The National Toxicology Program (NTP) added eight substances to its Report on Carcinogens, a science-based document that identifies chemicals and biological agents that may put people at increased risk for cancer.
The industrial chemical formaldehyde and a botanical known as aristolochic acids are listed as known human carcinogens. Six other substances—captafol, cobalt-tungsten carbide (in powder or hard metal form), certain inhalable glass wool fibers, o-nitrotoluene, riddelliine, and styrene—are added as substances that are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens. With these additions, the 12th Report on Carcinogens now includes 240 listings.
“Reducing exposure to cancer-causing agents is something we all want, and the Report on Carcinogens provides important information on substances that pose a cancer risk,” said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of both the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and NTP. “The NTP is pleased to be able to compile this report.” John Bucher, Ph.D., associate director of the NTP added, “This report underscores the critical connection between our nation’s health and what’s in our environment.”
The Report on Carcinogens is a congressionally mandated document that is prepared for the Health and Human Services Secretary by the NTP. The report identifies agents, substances, mixtures, or exposures in two categories: known to be a human carcinogen and reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. A listing in the Report on Carcinogens does not by itself mean that a substance will cause cancer. Many factors, including the amount and duration of exposure and an individual’s susceptibility to a substance, affect whether a person will develop cancer.
Once a substance is nominated by the public or private sector and selected for consideration, it undergoes an extensive evaluation with numerous opportunities for scientific and public input. There were at least six opportunities for public input on each substance. The NTP used established criteria to evaluate the scientific evidence on each candidate substance under review. The NTP drew upon the scientific expertise of several federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, EPA, and OSHA.
“The strength of this report lies in the rigorous scientific review process,” said Ruth Lunn, Dr.P.H., director of the NTP Office of the Report on Carcinogens. “We could not have completed this report without the significant input we received from the public, industry, academia, and other government agencies.”
A detailed description of each substance listed in the Report on Carcinogens is included in the new report.
Two known human carcinogens:
Aristolochic acids have been shown to cause high rates of bladder or upper urinary tract cancer among individuals with kidney or renal disease who consumed botanical products containing aristolochic acids. Aristolochic acids are a family of acids that occur naturally in some plant species. Despite a warning issued in 2001 by the FDA that advised consumers to discontinue use of any botanical products containing aristolochic acids, they can still be purchased on the Internet and abroad, and may be found as a contaminant in herbal products used to treat a variety of symptoms and diseases, such as arthritis, gout, and inflammation.
Formaldehyde was first listed in the 2nd Report on Carcinogens as a substance that was reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen, after laboratory studies showed it caused nasal cancer in rats. There is now sufficient evidence from studies in humans to show that individuals with higher measures of exposure to formaldehyde are at increased risk for certain types of rare cancers, including nasopharyngeal (the nasopharnyx is the upper part of the throat behind the nose), sinonasal, as well as a specific cancer of the white blood cells known as myeloid leukemia. Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is widely used to make resins for household items, such as composite wood products, paper product coatings, plastics, synthetic fibers, and textile finishes. Formaldehyde is also commonly used as a preservative in medical laboratories, mortuaries, and some consumer products, including some hair straightening products.
Six substances reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens:
Captafol was found to induce cancer in experimental animal studies, which demonstrated that dietary exposure to captafol caused tumors at several different tissue sites in rats and mice. Captafol is a fungicide that had been used to control fungal diseases in fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and grasses, and as a seed treatment. It has been banned in the United States since 1999, but past exposures may still have an effect on health.
Cobalt-tungsten carbide (in powder and hard metal form) showed limited evidence of lung cancer in workers involved in cobalt-tungsten carbide hard metal manufacturing. Cobalt-tungsten carbide is used to make cutting and grinding tools, dies, and wear-resistant products for a broad spectrum of industries, including oil and gas drilling, as well as mining. In the U.S., cobalt-tungsten hard metals are commonly referred to as cemented or sintered carbides.
