Electrical and Machine Guarding Violations Lead to $130,775 Penalty

May 03, 2005

OSHA recently issued citations carrying $130,775 in proposed penalties against BBI Enterprises LP, Sidney, Ohio, for alleged violations of federal workplace safety and health standards.

OSHA's citations alleged 11 serious and two repeat safety violations and seven serious and two repeat health violations. The company produces fiberglass insulation parts for the automotive industry.

OSHA opened a health inspection in November as part of the agency's "Site Specific Targeting" program that directs inspections to work sites that have reported high injury and illness rates. Once on-site, inspectors expanded the inspection to include safety concerns.

Alleged safety violations include electrical hazards, unguarded machinery and moving parts and a lack of personal protective equipment for workers. Alleged health violations include a variety of personal protective equipment problems; a lack of medical evaluations; failure to lockout equipment or to provide the means to lockout equipment to render it inoperable during maintenance and repair; and lack of a written respiratory protection program, among others. Penalties for alleged safety violations totaled $84,000 and $46,775 for alleged health violations.

A serious citation is issued 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. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.




Inadequate Respiratory Protection Leads to $227,000 Penalty

OSHA has entered into a settlement agreement with Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel Corp., Follansbee, W.Va., following an inspection of their coke plant initiated last October. The inspection uncovered multiple alleged violations of occupational health standards for coke ovens.

The agreement, which calls for a penalty payment of $227,000, settles citations issued by OSHA for violations of the respiratory protection standards, among others.

The company has consented to hire a mutually agreed-upon, qualified independent consultant to perform an OSHA compliance assessment of its coke oven batteries and prepare a report for the company that outlines abatement measures. Training of all managers, supervisors and foremen on coke oven standards will take place within 90 days.

"The inspection uncovered many violations that endangered the safety and health of the company's workers," said Stan Elliott, area director of the Charleston OSHA office. "This settlement shows the company is serious about improving working conditions at their facility."

The agreement, signed April 14, will avoid the cost and burden of litigation and, more importantly, furthers the efforts of all parties to promote safe work practices and procedures.




OSHAÆs Focus on the Future

OSHA's new five-year Strategic Management Plan sets goals and strategies to build on the agencyÆs base of success and enhance its work for the future. The agency's vision is that, "Every employer and employee in the nation recognizes that safety and health adds value to the American businesses, workplaces, and workers's lives."

New Goals

Faced with both new challenges and persistent safety and health issues, OSHA says that it is committed to focusing its resources on achieving three goals:

1. Reduce occupational hazards through direct intervention


2. Promote a safety and health culture through compliance assistance, cooperative programs and strong leadership


3. Maximize OSHA's effectiveness and efficiency by strengthening its capabilities and infrastructure





Ethylene Oxide Rule Prevails Following Regulatory Review

OSHA announced April 22 that its standard regulating ethylene oxide is effective and will remain in place. The standard's review is part of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which requires agencies to periodically review standards to determine whether they should be continued without change, rescinded, or amended. Ethylene oxide is primarily used as a chemical intermediate to produce antifreeze and as a sterilant in hospitals and for medical devices.




How to Protect Workers from Plague

There are a variety of controls that should be implemented in order to protect workers from exposure to plague. Workers who may be affected, either during regular work activities or during an emergency response, include, but are not limited to, emergency responders, healthcare workers, laboratory personnel, and others. The Plague Disease and Plague as a Bioweapon sections of OSHAÆs Safety and Health Topics Website provide extensive information on the hazards associated with plague and applicable controls. Guidance specific to various types of workers, and associated issues on recognizing and controlling exposure to plague is provided for:




Laser Hazards

Lasers produce an intense, highly directional beam of light. The most common cause of laser-induced tissue damage is thermal in nature, where the tissue proteins are denatured due to the temperature rise following absorption of laser energy.

The human body is vulnerable to the output of certain lasers, and under certain circumstances, exposure can result in damage to the eye and skin. Research relating to injury thresholds of the eye and skin has been carried out in order to understand the biological hazards of laser radiation. It is now widely accepted that the human eye is almost always more vulnerable to injury than human skin.

The following links provide safety and health information essential to protecting workers: