September 23, 2019
The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is the lead agency for the implementation of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (known as Proposition 65). The Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) advises and assists OEHHA in compiling the list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer as required by Health and Safety Code section 25249.8. The Committee serves as the state’s qualified experts for determining whether a chemical has been clearly shown through scientifically valid testing according to generally accepted principles to cause cancer.
Acetaminophen will be considered for possible listing by the CIC at a public meeting scheduled for Thursday, December 5, 2019. The meeting will be held in the Sierra Hearing Room at the CalEPA Headquarters building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, California. The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will last until all business is conducted or until 5:00 p.m. The agenda for the meeting will be provided in a future public notice published in advance of the meeting.
OEHHA announced the availability for public review of the hazard identification documents entitled: “Evidence on the Carcinogenicity of Acetaminophen
.” The CIC will consider this document for its deliberations on the potential listing of acetaminophen at its December 5, 2019 meeting. In preparing this document, OEHHA issued a public request for information relevant to the evidence of carcinogenicity of acetaminophen. The data call-in period for this request for information opened on March 15, 2019 and closed on May 29, 2019. OEHHA considered the information received from the data call-in in preparing the hazard identification document.
A public-comment period on this document is currently ongoing. O
EHHA must receive comments and any supporting documentation by Monday, November 4, 2019.
Written comments on the hazard identification document may be submitted electronically through the website https://oehha.ca.gov/comments
. Comments submitted in paper form can be mailed, faxed, or delivered in person to:
Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
P.O. Box 4010, MS-12B
Sacramento, California 95812-4010
1001 I Street
Sacramento, California 95814
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Help for International Small Business Travelers to Work Safety
When workers travel internationally for their job they are presented with a unique set of circumstances that can affect their safety and health. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently released the Small Business International Travel Resource
that provides valuable information and tools for both employers and employees to address these travel concerns.
International work locations present unknown challenges and risks, especially for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The new travel resource was designed to help the small business owner and their employees anticipate and plan for safe and healthy travel abroad, and is organized in three stages: pre-travel, on-travel, and post-travel.
Resources for employers and employees scheduled for international job assignments include:
- Employer Task Timeline: Provides a process for planning travel and protecting an employee and a business by identifying key risk, liabilities and the necessary logistics and communication needs.
- Travel Planner: Employers can review this checklist with employees specific to their job, location, and personal needs to help them manage key risks, liability, logistics, and communication abroad.
- Post Travel Report: Helps employees prepare for completing onsite activities and communications, and on the upcoming transition to daily life at home, encouraging scheduling leave for needed rest and reorientation upon return.
“Because many small businesses lack human resource staff to plan international work travel needs, the responsibility often falls on owners and managers,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “This new international travel resource provides the necessary tools to anticipate and plan for safe and healthy travel abroad.”
Very often, an employee focuses the most energy on pre-travel planning and getting to their destination. This new resource encourages thorough and advance planning that takes into consideration their safety and health needs at all times. The Small Business International Travel Resource tools also include
a travel health assessment, packing list, location health and safety plan, contact and emergency information forms, and incident reports, as well as an international work travel resource directory
Contractor Cited for 13 Job Safety Violations
Oregon OSHA has cited a Portland-area custom floor coatings company for 13 serious violations – four of them repeat offenses – of workplace health and safety rules. The agency’s inspection found Specialty Coatings Inc. exposed workers to multiple hazards, including the potential for fire and severe burns, suffocation, and lung disease.
The inspection – launched in response to two separate confidential complaints – examined work operations at the company’s main office and warehouse in Tigard, and job sites in Hillsboro and Portland. Those work operations included handling flammable liquids, grinding concrete floors, and applying chemicals.
The inspection’s findings included that the company did not properly handle and store flammable liquids, raising fire and severe burn dangers; failed to provide a medical evaluation before requiring the use of a respirator, increasing the risk of suffocation or heart attack; and lacked a plan to control workers’ exposure to dust containing crystalline silica, a byproduct of concrete grinding that can cause lung disease and cancer.
Four of the 13 violations – including the breach of the medical evaluation requirement – are repeat offenses stemming from previous Oregon OSHA inspections of Specialty Coatings.
