OSHA to Use EPA TRI Data to Target Hazardous Chemical Inspections


OSHA is launching a local emphasis program in Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri for programmed health inspections of industries known to use hazardous chemicals and who have reported release of such chemicals to the EPA. The goal is to reduce occupational illnesses and deaths.

"This local emphasis program will make efficient use of OSHA's industrial hygiene resources by focusing on industrial sites that are known to have released EPA-monitored hazardous chemicals," said Marcia Drumm, acting regional administrator for OSHA in Kansas City. "Through this program, OSHA will improve education for company management and strengthen protections for workers exposed to these chemicals."

Chemicals reported to the EPA that have been released into the environment include ammonia; barium, chromium and copper compounds; hydrochloric acid; hydrogen fluoride; lead and manganese compounds; N-hexane; styrene; sulfuric acid; and nitrate, vanadium, and zinc compounds.

Industries will be selected for inspection based on site-specific chemical release data from the EPA's TRI Explorer database, which lists industry establishments that have released chemical quantities equal to or exceeding 100,000 lbs.

OSHA has created a toolkit to identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of more hazardous ones.

Local emphasis programs are enforcement strategies designed and implemented at the regional and/or area office levels. These programs are intended to address hazards in industries that pose a particular risk to workers in the office's jurisdiction. Often times, these local emphasis programs are accompanied by outreach intended to make employers in the area aware of the program, as well as the hazards that the programs are designed to reduce or eliminate.

Beat OSHA’s December 1 GHS HazCom Training Deadline: Use Environmental Resource Center’s GHS OSHA Hazard Communication Training PowerPoint

With OSHA’s adoption of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals, virtually every chemical label, MSDS—now called Safety Data Sheet (SDS), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard.

By December 1, 2013, all employees at your site that work with, or are exposed to, hazardous chemicals must be trained to understand the new classification system, labels, warning statements, precautions, pictograms, and safety data sheets for chemicals at your worksite.

Environmental Resource Center is making available a PDF presentation or a customizable PowerPoint that you can use for on-site worker training. The training program, which is designed to cover your site’s GHS Hazard Communication training requirements, is in a format that is easy to understand.

Pricing and options:

PDF Presentation – English, Spanish: $99 (single copy)

Multiple PDF copies can be purchased for $99/copy (1–10); $79/copy (11–20); or $69/copy (21+).

PowerPoint presentation with prompts to modify with your site-specific information – English, Spanish: $199 (single copy)

Multiple copies can be purchased for $199/copy (1–10), $179/copy (11–20), or $169/copy (21+).

Additional Options*:

1. Customized PowerPoint: Send us your written GHS hazard communication plan and 10–20 safety data sheets. We’ll create a custom training program for your site: $899

2. If you have not updated your hazard communication plan, let Environmental Resource Center update it for you: $799

3. Customized PowerPoint and hazard communication plan: $1600

*Call 800-537-2372 for Spanish pricing

How to Implement 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, safety data sheet (formerly called “material safety data sheet” or MSDS), 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 safety data sheets.

Environmental Resource Center is offering live online 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. Bring your questions to one of the upcoming webcasts on How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS) offered on December 12, 2013, and January 17, 2014.

Poorly Managed Mergers, Leadership Changes, and Budget Cuts Increase Risk of Catastrophic Accidents

Christina Morgan, MPH, of the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) provided the Board’s comments on Presidential Executive Order 13650. Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security. Excerpts from her comments are provided below.

In the fall of 2002, the Board released its comprehensive study on the management of reactive chemical hazards. Incident data analyzed by the CSB at that time identified 167 serious incidents in the United States involving uncontrolled reactivity between 1980 and 2001. Nearly a third of them affected the public, and more than half involved chemicals that were not, and still are not, covered by (Process Safety Management (PSM) or Risk Management Plan (RMP). Therefore, the Board issued recommendations to both OSHA and EPA calling for revisions to these standards that would achieve more comprehensive control of reactive hazards. But those recommendations have yet to be acted upon.

