More Changes to Hazard Communication Standard

October 31, 2016

OSHA is beginning rulemaking efforts to maintain alignment of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) with the most recent revision of the United Nations Globally Harmonized system of Classification and Labeling of chemicals (GHS). The purpose of this meeting is to request feedback from stakeholders and informally discuss potential topics or issues that OSHA should consider during a rulemaking to update the HCS. OSHA will also solicit suggestions about the types of publications stakeholders might find helpful in complying with the standard and which topics on which they would like OSHA to prepare additional compliance materials in the future.

The meeting will be held from on November 16, 2016 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. at the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Headquarters, Suite 700, 201 12th Street South, Arlington, VA 22202.

OSHA requests that attendees pre- register for this meeting by completing the form at https:// www.surveymonkey.com/r/CRPK2YY. If you are attending in person MSHA, who is hosting this meeting, requires pre-registration seven days before the meeting. Failure to pre- register for this event will prevent your access into the MSHA Headquarters building. If you are attending in-person, OSHA suggests you plan to arrive early to allow time for the security checks necessary to access the building.

Conference call-in and WebEx capability will be provided for this meeting. Specific information on the MSHA Headquarters building access, and call-in and WebEx meeting access will be posted when available in the Highlights box on OSHA's Hazard Communication Web site at www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html.

Williamsburg RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Williamsburg, VA, on November 8–10 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Orlando RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Orlando, FL, on November 15–17 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Charlotte RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Charlotte, NC, on November 29–December 1 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS)

When OSHA aligned the Hazard Communication Standard with the United Nations’ globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals, the agency required virtually every product label, safety data sheet (formerly called “material safety data sheet” or MSDS), and written hazard communication plan to 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.

Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Dropped in 2015

Occupational injury and illness data released recently by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a significant drop in the rate of recordable workplace injuries and illnesses in 2015, continuing a pattern of decline that, apart from 2012, has occurred annually for the last 13 years.

Private industry employers reported about 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2015, representing a decline of about 48,000 from 2014, despite an increase in total hours worked. The rate of cases recorded was 3.0 cases per 100 full-time workers—down from 3.2 in 2014. The rate is the lowest recorded since at least 2002, when OSHA recordkeeping requirements were modified.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health issued the following statement:

"We are encouraged to see the significant decline in worker injury and illness rates. This is the result of the relentless efforts of employers, unions, worker advocates, occupational safety and health professionals, and federal and state government agencies ensuring that worker safety and health remains a top priority every day."

"Despite the decline, approximately 2.9 million private sector workers suffered nonfatal injuries and illnesses last year. That is still far too many. At OSHA, we will continue to do all that we can to continue driving the rate down."

California’s Nonfatal Worker Injuries, Illnesses Remained Stable in 2015

California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has posted California’s 2015 occupational injury and illness summary data on employer-reported injuries. According to the estimates provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), California’s overall incidence rate of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses remains unchanged at 3.8 cases per 100 workers for full time employees, the lowest rate in over a decade. Detailed case and demographic data for 2015 will be published on November 10.

“In California we review statistics to assist in focusing our regulatory and enforcement efforts,” said DIR Director Christine Baker. “This preliminary data along with the case and demographic statistics to be published next month will help us refine and strengthen workplace safety and health regulations, training materials, and outreach and education efforts for employers and workers.”

The estimates show there were approximately 470,600 nonfatal reportable job related injuries and illnesses in 2015, with 77% occurring in private industry and 23% in state and local government sectors. The total numbers of injuries and illnesses increased slightly year to year, which correlates to an uptick in the state’s employed labor force from 17.4 million in 2014 to 17.8 million in 2015. The statewide all- industry rate of “lost time” cases, (referred to in the survey as “days away from work, job transfer, or restriction” (DART) cases) remained constant at 2.2 cases per 100 full time workers over the last three years surveyed, while the rate of days away from work cases (DAFW) has remained unchanged for the last seven years.

