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11/28/2011

Employer Cited for Altering Injury and Illness Logs

Safety


OSHA cited Odom Industries in Milford, Ohio, for 38 safety and health violations, including three willful violations for allegedly amending the company’s OSHA 300 injury and illness logs by removing all recordable injuries. OSHA initiated an inspection of the fabrication plant after receiving a complaint alleging that injured workers, who were unable to perform their normal jobs, were moved to other jobs to avoid recordable injuries on the OSHA 300 logs. Proposed fines total $90,760.

“Employers who alter injury and illness logs, and fail to conduct required training, demonstrate a lack of commitment to workplace safety and health,” said Bill Wilkerson, director of OSHA’s Cincinnati Area Office. “The injury and illness rate computed by OSHA shows that the company had a rate above the national average for a three-year period. OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so.”

Investigators determined the company intentionally amended OSHA 300 logs by removing all recordable injuries during the calendar years of 2008, 2009, and 2010. Using a medical access order, investigators found that the employer also failed to record other work-related injuries for the three calendar years. OSHA determined there were 14 work-related injuries in 2008, six in 2009, and seven in 2010 that should have been added to the logs. A willful health violation was cited for each of the three calendar years the logs were amended. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Additionally, 16 serious safety violations were cited for failing to inspect and train employees in the use of personal protective gear, failing to conduct electrical safety training, the lack of fall protection, the lack of a lockout/tagout program for the energy sources of machines, the lack of machine guarding and the misuse of metal ladders. Three serious health violations also were cited for failing to conduct annual audiograms for employees exposed to noise hazards, failing to provide welding shields and screens, and failing to conduct hexavalent chromium training. 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.

Sixteen other-than-serious safety and health violations were cited, including failing to document inspections of crane hooks and chains, failing to establish a respiratory program including fit-testing, failing to provide medical evaluations and training, failing to conduct a hazard assessment for personal protective equipment needs, and failing to inform employees about voluntary respirator use. 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.

How to Author GHS Safety Data Sheets

OSHA is adopting the new Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. A cornerstone of GHS is the adoption of a completely revised Safety Data Sheet (SDS). In Environmental Resource Center’s new, How to Author GHS Safety Data Sheets webcast, you will learn the differences between the MSDS and SDS, how to author SDSs that meet the latest OSHA standards, how to classify your products according to the 28 GHS hazard classes and 88 categories, what must be entered in each section of the SDS, essential references you can use to locate data for each section of the SDS, and how to handle trade secrets.

To learn what you must do to meet the new SDS requirements, register for one of the upcoming How to Author GHS Safety Data Sheets webcasts:

  • December 15, 2011
  • January 27, 2012
  • February 29, 2012

How to Label Hazardous Chemicals Using OSHA’s New GHS Hazcom Standard

Workplace and supplier hazard communication labels are being reinvented as OSHA adopts the new Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for labeling hazardous chemicals. In a new, interactive Environmental Resource Center webcast, How to Label Hazardous Chemicals Using OSHA’s New GHS Hazcom Standard, you will learn the difference between workplace and supplier labels; what signal words, hazard statements, precautionary statements, and pictograms must be on your labels; essential references you can use to locate required label information; and how to label products with existing HMIS, NFPA, DOT, and CPSC labels.

Register for an upcoming How to Label Hazardous Chemicals Using OSHA’s New GHS Hazcom Standard webcast available on:

  • December 16, 2011
  • February 3, 2012
  • March 1, 2012

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

OSHA has announced they will adopt 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 webcast training courses where you will learn how the new rule differs from current requirements, how to implement the changes, and when the changes must be implemented. Dates for upcoming How to Prepare for OSHA Adoption of the GHS for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals webcasts include:

  • December 12, 2011
  • January 20, 2012
  • February 28, 2012

Register early to ensure your spot in one of the upcoming sessions. You may register online or call 800-537-2372 to register by phone.

Charlotte, North Carolina RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Charlotte, North Carolina, from December 6–8 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.

Cary, North Carolina 40-Hour and 24-Hour HAZWOPER Training

Register for the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) 40-Hour Training Course on December 5–9, or the 24-Hour HAZWOPER Training Course on December 5–7 at Environmental Resource Center in Cary, North Carolina, by calling 1-800-537-2372. For dates of additional 40-Hour courses click here, and for dates of additional 24-Hour courses click here.

Wilmington, Delaware RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Wilmington, Delaware, from December 13–15 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.

