Asbestos Remediation Projects Targeted

September 12, 2016

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has launched a state emphasis program that will increase MIOSHA presence on blight removal projects across the state to address hazards such as asbestos and lead that pose health threats to workers. MIOSHA is part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

In 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury provided assistance to states most severely impacted by the foreclosure crisis. Michigan received additional funding for blight removal in 2016, predominantly in the Cities of Detroit and Flint.

During the year-long program, MIOSHA will inspect mostly residential blight removal jobsites for hazards associated with asbestos, lead, and cadmium, as well as all other serous hazards.

“As Michigan continues to eliminate blight and revitalize its neighborhoods, its especially important that the men and women working on these projects are protected from potential health hazards,” said MIOSHA Acting Director Bart Pickelman. “Beginning this month, MIOSHA will be inspecting more jobsites to ensure employees involved in blight cleanup are properly trained, protected and equipped to work with hazardous materials in a safe manner.”

Blight reduction hazards include materials within structural members such as lead, asbestos, cadmium, silica, and other chemicals or heavy metals requiring special material handling. During each inspection, the agency will work with employers to assist them in identifying hazards that are associated with these hazardous work operations.

MIOSHA’s Asbestos Program ensures that people working with asbestos are properly trained and the individuals performing asbestos removal comply with rules governing the work activity. Contractors performing friable asbestos removal or encapsulation work in Michigan must provide project notifications indicating the start and end dates and other job-related information to the Asbestos Program within a specified time frame.

Columbus RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Columbus, OH, on September 20–22 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

San Diego Hazardous Waste/DOT Hazardous Materials Update Training

Register for California Hazardous Waste and DOT Hazardous Materials Update and Refresher Training in San Diego, CA, on September 22 and update your hazardous waste and DOT training in one day. To register for this course, click here or call 800-537-2372.

HAZWOPER Refresher, RCRA/DOT Update, and OSHA Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) 8-Hour Refresher Training in Cary, NC, on September 27 and ensure you are ready to respond. Attend RCRA Hazardous Waste and DOT Hazardous Materials Update and Refresher Training in Cary, NC, on September 28 and update your DOT and RCRA training in one day. Learn how to comply with OSHA General Industry Standards at the OSHA 10-Hour Compliance Course on September 29–30. To register for these courses, click here or call 800-537-2372.

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 the upcoming webcasts on How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS) on November 15.

New Inhalation Cancer Unit Risk Factor for Perchloroethylene

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has adopted an updated inhalation cancer unit risk factor (URF) for perchloroethylene (PCE or tetrachloroethylene). URFs are used to estimate lifetime cancer risks associated with inhalation exposure to a carcinogen.

OEHHA is required to develop guidelines for conducting health risk assessments under the Air Toxics Hot Spots Program (Health and Safety Code Section 44360(b)(2)). In implementing this requirement, OEHHA develops new URFs and revises existing URFs for many air pollutants. The existing inhalation URF for PCE was revised using the most recent “Air Toxics Hot Spots Program Technical Support Document for Cancer Potency Factors,” finalized by OEHHA in 2009.

The values for PCE are:

  • Inhalation Cancer Unit Risk (URF): 6.1 x 10-6 (µg/m3)-1
  • Inhalation Cancer Slope Factor (CSF): 2.1 x 10-2 (mg/kg-day)-1

OSHA Requests Information on Its Safety Standards Addressing Falls in Shipyards

OSHA recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) as the agency considers updating its safety standards under Subpart E of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards in Shipyard Employment. The standards address falls in shipbuilding, ship repair, shipbreaking, and other shipyard-related employment.

Specifically, the RFI seeks comments and information on the safe access and egress of vessels, buildings, and other structures in shipyard employment (including the use of stairways and ladders); use of fall and falling object protection; and erection, use, and dismantling of scaffolding systems.

Comments and materials may be submitted electronically to, the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or via mail, facsimile or hand delivery. See the Federal Register notice for submission details. The submission deadline is December 7, 2016.

Fall hazards are a leading cause of shipyard fatalities. Forty percent of all fatal occupational incidents in shipyard employment from 1992 to 2014 were caused by falls to a lower level, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.