Certain inhalable glass wool fibers made the list based on experimental animal studies. Not all glass wool or man-made fibers were found to be carcinogenic. The specific glass wool fibers referred to in this report have been redefined from previous reports on carcinogens to include only those fibers that can enter the respiratory tract, are highly durable, and are biopersistent, meaning they remain in the lungs for long periods of time. Glass wool fibers generally fall into two categories for consumers: low-cost general purpose fibers, and premium special purpose fibers. The largest use of general purpose glass wool is for home and building insulation, which appears to be less durable and less biopersistent, and thus less likely to cause cancer in humans.
o-Nitrotoluene is listed because experimental animal studies showed tumor formation at many different tissue sites in rats and mice. o-Nitrotoluene is used as an intermediate in the preparation of azo dyes and other dyes, including magenta and various sulfur dyes for cotton, wool, silk, leather, and paper. It is also used in preparing agricultural chemicals, rubber chemicals, pesticides, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, and explosives. Workers in the United States are likely exposed to o-nitrotoluene through the skin or from breathing it during production and use. o-Nitrotoluene has also been detected in air and water near facilities that produce munitions and near military training facilities.
Riddelliine has been found to cause cancer of the blood vessels in rats and mice, leukemia and liver cancer in rats, and lung tumors in mice. This botanical should not be confused with the drug Ritalin, prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Riddelliine is found in certain plants of the genus Senecio, a member of the daisy family, grown in sandy areas in the western United States and other parts of the world. Some common names for Senecio plants are ragwort and groundsel. Riddelliine-containing plants are not used for food in the U.S., and have no known commercial uses. However, at least 13 Senecio species have been identified that are used in herbal medicines or possibly as food in other parts of the world. Exposure in humans could result from eating or drinking herbal medicine or teas, honey, or foods contaminated by parts of Senecio plants or after consuming products from animals that have fed on the plants.
Styrene is on the list based on human cancer studies, laboratory animal studies, and mechanistic scientific information. The limited evidence of cancer from studies in humans shows lymphohematopoietic cancer and genetic damage in the white blood cells, or lymphocytes, of workers exposed to styrene. Styrene is a synthetic chemical used worldwide in the manufacture of products such as rubber, plastic, insulation, fiberglass, pipes, automobile parts, food containers, and carpet backing. People may be exposed to styrene by breathing indoor air that has styrene vapors from building materials, tobacco smoke, and other products. The greatest exposure to styrene in the general population is through cigarette smoking. Workers in certain occupations may potentially be exposed to much higher levels of styrene than the general population.
The Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition, is prepared by the National Toxicology Program, an interagency program headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.
How to Prepare for OSHA Adoption of the GHS for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals
OSHA has announced that by August of this year, it will finalize a rule adopting the globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, material safety data sheet (soon to be called “safety data sheet”), 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 MSDSs.
Environmental Resource Center is offering webcast training courses where you will learn how the new rule differs from current requirements, how to implement the changes, and when the changes must be implemented. Dates for the upcoming webcasts include:
- June 17
- June 30
- July 15
- July 29
All of Environmental Resource Center’s webcasts on this topic held previously this year were completely sold out. Register early to ensure your spot in one of the upcoming sessions. Click here to register online or call 800-537-2372 to register by phone.
Advertising Opportunities Available
Environmental Resource Center is making a limited number of advertising positions available in the Safety Tip of the Week™, the Environmental Tip of the Week™, and the Reg of the Day™. If you have a product or service that would be of interest to over 25,000 weekly readers, contact Amy Knight at email@example.com or 919-469-1585 for details.
OSHA Streamlines Several Standards
Phase III of the Standards Improvement Project (SIP-III) is the third in a series of rulemaking actions to improve and streamline OSHA standards. OSHA’s SIP removes or revises individual requirements within rules that are confusing, outdated, duplicative, or inconsistent. OSHA believes that improving these standards helps employers to better understand their obligations, promotes safety and health for employees, and leads to increased compliance and reduced compliance costs.
First, OSHA is revising the title of 29 CFR 1910, Subpart E, of the general industry standard, and is revising 29 CFR 1910.35 to incorporate by reference the most current version of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Life Safety Code. To provide greater flexibility, OSHA also added a second compliance alternative. OSHA made several minor revisions to other sections in this subpart to correspond to the new language in 29 CFR 1910.35.
In Subpart I, OSHA is deleting requirements that employers prepare and maintain written training certification records. OSHA does not believe that the training certification records required by the four standards provide a safety or health benefit to employees, nor are the burden hours and cost to employers justified. These standards are the general industry Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standard (29 CFR 1910.132); the shipyard employment PPE standard (29 CFR 1915.152); and the general industry and construction Cadmium standards (29 CFR 1910.1027 and 1926.1127).