Safety Consultant/Trainer

Environmental Resource Center has a new opening for a safety consultant and auditor. We are looking for a former OSHA CSHO, OSHA trainer, or state inspector for this position in our Cary, North Carolina, office. Applicants should have excellent writing and speaking skills and be willing to travel 7–14 days per month. We are looking for an expert in all of the General Industry and Construction standards who is capable of performing audits of industrial facilities as well as conducting on-site training.

Strong consideration will be given to applicants who also have experience providing HAZWOPER, Hazcom, lockout/tagout, confined spaces, and machine guarding training.

The position includes maintenance of training materials (books and presentations), working on consulting projects, development of classes and computer-based training programs, and ensuring customer satisfaction.

If you meet our qualifications, are enthusiastic about safety regulations, have auditing experience, and have the ability to entertain students, send your resume, references, and salary requirements to Amy Knight at aknight@ercweb.com. We offer a competitive salary, 401(k), medical, dental, and other great benefits.

OSHA Animated Educational Videos Show How to Protect
Workers from Construction Hazards

OSHA has released 12 educational videos about potential hazards in the construction industry. The educational videos are easy to understand, short segments and are geared to employers and workers. Each year, nearly 800 construction workers die on the job, with one in every five workplace fatalities occurring within the construction industry. The videos are based on real-life incidents and include detailed depictions of hazards and the safety measures that would have prevented these injuries and fatalities.

“I urge anyone who works in the construction industry or operates a construction business to watch the videos. Share them with your co-workers and friends in the construction industry, organize screenings for your workers, and post them to your web pages,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Health and Safety Dr. David Michaels. “Every step we take to educate workers about their rights and the safety measures employers must take to protect workers in construction helps us avoid preventable injuries and the tragic loss of life.”

The videos cover falls in construction, workers who are struck by vehicles and heavy equipment, sprain and strain injuries, trenching and excavation hazards, and carbon monoxide poisoning. The videos are written for workers and employers, including workers with limited English proficiency.
Most of the videos are two to four minutes in length, and all except one are animated. Each video is available in English and Spanish for Web viewing or downloading. All video scripts are also available online in English and Spanish. The videos are located at http://www.osha.gov/dts/vtools/construction.html (Spanish-language videos are available at http://www.osha.gov/dts/vtools/construction_sp.html). After selecting a video from this page, you can choose to watch the video online, download the videos for future screenings, or view the videos on the US Department of Labor’s YouTube channel.

Sponge Manufacturer Fined $126,000 for Failing to Guard Machines, Fall and Electrical Hazards

OSHA cited Supply Plus NJ Inc., with one willful, 25 serious, and two other-than-serious safety violations in response to a complaint alleging imminent danger for failing to guard machines and exposing workers to fall and electrical hazards at the company’s Paterson, New Jersey facility. Proposed penalties total $126,000. Supply Plus, a sponge processing company, employs about 40 workers.

A May inspection revealed one willful violation, with a $42,000 penalty, for failing to provide machine guarding.

The serious violations, with $84,000 in penalties, include failing to keep work areas and passageways free of litter; provide guardrail protection, guard machines, and electrical boxes; provide an eyewash station; provide personal protective equipment for workers handling chemicals; provide industrial truck and hazardous communication training; ensure exit routes were unobstructed and visibly marked; make sure exit doors could open properly; cover electrical panel boards supplying power for equipment and lighting; properly use flexible cords; implement a lockout/tagout program for energy sources to prevent machines from accidentally starting up during servicing and maintenance; perform workplace hazards assessment; and develop a written hazardous communication program.

The other-than-serious violations, which carry no penalty, are due to record-keeping violations.

“Each of these violations left workers vulnerable to hazards that could cause serious injuries or quite possibly death,” said Lisa Levy, OSHA’s area director in Hasbrouck Heights. “It’s vital that Supply Plus correct these hazards to protect its workers.”

Legend Tube and Metal Sales Cited for 21 Violations After Cranes Struck Workers

OSHA cited Legend Tube and Metal Sales Inc., in Cleveland, Ohio, for 21 safety (including three willful) and health violations for operating unsafe cranes that struck and injured two workers at the steel service center. The company faces proposed fines of $157,200.

“Legend Tube and Metal Sales has a responsibility to ensure that its workers are protected from hazards associated with crane operations and to comply with relevant OSHA standards,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “Employers must be aware of the hazards that exist at their facilities and take appropriate measures to protect workers’ health and safety.”

