Diesel Engine Exhaust Listed as Group 1 Carcinogen by IARC
On June 12, 2012, after a week-long meeting of international experts, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.
In 1988, IARC classified diesel exhaust as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A). An Advisory Group which reviews and recommends future priorities for the IARC Monographs Program had recommended diesel exhaust as a high priority for re-evaluation since 1998.
There has been mounting concern about the cancer-causing potential of diesel exhaust, particularly based on findings in epidemiological studies of workers exposed in various settings. This was re-emphasized by the publication in March 2012 of the results of a large US National Cancer Institute/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study of occupational exposure to such emissions in underground miners, which showed an increased risk of death from lung cancer in exposed workers.
The scientific evidence was reviewed thoroughly by the Working Group and overall it was concluded that there was sufficient evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of diesel exhaust. The Working Group found that diesel exhaust is a cause of lung cancer (sufficient evidence) and also noted a positive association (limited evidence) with an increased risk of bladder cancer (Group 1).
The Working Group concluded that gasoline exhaust was possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), a finding unchanged from the previous evaluation in 1989.
Large populations are exposed to diesel exhaust in everyday life, whether through their occupation or through the ambient air. People are exposed not only to motor vehicle exhausts but also to exhausts from other diesel engines, including from other modes of transport (e.g. diesel trains and ships) and from power generators.
Given the Working Group’s rigorous, independent assessment of the science, governments and other decision-makers have a valuable evidence-base on which to consider environmental standards for diesel exhaust emissions and to continue to work with the engine and fuel manufacturers towards those goals.
Increasing environmental concerns over the past two decades have resulted in regulatory action in North America, Europe and elsewhere with successively tighter emission standards for both diesel and gasoline engines. There is a strong interplay between standards and technology—standards drive technology and new technology enables more stringent standards. For diesel engines, this required changes in the fuel such as marked decreases in sulfur content, changes in engine design to burn diesel fuel more efficiently and reductions in emissions through exhaust control technology.
However, while the amount of particulates and chemicals are reduced with these changes, it is not yet clear how the quantitative and qualitative changes may translate into altered health effects; research into this question is needed. In addition, existing fuels and vehicles without these modifications will take many years to be replaced, particularly in less developed countries, where regulatory measures are currently also less stringent. It is notable that many parts of the developing world lack regulatory standards, and data on the occurrence and impact of diesel exhaust are limited.
Dr. Christopher Portier, Chairman of the IARC working Group, stated that “The scientific evidence was compelling and the Working Group’s conclusion was unanimous: diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in humans.” Dr Portier continued: “Given the additional health impacts from diesel particulates, exposure to this mixture of chemicals should be reduced worldwide.” Portier is the Director of the US National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Kurt Straif, Head of the IARC Monographs Program, indicated that “The main studies that led to this conclusion were in highly exposed workers. However, we have learned from other carcinogens, such as radon, that initial studies showing a risk in heavily exposed occupational groups were followed by positive findings for the general population. Therefore actions to reduce exposures should encompass workers and the general population.”
Dr. Christopher Wild, Director, IARC, said that “while IARC’s remit is to establish the evidence-base for regulatory decisions at national and international level, today’s conclusion sends a strong signal that public health action is warranted. This emphasis is needed globally, including among the more vulnerable populations in developing countries where new technology and protective measures may otherwise take many years to be adopted.”
The summary of the evaluation will appear in The Lancet Oncology as an online publication ahead of print on June 15, 2012. Lancet was warned by an industry group lobbyist not to publish the study.
How to Prepare for OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS)
OSHA has issued a final rule revising its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, MSDS (called “safety data sheet” or SDS under the new standard), 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 SDSs.
Environmental Resource Center is offering webcast training for you to learn how the new rule differs from current requirements, how to implement the changes, and when the changes must be implemented. Register for an upcoming webcast on How to Prepare for OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS) offered on the following dates:
- June 26
- July 18
- August 15
- October 2
How to Author GHS Safety Data Sheets
OSHA has adopted 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 an upcoming How to Author GHS Safety Data Sheets webcast offered on the following dates:
How to Label Hazardous Chemicals Using OSHA’s New GHS Hazcom Standard
Workplace and supplier hazard communication labels are being reinvented with OSHA’s adoption of 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.