The April 2013 devastating explosion at the West Fertilizer Plant in Texas, which claimed the lives of fifteen people, many of them volunteer firefighters, demonstrated all too clearly that reactive chemicals threaten not only the safety of workers, but of the public at large. It also made clear that the PSM and RMP regulations must be updated to better safeguard against major chemical incidents in our country.

For that reason, the Board appreciated OSHA’s announcement in the Spring 2013 Semiannual Agenda of Regulations that the agency is considering revisions to PSM that would “expand coverage and requirements for reactivity hazards.” We are hopeful that EPA will take similar actions to ensure its RMP regulation also addresses these hazards.

The Board is also pleased that OSHA is considering additional revisions to the Process Safety Management standard which would address the standard’s exemption for atmospheric storage tanks. Following our investigation of the July 2001 sulfuric acid tank explosion that killed a worker at the Delaware City refinery, the Board recommended that OSHA ensure coverage under PSM for atmospheric storage tanks that could be involved in a catastrophic release as a result of being interconnected to a PSM-covered process. More than ten years later, this recommendation has not been implemented, and the Board remains concerned that such tanks remain exempted from important process safety and mechanical integrity requirements prescribed by the PSM standard. We support OSHA’s willingness to address this safety gap and further our shared goal of preventing future chemical incidents.

The Board is also appreciative of OSHA’s consideration of revisions to the PSM standard that would address the applicability of the standard’s Management of Change (MOC) analysis requirements to organizational changes, which may impact process safety. In investigating the March 2005 explosions and fires at the BP Texas City refinery that killed 15 workers, the CSB found that poorly managed corporate mergers, leadership and organizational changes, and budget cuts greatly increased the risk of catastrophic accidents at the site. The CSB, therefore, recommended that OSHA amend the PSM standard to make clear that these organizational changes should trigger MOC analyses. We are hopeful that OSHA will address this issue in its potential rulemaking.

As this working group continues its efforts to improve chemical facility safety and security in the United States, the Board urges both OSHA and EPA to consider how existing regulations may be modernized to incorporate an inherent safety approach to chemical hazard management. The industry generally agrees that inherently safer operations can be achieved through four principles. These are: substituting one material with another that is less hazardous, minimizing the amount of hazardous material being used, moderating process conditions by lowering pressures and temperatures, and designing processes to be less complicated, and therefore less prone to failure. Some in industry have opposed mandatory IST programs because retrofits and updated processes can be expensive to implement. However, the financial and human costs of chemical explosions and fires—and the costs of preparing a community for the worst case—need to be part of any decision process.

The CSB is also currently examining, and urges this working group to examine, the potential benefits of alternative regulatory regimes for improving chemical facility safety. The safety case regime requires high hazard facilities to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the regulator, that they can operate safely and in conformance with the latest industry standards and achieve the lowest practical risk levels. This approach provides industry the opportunity to tailor regulations to its specific facilities with the goal of continuous risk reduction and major accident prevention. The safety case regime also places the impetus on industry to evolve with current best safety practices, thereby eliminating the need for the regulator to constantly revise and update regulation to keep them current and relevant. This system is, of course, predicated on the existence of a well-funded and competent regulator.

NIOSH Releases New Nanomaterial Control Recommendations

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published new recommendations for controlling workers' exposures to engineered nanomaterials when such materials are used industrially. The agency's new document, "Current Strategies for Engineering Controls in Nanomaterial Production and Downstream Handling Processes," is NIOSH Publication No. 2014-102. The recommendations follow the standard hierarchy of controls, and the document is well illustrated with photos and diagrams of ventilation equipment, fume hoods, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other protective equipment.

Philadelphia Demolition Contractors Face Heavy Fine after Fatal Building Collapse

OSHA recently cited Griffin Campbell, doing business as Campbell Construction, and Sean Benschop, doing business as S&R Contracting, for safety violations, including three willful per-instance violations, following the June 5, 2013, building collapse that killed six people and injured 14. Campbell Construction was demolishing the four-story building known as the "Hoagie City" building adjacent to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, located at the 2100 block of Market Street in Philadelphia. S&R Contracting was operating the building's interior walls and floors.