“The numerous hazards identified in this case are preventable and controllable through practical measures that are available to employers,” said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood. “There is no good reason to fail to implement them – much less to repeatedly fail to do so.”
The citation against Specialty Coatings carries a total proposed penalty of $2,855. The fine amount includes a standard penalty reduction based on the small size of the company, which employed seven people at the time of Oregon OSHA’s inspection. Altogether, the inspection found:
- The company did not electrically bond and ground metal drums of flammable liquid with secondary containers to prevent sparks from causing a fire.
- More than 120 gallons of flammable liquid were stored outside adequate safety storage cabinets.
- The company failed to provide adequate notification and training about the health hazards of breathing in crystalline silica.
- The company did not ensure that specific tasks that could expose workers to crystalline silica were understood.
- The company failed to establish and carry out a silica exposure control plan, including descriptions of engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection.
- The company did not provide an adequate fit-test for at least two employees who were required to wear tight-fitting respirators.
- The company allowed at least one employee, who was required to wear a tight-fitting respirator, to put it on with facial hair that came between the sealing surfaces of the mask.
- The company did not provide training to employees so they could understand the labels on hazardous chemicals they worked with.
- A safety data sheet for at least one hazardous chemical used by employees was missing
- The company failed to provide an adequate medical evaluation to at least one employee who used a tight-fitting, half-face respirator. This was the company’s second repeat violation of this requirement over the past two years.
- The company did not ensure that at least two employees stored their respirators in a clean location – a repeat violation.
- The company failed to set up and carry out a respiratory protection program, including procedures for cleaning and disinfecting respirators, and changing out expired filter cartridges. This was a repeat violation.
- The company failed to hold effective monthly safety meetings – a repeat violation.
Aluminum Company Employees Plead Guilty to Obstructing Justice
On July 19, 2019, Paul Love pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice. Brian Carder entered a similar plea on July 11, 2019. Sentencing is scheduled for October 15 and 22, 2019. These two aluminum manufacturing company supervisors obstructed an investigation following a workplace death.
Carder worked as the general manager at Extrudex Aluminum, an aluminum extrusion manufacturing company. Love was the company’s safety coordinator and human resources director. Aluminum extrusion is a technique used to transform aluminum alloy into objects with a definitive cross-sectional profile for a wide range of uses. Part of this process included the conveyance of extruded aluminum pieces through a long, walk-in, tunnel-style oven. Employees routinely loaded and unloaded the oven by hand by pushing racks of aluminum into and out of the oven on a roller conveyor system. This was known as the racks and rollers system.
In December 2009, Carder emailed employees, including Love, regarding maintenance and safety issues with the racks and rollers system. Among other things, Carder stated that the system was “in need of dire attention” and it “must be a priority or someone is going to get seriously hurt.” Between November 2011 and October 2012, the defendants and employees exchanged a series of emails about the safety of the racks and rollers system.
On October 30, 2012, two metal racks holding hot aluminum product weighing an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 pounds tipped over on top of two employees killing one and severely burning the other.
After OSHA initiated an investigation, the defendants undertook a number of actions to thwart authorities. They withheld emails, gave false statements to investigators, and took steps to persuade employees to recant their earlier statements, suggesting that their jobs may be in jeopardy if they did not.
Ohio Roofing Contractor Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Ignoring Safety Hazards Leading to Employee’s Fatal Fall
An Ohio county court has sentenced Jim Coon – a roofing contractor based in Akron, Ohio – to prison after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 39-year-old employee who fell from a three-story roof while working without required fall protection in November 2017. The court’s action follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that found the contractor failed to install fall protection systems.
On September 6, 2019, Summit County Judge Alison McCarty sentenced Coon – owner of Jim Coon Construction – to three years in prison for ignoring safety hazards, and failing to provide workers’ compensation coverage as required. In addition to his incarceration, the court ordered Coon to pay $303,152 in restitution to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation after he pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud.
“Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, which makes the use of proper protection essential,” said Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “Jim Coon willfully disregarded OSHA fall protection regulations that could have prevented this tragedy. This case should serve as a reminder to all employers to comply with their legal obligation to provide required safety equipment, and protect employees on job sites.”