An investigation was initiated after OSHA received complaints that two workers had been struck by overhead cranes at the facility, one on May 9 and another on May 10. The three willful safety violations, with proposed penalties of $126,000, were cited for operating a 20-ton, cab-operated crane and a 5-ton, floor-operated crane with the hoist blocks and hooks stuck in position approximately 6 feet off the ground, causing a “struck-by” hazard for workers; failing to establish a preventive maintenance program for the company’s eight cranes; and failing to have a gong or other effective warning signal on a 20-ton, cab-operated crane.

Eleven serious safety violations, with proposed fines of $29,400, were cited for failing to provide machine guarding on the horizontal band saw and radial arm saw, failing to develop an energy control program, using defective and worn slings throughout the facility, permitting various electrical violations to exist, and using electrical equipment in need of repair.

Seven other-than-serious health violations, with proposed fines of $1,800, were cited for failing to record workplace injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log, including the incidents that occurred on May 9 and 10; failing to maintain fire extinguishers; exposing electrical equipment to water from a leaking roof; and failing to provide sufficient space around electrical equipment.

Remington Arms Co. Fined $170,000 for 35 Serious Violations

OSHA cited Remington Arms Co., Inc., for 35 alleged serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its Ilion, New York, manufacturing plant. The firearms manufacturer faces a total of $170,000 in proposed penalties for a variety of mechanical, electrical, and chemical hazards identified during inspections by OSHA’s Syracuse Area Office.

“Left uncorrected, these conditions expose the plant’s workers to electrocution, falls, burns, lacerations, amputation, crushing and “struck-by” injuries, as well as exposure to hazardous substances and being caught in operating or unintentionally energized machinery,” said Christopher Adams, OSHA’s area director for central New York. “For the safety and health of these workers, this employer must ensure that these hazards are corrected and take effective steps to prevent their recurrence.”

Specifically, OSHA found violations involving a lack of personal protective equipment; accumulations of toxic substances lead and cadmium on surfaces in the plant; food and beverages stored and consumed at cadmium-contaminated work stations; failing to provide workers with training and information on lead and cadmium; and not determining cadmium exposure levels. The inspection also identified numerous electrical hazards and instances of unguarded moving machine parts; improper storage and transfer of flammable liquids; a lack of procedures to lock out machines’ power sources to prevent their unintended startup during maintenance; unguarded openings and defective ladders; defective powered industrial trucks and untrained drivers; inadequate fire extinguisher training and availability; unlabeled permit-required confined spaces; no continuous, effective extermination program for vermin; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; and several exit deficiencies including a locked exit door, obstructed exit routes, unmarked exits, and non-functioning emergency and exit lighting.

“An effective illness and injury prevention program in which employers and employees work together to identify and eliminate hazards is one way of preventing initial and recurring workplace hazards such as these,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional director in New York.

OSHA Fines Ringo Drilling $130,200 Following Electrocution of Worker Near Ozona, Texas

OSHA cited Ringo Drilling I LP, with seven safety violations after an employee performing repair work on an oil drilling rig was electrocuted at the company’s worksite near Ozona, Texas in June.

The company was issued four serious citations for failing to provide training on the hazards of electrical equipment, provide guardrails to prevent workers from falling into a hole more than 4 feet deep near the well head, ensure proper use of stepladders, and properly guard electrical junction boxes.

Three repeat citations were issued for failing to protect workers from falls on platforms and other work areas by providing guardrails, inspect electrical cord sets and ensure that electrical cables were provided with proper strain relief. 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. OSHA cited the company in 2008 and 2010 for similar violations.

“Exposing workers to electrocution hazards without proper safeguards and training is inexcusable. This is not the first time the same employer has jeopardized the safety of its workers by failing to follow OSHA standards,” said Jeff Funke, the agency’s area director in San Antonio. “It is the employer’s responsibility to create a safe and healthful workplace where preventable hazards don’t cost workers their lives.”

Work-related Deaths in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s annual release of work-related death statistics shows there were 80 work-related deaths in Colorado in 2010, the same number as occurred in 2009, according to the preliminary 2010 Colorado Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. There were approximately three deaths in Colorado for every 100,000 workers in the state’s workforce in 2010.