There are seven revisions to the Respiratory Protection standard at 29 CFR 1910.134. One revision clarifies which breathing-gas containers employers must provide pursuant to the standard (29 CFR 1910.134(i)(9)). To provide additional clarification, OSHA is revising language in Appendix C of 1910.134, and updating the language of the DOT regulations referenced in 29 CFR 1910.134(i)(4)(i). OSHA also deleted duplicative and inconsistent statements in Appendix D of 1910.134, and also in the Asbestos standard for shipyards (1915.1001) and construction (1926.1101). OSHA revised paragraph (c)(4)(iv) of 29 CFR. 1910.1003 to correct an inadvertent omission from the respiratory protection requirements for four of the 13 carcinogen standards. Lastly, OSHA also removed the requirement to keep fit-test records from the 1,3-Butadiene standard (29 CFR 1910.1051 (m)(3)).
There are two revisions under Subpart J. First, OSHA is revising and updating the definition of the term “potable water” in the Sanitation standards for general industry and construction (29 CFR 1910.141(a)(2), 29 CFR 1926.51(a)(6)), and the Field Sanitation standard for agriculture (29 CFR 1928.110(b)).
Second, OSHA is revising the Bloodborne Pathogens standard by removing the word “hot” from the definition of “handwashing facilities” at 29 CFR 1910.1030(b) in the phrase “hot air drying machines,” which permits employers to use new technologies (e.g., high-velocity air blowers) in the workplace. This revision also applies to sanitation standards for general industry (29 CFR 1910.141(d)(2)(iv)), marine terminals (29 CFR 1917.127(a)(1)(iii)), longshoring (29 CFR 1918.95(a)(1)(iii)), and construction (29 CFR 1926.51(f)(3)(iv)).
OSHA is updating its standards regulating slings for general industry (29 CFR 1910.184); shipyard employment (29 CFR 1915.112, 1915.113, and 1915.118), and construction (1926.251). Modifications to these standards include removing previous load- capacity tables (29 CFR 1910.184, tables N-184-1, N-184-3 through N-184- 22; and G-1 through G-5, G-7, G-8, and G-10) and references to these tables (29 CFR 1915.112; 1915.113; and 1926.251; tables H-1 and H-3 through H-19). Employers now must use slings with permanently affixed identification markings that depict the maximum load capacity. The final rule provides similar protection for shackles in 29 CFR 1915.113 and 1926.251.
In Subpart T, OSHA is removing two obsolete recordkeeping requirements from the Commercial Diving Operations standard (29 CFR 1910.440 (b)(3)(i) and (b)(5)) and correcting a typographical error (29 CFR 1910.440 (b)(4)).
In Subpart Z, OSHA also is removing the requirement for employers to transfer specific records to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (e.g., 1910.1020). Finally, OSHA is making several other miscellaneous revisions. For example, OSHA is removing duplicative respiratory-protection requirements, and is amending the trigger levels in the Lead standards for general industry and construction (29 CFR 1910.25 and 1926.62). Additional revisions to maritime standards include adding a clarification to the definition of “hot work,” adding a definition for “ship’s stores,” and updating gear-certification requirements to conform to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention.
This final rule becomes effective on July 8, 2011. As this rule imposes no new burdens on employers, employers may comply with the revised provisions prior to the effective date.
OSHA Announces Three Month Phase-in for New Fall Protection Directive
OSHA announced a three month phase-in period to allow residential construction employers to come into compliance with the Agency’s new directive to provide residential construction workers with fall protection.
“We want to make sure that the residential construction industry has every opportunity to successfully come into compliance with the new directive,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels. “I am confident that this phase-in period will provide employers the additional time and flexibility they need to alter their work practices in accordance with the requirements of the new directive.”
The three month phase-in period runs June 16 – September 15, 2011. During this time, if the employer is in full compliance with the old directive (STD 03-00-001), OSHA will not issue citations, but will instead issue a hazard alert letter informing the employer of the feasible methods they can use to comply with OSHA’s fall protection standard or implement a written fall protection plan. If the employer’s practices do not meet the requirements set in the old directive, OSHA will issue appropriate citations.
