Aircraft Parts Manufacturer Fined for Not Notifying Workers of Exposure to Chromium-6

August 07, 2017

Cal/OSHA has cited an aircraft parts manufacturer $87,500 for numerous workplace safety and health violations including failure to provide workers with effective training on hazardous chemicals in their work area and willful failure to notify workers of their exposure to hexavalent chromium, a hazardous chemical known to cause cancer commonly referred to as chromium-6.

Cal/OSHA’s Santa Ana Office on January 20 inspected the Triumph Processing - Embee Division, Inc., plant in Santa Ana after receiving a complaint of workplace hazards. Inspectors found that the employer had previously determined through air monitoring that workers who sanded and spray-painted aircraft parts were exposed to high levels of chromium-6, in the form of dust and mist.

Cal/OSHA issued a willful regulatory citation to the employer for not posting or notifying affected workers of the air monitoring results, and for failing to advise the workers of how they would be protected from exposure.

“Triumph Processing knew its workers had been exposed to high levels of chromium-6 at their facility but failed to notify or effectively train them,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum.

Chromium-6 is a toxic form of the element chromium used in many different industries. It is a known carcinogen and can cause irritation and damage to both the respiratory system when inhaled, and to the eyes and skin upon contact.

Cal/OSHA issued a total of 23 citations, including one willful regulatory, six serious, six general and 10 regulatory in nature. A willful citation is issued when evidence shows that the employer committed an intentional and knowing violation, and the employer was conscious of the fact that what it was doing constituted a violation, or was aware that a hazardous condition existed and made no reasonable effort to eliminate the hazard. A citation is classified as serious when there was a realistic possibility that death or serious physical harm could result from the actual hazardous condition.

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Cal/OSHA Stresses Importance of Monitoring Workers, Recognizing Early Symptoms of Heat Illness

Cal/OSHA is reminding employers to observe outdoor workers toiling in high heat for signs and symptoms of heat illness.

Symptoms of overexposure to heat include headache, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, cramps, exhaustion, and fainting. Heat illness occurs when the body is unable to cool itself down when overheated.

“Exposure to heat while working outdoors can cause serious illness or death,” said Juliann Sum, Chief of Cal/OSHA. “It is important for those who work outdoors, especially during heat waves, to know how to protect themselves from heat illness.”

Cal/OSHA urges workers experiencing possible overheating to take a preventative cool- down rest in the shade until symptoms are gone. Workers who have existing health problems or medical conditions that reduce tolerance to heat, such as diabetes, need to be extra vigilant. Some high blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also increase a worker’s risk for heat illness.

Staying properly hydrated throughout the workday is one of the most effective heat illness prevention techniques. Cal/OSHA encourages all workers to drink at least one quart of water every hour, preferably sipping an 8-ounce cup of water every 15 minutes. Drinks such as soda, sports drinks, coffee, energy drinks, or iced tea are not recommended for hydration. Also, the lingering effects of alcoholic beverages can contribute to quickly dehydrating the body in hot weather.

In addition to the basic steps outlined by California’s heat regulation for employers with outdoor workers, heat at or above 95 degrees Fahrenheit requires additional precautions. Among other measures, it is crucial that workers are actively monitored for early signs of heat illness. This helps ensure sick employees receive treatment immediately and that the symptoms do not develop into serious illness or death.

In case a worker does get sick, supervisors and coworkers must be trained on the emergency procedures required to ensure that the sick worker receives treatment immediately and serious illness does not develop.

Cal/OSHA inspects outdoor worksites in agriculture, construction, landscaping, and other operations throughout the heat season.

Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention special emphasis program, the first of its kind in the nation, includes enforcement of heat regulations as well as multilingual outreach and training program for California’s employers and workers. Online information on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page and the Water. Rest. Shade. campaign site. A Heat Illness Prevention e-tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.

OSHA, DJ Basin Safety Council Renew Alliance to Protect Colorado Workers

OSHA and the DJ Basin Safety Council have renewed an alliance to provide oil and gas industry workers in northern Colorado with information, guidance, and training to enhance the industry’s safety culture.

The five-year alliance will focus on fall and struck-by hazards, chemical exposure, fires, and heat-related illness. The DJBSC will also receive health and safety guidance and access training from OSHA and other leaders in the industry.

“OSHA and the DJ Basin Safety Council will continue to work together to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions to ensure the region’s oil and gas industry workers are protected,” said Herb Gibson, OSHA’s Area Director in Denver. “Our alliance allows us to distribute important safety and health information, such as hazard alerts on hot work performed on tanks, hydrocarbon exposure during tank gauging, fire/explosion, falls, struck by hazards, and transportation hazards.”

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. For details on OSHA partnerships and alliances, please call OSHA’s toll-free hotline 800-321-OSHA (6742) or OSHA’s Denver Area Office at 303-844-5285.

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