Granny Fined $142,000 for Confined Spaces in Her Kitchen

October 10, 2005
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GrannyÆs Kitchens, Ltd., a Frankfort, N.Y., donut manufacturer faces a total of $142,200 in proposed OSHA penalties. The donut maker was cited for 20 alleged willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Frankfort production plant. The citations result from an OSHA inspection begun April 5 under the Syracuse OSHA office's local emphasis program on the food processing industry. OSHA found that the company required an employee to enter an underground waste storage tank, a confined space, without first testing and monitoring the tank for toxic or oxygen deficient atmosphere, setting up a retrieval system to rescue the employee in the event of an emergency and preparing the required entry permit that would verify that all safeguards were met. "The requirements for confined space entry are thorough and rigorous because an employee can be quickly overcome by a toxic or oxygen-deficient atmosphere," said Chris Adams, OSHA's Syracuse area director. "In this case, the employer clearly knew the worker shouldn't have been sent into that tank until all safety measures were taken." As a result, OSHA issued two willful citations, carrying $99,000 in fines. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. OSHA's inspection also identified hazards in several other areas. These included inadequate means of exit; lack of eye protection; missing eyewash stations; inadequate machine guarding; unapproved wiring; inadequate hazard communication; lack of specific lockout procedures to prevent the accidental startup of machinery during maintenance, and not ensuring that lifting hooks could support their intended load. These conditions resulted in 18 serious citations with $43,200 in proposed fines. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Respirator Certification Update

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During the month of August, the NIOSH respirator branch closed a total of 36 projects. Of these, 26 respirators (non CBRN) were certified and the remaining 10 were either denied certification by NIOSH or were withdrawn by the manufacturer. Sixteen product audits were completed on previously certified products. The products audits are conducted to ensure proper operation of equipment being used in the field.
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The Certified Product Investigation Process (CPIP) program closed 7 user-generated investigations of device failure or other user-concern. User notices are posted at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/usernotices.
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OSHA Fines Sears Monaca Store $135,000 for Exposing Workers to Falls and Fork Truck Hazards

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Exposing workers to 15-foot falls from powered industrial trucks has prompted the OSHA to issue citations and propose penalties of $135,000 to the Sears store in Monaca, Pa. for violations of safety and health standards. Two alleged willful violations, with penalties of $125,000, were cited by OSHA for allowing employees to ride on forks of powered industrial trucks on top of platforms which were not securely attached to the forks and had no guardrails and for not training operators using the fork trucks. Two serious violations, with a penalty of $10,000, were cited for failing to provide personal fall arrest systems to employees involved in loading and unloading materials and failure to equip the truck with an overhead guard to protect workers from falling object. "The practice of lifting personnel up on the forks of a forklift and climbing onto storage shelves was common practice," said Robert Szymanski, area director of the Pittsburgh OSHA office. "Management in the store was fully aware of OSHA standards but continued to allow untrained workers to perform these dangerous tasks." OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A serious violation is a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee.


Work-Related Lung Disease (WoRLD) Surveillance Report

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This report is an update of the 2002 WoRLD Surveillance Report. It is the sixth in a series of NIOSH occupational respiratory disease surveillance reports. It presents summary tables and figures of occupational respiratory disease surveillance data focusing on various occupationally-relevant respiratory diseases, including pneumoconiosis, occupational asthma and other airways diseases, and several other respiratory conditions.
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OSHA Cites Contractor Following Logan Airport Electrocution

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The electrocution of a worker at Logan International Airport could have been prevented with an effective combination of work procedures, employee training and personal protective equipment reports OSHA.
An employee of Main Tech, a facilities support services contractor for Jet Blue, was electrocuted on July 27 when he came in contact with an energized 480-volt electrical box while working on the roof of Terminal C. OSHA's investigation found that the electrical box had not been deenergized and its power source locked out prior to starting the work. Procedures to do so had not been developed and no qualified person had tested to verify that electrical circuits and parts had been deenergized. In addition, the deceased and a second worker had not been trained in safe electrical work practices or supplied protective gloves and face protection. A workplace hazard assessment to determine what protective equipment the workers needed was not conducted. Finally, the workers were exposed to fall hazards from the terminal roof and a trailer due to lack of guardrails. As a result of these conditions, Main Tech was cited for eight alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards. OSHA has proposed a total of $54,000 in fines. A serious violation is one where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee. "Working safely with electricity requires that electrical equipment and circuits be rendered safe before work begins and that workers be properly trained and equipped with effective and appropriate protective equipment," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. "This case shows graphically what can - and did - happen when these required safeguards were not provided and ensured."