If an employer fails to implement the fall protection measures outlined in a hazard alert letter, and during a subsequent inspection of one of the employer’s workplaces OSHA finds violations involving the same hazards, the Area Office shall issue appropriate citations.
OSHA has a wide variety of resources and guidance materials to assist employers in complying with the new directive. OSHA’s Web page includes many guidance products, including a fall protection slide show that recently received over 3,000 hits in one week. Employers are encouraged to take full advantage of OSHA’s free On-site Consultation Program. In addition, there is also a Compliance Assistance Specialist in most Area Offices, and employers are urged to contact their local Area Offices and use these services.
The new directive, Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction (STD 03-11-002), a detailed description of the phase-in policy, a presentation and other guidance materials about requirements for protecting workers from falls are available at http://www.osha.gov/doc/residential_fall_protection.html.
New Guidance on Calculating Hand-to Mouth Transfer of Lead Exposure through Consumer Products
Lead has been listed under Proposition 65 as a chemical known to cause reproductive toxicity for developmental and both male and female reproductive toxicity endpoints since February 27, 1987. The substance “lead and lead compounds” has been listed as known to cause cancer since October 1, 1992. For reproductive effects, the Maximum Allowable Dose Level (MADL) for lead is 0.5 μg/day (Title 27, Cal. Code of Regs., Section 258054); for carcinogenic effects the No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) for lead is 15 μg/day (Section 25705(b)).
Lead is one of the most frequently named chemicals in Proposition 65 enforcement actions and settlements. Proposition 65 actions have been prompted by findings of lead in a variety of products, including calcium supplements, china, lead glazes, leaded crystal, PVC mini-blinds, cosmetics, hair dyes, garden hoses, and hand tools.
California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced the release of the Interpretive Guideline No. 2011-001: Guideline for Hand-to-Mouth Transfer of Lead through Exposure to Consumer Products. Within the context of Proposition 65, the Interpretive Guideline provides general scientific guidance on how to estimate lead intake from the handling of consumer products. This interpretive guideline is intended for use only in the context of calculating lead exposure by the hand-to-mouth pathway, for purposes of compliance with Proposition 65. It applies only to the transfer of lead from the hand(s) to the mouth, as a result of the handling or touching of a consumer product.
NIST ‘Catch and Release’ Program Could Improve Nanoparticle Safety Assessment
Depending on who you ask, nanoparticles are, potentially, either one of the most promising or the most perilous creations of science. These tiny objects can deliver drugs efficiently and enhance the properties of many materials, but what if they also are hazardous to your health in some way? Now scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have found a way to manipulate nanoparticles so that questions like this can be answered.
The team has developed a method of attracting and capturing metal-based nanoparticles on a surface and releasing them at the desired moment. The method, which uses a mild electric current to influence the particles’ behavior, could allow scientists to expose cell cultures to nanoparticles so that any lurking hazards they might cause to living cells can be assessed effectively.
The method also has the advantage of collecting the particles in a layer only one particle thick, which allows them to be evenly dispersed into a fluid sample, thereby reducing clumping—a common problem that can mask the properties they exhibit when they encounter living tissue. According to NIST physicist Darwin Reyes, these combined advantages should make the new method especially useful in toxicology studies.
“Many other methods of trapping require that you modify the surface of the nanoparticles in some way so that you can control them more easily,” Reyes says. “We take nanoparticles as they are, so that you can explore what you’ve actually got. Using this method, you can release them into a cell culture and watch how the cells react, which can give you a better idea of how cells in the body will respond.”
Other means of studying nanoparticle toxicity do not enable such precise delivery of the particles to the cells. In the NIST method, the particles can be released in a controlled fashion into a fluid stream that flows over a colony of cells, mimicking the way the particles would encounter cells inside the body—allowing scientists to monitor how cells react over time, for example, or whether responses vary with changes in particle concentration.
For this particular study, the team used a gold surface covered by long, positively charged molecules, which stretch up from the gold like wheat in a field. The nanoparticles, which are also made of gold, are coated with citrate molecules that have a slight negative charge, which draws them to the surface covering, an attraction that can be broken with a slight electric current. Reyes says that because the surface covering can be designed to attract different materials, a variety of nanoparticles could be captured and released with the technique.