The How to Label Hazardous Chemicals Using OSHA’s New GHS Hazcom Standard webcast will be offered on the following dates:
Dayton RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Dayton, Ohio, from July 10–12 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.
Raleigh RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Raleigh, North Carolina, from July 16–18 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.
Macon RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Macon, Georgia, from July 24–26 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.
Zoto’s International Cited for Chemical, Electrical and Mechanical Hazards
OSHA has cited Zoto’s International Inc., with 44 alleged serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at the company’s Geneva, New York, manufacturing plant. The maker of hair care products faces a total of $233,000 in fines for a cross-section of chemical, mechanical, and electrical hazards following an inspection by OSHA’s Syracuse Area Office.
OSHA found numerous instances of unguarded moving machine parts, including saws, pulleys, ingoing nip points, pinch points, and rotating parts. Electrical hazards encompassed unguarded live parts, electrical wiring that did not conform to a Class 1/Division 1 location, allowing unqualified employees to work on live electrical parts, failing to develop and follow safety-related work practices related to energized parts, and failing to provide training to employees. Other safety hazards include a blocked exit door, flammable liquids used where ignition sources were present, blocked fire extinguishers, storage racks with damaged vertical supports, blocked aisles, fall and tripping hazards, and a lack of lockout/tagout procedures to prevent the unintended startup of machinery during maintenance.
The inspection also identified several deficiencies in the plant’s process safety management program, which is designed to prevent the unintended release of large quantities of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the chemical is ethyl alcohol, a flammable liquid used in a blending process. Deficiencies include an incomplete process hazard analysis; inaccurate diagrams of the process; a lack of compliance audits; no written operating procedures for the start up, operations shut down and emergency shut down for the system; and failing to correct deficiencies in the process equipment.
Health hazards include employee overexposure to methylene chloride, a lack of controls to reduce methylene chloride exposure levels, the use of an inappropriate respirator, failing to train workers on the hazards of metyhlene chloride and other chemicals, and failing to label containers of hazardous chemicals.
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.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/zotos_international_318850081_5_24_2012.pdf
Colorado Orders Advance Painting Services to Pay $240,500 for Radiation Safety Violations
The Radioactive Materials Unit of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has ordered Advance Painting Services, Inc., doing business as APS T&T, and Ricky Perkins, the company’s radiation safety officer, to pay a $240,500 penalty for violations of the Colorado Radiation Control Act and the Colorado Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Radiation Control. A Georgia company with a Grand Junction, Colorado, office, APS T&T provides industrial radiography services as part of its business operations. The company is licensed by the state to possess and use radioactive materials contained in radiographic equipment used at job sites anywhere in the state of Colorado.
- State inspectors identified the following violations:
- Making false statements, representations, or certifications to the Hazardous Materials and
- Waste Management Division that interfered with an investigation (two counts)
- Performing industrial radiography without a valid radioactive materials license
- Failure to have a certified radiographer observe and supervise radiographic operations
- Failure to provide personnel dosimetry devices to workers
- Failure to obtain and include the results of an FBI fingerprint check as part of a background
- investigation prior to determining that a new employee was trustworthy and reliable
- Failure to maintain the required and necessary records for inspection
- Failure to provide haz-mat transportation refresher training to employees
- Failure to post appropriate signage for a room or area containing radioactive materials
Radiography equipment has several industrial applications, such as inspecting the quality of welds using a highly radioactive material called Iridium 192. Using Iridium 192 without approved procedures and state oversight can result in excessive radiation exposures to workers and members of the public who may be in the vicinity of the jobsite or storage area. Although there is no evidence that APS T&T workers or the public were harmed as a result of the violations, the company is required to notify workers that they may have been put at risk. Increased likelihood of cancer is the primary risk from overexposure.
State inspectors determined that Perkins began performing radiography services in May 2011, prior to the date a radioactive materials license was issued to APS T&T. During a July 18, 2011 inspection, Perkins repeatedly told inspectors the company did not start those activities until after the license had been issued.
“Several of these violations could have put the health of employees at risk,” said Jennifer Opila, leader of the Radioactive Materials Unit. “Failure to provide dosimetry monitors to workers is particularly serious, because it would be easy to exceed the annual radiation dose limit without careful tracking. Incomplete background checks are an important national security consideration when employees have access to radioactive materials that could be misused. Finally, employees need regular training and certification to ensure they can safely handle and transport these materials.”