OSHA Cites Contractors for Exposing Workers to Safety Hazards at Jefferson County Job Site

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OSHA has cited Rivera Framing and Lifescape Builders for exposing workers to fall hazards from unsafe scaffolding at a Vestavia Hills, Ala., job site. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $142,600. "In the Southeast, lack of fall protection is a leading cause of injuries and deaths, particularly among Hispanic construction workers," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's Birmingham area director. "We are committed to reducing these tragic accidents." OSHA issued seven repeat citations, with proposed penalties of $108,400, against Rivera Framing for failure to: train employees to recognize and avoid fall hazards; provide employees with fall protection when they work on 10-foot-high scaffolds, and provide workers eye protection when they use nail guns. Improper use of ladders was also cited as repeat. Six additional serious citations, with proposed penalties of $22,800, were issued against the company for exposing employees to falls from improperly erected, defective scaffolds and damaged ladders. General contractor, Lifescape Builders, received six serious citations, with proposed penalties of $11,400, for lack of a safety program; failing to provide workers with fall protection, and allowing debris to accumulate at the site. Calera-based Rivera Framing and Vestavia Hills-based Lifescape Builders have 15 days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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OSHA Fines St. Louis Steel Company for Unsafe Cranes

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OSHA has issued citations to Industrial Steel Fabrication Inc., Hazelwood, Mo., proposing penalties totaling $159,200 for alleged failure to protect workers from unsafe cranes and other hazards. OSHA initiated an inspection of the steel fabrication company in April following receipt of a formal complaint. Citations were issued alleging one willful violation with a proposed penalty of $56,000, ten repeat violations with proposed penalties of $39,200 and 32 serious violations with proposed penalties of $64,000. "Employers must provide a safe and healthful working environment and ensure that employees are protected from hazardous conditions," said OSHA's Kansas City Regional Administrator Charles E. Adkins, CIH. "This employer is well aware of the standards that will protect workers from the hazards we found during our inspection, yet did not implement them." The willful violation concerns hazards associated with the continued use of an overhead crane after unsafe conditions were disclosed by an annual inspection. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. The repeat violations address crane, machine guarding, electrical, welding, noise, hazard communication and training deficiencies. Repeat violations occur when an employer has been previously cited for the same or a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. OSHA cited the company in May 2004 for violations of the same standards or the same hazards. Among the serious violations cited are hazards associated with cranes, lockout/tagout, fire protection, machine guarding, welding, electrical, hazardous materials, respiratory protection and egress. Serious violations occur when there is probability of death or serious physical harm and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.


Improper Excavation Procedures Contribute to Death of Construction Worker

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A Texas construction contractor faces a proposed fine of $108,500 following a trenching accident that claimed a worker's life, OSHA announced. Utility Contractors of America LLC, Lubbock, Texas, a construction company headquartered in Wolfforth, Texas, was cited for two alleged willful and seven alleged serious violations for not protecting employees involved in excavation work from cave-in hazards. The fatal accident occurred April 5 when the walls of a 33-foot deep trench collapsed at the company's worksite in Lubbock. "OSHA has standards to prevent trenching accidents, and we are enforcing these standards aggressively," said John Miles, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "In this instance, the company did not ensure that employees were working within the protective system designed to safeguard workers from potential cave-in hazards." The willful citations were issued for failing to instruct employees to remain within the confines of a trench shield while working inside the excavation and to provide them with an adequate surface with guard rails while walking over the excavation. A willful citation is issued for violations committed with disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. The serious violations included failing to: ensure workers did not use the track hoe bucket to access trenches; provide a ladder within 25 feet of the excavation area; provide adequate protection from overhead loads while installing sewer piping; ensure that a competent person was at the site in the event of a cave-in, and follow manufacturer's instruction on the use and limitations of trench protective systems. OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition about which the employer knew or should have known.


