knob
  1. Bathroom faucet handle
  1. Kitchen sink
  1. Pet toy
  1. Pet bowl
  1. Kitchen Counter top
  1. Toilet handle
  1. Stove knobs
  1. Bathroom light switch
  1. Cutting board

“We conducted this study to help identify where the germs are in the average person’s home and—more importantly—help people understand how they can better protect themselves from bacteria, yeast and mold,” explains Dr. Donofrio. “What’s important to remember, though, is that germs exist everywhere—and that not all germs are ‘bad.’”

A typical human body has been estimated to have more than 100 trillion bacteria, and bacteria is critical to our health in that it actually helps us fight off disease and chronic conditions. The key is to be smart about germs and bacteria—be aware of where the ‘hot spots’ are in your house and be smart about protecting your family. One of the ways you can help protect your family is to encourage consistent handwashing, which is why NSF developed an online learning tool called The Scrub Club to make handwashing fun for kids.”

OSHA Fines Parker Hannifin in Mississippi $487,000 for 33 Violations

OSHA has issued 33 citations to the Parker Hannifin Corp., plant in Batesville, Mississippi alleging numerous safety and health violations as the result of an inspection that began November 2010. Proposed penalties total $487,700. Cleveland, Ohio-based Parker Hannifin has 170 facilities throughout the U.S. and manufactures machinery for hydraulics, air conditioning, refrigeration, and aerospace systems.

OSHA issued 16 repeat citations with $407,000 in fines. Fifteen are safety-related and cover such violations as allowing the air pressure to exceed more than 30 pounds per square inch for cleaning equipment, failing to conduct periodic inspections of the lockout/tagout process in place to prevent accidental energy start-up, failing to train workers on lockout/tagout procedures, failing to unblock exit doors and routes, failing to provide machine guarding, and failing to correct electrical deficiencies. One health-related violation was cited for failing to attach hazardous warning labels to five dipping tanks that contained hazardous substances such as potassium hydroxide and isoparaffinic hydrocarbon. A repeat violation exists 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. The repeat violations are based on previous inspections conducted at other company locations.

OSHA issued 17 serious citations with $80,700 in fines. Fifteen are safety-related and include such violations as exposing employees to struck-by hazards due to a defective safety latch on a hoist and damaged hooks on an overhead crane; allowing unapproved electrical equipment to be used in a hazardous location where flammable chemicals were present; failing to remove and replace spiral stairs with a conventional stairways; failing to post signage indicating the direction of travel to the nearest exit; failing to provide a danger permit-required confined space sign; failing to mark a web sling with the rated load capacity; and failing to require workers to wear goggles or suitable eye protection while welding. Two health-related citations cover failing to establish an effective hearing program and to provide personal protective equipment. A serious violation occurs 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.

“Companies that cut corners at the expense of worker safety must be held accountable,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. “In this case, Parker Hannifin not only failed to make safety its top priority, but the company ignored many violations that OSHA previously had brought to its attention.”

MSHA Cites Randolph Mine with Multiple Citations and Orders During Impact Inspection

OSHA announced that federal inspectors issued 20 withdrawal orders and five citations to Randolph Mine in Boone County, West Virginia, during an impact inspection conducted in April. Eleven of the orders were issued for violations of the ventilation plan at the underground coal mine owned by Massey Energy and operated by Inman Energy.

On April 29, six MSHA inspectors arrived at Randolph Mine during the afternoon shift, capturing the phones at both the guard shack and mine office to prohibit mine personnel from notifying miners underground of their presence. The inspectors visited four of the operation’s mechanized mining units during the inspection and observed the following conditions and practices:

  • Two sets of mining equipment were simultaneously and illegally engaged in cutting, mining and loading coal and rock from working places within the same working section, and neither set of mining equipment was on a separate split of intake air. This condition exposed miners to respirable dust hazards that could result in permanently disabling injuries such as black lung and other respiratory diseases.
  • Combustible materials in the form of loose coal, coal dust and float coal dust were allowed to accumulate in active workings, which can contribute to a mine explosion. During the mining process, the continuous miner operator and shuttle car operator were engulfed in visible coal dust from cutting coal and rock while the area was on a reduced dust standard due to excessive quartz.
  • Ventilation curtains, which are necessary to provide proper ventilation to prevent mine explosions and black lung, were not being used in certain working areas.
  • Water pressure was insufficient on the continuous miner’s water sprays, which suppress dust, and prevent sparking and methane ignitions.