The data identify transportation fatalities, primarily highway crashes, as the major cause of work-related deaths. The top three causes of work-related deaths in Colorado in 2010 were as follows:

  • 27 transportation-related deaths, accounting for 34% of the state’s 80 occupational fatalities during 2010. Of Colorado’s 27 transportation-related occupational deaths in 2010, 17 were highway fatalities compared to 24 the previous year. The remaining 10 transportation-related fatalities in 2010 were either non-highway or another type of transportation-related death. Highway accidents accounted for 21% of all occupational fatalities in 2010, slightly down from 29% in 2009. Three workers died in non-collision highway accidents.
  • 21 deaths from assaults and violent acts in 2010, compared to 18 deaths in 2009.
  • 15 deaths from contact with objects and equipment, compared to nine deaths in 2009.

Work-related fatalities by worker characteristics

  • Men accounted for 72 of the 80 worker deaths in 2010.
  • By race/ethnicity, 59 deaths were white non-Hispanic workers, 17 were Hispanic workers, and the remainder were African-American, American Indian, Alaska native, Asian, native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.
  • Workers in the 55- to 64-year-old age group had the highest number of fatalities with18 deaths in 2010.

Work-related fatalities by industry

  • Trade, transportation and utilities industry: 19 deaths, 12 of which were in the retail trade industry and seven of which were related to transportation and warehousing
  • Natural resources and mining industry: 15 deaths, 12 of which were in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry
  • Construction industry: 10 deaths
  • Professional and business services industry: eight deaths
  • Leisure and hospitality industry: eight deaths

Work-related fatalities by occupation

  • Sales and related occupations: 12 deaths
  • Management occupations: 10 deaths, eight of which were to agricultural managers
  • Construction and extraction occupations: nine fatal injuries
  • Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations: eight fatal injuries

The Colorado Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries is a cooperative effort of the Department of Public Health and Environment’s Health Statistics Section and the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which recently released its preliminary 2010 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries data. Work-related fatalities are identified through reports of the OSHA, workers’ compensation claims, and death certificates.

The department’s Occupational Health and Safety Surveillance program actively shares these data with partners and agencies to promote and inform prevention activities. For example, during the 2011 technical conference for the Rocky Mountain Chapters of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Society of Safety Engineers, the program highlighted transportation events as the leading cause of workplace fatalities. Many conference participants are responsible for implementing training and prevention programs at their workplaces. These data justify the need to evaluate and implement workplace transportation safety policies. In addition, the Occupational Health and Safety Surveillance program is working to build statewide network of occupational health and safety professionals, called Worksafe Colorado. These partners are helping identify policy and information gaps that can be addressed to help ensure the safety of Colorado’s workforce.

For additional information about work-related injury deaths in Colorado and the nation, visit the Colorado Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries page on the Colorado Health and Environmental Data site. The complete Colorado Occupational Health Indicators report is online at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/OH/OHI%20Report_090711_Final.pdf.

OSHA Cites Golf Club for Workplace Hazards

OSHA has cited Guam International Country Club for 17 alleged workplace safety violations found during an inspection at the club’s maintenance shop in Dededo, Guam. Proposed fines total $32,900.

“Employees must be protected against safety hazards in the workplace—not just because it is the right thing to do but because it is the law,” said Ken Nishiyama Atha, OSHA’s regional administrator in San Francisco. “Workplace safety is critical. OSHA will remain focused on being proactive, especially when workers’ safety and health are at stake.”

Fifteen serious safety violations found include failing to provide training for employees working with hazardous materials; provide appropriate personal protective equipment for eyes and face; provide required forklift training and ensure that the forklift had a functioning seatbelt; and multiple electrical hazards, including exposing workers to live electrical parts.

Two other-than-serious safety violations were cited for failing to prepare and maintain records of work-related injuries and illnesses, including OSHA’s Form 300 for work-related injuries and illnesses as well as the agency’s Form 301, or its equivalent, for reporting incidents of injuries and illnesses.

OSHA Cites Ameri-Tech Industries for Serious Violations at Work Site in Troy, Texas

OSHA cited Ameri-Tech Industries LLC, doing business as Ameri-Tech Building Systems, for 16 serious safety violations at the company’s manufacturing facility in Troy, Texas. Proposed penalties total $52,200.