Perkins is prohibited from working as a radiation safety officer and from directing others in the use of radioactive materials in Colorado for the next four years. Colorado officials have notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and all state radiation programs about the compliance order.
A license is required to receive, possess, use, transfer, or acquire most radioactive materials in Colorado. The Radioactive Materials Unit in the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulates radioactive materials licensees in the state.
Cal/OSHA Cites US-Sino for Worker Killed in Excavation Collapse
The California Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Division of Occupational Safety and Health, also known as Cal/OSHA, has issued 14 citations totaling $168,175 to a Fremont, California-based construction and investment company, US-Sino Investments, Inc. The citations stemmed from Cal/OSHA’s investigation into the death of Raul Zapata, a carpenter who was buried alive under a 10–12 foot excavation wall at a Milpitas residential construction site on January 28. US-Sino is cited for numerous serious and willful violations of Cal/OSHA’s safety standards.
“Cal/OSHA’s investigation into this death revealed US-Sino’s disregard for the safety of its workers,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Ellen Widess. “The City of Milpitas had issued a stop work order three days before the incident due to unstable ground, yet this employer continued work and knowingly put workers at risk with a tragic result.”
Following several days of rainfall, Raul Zapata had been working at the base of the excavation wall at a residential construction site on January 28 when the wall collapsed on top of him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The excavation wall that gave way had no soil support system installed as required by Cal/OSHA’s trenching and excavation regulations. California law also requires an annual or project-specific permit for any work that involves a trench or excavation wall exceeding five feet in depth into which workers may be lowered. US-Sino did not obtain such a permit. The instability of the soil and risk of further cave-in prevented rescuers from recovering Mr. Zapata’s body for several days.
Cal/OSHA’s investigation revealed other serious safety violations at US-Sino’s worksite. Exposed rebar was found on the site without proper safety caps, which posed safety hazards to workers. The employer failed to inspect the excavation daily, as required, or inform new workers of the hazards and safety precautions necessary for this work. They had no injury and illness prevention plan or heat illness prevention plan in place, nor any communication plan in place to alert authorities or first responders in the event of an emergency such as this excavation cave-in.
The citations Cal/OSHA issued include five classified as serious, two of which were willful, and several general and regulatory citations. Cal/OSHA’s Bureau of Investigations (BOI), which investigates fatalities and other serious injuries, has an ongoing criminal investigation.
“We think this case is particularly appropriate for criminal referral based on the egregious facts leading to the worker’s death,” said Widess.
Cal/OSHA immediately referred this employer to the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and DIR’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) for further enforcement action. CSLB suspended the general building contractor license of US-Sino and its owner Richard Liu upon determining that the employer failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees as required by law. DLSE’s investigation is ongoing.
Great Lakes Chemical Cited for Exposing Workers to Bromine Hazards
OSHA has cited West Lafayette, Indiana-based Great Lakes Chemical Corp., with 18 serious safety violations at the company’s El Dorado, Arkansas, facility for exposing workers to the unexpected release of bromine. OSHA’s Little Rock Area Office initiated an inspection in December under the agency’s Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program, which is designed to reduce or eliminate workplace hazards associated with the catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals. Proposed penalties total $122,000.
Process safety management standard violations include the company’s failing to ensure that its process hazard analysis addresses hazards involved with valves being closed or blocked; develop procedures to ensure that levels are correctly established for pressure vessels and piping; and ensure that the compliance audit addresses procedures to assess the mechanical integrity of pressure vessels and piping. Additionally, the company failed to ensure that ladder-way platform openings were guarded by standard railings.
Great Lakes Chemical manufactures bromine fufural specialty chemicals and alkyl leads. The company employs about 4,000 workers nationwide, with about 270 at its facility in El Dorado.
Illinois Gun Works Cited for Exposing Workers to Lead
OSHA has cited Illinois Gun Works Ltd., of Elmwood Park, Illinois, for 28 alleged health violations following a January 21 inspection referred by the Illinois Department of Public Health that found two gun range operators were exposed to airborne lead levels up to 12 times the permissible level. Proposed fines total $111,000.