The violations allege that the mine operator engaged in aggravated conduct, constituting more than ordinary negligence, by not following mandatory safety standards, and allowing unsafe and unhealthful mining practices to continue.

“The conduct and behavior exhibited when we caught the mine operator by surprise is nothing short of outrageous,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “Despite the tragedy at Upper Big Branch last year, and all our efforts to bring mine operators into compliance, some still aren’t getting it. The conditions observed at Randolph Mine place miners at serious risk to the threat of fire, explosion and black lung. Yet, MSHA inspectors can’t be at every mine every day. Our continuing challenge is counteracting the egregious behavior of certain mine operators.”

In March 2010, MSHA received an anonymous complaint about hazardous conditions at Randolph Mine just days after a small fire occurred there. The agency’s inspectors found that the mine operator was not providing adequate ventilation to reduce the risk of explosions and exposure to coal mine dust. Nine 104(d)(2) withdrawal orders were issued for the operator’s failure to provide adequate ventilation, not following the approved ventilation plan by mining depths in excess of the maximum 20 feet, inadequate on-shift examinations and extensive accumulation of loose coal. Inspectors found some sections without air movement caused by line curtains (used to control air flow) being rolled up. These same types of conditions were found again during the April 2011 impact inspection. Section 104(d)(2) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 refers to unwarrantable failure withdrawal orders and requires that an inspection with no similar violations be conducted before the order is terminated.

Impact inspections, which began in force in April 2010 following the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine, targets mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns, including high numbers of violations or closure orders; indications of operator tactics, such as advance notification of inspections that prevent inspectors from observing violations; frequent hazard complaints or hotline calls; plan compliance issues; inadequate workplace examinations; a high number of accidents, injuries or illnesses; fatalities; and adverse conditions such as increased methane liberation, faulty roof conditions, and inadequate ventilation.

Keystone Stucco Construction Contractor Cited for Repeat Fall Protection Violations

OSHA cited Keystone Stucco Inc., of Olathe, Kansas for two repeat and one serious violation based on a December 2010 inspection in which employees were observed working from scaffolding without proper fall protection. The agency has proposed a total of $147,000 in penalties.

“There is no excuse for employees to be exposed to such hazards. Scaffold accidents are a leading cause of construction-related injuries and fatalities,” said Charles Adkins, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, Missouri. “It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for all of their employees.”

The company’s repeat violations are similar to others previously cited for lack of safe access and egress to a scaffold structure, and not protecting employees from falls when working at heights from a scaffold structure.

The serious violation addresses hazards associated with improper use of a portable ladder and a failure to adequately train personnel in ladder use.

Quinco Steel Fined $75,000 for Fall Hazards

OSHA cited Quinco Steel Inc., of Chicago Heights, Illinois for four repeat safety violations after people were observed working at heights without proper fall protection during a January job site inspection in Chicago. The steel erection contractor faces penalties totaling $75,460.

“It is inexcusable to continually fail to protect workers from falls at heights greater than 15 feet, as required by OSHA’s standard for steel erection activities,” said Gary Anderson, OSHA’s area director in Calumet City. “Employers, especially those in hazardous industries, must be responsible for knowing what hazards exist on their job sites and ensuring that workers are not exposed to risks that could result in injury or death.”

The violations include failing to attach a lanyard to an aerial lift; failing to provide fall protection for workers climbing over the rails of an aerial lift; allowing a worker to perform detailing operations during steel erection at heights of 27 feet; and allowing another unprotected employee to perform work at a height of 37 feet.