By industry in 2015, the days away from work (DAFW) rate in the Construction industry improved 23%, from 1.8 to 1.4 cases per 100 workers, while the Administrative Support and Waste Management sector rate improved 36% from 1.4 to 0.9 cases per 100 full time workers.

The days away from work rate in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector increased from 1.2 to 1.3 cases per 100, and the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting sector’s rate increased from 1.5 to 1.6 cases per 100 full time employees.

Estimates for the California Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses are derived from a statistical sample of 16,000 employers in the state. The SOII program is administered by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in cooperation with participating state agencies. Under the OSHA Recordkeeping regulation (29 CFR 1904), covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses, using the OSHA 300 Log.

Additional background and methodological information regarding the BLS occupational safety and health statistics program can be found in Chapter 9 of the BLS Handbook of Methods. Employment data are annual averages from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program.

MIOSHA Urges Safety to Prevent Tree Trimming Fatalities

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is asking tree trimming businesses to be on high alert for unsafe work practices that can lead to injury or death.

Six tree trimmers have died in Michigan so far this year due to work-related injuries from falls and being struck by falling trees and branches, compared to two tree trimming-related deaths in both 2014 and 2015.

“Tree trimming is dangerous work, especially when workers are not in compliance with MIOSHA rules,” said MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman. “One worker death is one too many. MIOSHA is asking employers and employees to take immediate action to ensure the safety of workers involved in tree trimming operations.”

MIOSHA field staff will be on the lookout for tree trimming operations during their travels this fall. If a serious hazard is observed at a jobsite, an inspection can be initiated on the spot. The agency is also outreaching to employers engaged in tree trimming and companies that contract tree trimming services, requesting they review and observe the work practices of employees and take steps to ensure safe methods are followed.

Unsafe work methods include:

  • Employees lacking proper personal protective equipment, such as hard hats, safety glasses, and high-visibility vests next to roadways
  • Missing or inadequate signs on the road warning approaching vehicles of the roadside tree-trimming operations ahead
  • Employees working aloft in a tree without proper fall protection
  • Employees in the bucket of an aerial lift without fall protection or not anchored or tied off to the bucket
  • Employees working too close to electrical wires
  • Employees standing under, in the path of, or in close proximity to limb cutting, limb dropping, or tree felling
  • Inadequate guarding on the wood chipper or employees too close to the feed end
  • Poor limb or tree felling procedures that could cause employees to fall from trees or an employee to be struck by falling trees or limbs

Health hazards can also affect tree trimmers, including exposures to chemicals, noise, and heat.

MIOSHA and federal OSHA provide numerous resources to help employers create a strong safety program and train their employees. Educational materials include the MIOSHA fact sheet on the Tree Care Industry and from OSHA: OSHA Quick Card on Tree Trimming & Removal Safety, OSHA webpage for the Tree Care Industry, Hurricane eMatrix for Waste/Debris Removal and Reduction, and OSHA Fact Sheet on Using Aerial Lifts.

Milark Industries Fined $536,249 After Bypassed Safety Measures Led to Amputation, Other Injuries

The absence of adequate machine safe guards led to an amputation and other machine-related injuries at a Mansfield manufacturer of parts used by automobile, motorcycle, and appliance brands. One of these injuries involved a 22-year-old temporary employee who suffered the partial amputation of two fingers on his left hand on his first day of work.

On October 21, 2016, OSHA proposed penalties of $536,249 to Milark Industries, Inc., for three willful egregious, one willful, and three serious violations of safety standards stemming from multiple investigations of injuries as well as complaints received alleging unsafe working conditions. The agency has placed Milark in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"Milark Industries continues to create an environment where employees are allowed to bypass machine safety procedures, and are threatened to be disciplined if they don't meet the production quotas. By doing so, the company is creating an unacceptable culture of risk and getting people hurt on the job," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo.

In May 2016, OSHA opened a complaint investigation at the company. A review of injury logs revealed that an employee received a laceration injury on April 22, 2016.