"Campbell Construction and S&R Contracting sacrificed worker and public safety through the deliberate neglect of demolition safety fundamentals," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "This tragic incident could and should have been prevented."

OSHA found several violations of OSHA's demolition construction standards. On the three days leading up to the collapse, Campbell Construction removed critical, structural supports for the wall that collapsed. The OSHA demolition standards prohibit the removal of lateral support walls more than one story high, leaving the wall unsupported. Campbell Construction also removed parts of the lower floors prior to the removal of the upper floors, again, contrary to the OSHA standards. Campbell Construction also failed to provide an engineering survey as promised. As a result, Campbell Construction has been cited for three willful, egregious violations for each day that it left the wall without sufficient lateral support, and two willful violations alleging the failures to demolish the building from the top down and to have an engineering survey by a competent person on the possibility of collapse prior to starting the demolition. S&R Contracting has been cited for one willful violation. 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.

Additionally, Campbell Construction was cited for serious violations for the company's failures to provide: employees with hard hats when there was a possible risk of head injury; fall protection for employees working on surfaces at least six feet high; training on fall hazards; and adequate personal fall arrest systems. Campbell Construction also failed to inspect all stairs periodically and to maintain them in a clean, safe condition. S&R Contracting was cited for two serious violations for failing to protect employees from falling through holes and to provide fall hazard 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 if an accident were to occur.

OSHA proposed penalties of $313,000 for Campbell Construction and $84,000 for S&R Contracting.

Charlotte RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Charlotte, NC, on December 3–5 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Burbank RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management in California and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Burbank, CA, on December 10–12 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Wilmington RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Wilmington, DE, on December 10–12 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Gaines Motor Lines Inc. Ordered to Reinstate Whistleblowers, Pay More than $1 Million in Damages

OSHA has ordered Gaines Motor Lines, Inc., and individuals Tim Gaines and Rick Tompkins, to compensate four former truck drivers who were fired in violation of the whistleblower protection provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, which was amended to implement recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, and pay more than $1,070,123 in back pay wages, interest, compensatory and punitive damages.

"Workers in this industry must be able to raise safety concerns with federal officials without fear of retaliation," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Participating in an on-site inspection helps to ensure safer conditions for truck drivers and vehicles on the road. Employers undermining these protections through intimidation and adverse conduct will not be tolerated."

The whistleblower complaint alleged that four employees were terminated for participating in an inspection audit of the commercial motor carrier company's facility in Hickory, which was conducted by the DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. From February 28 through March 1, 2012, the four employees were interviewed on-site by the FMCSA. On March 8, following the audit and subsequent citations issued against Gaines Motor Lines, the workers suffered adverse retaliation by company officials, including termination, layoffs and removal of employee benefits.

The order includes a preliminary reinstatement for three of the four employees-the fourth died in early 2013-back wages, interest, compensatory damages of $215,657 and punitive damages of $675,000. Either party to the case can file an appeal to the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, but such an appeal does not suspend the preliminary reinstatement order.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the STAA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various securities laws, trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, maritime, health care, food safety, motor vehicle safety, workplace safety and health regulations, and consumer product safety laws.

Under the various whistleblower provisions enacted by Congress, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor for an investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program.

Trinity Yachts Fined Over $177,000 for Repeat and Serious Violations

OSHA has cited Trinity Yachts, LLC, with four repeat, 14 serious and two other-than-serious safety and health violations. The May inspection was a result of a complaint OSHA received about the shipbuilding facility in Gulfport. Proposed penalties total $177,100.

"Trinity Yachts, LLC, has an extensive inspection history, has had ample opportunity to address violations, yet chooses to neglect the safety and health of its workplace," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's area director in Jackson. "This employer must take immediate action to remove these hazards before someone is seriously injured or killed."

The repeat violations, with $115,500 in penalties, involve the employer failing to maintain dry floors, failing to replace welding cords with exposed conductors, provide guards or covers for open hatches and provide guardrails on the open sides of the deck. 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. The company received citations for similar violations in 2010 and 2011 at the same facility.

