May 28, 2019
OSHA has cited Champion Modular Inc. for exposing employees to safety and health hazards at its Strattanville, Pennsylvania, facility. The company faces $687,650 in penalties.
OSHA initiated an inspection after an employee suffered an amputation in November 2018. The Agency issued willful and serious citations for failing to use machine guarding, provide fall protection, and train workers on hazard communication and hearing conservation.
“Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries if they are not safeguarded,” said OSHA Erie Area Office Director Brendan Claybaugh. “Employers’ use of machine guards and devices is not optional. Employers are legally responsible for ensuring that machine operators are protected.”
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Framing Contractor Fined $79K for Exposing Employees to Fall Hazards
OSHA cited R Coast Construction LLC for exposing employees to fall hazards at a Gulf Shores, Alabama, worksite. The framing contractor faces $79,181 in penalties.
OSHA initiated the inspection as part of the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction
after inspectors observed employees performing residential framing activities without fall protection. OSHA cited
the company for allowing employees to work from an aerial lift without fall protection, failing to train and certify employees to operate powered industrial trucks, and failing to require employees use a fall protection system.
“Serious injuries can occur when employees are not provided adequate fall protection,” said Acting Mobile Area Office Director Jose Gonzalez. “Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure all recognized workplace hazards are corrected.”
Snack Food Manufacturer Fined $154,934 for Machine Violations
OSHA and J&J Snackfoods have reached a region-wide settlement agreement to improve workplace safety and health at the company’s eight food manufacturing and warehouse facilities throughout New Jersey and New York. Under the settlement, the Pennsauken, New Jersey-based company agreed to pay a $152,934 penalty.
OSHA cited the company in September 2018 after inspectors determined that the company exposed employees to serious machine hazards. OSHA issued willful and repeat citations for failing to train employees and utilize procedures to control hazardous energy when they perform servicing and maintenance work on machinery.
"This settlement shows the Department’s enforcement efforts leading to positive changes on important safety issues," said Regional Solicitor Jeffrey S. Rogoff, in New York. "A repeat violator with a history of safety problems related to machine hazards took responsibility and is improving those conditions across the region, beyond the violations identified by a single inspection at a single facility."
In addition to the penalty, J&J Snackfoods agreed to hire a full-time corporate safety director to manage and coordinate safety and health across all facilities, and a full-time site-safety manager to coordinate safety and health onsite at the facility. The company will also hire a qualified safety and health professional as an outside consultant to conduct two comprehensive safety and health inspections per year and implement a written safety and health program consistent with OSHA’s best practices guidelines. J&J Snackfoods will also provide employees with safety and health training in a language they understand and establish a safety and health committee comprised of employees, union representatives and managers to recommend further safety and health improvements.
"This settlement reflects a commitment to comply with required standards and ensure that employees are protected from hazards that pose a risk for injuries," said OSHA’s New York Acting Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson.
Hypertension Found in Children Exposed to Flower Pesticides
In a study published online May 21, 2019 in the journal Environmental Research
, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found higher blood pressure and pesticide exposures in children associated with a heightened pesticide spraying period around the Mother’s Day flower harvest. This study involved boys and girls living near flower crops in Ecuador.
Mother’s Day is celebrated in May in most of the world and is a holiday with one of the highest sales of flowers. Ecuador is among the largest commercial flower growers in the world, with significant rose exports to North America, Europe and Asia. Commercial rose production relies on the use of insecticides, fungicides and other pest controls, but little is known about their human health effects.
“These findings are noteworthy in that this is the first study to describe that pesticide spray seasons not only can increase the exposure to pesticides of children living near agriculture, but can increase their blood pressures and overall risk for hypertension,” said first author Jose R. Suarez, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
Researchers assessed 313 boys and girls, ages 4 to 9, residing in floricultural communities in Ecuador. The children were examined up to 100 days after the Mother’s Day harvest. The analyses are part of a long-term study of environmental pollutants and child development in Ecuador, directed by Suarez.
“We observed that children examined sooner after the Mother’s Day harvest had higher pesticide exposures and higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures compared to children examined later. In addition, children who were examined within 81 days after the harvest were three times more likely to have hypertension than children examined between 91 and 100 days.”
Research regarding the effects of pesticides on the cardiovascular system is limited, but Suarez said there is some evidence that insecticides, such as organophosphates, can increase blood pressure. Organophosphates and several other classes of insecticides and fungicides are commonly used to treat flowers for pests before export.
In a previous study
, Suarez and colleagues had reported that children examined sooner after the harvest displayed lower performances in tasks of attention, self-control, visuospatial processing and sensorimotor than children examined later.
“These new findings build upon a growing number of studies describing that pesticide spray seasons may be affecting the development of children living near agricultural spray sites,” said Suarez. “They highlight the importance of reducing the exposures to pesticides of children and families living near agriculture.”
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