OSHA's May and June investigations cite the company for hazards at both its Baird Parkway and Rupp Road facilities in Mansfield. OSHA found the company:

  • Failed to lock-out robotic welding cells and tube bender
  • Bypassed safety interlocks in order to maintain the production rate
  • Bypassed safety devices while conducting maintenance activities
  • Failed to train workers in procedures to prevent unintentional machinery operation during service and maintenance, a process known as lockout/tagout

Milark has been the subject of other recent OSHA inspection activity. In September 2015, a 20-year-old worker suffered a serious injury and in July 2015, a machine amputated three fingers and part of a fourth from the right hand of a 19-year worker. The company contested OSHA citations issued in both those cases. A December 2016 court date has been set before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. In all, OSHA has inspected the company 10 times since 2007.

The company's worker's compensation carrier is Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.

View citations for May 2016 inspection here, June injury inspection at the Baird Parkway facility here, and June inspection of the Rupp Road facility here.

Worker at CACO Manufacturing Fatally Injured

An investigation by OSHA began on May 6, 2016, after heavy machinery at CACO Manufacturing in Houston, Texas, crushed and killed a worker. OSHA investigators found the commercial furniture manufacturer failed to securely anchor or guard machines, did not properly identify lockout/tagout devices used to prevent sudden start-up or movement of machine parts, lacked energy control procedures, and failed to train employees on hazardous chemicals present in the workplace. The agency issued 14 serious and six other citations to CACO as a result.

Proposed penalties total $102,200.

"A worker's life ended tragically because CACO Manufacturing failed to ensure proper safety procedures were followed," said Mark Briggs, OSHA's area director in Houston. "This employer must take responsibility for the safety and health of its employees, and take immediate steps to reduce the dangers of working with heavy machinery and hazardous chemicals."

Lack of Energy Controls at J.M. Smucker's Facility Led to Amputation

OSHA issued one repeated and one serious safety violation to The J.M. Smucker Company, after the agency's investigated an incident in which a 39-year-old maintenance employee suffered the amputation of the tip of his right index finger on July 29, 2016 at its Orrville, Ohio, facility.

OSHA found the company failed to develop procedures to control gravity as an energy source. The employee was cleaning a valve body when it fell into the valve housing amputating the tip of his finger. The agency cited the company for a similar violation in November of 2013, at the same facility.

Unrelated to the incident, agency inspectors found that the company also exposed workers to struck-by hazards from an overhead obstruction above a staircase in the facility.

"All too often, OSHA finds employers are complacent with machine safety features and conduct maintenance and other tasks without taking all steps to prevent machinery from movement," said Howard Eberts, area director of OSHA's Cleveland office. "The J.M. Smucker Company should re-evaluate its machine safety programs and procedures to ensure they are effective."

Proposed penalties total $60,571.

Mobile Trailer Fatally Crushes Illinois Worker

The absence of safety pins in two hydraulic leg stands and the failure to use stationary jacks allowed a mobile medical trailer to fall and fatally crush a 58-year-old electrician on his first day working on the job for an Illinois manufacturer of custom trailers and specialty vehicles.

On October 17, 2016, OSHA cited Advanced Mobility by Kentucky Trailer, based in Monee, for one serious safety violation, for violating OSHA's general duty clause, after its investigation of the July 5, 2016, fatality.

Investigators determined another worker inadvertently cut a hydraulic line that allowed the trailer to fall on the electrician as he worked beneath it. They found the company failed to ensure the use of safety pins on the trailer's front two hydraulic leg stands, and the use of rear stationary jacks to prevent the trailer from falling.

"I can't imagine the incredible loss this man's family and friends felt when his first day on the job ended tragically," said Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. "Advanced Mobility could have prevented his death by using simple safety devices like safety pins, and jacks and implementing procedures to ensure hydraulic energy was isolated. This employer failed in its responsibility to take all necessary precautions to protect workers on the job."