The serious violations, with $61,600 in penalties, include the employer failing to legibly mark circuit breakers; guard live, 120-volt electrical parts from accidental contact; close unused openings in electrical boxes; prevent flexible hoses from being submerged in water; and not elevating hoses and cords above decks and hallways. Additionally, the employer failed to tag slings with the manufacturer's recommended safe working loads; prevent loads from being suspended over the heads of workers; provide safe access to mobile scaffolding; repair the travel alarm on a gantry crane; and dry and test welding machines after a rainstorm.

The other-than-serious violations, with no monetary penalties, involve the employer's failure to affix a clearly legible rating load on the side of the gantry crane and to provide screens to protect workers adjacent to the welding areas. 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.

Settlement Requires Verizon New York Inc. to Increase Training, Safeguards for Field Technicians

OSHA and Verizon reached a settlement agreement that resolved litigation with Verizon New York, Inc., which stemmed from citations issued to the telecommunications company in March 2012. OSHA issued citations in connection with the fatal electrocution of an employee on September 14, 2011, in Brooklyn. Under the agreement, two repeat violations and one serious violation are affirmed, with a penalty of $147,000, and the telecommunications company will provide enhanced electrical safety training and other safeguards to its New York field technicians who install suspension strand on utility poles that carry power lines.

"While no settlement can bring this worker back to his family, co-workers and friends, this agreement can help prevent similar and needless tragedies in the future," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "It commits Verizon New York to provide enhanced and specific training for its field technicians on the hazards involved with installing suspension strand on utility poles carrying power lines. Such training will also reinforce management's commitment to safe practices."

The fatality occurred when the field technician came into contact with an energized power line while he worked from an aerial lift bucket. The project was to install steel suspension strand on a joint use pole, which carries both telecommunications and power lines. OSHA's Manhattan Area Office inspection found that the field technicians in Brooklyn at Verizon's Avenue H garage were not adequately trained, did not wear rubber protective gloves, and did not ground the suspension strand.

Verizon New York agrees to provide an electrical safety training module for its field technician trainees at its line schools in New York and will provide in-service training to current field technicians who install suspension strand. The hands-on, demonstrative, and interactive training will focus on electrical safety in joint use environments, including the grounding of suspension strand, wearing rubber insulated gloves, and procedures for installing suspension strand where obstructions exist. Verizon New York will also provide supplemental training to local and area managers and notify OSHA when training has been instituted, keep records of the training and provide them to OSHA upon request.

The settlement has been filed with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and was negotiated for OSHA by attorneys of the department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York.

Coastal Masonry Fined $77,000 Following Worker Fatality

OSHA has cited Coastal Masonry for one willful and one serious safety violation following the death of a worker who fell approximately 70 feet while attempting to straighten a piece of bent rebar at a work site on Brickel Bay Drive in Miami. The Pompano Beach-based company was erecting the interior and exterior walls for a multilevel condominium. OSHA initiated its inspection in May in response to the fatality.

"Coastal Masonry ignored its responsibility to ensure workers performing masonry duties were provided with a fall protection system that would protect them effectively," said Condell Eastmond, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale. "Although the safety director informed management about the deficiencies with the fall protection system, the company allowed workers to be exposed to fall hazards. This employer must act immediately to remove these hazards."

The willful violation involves the employer failing to ensure that workers wearing fall protection systems were not exposed to free-fall hazards greater than 6 feet.

The serious violation involves the employer's failure to inspect fall protection equipment worn by workers before use to ensure defective equipment is removed from service.

The citations for the violations carry $77,000 in proposed penalties.

White Cedar Shingles Cited for 9 Violations after Worker Fatally Injured

White Cedar Shingles, Inc., has been cited for nine safety violations by OSHA after a worker was fatally injured May 21 at the Superior manufacturing facility while servicing machinery that had not been locked out to prevent unexpected startup. As a result of the inspection, OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"This was a terrible, preventable tragedy that underscores the importance of following OSHA's standards to control hazardous energy by training workers on affixing machine lockout devices," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire. "White Cedar Shingles was cited for the same deficiency in 2012, and that underscores its failure to act. Employers must identify and correct hazards and ensure workers follow proper procedures to prevent injury or death."