The company has been inspected by OSHA 14 times since 1999. The agency previously issued citations for 13 serious, repeat, and willful violations related to aerial lift usage and steel erection.

OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection, such as guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems, be in use when workers are engaged in steel erection activity more than 15 feet above the next lower level.

OSHA cites DuPont’s Yerkes Plant and Contractor Following Fatal Explosion

OSHA has cited the E. I. DuPont De Nemours Co., Yerkes Plant, and a contractor in Buffalo, New York, for a combined total of 17 serious violations of workplace safety standards following a fatal explosion at the plant in November 2010.

An employee of contractor Mollenberg-Betz Inc., was performing welding atop a 10,000 gallon slurry tank when hot sparks ignited flammable vapors inside the tank, causing an explosion that killed him and injured another Mollenberg-Betz employee. The slurry tank was supposed to be empty but was still connected to two operating slurry tanks, and flammable vapors seeped through the interconnected piping system into the tank on which the employee was working.

“This death and injury graphically underscore how vitally important it is that employers anticipate the hazards associated with welding in potentially explosive atmospheres, and institute all protective measures before allowing such work to begin,” said Arthur Dube, OSHA’s area director in Buffalo.

OSHA cited both companies for allowing welding to be conducted in an explosive atmosphere; performing welding without disconnecting or blanking the pipelines to the tank; not venting all containers to permit escape of gases prior to welding; not ensuring that the tanks had been thoroughly cleaned to be absolutely certain that no flammable materials were present; failing to schedule the work so that it would not be conducted during plant operations that might expose combustibles to ignition; and not determining the hazardous areas present or likely to be present in the work location.

Mollenberg-Betz also was cited for not verifying that the slurry tank was empty before welding began and for a lack of specific hazardous energy control procedures. DuPont also was cited for incomplete hazardous energy control procedures; not inserting blanks or blinds in the interconnected slurry tank overflow line to prevent transmission of flammable vapor into the slurry tank; not informing Mollenberg-Betz of potential explosion hazards related to hot work on the slurry tank; not informing Mollenberg-Betz of the plant’s hazardous energy control program; and using unapproved electrical equipment in a hazardous location.

DuPont’s Yerkes Plant was cited for nine violations with $61,500 in proposed fines while Mollenberg-Betz was cited for eight violations with $55,440 in fines.

“An injury and illness prevention program, in which employees and management work together to proactively identify and eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis, is a powerful tool for preventing needless and preventable incidents such as this one,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

OSHA Cites Columbia Grain over $60,000 for Safety Violations

OSHA has cited Columbia Grain Inc., in Choteau, Montana with two repeat and six serious violations for hazardous conditions found during a general scheduled inspection of the grain handling facility. OSHA has proposed fines totaling $60,390.

“Columbia Grain failed to provide its employees with a safe and healthful workplace,” said Christine A. Webb, OSHA’s area office director in Billings. “The hazards discovered during this inspection are well recognized in the grain handling industry and must be corrected.”

The serious violations are deficiencies in fall protection, inadequate housekeeping in areas where combustible dust build-up had exceeded allowable limits and a lack of emergency action procedures.

The repeat violations, similar to violations for which the same company was cited in September 2010, are deficiencies involving confined space entry procedures and unclassified electrical equipment used in areas where combustible dust hazards exist.

OSHA Cites J.P. Phillips for Fall Hazards

OSHA cited J.P. Phillips Inc. of Franklin Park, Illinois for five safety violations after workers were observed working at heights greater than 6 feet without fall protection during a February job site inspection in Crete. The company faces penalties totaling $75,900.

“Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in the construction industry,” said Gary Anderson, OSHA’s area director in Calumet City. “Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their workplaces and ensuring that workers are not exposed to unnecessary risks. OSHA has been protecting workers for 40 years, and we remain committed to ensuring their safety, especially when employers fail to do so.”