OSHA’s Austin Area Office began its inspection June 21 after a complaint was received about unsafe working conditions at the company’s plant on Mueller Lane. The violations found include failing to provide fall protection, such as horizontal lifelines used with full-body harnesses and lanyards; provide machine guarding for table saws as well as anti-kickback features; maintain portable fire extinguishers fully charged and accessible for immediate use; provide illuminated exit signs; require the use of hand protection while working with sheet metal; ensure that power tools and electrical cords were maintained in a safe, working condition; utilize electric equipment in a safe manner; and ensure electrical paths to ground are permanent, continuous, and effective.

“Ameri-Tech Building Systems exposed its workers to falls and electrical hazards, among other dangerous conditions, both of which can cause serious and possibly fatal injuries,” said Casey Perkins, OSHA’s area director in Austin. “It is the employer’s responsibility to assess hazards, and provide a safe and healthful workplace.”

Detailed information about fall hazards and safeguards is available on OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/construction.html.

Ameri-Tech, based in Center, Texas, specializes in manufacturing portable metal buildings and employs about 200 workers companywide.

OSHA Fines Gire Construction $144,100 for Fall Hazards

OSHA cited Gire Construction Inc., for six violations, including five willful violations, for failing to provide fall protection to roofers working on commercial and residential projects. The Champaign, Illinois-based company faces penalties totaling $144,100 as a result of four separate safety inspections.

“Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in the construction industry,” said Thomas Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria, Illinois. “Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their workplaces and ensuring that workers are not exposed to risks that could result in injury or death.”

OSHA initiated an inspection under a local emphasis program for fall hazards on May 27 at a Gire Construction work site in Decatur, where 21 workers were observed removing shingles from a commercial building without fall protection. Two willful violations were cited for the lack of fall protection as well as related training. Local emphasis programs are enforcement strategies intended to address hazards or industries that pose a particular risk to workers in the area.

On June 3, Gire Construction employees were observed at two separate residential sites in the same Champaign neighborhood performing roofing work without fall protection, which resulted in citations for two more willful violations. Another willful violation was cited for failing to have a ladder extended 3 feet over the roof’s eave. The five willful violations carry total proposed penalties of $140,800.

One serious violation with proposed penalties of $3,300 was cited for failing to require workers to use eye protection at a work site in Rantoul, Illinois, which was inspected on September 15.

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 perform residential construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level.

Gire Construction previously was inspected by OSHA five times since 2004, resulting in citations for 12 violations related to fall protection, personal protective equipment training, and ladder usage.

OSHA Cites United Contracting for Failing to Provide Fall Protection to Painters

OSHA cited United Contracting with 14 safety violations, including willful violations for failing to provide a scaffold designed by a qualified person and fall protection for workers painting road overpasses at two separate Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, job sites. Proposed fines total $149,200.

“United Contracting has a responsibility to ensure that its employees are properly protected from falls when performing painting operations,” said Frank Winingham, OSHA’s area director in Appleton, Wisconsin. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so.”

An OSHA compliance officer initiated an inspection on May 23 after observing a worker, who was part of a bridge painting crew, straddling the parapet of a highway bridge overpass at Scott Street and US Highway 41. Parapets on bridges prevent users from falling off where there is a drop. The company has been cited for two willful violations for failing to have scaffolds designed by a qualified person and provide fall protection, as the parapet was fewer than 42 inches in height.

Four serious safety violations also have been cited: failing to block parapet hooks to prevent movement, not securing parapet hooks, allowing employees to sit on a parapet wall without adequate fall protection, and not properly securing personal fall arrest system snap hooks. Proposed penalties for the Scott Street investigation total $70,400.

United Contracting also was inspected on June 28, after local law enforcement notified OSHA that a worker had fallen from a scaffold being erected on the Townline Road overpass on US Highway 41. Two willful violations have been cited for failing to have scaffolds designed by a qualified person and provide fall protection, as the parapet was not at least 42 inches high. Additionally, six serious violations have been cited for failing to provide forklift training, block parapet hooks from movement, secure parapet hooks, secure the scaffold platform used as a ladder access point, and for making alterations to a forklift. Proposed penalties for the Townline Road investigation total $78,800.

Prior to these inspections, United Contracting had been inspected by OSHA 15 times since 1993. Previously known as United Painting Inc., the company was cited for violations of fall protection and scaffolding standards on four other occasions.

OSHA has placed United Contracting in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Initiated in June 2010, the program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate violations.

Detailed information about fall hazards and safeguards is available on OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/construction.html. Detailed information on scaffold hazards and safe work practices, including an interactive e-Tool, is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/index.html.

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