Two willful violations were cited for failing to train workers authorized to perform servicing on equipment in hazardous energy control procedures and to control electrical energy sources by installing lockout/tagout devices during maintenance and cleaning of machinery.

Five serious violations involve failing to have guarding on power transmission flywheels and the power transmission belt on the edger; address a waste conveyer belt with visible damage on the belt edge; train and evaluate forklift operators; address a damaged electrical control button on the mill; identify disconnecting means for a mill and saw equipment; close unused openings on boxes, cabinets and fittings effectively; and install faceplates and covers on electrical boxes.

Two other-than-serious violations involve failing to install a midrail on a stairway and on a platform in the material area.

Due to the nature and severity of violations, the company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

White Cedar Shingles, Inc., is a milling company that manufactures cedar shingles and boards. It employs approximately 10 workers. Inspections of the facility in 2010, 2011, and 2012 have led to 10 violations, which include citations from 2012 for the lack of a lockout/tagout program and workers' training on the control of hazardous energy.

Selfridge Air National Guard Base Exposes Workers to Amputation Hazards

Selfridge Air National Guard Base has been issued eight notices of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions by the OSHA, including a repeat amputation hazard violation. The inspection was conducted in accordance with the Federal Agency Local Emphasis Program. Selfridge Air National Guard Base is home to the Michigan Air National Guard.

"The Michigan Air National Guard failed to protect workers by ensuring the facility was in compliance with established safety and health procedures," said Larry Johnson, director of OSHA's Lansing Area Office. "All employers are responsible for noticing hazards in their facilities and for taking appropriate precautions by following OSHA standards."

The one repeat violation involves inadequate machine guarding to protect workers from amputation and other machinery hazards. The same violation was noted in January 2013 at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.

A total of five serious violations were noted that involved failing to conduct annual periodic inspections of energy control procedures; develop specific procedures to control hazardous energy; provide workers with training on the energy control program; guard point of operation on machinery; and post signage about the hazards posed by permit-required confined spaces.

Two other-than-serious violations involve failing to certify the completion of a written personal protective equipment hazard assessment and properly maintain injury and illness logs.

As required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, federal agencies must comply with the same safety standards as private sector employers. The federal agency equivalent to a private sector citation is the Notice of Unsafe or Unhealthful Working Conditions. A notice is used to inform establishment officials of violations of OSHA standards and regulations. OSHA cannot propose monetary penalties against another federal agency for failure to comply with OSHA standards.

OSHA Fines Tennessee Contractor Over $60,000 Following Crane Collapse

OSHA has cited Mountain States Contractors, LLC, for willful, serious, and other-than-serious safety violations after a crane collapsed in May during the replacement of the Highway 109 bridge over the Cumberland River. The crane's main boom cable broke, causing the crane to collapse. Penalties total $60,900.

"This employer willfully disregarded worker safety and allowed the crane to operate even though daily crane inspections indicated the cable needed replacement," said William Cochran, OSHA's area director in Nashville. "Replacement cable was available on-site, but the crane was not serviced. It's fortunate no one was killed or seriously injured in this incident."

The willful violation, with $56,000 in penalties, involves the employer failing to remove a damaged wire, rope cable from operation.

The serious safety violation, with $4,900 in penalties, involves failing to ensure that a deficiency noted on the annual inspection was checked on a monthly basis.

The other-than-serious violation, with no monetary penalties, involves failing to ensure workers wearing N95 respirators were provided training that included the information in Appendix D of the respiratory protection standard.

Pigs Unlimited International Exposes Workers to Multiple Hazards, Fined $58,100

OSHA has cited Pigs Unlimited International, Inc., a foam and polyurethane pig manufacturer, for 19 safety violations that exposed workers to hazards, including impalement, struck-by and caught-by hazards, at its facility on FM 2978 in Tomball. The inspection, prompted by a complaint, began in July.

"This employer failed to protect its workers from a range of hazards, from potential amputation to chemical exposures and other safety hazards," said David Doucet, director of OSHA's Houston North Area Office. "The lack of preventive measures must be addressed and corrected to provide a safe working environment."