Colorado Utility Company Cited for Exposing Employees to Trenching Hazards
OSHA has cited RMS Utilities Inc. – based in Alamosa, Colorado – for exposing employees to trenching hazards. The company faces $92,819 in penalties. OSHA inspectors found three employees working in an unprotected 13-foot-deep excavation and asked them to exit the trench. Moments after their exit, one of the trench’s walls collapsed. OSHA cited RMS Utilities for one willful and two serious safety violations for failing to protect employees from cave-in hazards and keep the spoil pile at least two feet back from the edge of the excavation, and for allowing employees to work beneath an excavator bucket.
“In this instance, the inspectors’ quick action removed workers from what could have been a tragic event,” said OSHA Englewood Area Director David Nelson. “Employers are required to install adequate cave-in protective systems before allowing employees to enter a trench or excavation.”
Idaho Dollar Tree Stores Cited for Widespread Storage Violations
OSHA has cited Dollar Tree Stores at four Idaho locations for exposing employees to unsafe storage of merchandise, and blocked walkways and exit routes. The company faces $898,682 in proposed penalties.
OSHA inspectors initially responded to a complaint alleging that a Dollar Tree store in Boise was exposing employees to unstable stacks and piles of boxes in the store’s stockroom. Soon after, OSHA received another complaint alleging similarly unsafe conditions at Dollar Tree locations in Caldwell, Nampa and Meridian.
At the four stores, inspectors found boxes stacked improperly, often with heavier boxes on top of lighter ones, and blocked aisles and exit routes. In one store, inspectors found an employee who suffered injury and needed help after boxes fell on them. While an inspector shot video of conditions during another inspection, a stack of boxes fell and nearly injured an employee. During their investigation, inspectors learned that falling boxes had injured other employees.
OSHA cited Dollar Tree for violations related to blocked aisles and exit routes, unsafe storage and stacking of boxes, blocked electrical panels, improper use of a ladder, and exposing workers to falls from heights. The citations can be viewed here
"Dollar Tree Stores has a history of exposing their employees to safety and health hazards," said Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health. "Improper storage of merchandise creates unnecessary risks for employees, while blocked exits pose serious risks to the safety of employees and customers in an emergency."
Wisconsin Company Cited for Exposing Employees to Machine Hazards
OSHA cited Koller Industries ‒ operating as Aurora Castings Services ‒ for continually exposing employees to machine hazards at the facility in Niagara, Wisconsin. The company faces $ 206,291 in penalties.
OSHA cited Aurora Castings for failing to use guards on bench and grinder stands, train employees on lockout/tagout procedures and properly set grinder tongue and work rest adjustments; exposing employees to hazards associated with grinding wheel breakage; allowing employees to use damaged flexible electrical cords, and not properly covering electrical openings. OSHA cited the company for similar machine hazards following a November 2015 inspection.
“The failure to properly test grinding wheels for defects, and use machine guarding and safety procedures exposes employees to serious injuries,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack, in Appleton, Wisconsin. “Employers should develop a comprehensive safety and health program to ensure that workers are provided a safe and healthful workplace.”
American Wire and Cable Company Cited for Exposing Employees to Multiple Safety and Health Hazards
OSHA has cited American Wire and Cable Company – an appliance industry supplier – for more than two dozen serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at the manufacturer's facility in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. The company faces $185,640 in penalties.
During safety and health inspections conducted in April 2019, OSHA inspectors found 25 serious violations related to access and egress; fall protection; walking-working surfaces; blocked exits; storage and use of flammable material; hazardous communication; guarding on machines and power transmission equipment; lockout/tagout procedures; overhead crane inspections; and electrical equipment hazards. The company also failed to provide and train employees on personal protective equipment, first aid, emergency action plans, and respirator use; and to implement a hearing conservation program.
"Disregarding required safety and health procedures leaves workers at risk for serious injuries and illness," said OSHA Cleveland Area Director Howard Eberts. "Employers are obligated by law to comply with standards put in place to protect employees on the job."
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