OSHA has not updated its safety standards in 29 CFR 1915, Subpart E since adopting them in 1971. Current standards do not cover all access/egress hazards and do not address advances in technology such as new scaffold systems. Information obtained from the RFI will provide OSHA with insight on current practices used to protect workers from shipyard hazards, and will help the agency determine if revisions or updates to the standards are necessary.

Investigation of Lathe Operator's Fatal Injuries Finds Bypassed Machine Guards

As he hand-polished a 40-inch long metal cylinder, a 36-year-old lathe operator became entangled in the machine's operating spindle and suffered injuries that led to his death two days later.

An investigation into the incident by federal inspectors found his employer, Carlson Tool & Manufacturing Corp., in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, allowed the computer numerical controlled lathe to operate with its safety interlocks bypassed. The interlocks prevent workers from coming in contact with moving machine parts.

OSHA cited the company for one willful, and one serious violation of machine safety standards, as a result of the worker's death on March 17, 2016. Carlson had employed the man for two years.

"All too often, OSHA finds employers are complacent with machine safety features and bypass them to speed production," said Christine Zortman, area director of OSHA's Milwaukee office. "This worker's tragic death was preventable. Carlson Tool & Manufacturing must re-evaluate its overall safety and health management system, including their machine safety programs and procedures to ensure they are effective."

OSHA's inspection found the lathe's door that provided guarding, was open exposing the worker to the machines rotating parts. Unrelated to the incident, agency inspectors found that the company also failed to follow proper procedures to fully power down equipment to prevent sudden movement or starts. OSHA has proposed penalties of $124,709.

TimkenSteel Worker Dies from Nitrogen Exposure

OSHA’s Cleveland Area Office has cited the steel mill for two repeated and four serious safety violations following two separate March 2016 agency investigations at the company's Canton plant.

On March 20, 2016, OSHA responded to a report that a worker was found dead in the elevator control room while performing monthly fire extinguisher checks. An investigation determined nitrogen leaked into the control room resulting in an oxygen deficient atmosphere causing the worker's death. OSHA cited the company for failing to:

  • Protect workers from potentially hazardous atmospheres created by the introduction of nitrogen into the ventilation system
  • Train workers using pneumatic tools powered by nitrogen on the hazards, effects and how to detect nitrogen leakage
  • Acting on a complaint alleging safety concerns at the facility, OSHA opened an investigation March 18, 2016, which found the company:
  • Exposed workers to fall hazards of up to 20 feet while performing maintenance in the rolling mill
  • Failed to install guardrails on walkways

"As a result of the fatality, the company discontinued the use of nitrogen to power tools and removed all the connections from the ventilation systems," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "TimkenSteel has made significant strides in fixing safety discrepancies and improving the framework of the safety and health management system in its aging plants in recent months. These two investigations demonstrate that maintaining a safe working environment requires a commitment to continuous improvement."

TimkenSteel signed a settlement agreement in August 2016 to abate hazards cited by OSHA at its Ohio steel plants in 2015, including multiple violations of fall protections standards. Under terms of the agreement, TimkenSteel will implement numerous enhancements such as a STOP work card program, an anonymous safety reporting system, create a United Steel Workers safety position at three facilities, retain an abatement auditor, create an electronic tracking of corrections, and conduct routine safety audits for fall hazards and lockout/tagout procedures.

Total proposed penalties total $113,131.

General Aluminum Mfg. Fined $218,244 After Worker Suffers Life-Altering Injury

For the fifth time since 2013, federal investigators have been called to an Ohio aluminum foundry to investigate the serious injury of a worker.

In the latest incident, a mold-tilting machine used to produce aluminum parts crushed a 53-year-old worker's left hand between the center core and bottom plate at General Aluminum Mfg. Company's Conneaut, Ohio, facility. He now has limited use of the hand and has been unable to return to work since the March 23, 2016, injury. In 2013 and 2015, four workers suffered amputations, in separate incidents, as a result of machine safety violations at the company facilities in Wapokaneta, Ravenna, and Conneaut.

On September 2, 2016, OSHA cited the company for two repeated, and two serious violations of machine safety standards, as a result of the worker's injury. OSHA has proposed penalties of $218,244.