A total of 27 serious violations include 13 for violating the lead standard, including failing to implement engineering and work practice controls to reduce exposure, collect full shift personal samples for monitoring, measure effectiveness of the ventilation system to control exposure, provide clean protective clothing, dispose of or replace protective clothing, provide clean changing rooms or separate storage facilities for protective work clothing to prevent cross-contamination with street clothes, require workers exposed to lead to shower at the end of a shift or to ensure workers washed hands and faces prior to consuming food during breaks, and implement a medical surveillance program for all employees who were exposed to lead at or above the action levels, including biological monitoring such as blood sampling.
The remaining serious violations include failing to implement a hazard communication program, train workers on hazardous chemicals present in the work environment, label chemical bottles with contents and a hazard warning, administer an effective hearing conservation program, train in the use of personal protective equipment, and implement a respirator protection program that includes fit testing and training.
One other-than-serious violation has been cited for failing to provide a written certification that a hazard assessment had been performed. 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.
Illinois Gun Works operates a gun sales business, a shooting range, and gun safety training.
Correctional Facility Cited for Workplace Violence and Other Hazards
OSHA has cited The GEO Group Inc., with six safety and health violations, including one willful, for exposing employees to workplace violence and failing to take adequate measures to reduce the risk of violence following a December 2011 inspection stemming from a complaint about the Meridian, Mississippi, correctional facility. Proposed penalties total $104,100.
A willful safety violation has been cited, with a $70,000 penalty, for failing to knowingly provide adequate staffing, fix malfunctioning cell door locks, or provide required training to protect employees from incidents of violent behavior by inmates, including stabbings, bites, and other injuries. 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.
One repeat health violation, with a $16,500 penalty, also has been cited for failing to conduct medical evaluations for workers required to wear respirators. 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 facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A similar violation was cited in November 2010 at GEO’s Pompano Beach, Florida, facility.
Two serious health and one serious safety violation, carrying a total of $17,600 in penalties, include failure to conduct a fit test for employees required to wear respirators, have a written exposure control plan for employees exposed to bloodborne pathogens and complete a personal protective equipment hazard assessment.
One other-than-serious safety violation has been cited for failing to provide a written energy control procedure for workers exposed to electrical shock hazards. No penalty was assessed.
The GEO Group Inc., is a correctional and detention organization with approximately 80,000 beds and 116 facilities located in the US, the United Kingdom, Australia, and South Africa. The company’s East Mississippi correctional facility houses 1,318 low, medium, and high security inmates, as well as inmates with mental illness.
Trans Tech Logistics Fined $69,000 for Following Complaint of Hazards at Two Facilities
OSHA has cited Perrysburg, Ohio-based Trans Tech Logistics Inc., for 17 serious safety violations at two tank truck maintenance facilities in Natrium and Institute, West Virginia. Proposed penalties total $69,000 following a March inspection that was initiated after OSHA received a complaint alleging hazards.
At the Natrium facility, OSHA has cited 15 violations that involve failing to establish lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machinery from accidentally starting up; comply with the agency’s Hazard Communication Standard; ensure the use of safety goggles and foot protection; provide facilities for flushing of the eyes and body when employees are exposed to corrosive materials; provide first-aid training and supplies; separate oxygen cylinders from acetylene cylinders in storage; label electrical disconnects; guard machines; and provide charts, manuals, and safe operating procedures for servicing rim wheels. Penalties for the citations total $60,000.
Two violations were cited at the Institute facility for failing to provide sufficient washing facilities for workers exposed to corrosive materials and remove powered industrial trucks from service when they are not in a safe operating condition. Penalties for the citations total $9,000.
Progressive Inc. Manufacturing Facility Fined $58,000 for Safety Hazards
OSHA has cited Progressive Inc., in Arlington, Texas, with 15 safety violations for exposing workers to machine guarding and electrical hazards. OSHA’s Fort Worth Area Office opened an inspection in February under the agency’s Site-Specific Targeting Program, which directs enforcement resources to high-hazard workplaces where the highest rates of injuries and illnesses occur. Proposed penalties total $58,000.
The 13 serious violations involve failing to mark emergency exits; keep fire extinguishers mounted with unobstructed access; store compressed gas cylinders properly; guard belts and pulleys on machinery; properly adjust tongue and rest guards on grinders; and use permanent wiring instead of extension cords.