Clorox Previews New Mobile App and Website for Ingredients Inside Program
At the Sustainable Fragrances conference in Washington, D.C., The Clorox Company previewed its plans to launch a new mobile product ingredient application and website that will give consumers immediate access to product ingredient information while they shop or whenever they need it. This initiative builds on Clorox’s existing Ingredients Inside program to provide transparent, easy-to-access ingredient information to consumers.
The new tools will be available later this year and will give consumers information at their fingertips, including:
- The mobile website will allow easier on-the-go access to Clorox’s Ingredients Inside information by offering content and functionality optimized for mobile device use.
- The mobile application, focused initially on iPhone users, will allow consumers to use their smart phones to scan a product UPC code and be taken instantly to that product’s ingredient listing.
Clorox’s Ingredients Inside program also outlines the company’s product stewardship principles and practices, providing information on safety processes and guidelines on how the company screens ingredients, including fragrance components for new products. For example, Clorox requests all of its fragrance suppliers in the U.S. and Canada to follow a series of strict guidelines for ingredients used in any new fragrance the company purchases. In addition to complying with stringent fragrance industry standards by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM), fragrances must not contain Alkylphenol (APs) or Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APEs), including, but not limited to, Octylphenol Ethoxylates and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates; Musk Ambrette; Musk Xylol; Polycyclic Musks; Diacetyl, and Phthalates (such as DEP, BBP, DBP, DiBP, DPP, or DEHP).
OSHA Proposes Over $243,000 in Fines against Contractor for Egregious Fall Hazards, Other Violations
A Lewiston, Maine roofing contractor with a long history of violating workplace safety standards faces a total of $243,360 in proposed OSHA fines following a December 2010 inspection that resulted in citations for alleged egregious willful, serious, and repeat violations for a lack of fall protection and other hazards. OSHA previously had cited Lessard Brothers Construction Inc., and its predecessor, Lessard Roofing & Siding Inc., 10 times for fall protection violations at various Maine work sites.
OSHA inspectors found four Lessard employees exposed to potentially life-threatening falls of 23 feet while working without fall protection on a steep-pitched roof at a work site on Elm Street in Lewiston. Due to management’s knowledge of the hazard and the required safeguards, along with the company’s extensive history of violations, Lessard was cited for four egregious willful violations with $224,000 in proposed fines. 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.
“This employer ignored the law and put workers’ lives at risk,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “OSHA’s commonsense regulations save lives. Employers who ignore these regulations and endanger their employees will face the consequences.”
In addition, Lessard was cited for two serious violations with $10,560 in proposed fines for an electrical hazard, and for failing to train workers on electrical hazards and fall protection. The company also was cited for one repeat violation with a proposed fine of $8,800 for a lack of hard hat protection.
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. 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 other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The repeat citation stems from OSHA having cited the company in January 2010 for a similar hazard at a Bath, Maine, work site.
“Falls are the number one killer in construction work,” said Marthe Kent, OSHA’s New England regional administrator. “Employees in situations such as this are just one slip, trip or misstep away from a fatal or disabling fall. Responsible employers must ensure that effective fall protection measures are in place and in use every day on every job site.”
This significant enforcement action qualifies Lessard Brothers Construction for OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program (SVEP), which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Initiated in 2010, SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate violations.
Detailed information on fall protection hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/construction.html.
Since October 28, 2010, according to Maine’s workers’ compensation insurance verification system, Lessard Brothers Construction has been without workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
$49 Penalty for Worker Exposure to Methylene Chloride, Other Hazards
OSHA cited Integrated Laminate Systems for 14 workplace safety and health violations, including exposing employees to methylene chloride, at the company’s Cinnaminson, New Jersey facility. Proposed penalties total $49,000.
OSHA initiated an inspection on February 8 as part of its Site-Specific Targeting Program, which focuses on industries with high injury and illness rates. As a result, the company received 13 serious citations with the penalties, and one other-than-serious citation, which carried no penalty.
“Methylene chloride exposure can have very serious health effects, such as cancer and cardiac distress,” said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA’s area office in Marlton, New Jersey. “It is vital that the company takes immediate action to ensure that employees have a safe and healthful work environment.”
The serious violations include employees exposed to airborne concentrations of methylene chloride from 1.02 to 1.28 times the permissible exposure level of 25 parts per million, employees exposed to a crushing hazard while travelling in a work platform attached to an powered industrial truck, Class I flammables dispensed into containers that were not electrically interconnected to the nozzle, use of flexible cords and cables as a substitute for fixed wiring, and employee use of compressed air set at 120 lb per square inch to clean off work surfaces and their bodies.