"General Aluminum has written an unfortunate legacy of failing to protect its workers from machine hazards," said Howard Eberts, area director of OSHA's Cleveland office. "All too often, OSHA finds employers are complacent with machine safety features. Each year hundreds of workers suffer crushing injuries and amputations. The company needs to immediately address its legacy of worker injuries and make immediate improvements to its procedures, training and monitoring of machine safety procedures to ensure they are effective."

An investigation into the March incident by federal inspectors found General Aluminum allowed workers to service the mold table without powering it down or locking out machine parts to prevent workers from coming in contact with gravitational energy from moving machine parts.

OSHA's inspection found the company routinely failed to follow proper procedures to fully power down equipment to prevent sudden movement or starts from gravitational, hydraulic and electrical energy sources. The injured worker was training a co-worker on procedures when the injury occurred.

The company was cited for machine safety violations following injuries at its facility in Wapokaneta in April 2015 and at its Ravenna facility in March 2015. Those violations remain under contest.

Injuries were also reported at the Conneaut facility in September 2013 and the Ravenna Plant in August 2013. The company has settled those violations with OSHA.

Keystone Foods Fined $76,734 After Worker Suffers Amputation

OSHA issued citations to Keystone Foods of Bakerhill, Alabama, on September 6, 2016, for 12 serious safety violations. OSHA began an investigation at the processing plant in Bakerhill after learning an employee suffered an amputation of the tip of his left index finger on March 7, 2016. The 65-year-old worker was cleaning an overhead saw and made contact with the unguarded saw blade, causing the injury.

After its investigation, OSHA identified violations that led them to issue serious citations for:

  • Exposing employees to falls due to unguarded platforms
  • Exposing workers to amputation hazards due to unguarded saws and other machinery
  • Failing to follow safety procedures to prevent machinery from starting while cleaning
  • Failing to ensure workers wore eye protection
  • Failing to address the hazards of propane tanks stored near the ammonia refrigeration
  • Not including procedure to follow in the emergency action plan related to ammonia release

Proposed penalties total $76,734.

"Keystone Foods is exposing workers to numerous serious safety hazards and must be more proactive with assessing the workplace for deficiencies and taking action to correct them," said Joseph Roesler, OSHA's area director in the Mobile Office. "This incident could have been prevented if management had followed OSHA standards."

Austin Construction Companies Fined $121,343 for Trench Cave-in Hazards

OSHA cited Austin Constructors, LLC, for one willful and three serious violations involving trenching hazards. The willful violation was for not having an adequate protective system in place for employees in the trench. The serious violations were for failing to support and cover utility lines in the trench, not protecting employees from loose rock or soil, and for not providing guardrails on walkways over the trench.

The company in charge of the worksite, Muniz Concrete and Contracting, Inc., was also cited for one serious violation for exposing workers to trench cave-in hazards. The inspection was initiated April 28, 2016, at the City of Austin Street Reconstruction and Utility Adjustment Project. OSHA opened this inspection as part of OSHA's National Emphasis Program for trenching and excavations.

Proposed Penalties: Austin Constructors LLC, $113,486; Muniz Concrete and Contracting Inc., $7,857

"There are roughly 54 fatalities associated with excavations each year, such as the one that happened in Lockhart this past week, because employers failed to take the necessary measures to keep them safe," said Casey R. Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "These employers knew better, and they are fortunate we inspected them before any of their employees were seriously injured or killed."

P.T. Ferro Construction Co. Repeatedly Ignored Dangers of Trench Collapse

For a Joliet, Illinois, construction contractor in business more than 50 years, the dangers of working in an unprotected trench should be nothing new. Yet, the company's history of allowing employees to work in unsafe trenches continues—this time to excavate utility lines 7-feet deep in June 2016 at a Torrence Avenue job site.

Each year, dozens of workers die and hundreds suffer injury when trench walls collapse and bury them in soil and rock—sometimes weighing several thousand pounds. With this grim reality in mind, OSHA inspectors issued one willful and two serious safety citations to the man's employer, P.T. Ferro Construction Co., for putting workers at risk at the Lansing work site. The agency issued the citations on August 30, 2016, and has proposed penalties of $104,756, following its inspection.