The fatal incident in Monee prompted a subsequent inspection in response to a complaint of unsafe working conditions at Advanced Mobility's University Park facility. After that inspection on July 13, 2016, OSHA cited the company for six serious safety violations for:

  • Lacking a lockout/tag out program to isolate energy when working on fixed de-energized electrical equipment or circuits
  • Allowing workers' exposures to lead
  • Failing to implement engineering controls to prevent lead exposure
  • Not training workers about potential lead exposure, hazardous chemicals in use in the facility, or on powered industrial vehicle operation and hazards

OSHA has proposed the company pay penalties of $58,792.

Coilplus Illinois Employee Suffers Fatal Injury

A federal investigation prompted by the death of a 50-year-old worker at the Plainfield steel processing facility has resulted in a half-dozen safety and health violations.

OSHA has issued six serious safety and health violations to Coilplus Illinois, Inc., for violations its inspector found after the June 23, 2016, death.

Agency investigators determined the worker was standing on a pneumatic platform removing metal scrap from the scrap pit, when a piece of the metal scrap allegedly snagged the pneumatic line, causing it to disconnect and for the platform to return to a vertical position. When it did, the employee fell into the scrap pit where the metal trim entangled the man until the baller below pulled him through, resulting in his death.

The agency also found Coilplus failed to:

  • Evaluate for permit required confined spaces including posting danger signs
  • Install handrails on stairways
  • Conduct periodic inspections of machine safety procedures
  • Affix lockout devices to isolate energy prior to allow employees to enter machine hazard areas
  • Lacked guarding around machines to prevent workers for entering hazard areas
  • Did not have adequate guardrails around the scrap pit area, exposing workers to a 9-foot fall

"A man died tragically and his family, friends and co-workers are left to suffer an overwhelming loss," said Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. "Coilplus needs to make immediate changes to its safety and health programs to ensure workers are guarded from machine hazards at its facilities nationwide."

OSHA has proposed penalties of $53,628. View current safety and health citations.

Dedicated Logistics Exposed Workers to Powered Industrial Vehicle, Electrical Hazards

OSHA’s Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Area Office has cited Dedicated Logistics, Inc., for one repeated and four serious safety violations after receiving a complaint of unsafe working conditions.

In its June 2016 investigation, the agency found the company:

OSHA cited the transportation and logistics company for unsafe use of powered industrial vehicles at a facility in Illinois in September 2012.

"Each year hundreds of workers are injured by powered industrial vehicles in the workplace," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire. "Dedicated Logistics needs to immediately remove damaged powered industrial vehicles until they are repaired and determined to be safe to operate."

Proposed penalties total $109,211.

Nutrition Services Fined $101,898 for 25 Serious Safety Violations

Responding to a report of unsafe working conditions, federal investigators found employees at a Nebraska animal feed company exposed to the risk of grain dust explosion, electrical shock and confined space hazards, and multiple other violations of grain handling safety standards.

On October 26, 2016, OSHA cited Nutrition Services for 25 serious and one other-than-serious violations following its July 2016 investigation. The agency has proposed penalties of $101,898.

"Two Nebraska workers have lost their lives in 2016 in the grain handling industry and far too many preventable fatalities and injuries continue to occur," said Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in Omaha. "OSHA's grain-handling standards address the numerous serious and life-threatening hazards commonly found in grain bins by training workers in these hazards and by following recommended safety procedures employers can prevent injuries."

During its investigation, the agency found Nutrition Services failed to:

  • Implement a confined space program, practice safe entry operations and train workers
  • Test atmospheric conditions in grain bins before allowing workers to enter
  • Remove accumulations of grain dust and potential initial sources, exposing workers to the risk of grain dust explosion
  • Guard live electrical parts
  • Implement procedures to prevent sudden machine start-up or unintentional operation, a process known as lockout/tagout
  • Install adequate machine guarding to avoid contact with moving parts
  • Perform preventative maintenance of equipment
  • Develop a hazard communication program to train workers about the presence and use of hazardous chemicals in the facility
  • Guard floor openings to prevent falls
  • Train workers on grain handling hazards

KG Marketing and Bag Co. Fined $78,325 for Machine Guarding, Reporting Violations

OSHA cited KG Marketing and Bag Co., a manufacturer of plastic bags for commercial use in Waukesha, Wisconsin, for one willful violation of OSHA's machine-guarding standard and one other-than-serious violation for failing to report an amputation within the required 24-hour reporting period.