The 15 serious safety violations include failing to guard the point of operation on machines, shaft ends, belts, pulleys, chains, and sprockets; ensure the use of appropriate eye or face protection from liquid chemical hazards; ensure all live parts of electric equipment operating at 50 volts or more are guarded against possible contact; until repaired, ensure the removal of all damaged cords and plugs connected to equipment; determine each worker's exposure to methylene chloride, while also providing protective clothing and equipment resistant to methylene chloride; and ensure that workers are not exposed to airborne concentrations of methylene chloride in excess of 125 parts per million as determined during a 15-minute sampling period.

The four other-than-serious violations include failing to train forklift operators, eliminate temporary wiring used in a prohibited manner, provide strain relief at the ends of flexible cords, and implement a written hazard communications program.

Stand Down Raises Health and Safety Awareness in the Oil and Gas Industry

OSHA, in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Service, Transmission, Exploration & Production Safety Network, commonly known as STEPS, recently sponsored a national stand down to raise awareness and promote safety and health practices at US oil and gas exploration and production sites. The event at the Humble Civic Center in Humble was webcast nationwide to regional STEPS network locations.

"Too many workers are dying in the oil and gas drilling industry. Employers need to ensure that jobs are planned out, everyone has adequate training in all aspects of safety and workers need to be part of the planning," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health who spoke at today's event. "We are telling employers that by identifying and eliminating hazards and training oil and gas workers to abate these hazards, you can save lives."

The event featured remarks from Ryan Hill, program manager for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Western States Office, and included industry association round tables and case study presentations. Additionally, participants viewed a new video on respirable silica, and OSHA featured an informative video on incident statistics.

Following the stand down, participants were asked to share safety and health information with workers and contractors by devoting a minimum of one hour to the task, in 15-minute increments at their work sites, until January 30, 2014. To participate and record results, companies must register online. Materials are available at the website and include videos, PowerPoint presentations, incident overviews, examples of inspection forms, and a link to the recorded event.

A volunteer organization in south Texas started by OSHA and the oil and gas industry, since 2003 STEPS has attempted to reduce injuries and fatalities. The organization has grown to include 22 independent networks serving 19 oil- and gas-producing states. Many of the networks have signed formal alliances with OSHA.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities.

OSHA Schedules Public Meeting on Proposed Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

OSHA has scheduled a public meeting to allow interested parties to comment on the proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA's proposed rule amends its current recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information employers are already required to keep under existing standards, Part 1904.

The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, January 9, 2014, at the US Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. Requests to attend or speak at the meeting may be submitted electronically at the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail or facsimile. The deadline to request to attend the meeting as a speaker or observer is Friday, December 13, 2013. See the Federal Register notice for more details.

A New HARP Health Database is Now Available

California’s Hotspot Analysis Reporting Program (HARP) Health Database has been updated to reflect recent changes to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s Reference Exposure Limit (REL) and Cancer Potency Table. In the process of updating the Air Toxics Hot Spots Risk Assessment Guidelines, OEHHA conducted a review of all chemical summaries. In their review, target organs were clarified for some pollutants, the applicability of health values were changed for several pollutants, and a new policy was made to treat development and reproductive system as one target organ. In addition, OEHHA has adopted new RELs for caprolactum. These updates are reflected in OEHHA’s Online REL and Cancer Potency Table at With these updates, the HARP Health Database has also been updated to reflect recent changes to OEHHA’s REL and Cancer Potency Table. For questions or more information on the changes, contact Daryn Dodge of OEHHA at 916-445-9375.

Safety News Links

Lawmakers Upbeat Over Chemical Safety Fix

Are Green Jobs Safe?

The Most Dangerous Workplaces in RI

Exposure to the Metal Tungsten May Raise Stroke Risk

Cal-OSHA's Investigation Into Tesla Motors Accident Continues

Transparency Lacking in Federal Pipeline Safety Program

APHA OHS Section Honors Workplace-Safety Champions

Worker Injured While Working on Elk River Bridge

Owner Sentenced in Deaths of Drivers Poisoned by Toxic Chemicals

So You Think OSHA Doesn’t Apply? Here are Four Ways it Does