OSHA cited Ferro for allowing its employees to work in the trench without cave-in protection and a means to exit the trench quickly in a collapse. In addition, inspectors determined a competent person was aware of the hazardous conditions but still allowed the worker to enter the trench.

"Ground soil is an unpredictable aspect in all trenching and excavations. It gives no warning prior to giving away, and a collapse can bury workers in just seconds," said Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. "One cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a small automobile making it almost impossible to avoid tragedy. Inspection, use of protective systems and proper training can be the difference between life and death."

This is seventh time since 1976 that OSHA has cited P.T. Ferro for allowing similar hazards to endanger workers. The agency also cited the company in 1990, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2010.

OSHA's trenching standards require protective systems on trenches deeper than 5 feet, and that soil and other materials remain at least two feet from the edge of trench.

Dollar General Fined $97,988 for Jeopardizing Worker, Customer Safety

In an emergency, a blocked exit can be the difference between life and death for employees and customer alike. Yet, Dollar General—one of the nation's largest discount retailers—continues to ignore federal workplace safety inspectors who have found repeated instances where the company allows stacked merchandise to block exit routes.

Responding to a complaint, OSHA inspectors again found blocked exits and other hazards, this time on August 4, 2016, at the company's store in Van Buren. As a result, the agency issued one repeated, one serious citation and one other-than-serious safety citation on September 1, 2016. The Van Buren store now faces proposed total penalties of $97,988.

Since 2010, OSHA has found more than 100 safety and health violations at Dollar General stores nationwide. Headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, the company operates more than 12,000 stores in 43 states and employs about 100,000 workers. In fiscal 2015, the retailer recorded sales of $20.4 billion.

"In an emergency, every second matters. Neither workers nor customers should have to fight through way through piles of merchandise to exit a building safely," said Bill McDonald, OSHA's area director in St. Louis. "As an organization, Dollar General must take responsibility to review its safety and health programs and fix these hazards at all of its stores nationwide now before tragedy strikes."

LLG Construction Failed to Protect Workers from Dangerous Falls, Fined $44,095

For the second time in five months, federal inspectors have cited an Indiana framing contractor for failing to protect workers from fall hazards on residential construction sites. Preventable falls account for nearly 40% of all deaths in the construction industry.

OSHA issued, LLG, Construction of Grabill, Indiana, four repeated safety violations on August 22, 2016. OSHA has proposed penalties of $44,095 and placed the company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Federal investigators observed four workers exposed to fall hazards at two stories high as they constructed a Perrysburg home on May 12, 2016. Inspectors found LLG failed to provide an adequate fall protection system and to train employees to work safely at heights. OSHA also cited the company for exposing workers to fall hazards in March 2016 and December 2014.

Inspectors also found, LLG, Construction failed to:

  • Provide eye and face protection
  • Develop a safety program

"It is inconceivable that an employer continues to recklessly expose workers to serious injury and death by failing to provide fall protection and train workers to avoid hazards," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "OSHA is committed to protecting construction workers from unnecessary injuries or worse."

Federal safety and health officials are determined to reduce the numbers of preventable, fall-related deaths in the construction industry. OSHA offers a Stop Falls online resource with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page provides fact sheets, posters, and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures. OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection be in use when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level.

The ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. Begun in 2012, the campaign provides employers with lifesaving information and educational materials on how to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for workers and train employees to use gear properly.

Storm Recovery Workers and Public Urged to be Vigilant, Aware of Hazards During Storm Cleanup

As they recover from the impacts of Hermine, a hurricane that continued as a tropical storm, Florida’s emergency workers, employers and the public at-large should be aware of the hazards they may encounter and take necessary steps to stay safe, OSHA urges.

“Recovery work should not send you to the hospital emergency room,” said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s regional administrator for the Southeast. “A range of safety and health hazards exist following storms. You can minimize these dangers with knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment. OSHA wants to make certain that all working men and women—including volunteers—return home at the end of the workday.”