OSHA initiated an investigation after learning a worker suffered a partial amputation of his right index finger on April 22, 2016, while clearing a jam on a bag-sealer machine. Inspectors found the machine's safety guards—light curtains installed by the manufacturer—were disabled. The curtains prevent workers from coming in contact with machine blades and other moving parts.

"Each year hundreds of workers are injured because employers disable or bypass machine guards to maintain production," said Christine Zortman, area director of OSHA's Milwaukee office. "Injuries, like the one suffered by this worker, are preventable by following OSHA and manufacturer safety procedures, training workers to recognize hazards, and maintaining adequate machine guarding."

Proposed penalties total $78,325.

OSHA Schedules Meeting of Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health

OSHA will hold a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health November 30–December 1, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

The agenda includes remarks from Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health; updates from the Directorate of Construction; clarification of requirements in the crane standard; updates from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management; updates on the National Safety Stand-Down; and public comment period.

The meeting will be held 1–5 p.m. ET, November 30 and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ET, December 1 in Room N-3437 A-C at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20210. The meetings are open to the public. Comments and requests to speak may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details. Comments, requests to speak and requests for special accommodations must be submitted by November 11, 2016.

Additionally, OSHA is accepting nominations for eight new members to serve on the 15-member committee. Nominations will be accepted from those interested in representing employee (3), employer (3), public (1) and state safety and health agency (1) groups. Nominations may be submitted at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Submissions may also be sent by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details. The deadline for submissions is January 27, 2017.

ACCSH, established under the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, advises the secretary of labor and assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health on construction standards and policy matters.

OSHA and the American Staffing Association Renew Alliance to Protect Temporary Workers

OSHA recently renewed its alliance with the American Staffing Association with the goal of protecting temporary employees from workplace hazards. All workers have the right to be safe, regardless of how long they have been on the job.

"It is part of our mission to make sure that at the end of every work shift, all temporary workers in the United States are able to go home safely to their families," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Through our continued alliance with the ASA, we will increase outreach to staffing agencies and host employers and provide information and education that is essential to protecting temporary workers."

During the five-year agreement, OSHA and ASA will continue to educate workers about their rights, and train staffing firms and their clients on their responsibilities to protect workers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The partners will work together to distribute information on how to recognize and prevent workplace hazards, and to further develop ways of communicating such to staffing firms, host employers and temporary workers.

Previous accomplishments include a webinar that discussed the safety and health obligations of host employers or clients using the services of staffing firms. Additionally, ASA provided their members with webinars focused on: the shared responsibility of host employers and staffing agencies to workplace safety; Ebola-related liability challenges for staffing and recruiting firms; and how to handle workplace incident investigations.

ASA, founded in 1966, has served as the voice of the U.S. staffing and recruiting industry. With more than 1,800 members, ASA advances the interests of staffing and recruiting firms through advocacy, public relations and education.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA inspections or any other enforcement benefits.

Safety News Links

What Can We Learn From One Of The World's Most Toxic Accidents?

DOT Issues Federal Guidance to the Automotive Industry for Improving Motor Vehicle Cybersecurity

How Much Halloween Candy Would Kill You?

One-Third of Workers Don't Feel Prepared for a Workplace Emergency

Analysis Important for Creating Safe Workplaces

Proposed OSHA Revisions Could Save Employers Millions

Causes and Consequences of Occupational Fatigue

Who Are the Happiest Workers? What Drives Workplace Happiness?

After the Oil Fields, an Injured Worker Faces the Unknown

Scaffolding Plummets to Ground in Florida Killing Worker

Metro Report Shows Rider, Worker Injuries Up

Kansas City Southern Railway Co. Worker Alleges Was Injured Due to Unsafe Work Environment