Williams Advanced Materials Earns Prestigious OSHA "Star"

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Williams Advanced Materials Inc., a Buffalo-based precious metals refinery, has earned membership in OSHAÆs "Star" Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). "This award spotlights Williams Advanced Materials' outstanding job of safety and health management at this site," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's Buffalo area director, who presented a VPP flag and plaque to the company in a recent ceremony. The company, which employs 200 workers, joins an elite corps of about 1,310 workplaces nationwide that have earned VPP recognition. Williams Advanced Materials is a subsidiary of Brush Engineered Materials Inc. "Our review of this facility's safety and health management programs found them to be consistent with the high quality of VPP programs," Dube said. "One exemplary element that could be used as a model for other worksites is the use of digital photography as a training tool for employees. Digital photos are incorporated into written operating procedures to clearly illustrate processes and equipment for workers." OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs offer employers an opportunity to move beyond traditional safety programs by recognizing participants that successfully incorporate comprehensive safety and health programs into their total management systems. VPP companies achieve average injury rates 50 percent lower than other companies in their industry. The VPP programs are open to deserving employers in any industry. Requirements for application to VPP include a high degree of management support and employee involvement; a high-quality worksite hazard analysis; prevention and control programs, and comprehensive safety and health training for all employees. Each of these elements must be effective, in place and in operation for at least one year before a company can apply to join the program.


OSHA Cites Tuscaloosa Tire Manufacturer for Workplace Hazards

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OSHA has cited BF Goodrich for safety and health hazards at its Tuscaloosa, Ala., tire manufacturing plant. The agency is proposing total penalties of $91,700, following an inspection conducted under OSHA's "site specific targeting program." "Site specific targeting identifies industries with high injury and illness rates," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's Birmingham area director. "From that list, establishments are randomly selected for inspection. The goal of the program is to recognize and correct hazards that contribute to worker injuries, illnesses and deaths." OSHA issued 26 serious citations against the company with proposed penalties of $79,000. Cited safety hazards included: failing to protect workers from falls into pits through floor openings and from loading docks and stairways that lacked guardrails; exposing workers to "caught-by" injuries; and electrocutions from unguarded machinery parts and electrical equipment. Citations for health hazards included failure to: provide employees with proper personal protective equipment, such as gloves, safety glasses and face shields; train employees and implement an emergency response plan and hazard communication program; provide electric grounding for containers of flammable material; and ensure proper drainage systems for storage tanks. The company also received two repeat citations, with proposed penalties of $12,700, for failing to provide employees with fall protection while working on platforms and lack of a written hazard assessment program. OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar conditions and the citation has become a final order of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The company has 15 days to contest the current citations and proposed penalties before the Review Commission. Staff from the Birmingham OSHA office located at 950 22nd Street North, Suite 1050, conducted the inspection; phone: (205) 731-1534.



Boston Countertop Maker Cited Again for Safety and Health Hazards

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OSHA cited Rozetti Marble and Granite LLC for 10 instances of failing to correct hazards cited in a 2004 OSHA inspection. Proposed penalties total $58,500. The company was first cited by OSHA in Sept. 2004 for 15 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards. At the time, the company agreed to correct all cited hazards and pay $9,870 in fines. A follow-up inspection in April found several hazards remained uncorrected. Hazards the company failed to abate included employees exposed to excess levels of silica and lack of engineering controls to reduce exposure levels; no written respiratory protection program; failure to institute a hearing conservation program and provide hearing protection for employees exposed to excess noise levels; misuse of unguarded grinders; untrained employees operating forklifts; employees operating forklifts without using seatbelts; and no written hazard communication program. OSHA issued 10 "failure to abate" citations and proposed $58,500 in new fines. OSHA issues a failure to abate citation when an employer has agreed to correct a previously cited hazard, then fails to do so. "An employer's failure to follow through on its commitment to correct workplace hazards is costly, not just in additional fines but to the health and safety of workers as well," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. "Left uncorrected, these conditions expose workers to respiratory illness, hearing loss, lacerations, crushing injuries and chemical exposures." Gordon noted that silica, noise, respiratory protection and hazard communication are critical health and safety concerns for stonecutters and the stone products industry. She urged area employers to take advantage of free information available through OSHA or the free, state-funded consultation service offered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