Two other-than-serious violations include failing to provide a load rating on an overhead storage location and to close unused openings on electrical boxes.
Progressive Inc., is a division of Heroux-Devtek, which is headquartered in Longueuil, Qu?bec, Canada. Progressive employs about 150 workers who develop, manufacture, and repair commercial and military aerospace products.
Guardian West Cited for Failing to Monitor Exposure to Chromium, Conduct Medical Evaluations
OSHA has cited Flex-N-Gate Corp., which operates as Guardian West in Urbana, Illinois, with nine serious safety and health violations for failing to monitor workers’ exposure to nickel, chromium, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid while cleaning electroplating tanks at the company’s bumper manufacturing plant. Proposed fines total $57,000 following a December 2011 inspection.
Four of the violations are related to medical surveillance for workers performing decorative plating operations in regard to chromium and chromic acid exposure. These involve failing to provide periodic examinations of exposed body parts, especially nostrils; implement an effective respiratory program that includes training; identify and evaluate respiratory hazards; and provide medical evaluations for respirator use and fit-testing for respirators.
The remaining violations involve failing to conduct monitoring to determine the 8-hour, time-weighted average exposure to chromium for each employee; maintain surfaces free of chromium accumulations; provide effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in the work area during a worker’s initial assignment or when a new hazard is introduced to the work area; and provide medical examinations for chromium exposure while ensuring that the medical professional conducting exams has copies of the exposure standards as well as a description of employees’ duties.
Urbana-headquartered Flex-N-Gate employs more than 12,450 people at 50 manufacturing and nine product development and engineering facilities throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and Spain. The Urbana plant previously was inspected by OSHA in October 2010, resulting in citations for two serious violations.
Metal Recycling Company Fined for Worker Overexposure to Lead and Arsenic
OSHA has cited Abington Reldan Metals LLC, with 11 serious safety violations, including overexposing workers to dangerously high levels of lead and arsenic, at the company’s Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, facility. OSHA initiated a December 2011 inspection following a referral from the Pennsylvania State Department of Health indicating that employees had high levels of lead in their blood. Proposed penalties total $48,600.
The violations include exposing employees to lead and arsenic above the permissible exposure limit as well as failing to implement adequate engineering controls to reduce exposures, ensure floors were cleaned using proper methods, require employees working with lead and arsenic to shower at the end of their work shifts, provide training on the hazards of arsenic and cadmium exposure, provide a designated training room for workers to remove contaminated clothing, provide a written housekeeping program for arsenic and written plans for arsenic and lead exposure control, establish a medical program for workers exposed to arsenic, and provide a regular monitoring program for those workers exposed to lead, arsenic and cadmium.
Abington Reldan Metals LLC, is a metal recycling plant that employs 86 workers at its Fairless Hills facility.
Jr Stucco Fined $48,180 for Fall Hazards
OSHA has cited Jr Stucco for five serious and two repeat safety violations at a Dripping Springs, Texas, work site where workers were erecting a concrete block wall on scaffolding without required fall protection equipment. OSHA opened an inspection in March as part of the agency’s regional emphasis program on falls and has proposed a total of $48,180 in penalties.
The serious violations include failing to train workers on how to control scaffold hazards, place protective caps on re-enforcing bars protruding from the foundation, brace the freestanding concrete block walls against collapse, and establish a limited access zone near the concrete block walls.
The repeat violations include failing to fully plank the working platform of a scaffold and erect protective guardrails on scaffolding where employees are working at heights of 10 feet or more. Similar violations were cited in April and December 2009.
Woodland Interiors Inc. Cited for Lack of Fall Protection
OSHA has cited Woodland Interiors Inc., for exposing workers to fall hazards while installing insulation to exterior walls of a newly constructed Aldi grocery store in Hiram, Georgia. OSHA initiated the inspection in December 2011 as part of the agency’s National Emphasis Program and Local Emphasis Program on falls in construction. Proposed penalties total $43,400.
One willful citation, with a $38,500 penalty, was issued for allowing employees to work from an aerial lift approximately 18 feet from the ground without fall protection.
A serious violation, with a $4,900 penalty, was also cited for failing to provide fall protection for employees working from the roof of the building while installing siding at heights up to 15 feet.
Woodland Interiors Inc., is a siding contractor with its home office in Rydal, Georgia.
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