Additionally, the company failed to identify and evaluate the respiratory hazard in the workplace and conduct air monitoring for employees exposed to methylene chloride; provide appropriate respiratory protection; require employees to use appropriate hand protection when working with chemicals; provide body and face protection; develop, document, and utilize procedures for lockout/tagout of energy sources; singularly identify lockout devices; provide an eyewash station and shower; implement engineering controls; establish a respiratory protection program; establish a regulated area for employees working with methylene chloride; provide medical surveillance to employees working with methylene chloride; and provide training to employees regarding hazards of methylene chloride.
The other-than-serious violation was due to the company’s failure to provide employees with fire extinguisher training. 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.
Integrated Laminate Systems manufactures storage cabinets for dental offices and has 42 employees at this site.
OSHA Cites Liquid Feed Commodities for Serious Violations
OSHA cited Liquid Feed Commodities Inc., in Fremont, Nebraska for 20 serious and one other-than-serious violation of OSHA’s safety and health standards. Proposed fines total $79,200.
OSHA’s inspection of Liquid Feed Commodities was initiated in March under a local emphasis program that targets grain handling establishments. The program is designed to reduce injury, illness, and death rates in the industry by increasing employers’ knowledge of safety and health programs through a combination of outreach and enforcement activities.
“Hazards associated with the grain handling industry are well-recognized,” said Charles Adkins, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, Missouri. “Liquid Feed Commodities failed to provide its employees with a safe and healthful workplace. It is imperative that all employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for their employees.”
The serious violations stem from a lack of or inadequate fall protection, respiratory hazards, confined space hazards, energy source lockout/tagout hazards, a lack of eyewash facilities, a lack of powered industrial truck training, machine guarding hazards, electrical hazards, and chemical hazards.
The other-than-serious violation is related to deficient powered industrial truck inspections.
Since 2009, OSHA has issued fines exceeding $100,000 per employer to grain operators across the country following preventable fatalities and injuries. In addition to enforcement actions, OSHA sent a notification letter in August 2010 and another in February 2011 to more than 13,000 grain elevator operators warning them of proper safety precautions, including prohibiting entry in grain storage facilities while grain is being emptied out or flowing in or out of the bin, prohibiting employees from “walking down the grain” and ensuring that employees enter the bin with the proper safety equipment. “OSHA will not tolerate noncompliance with the Grain Handling Facilities standard,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels in both letters. “We will continue to use our enforcement authority to the fullest extent possible.” The February letter is available at http://www.osha.gov/asst-sec/Grain-Letter-2-1-2011.html.
OSHA Fines Two Denver Area Companies over $42,000 for Trench Cave-in Hazards
OSHA has issued citations for one willful and two serious violations to High Plains Grading in Aurora, Colorado, and for one serious violation to Century Communities LLC, in Denver for exposing workers to trench cave-in hazards at an Arapahoe County job site.
The citations carry proposed fines of $37,400 for High Plains Grading and of $5,390 for Century Communities.
OSHA’s investigation was initiated in March after an employee was pinned and injured in a 9-foot-deep trench when a large piece of the trench wall caved in on him. High Plains Grading was issued a willful violation citation for failing to protect employees from cave-in hazards. The same company previously was cited in Colorado for unsafe excavations in 2006 and 2009.
“The hazards associated with trenching are well known by the industry and specifically by this employer,” said John Healy, OSHA area office director in Englewood. “Such disregard for the well-being of workers will not be tolerated.”
High Plains Grading also was cited for serious violations—failing to support an exposed gas line in the trench and an inadequate ladder. As the controlling employer for the unsafe trench, Century Communities LLC, was issued a serious citation, as well, for failure to ensure that a subcontractor used an appropriate shoring or sloping system in the trench.
OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available on OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
Auto Parts Manufacturer Fined Over $179,000 for Willful, Repeat Violations
Saehaesung Alabama Inc., of Andalusia, Alabama has been cited by OSHA for eight safety violations. The citations, carrying fines of $179,300, were issued after OSHA conducted a follow-up inspection to evaluate the abatement of violations found during 2009.