Storm and tornado cleanup may involve hazards related to restoring electricity, communications, and water and sewer services. Other hazards pertain to demolition activities; debris cleanup; tree trimming; and structural, roadway and bridge repair; hazardous waste operations and emergency response activities. OSHA has a comprehensive website with guidance to keep disaster-site workers safe in tornado and storm cleanup and recovery operations.

Flooded areas have unique cleanup challenges, including dam and levee repair, removal of floodwater from structures, and repairing downed electrical wires in standing water. Workers and residents taking defensive action to protect structures or evacuate severely impacted areas may encounter hazards, such as rapidly rising streams and moving water. OSHA has many resources on flood preparedness and response detailing how to stay safe during floods and subsequent cleanup.

Only workers provided with the proper training, equipment and experience should conduct cleanup activities.

Protective measures should include the following:

  • Evaluating all work areas for hazards
  • Employing engineering or work practice controls to mitigate hazards
  • Using personal protective equipment
  • Assuming all power lines are live
  • Using portable generators, saws, ladders, vehicles, and other equipment properly
  • Heeding safety precautions for traffic work zones

Individuals involved in recovery efforts may call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit the agency’s website to reach local representatives who can provide on-site assistance.

Goodman Co. Fined $5.55 Million for Delay and Misrepresentation in Reporting Fire Hazard Involving Air Conditioners/Heaters

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Goodman Company, L.P., of Houston, Texas, has agreed to pay a $5.55 million civil penalty and has agreed to other terms of a consent decree (which is subject to judicial approval) for delay and misrepresentation in reporting a fire hazard associated with air conditioners and heaters.

The penalty resolves allegations in a complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas that the firm knowingly failed to inform CPSC immediately, as required by federal law, that its packaged terminal air conditioners/heaters (PTACs) contained a hazardous defect and posed an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death to consumers. The complaint also alleges that when Goodman ultimately reported the fire risk to CPSC, it misrepresented the number of fires that had occurred.

After receiving numerous reports about the PTACs catching fire, smoking and overheating, including three reports of hotel fires, Goodman delayed reporting the fire hazard to CPSC for about two years. When it ultimately reported, Goodman identified only three reports of overheating, even though it had received additional reports of overheating and fires.

After reporting to CPSC, Goodman learned of additional fires involving the PTACs, but the firm failed to timely report. The firm withheld notifying the government of six additional incidents.

“Goodman’s conduct was illegal, dangerous and unacceptable,” said Chairman Elliot F. Kaye. “Goodman’s decision to hide information about serious fires for years, while continuing to profit from sales, slowed down the announcement of a recall and put the safety of many families at real risk. CPSC will continue to work closely with the Department of Justice to enforce the law and hold violators accountable.”

“Goodman knew of a fire risk but waited roughly two years to inform the CPSC,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Companies must report these safety issues immediately, as the law requires, to protect the public from an unnecessary risk of injury. The Department of Justice will continue to take enforcement action against companies that do not meet their consumer product safety obligations.”

In addition to paying a $5.55 million civil penalty, Goodman has agreed to comply with and maintain a compliance program that is designed to ensure compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). The firm has also agreed to comply with and maintain a system of internal controls and procedures.

The firm recalled 233,500 of the air conditioning and heating units in August 2014. The units were sold at Goodman and heating and cooling equipment dealers nationwide from January 2007 through June 2008 for between $700 and $1,000.

John Deere Recalls Tractor Backhoe Attachments Due to Crushing Hazard

John Deere is recalling certain backhoe attachments for compact utility tractors because the mounting hardware could loosen and cause the backhoe frame to rotate toward the operator, posing a crushing hazard.

This recall involves John Deere model 485A backhoe attachments for John Deere compact utility tractors 4044M, 4044R, 4049M, 4049R, 4052M, 4052R, 4066M, and 4066R with serial numbers beginning with 1LV0485ACG0030+++. A complete list of serial numbers included in this recall is available on the firm’s website. The backhoe attachments are green and have the leaping deer John Deere logo printed on the side. The model number 485A is printed on both sides of the backhoe attachments. The serial number is located on the rear of the backhoe mainframe.

If you have one of these attachments, you should immediately stop using it and contact a John Deere dealer for a free repair. John Deere is contacting all registered owners directly.

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