Three repeat violations include failing to provide access ladders, fully plank a work platform, and have guardrails installed on scaffolding more than 10 feet high. The company has been inspected by OSHA nine times since July 2006. Seven of those inspections resulted in citations for 15 serious and repeat violations related to scaffolding hazards.

Two serious violations include a lack of hard hats and general fall protection.

OSHA Cites Compco Industries for 24 Violations Including Lack of Machine Guarding

OSHA cited Compco Industries Inc., a metal stamping company in Columbiana, Ohio with 24 safety violations after a worker had his finger amputated by a mechanical power press last August. The company faces penalties totaling $158,900.

“Compco Industries unduly put this worker at risk by failing to have adequate machine guarding, resulting in a very serious injury,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their facilities and must take appropriate precautions by following OSHA standards to ensure that workers are not exposed to such risks.”

Two willful violations include failing to have adequate machine and point of operation guarding on the mechanical power press. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Twenty serious violations include repeated incidents of failing to have adequate machine guarding in place and to implement a lockout/tagout program to prevent machinery from becoming unexpectedly energized.

Two other-than-serious violations include failing to properly record and adequately describe injuries in the OSHA 300 log. 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.

Due to the injury suffered by this worker, OSHA’s investigation falls under the requirements of its Severe Violators Enforcement Program. Initiated in the spring of 2010, the program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate violations in one or more of the following circumstances: a fatality or catastrophe; industry operations or processes that expose workers to severe occupational hazards; exposure to hazards related to the potential releases of highly hazardous chemicals; and all per-instance citation (egregious) enforcement actions.

OSHA Cites Orval Kent Foods Following Worker Injury

OSHA cited Orval Kent Foods Co. Inc., in Delphos, Ohio for 11 safety violations after a worker suffered a puncture wound from a drill press in December 2010. The refrigerated prepared foods company faces penalties totaling $60,300.

“Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their facilities and for taking necessary precautions to ensure OSHA standards are met,” said Jule Hovi, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “For 40 years OSHA has been committed to protecting workers.”

Ten serious violations include various fall hazards, a lack of personal protective equipment, failure to train employees on lockout/tagout procedures to prevent accidental energy start-up, a lack of machine guarding, unsecured shelving units, failure to use electrical equipment in accordance with approved uses, and leaving a forklift unattended while the engine was running.

The company also was cited with one other-than-serious violation for failing to properly record and adequately describe injuries in the OSHA 300 Log.

Orval Kent Foods Co.’s North American headquarters are located in Wheeling, Illinois. In addition to its Delphos facility, the company has plants in Hildago, Texas; Baxter Springs, Kansas; Vista, California; San Diego, California; and Mexico. The company has more than 180 workers in Delphos and more than 650 total employees. The company previously was cited by OSHA in 2008 at its Kansas facility for power transmission deficiencies.

OSHA Cites The Model Pattern and Foundry Co. for 32 Violations

OSHA cited The Model Pattern and Foundry Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio with 32 safety and health violations. The aluminum and bronze foundry faces penalties of $82,170 following a February inspection.

“Failing to take precautions to guard against machinery and electrical hazards unnecessarily puts workers at risk of serious injury,” said Richard Gilgrist, OSHA’s area director in Cincinnati. “Employers are responsible for recognizing the hazards that exist in their facilities and taking necessary precautions to ensure that OSHA standards are met.”

Twenty-five serious violations include failing to properly guard machinery and electrical hazards, have safety procedures for locking out equipment to be serviced, have proper hearing conservation protocols, and provide and ensure the use of proper personal protective equipment by workers.

Seven other-than-serious violations include failing to make records required by OSHA readily available to inspectors and to assess workplace hazards to determine adequate protective equipment needed for employees.

The inspection was initiated under OSHA’s local emphasis program on primary metal industries. The Model Pattern and Foundry Co., previously had been inspected by OSHA six times. The company was cited for 19 violations during the last OSHA inspection in 2002.

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