Saehaesung Alabama has been cited for two willful violations with fines of $140,000 for failing to develop, document, and utilize lockout/tagout procedures for energy sources, and to provide workers with the knowledge and skills necessary for safe usage and removal of energy control devices.
OSHA also has issued the company one repeat citation with a $16,500 penalty for not providing training and information to employees on hazardous chemicals. This location was cited for the same hazardous communication violation in 2009.
Additionally, four serious citations with $22,800 in penalties were issued for allowing employees to work where exit routes were partially blocked, permitting alloy slings without permanent affixed identification for size, grade, rated capacity and reach, using worn and damaged alloy steel chain slings, and failing to use safety blocks while adjusting dies in the mechanical power press.
The company received one other-than-serious citation with no proposed penalty for not maintaining inspection records for the mechanical power press.
“The company’s repeated failure to comply with OSHA standards has left employees at risk of serious injury or death,” said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s area director in Mobile. “These hazards need to be eliminated from the workplace.”
This case meets the criteria for OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program.
Wood Pallet Manufacturer Cited for Workplace Safety Hazards
OSHA cited Burch Wood Products Inc., for exposing workers to safety hazards at its Summit Point, West Virginia facility. Proposed penalties total $58,200.
OSHA initiated an inspection on February 1 as part of its National Emphasis Program on Amputations. As a result, the company was cited for 18 serious violations.
“Each of these violations left workers vulnerable to hazards that could cause serious injuries and possible death,” said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA’s area office in Charleston, West Virginia. “It’s vital that the company correct these hazards to protect its employees.”
Violations include the company’s failure to provide machine guarding; provide personal protective equipment; develop or implement a written hazard communication program; provide training for employees who operate powered industrial trucks; properly maintain lavatories and portable fire extinguishers; provide employees with training on the proper use of portable fire extinguishers; ensure compressed air used for cleaning purposes was reduced to less than 30 lb per second; develop procedures and provide training on potentially hazardous energy; properly dike, label, and outfit diesel and kerosene fuel tanks with proper safety instruction signs; implement an effective hearing conservation program for employees exposed to noise at 85 decibels or more; and provide a faceplate for outlet boxes.
Burch Wood Products Inc., manufactures wood pallets and has 12 employees.
Thomasville Lumber Company Fined $160,000 for 24 Safety and Record Keeping Violations
OSHA cited Thomasville Lumber Co., for 24 alleged safety and record keeping violations at its plant in Thomasville, Alabama. Proposed penalties total $159,700. OSHA began its inspection in December 2010 as part of its national emphasis program to prevent workplace amputations.
The company received citations for five willful violations. One citation with a $70,000 proposed fine (the maximum allowed by law), is for not requiring that lockout or tagout of equipment be performed only by authorized employees performing servicing or maintenance to prevent unintentional startup that can lead to injury or death. The other four relate to the company’s failure to maintain complete and accurate entries in its OSHA log between 2007 and 2010. OSHA proposed a $10,000 penalty for each of the four years, totaling $40,000.
Citations for 13 serious violations relate to the company’s allowing employees to perform service or maintenance on equipment without first locking it out to prevent unintentional startup, not providing locks to employees, three instances where machine guards were missing, using a platform that did not have a standard railing, allowing employees to use improperly installed stairs, using stairs that lacked a standard handrail, allowing employees to access electrical boxes with unused openings that were not effectively closed and without a cover, and using flexible electrical cords that were not approved for wet locations. Additionally, training for forklift operators did not include information available in the operator’s manual, employees operated a forklift with a non-operating horn, and the forklift operator’s visibility was impaired by a plastic tarp used during rain storms. Penalties total $48,300.
Two $700 penalties were issued for other-than-serious instances when the company’s OSHA log failed to include a detailed description of an incident. Citations for four separate other-than-serious violations were issued with no monetary penalties for not guarding a live electrical hazard of more than 50 volts, not protecting electrical conductors from abrasion, not posting the load capacity in a forklift cab, and using flexible cords as a substitute for fixed wiring.
“Employers must provide their employees with safe workplaces and be committed to their safety. OSHA will not hesitate to impose significant penalties when it finds that workers are being endangered on the job, and when employers intentionally disregard their responsibility to completely and accurately maintain injury logs that can help them identify problem areas,” said Cindy Coe, OSHA regional administrator.
Thomasville Lumber Co., specializes in the processing of yellow pine products from logs.