New Instrument for Prevention of Vibration Disorders

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It was originally developed to advance NIOSH research on preventing pain, numbness, and other work-related conditions of the hands and arms that are associated with vibration. Now it has additional prospects in the commercial market, with the same ultimate goal of reducing impairment among people who use powered hand tools for a living.
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ôItö is the 3-Axis Hand-Transmitted Vibration Simulator, which was developed through collaboration between NIOSH and MB Dynamics, Cleveland, Ohio. The device is an instrument handle that reproduces the vibration from power tools. NIOSH provided the specifications, looking for a device that could reproduce vibration from many directions, or axes, as the handles of actual power tools do. A public advertisement of their request yielded a number of proposals, and after an extensive review process, the NIOSH research team settled on MB Dynamics design. MB Dynamics, working through the awarded purchase order from NIOSH, turned the specifications into a working device. NIOSH uses the device to gain better insight into the factors that link occupational exposures to vibration with given physiological outcomes. MB Dynamics plans to market a commercial version of the device at conferences to researchers in both the academic and government worlds who are studying hand-transmitted vibration exposure and to companies interested in testing the components and assemblies that may be used on cars, trucks, and airplanes.
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Free Seminars on Proper Handling of Dangerous Drugs

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Safe handling of hazardous drugs -- antineoplastic agents, antivirals, unclassified therapeutic agents and others -- by Massachusetts health care workers is the subject of a series of free seminars to be held in Springfield, Tewksbury and Canton in October and November.
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The free half-day seminars are sponsored by the OSHA, the Massachusetts Nurses Association and the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety, Consultation Program.
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Healthcare workers who prepare and administer hazardous drugs or who work in areas where such drugs are used may be exposed to them through the air or on work surfaces or contaminated clothing and medical equipment. The seminars are designed for nurses, health care administrators, hospital safety and risk managers, environmental services, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, students, respiratory therapists, industrial hygienists and any other health care workers who may be exposed to hazardous drugs in the course of their duties.
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Each seminar will present detailed information about sound handling procedures, effective engineering controls and proper use of protective equipment. The goal is to provide workers with the knowledge to spot and protect themselves against accidental exposures.
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The seminars will take place at the following dates and locations:
Oct. 18
Western New England College
Rivers Memorial Auditorium
1215 Wilbraham Rd.
Springfield, Mass.
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Oct. 25
Tewksbury State Hospital Chapel
365 East St.
Tewksbury, Mass.
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Nov. 3
Mass. Hospital School
Atkins Auditorium/Brayton School
3 Randolph St.
Canton, Mass.
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Each session will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration will close one week before each seminar. To register or obtain further information, contact Kathy Flannery at (617) 727-4581 or Susan Clish at (781) 821-4445.
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The seminars are presented as part of an ongoing alliance among OSHA, the Massachusetts Nursing Association and the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety, Consultation Program.
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Washington Proposes Revisions to Portable Ladder Rules


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The proposal will make the rules related to Portable Ladders easier to read and understand.á This adoption will place all portable ladder requirements (chapters 296-24, 296-155 and 296-800 WAC) into chapter, 296-876 WAC, Portable Ladders.
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Bush Names Edwin Foulke New OSHA Administrator


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The President intends nominate Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., of South Carolina, to be an Assistant Secretary of Labor (Occupational Safety and Health). A Republican, Mr. Foulke is a Partner with the law firm of Jackson Lewis, LLP in Greenville, South Carolina. He previously served as Chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Mr. Foulke also served as an adjunct professor at St. Mary's Dominican College in New Orleans, Louisiana. He received his bachelor's degree from North Carolina State University and his JD from Loyola University. He later received his master's degree from Georgetown University.
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Foulke is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and currently serves as a member of the SocietyÆs expertise panel on workplace health, safety and security. He has testified before Congress on behalf of the Society on health and safety legislation, such as the Workforce Health Improvement Actùa proposal that would allow employers to deduct the cost of providing health or fitness club benefits to employees.
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"It is a true honor to be nominated by the president for this crucial government position. I think the work that I will be doing is more important than ever and will have an important impact on improving the health and safety of U.S. workers,ö Foulke said.á According to the NYCOSH newsletter, FoulkeÆs resume includes his status as a ôBush Pioneerö in 2004, meaning that he was responsible for raising at least $100,000 for the Bush campaign.
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The President also intends to nominate Richard Stickler, of West Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health. Mr. Stickler served as Director of Pennsylvania's Bureau of Deep Mine Safety. Earlier in his career, he worked for Beth Energy Mines, Inc. for thirty years. During that time, Mr. Stickler held a number of positions including Manager, Superintendent and Shift Foreman. He received his bachelor's degree from Fairmont State College.

Safety News Links

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OSHA Lost Workday Injury and Illness Database
Independent Panel to Evaluate DEHP Effects on Reproduction