New OSHA Rule on Procedures for Handling Retaliation Complaints

December 19, 2016

OSHA has published a final rule establishing procedures and time frames for handling employee retaliation complaints under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The final rule is effective December 14, 2016.

MAP-21, enacted July 6, 2012, protects employees of automobile manufacturers, part suppliers and car dealerships who have been discharged or otherwise retaliated against for providing information concerning motor vehicle defects or violations of motor vehicle safety standards to their employer or the Secretary of Transportation.

"Every worker in the automotive industry should feel secure with raising concerns about workplace hazards without fear of retaliation," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "This final rule protects those workers who report conditions or activities that jeopardize their safety or the safety of the public."

In March, OSHA published an interim final rule and requested public comments. The one comment received did not require the agency to make revisions to the rule.

OSHA's fact sheet, Filing Whistleblower Complaints under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), provides additional details for workers in this industry who have faced retaliation for reporting car safety violations, and instructions on how to file a complaint with OSHA under MAP-21.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statutes protecting employees who report violations of various securities laws, trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, maritime, health care, workplace safety and health regulations, and consumer product safety laws.

Cleveland RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Cleveland, OH, on January 3–5 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Raleigh Area RCRA, DOT, IATA, and SARA Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Cary, NC, on January 9–11 and save $100. If you ship dangerous goods by air, get your required training at Transportation of Dangerous Goods: Compliance with IATA Regulations on January 12. Ensure your facility is in compliance with EPCRA requirements at the SARA Title III Workshop on January 13. To take advantage of these offers, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Anaheim RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management in California and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Anaheim, CA, on January 10–12 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Safety Advisory on Use of DOT-39 Cylinders for Liquefied Flammable Compressed Gas

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently issued a safety advisory informing offerors or anyone using a DOT Specification 39 (DOT-39) cylinder that cylinders with an internal volume of 75 cubic inches (in3)(1.23 L) or more should not be filled with liquefied flammable compressed gas.

The rupture or release of a liquefied flammable compressed gas from a DOT-39 cylinder with an internal volume exceeding 75 in3 is a safety concern that could result in extensive property damage, serious personal injury, or even death. PHMSA issued the advisory, in part, to address confusion about the regulatory requirements for using DOT-39 cylinders for these gases.

Current regulations do not specify the 75 in3 limitation as it pertains to liquefied flammable compressed gas. However, on July 26, 2016, PHMSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would explicitly extend the limit on the internal volume of DOT-39 cylinders to use with all liquefied flammable compressed gases; PHMSA is reviewing comments on the NPRM.

Labor Secretary Perez Comments on Annual Increase in Occupational Injuries

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued a statement regarding the Bureau of Labor Statistics of latest Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

The census shows a slight increase in 2015 in the number of fatal work injuries, the highest annual total since 2008. The census also finds that 4,836 workers died from work-related injuries in 2015, an increase from the 4,821 fatal injuries reported in 2014. Based on the results, the rate of fatal workplace injuries in 2015 was 3.38 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, lower than the 2014 rate of 3.43.

Secretary Perez said, "These numbers underscore the urgent need for employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees as the law requires. We have a moral responsibility to make sure that workers who showed up to work today are still alive to punch the clock tomorrow. The fact is, we know how to prevent these deaths. The U.S. Department of Labor is—and will always be—committed to working with employers, workers, community organizations, unions, and others to improve safety and health in our nation's workplaces. This effort is essential to ensuring that no more workers are taken unnecessarily from their families."

Interim Final Rule Revising Pipeline Safety Regulations to Address Safety Issues Related to Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently issued an interim final rule (IFR) that revises the Federal pipeline safety regulations to address safety issues related to downhole facilities, including well integrity, wellbore tubing, and casing. This first step in addressing critical safety issues is responsive of Section 12 of the PIPES Act requiring PHMSA to enact minimum federal safety standards for underground natural gas storage facilities and addresses the concerns of the public highlighted by the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak incident of 2015. The Aliso Canyon incident resulted in the estimated release of 4.62 billion cubic feet of natural gas, or the greenhouse gas emission equivalent of 500,000 passenger cars driven for 1 year.

“Less than one year after the formation of the DOT/ DOE Interagency Task Force on Natural Gas Storage Safety, we have developed an interim final rule that puts critical safety standards in place for underground storage facilities across the country and establishes a consistent, minimum federal baseline for states to develop their own regulations,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The IFR incorporates the American Petroleum Institute’s recommended practices 1170 and 1171 by reference into the pipeline safety regulations (49 CFR Part 192). Recommended practices 1170 and 1171 outline standards for the design and operation of solution-mined salt caverns used for natural gas storage, and functional integrity of natural gas storage in depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs and aquifer reservoirs. The incorporation of these RPs will provide PHMSA and the states with a minimum federal standard for inspection, enforcement, and training through a federal/state partnership and certification process modeled after the current pipeline safety program. The standards will directly apply to approximately 200 interstate facilities, and serve as the minimum federal standard for approximately 200 intrastate facilities.

“This IFR addresses aging infrastructure and is the first step in a multiphase process to enhance the safety of underground natural gas storage,” said PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez. “These minimum federal standards will help to prevent incidents like the one at Aliso Canyon from happening in other communities around the country.”

This IFR is effective 30 days after the date of publication in the federal register. Comments must be received 60 days after publishing to the federal register. Comments may be submitted to docket number PHMSA-2016-0016 beginning on the date of publishing in the federal register.

You may view the full text of the IFR here.

Celebrity Chefs Have Poor Food Safety Practices

Celebrity chefs are cooking up poor food safety habits, according to a Kansas State University study. Kansas State University food safety experts Edgar Chambers IV and Curtis Maughan, along with Tennessee State University's Sandria Godwin, recently published "Food safety behaviors observed in celebrity chefs across a variety of programs" in the Journal of Public Health. The researchers viewed 100 cooking shows with 24 popular celebrity chefs and found several unclean food preparation behaviors.

"Twenty-three percent of chefs licked their fingers; that's terrible," said Chambers, professor and director of the Sensory Analysis Center at Kansas State University. "Twenty percent touched their hair or dirty clothing or things and then touched food again."

The chefs' most common food safety hazards included lack of hand-washing, not changing the cutting boards between raw meat and vegetables that wouldn't be cooked, and not using a meat thermometer to check meat doneness.

"Washing your hands is not a one-time thing," Chambers said. "We saw some chefs wash their hands in the beginning before preparing food, but they didn't wash their hands during food preparation when they should have."

Chambers said this is not modeling good behavior for viewers. Celebrity chefs' purpose is to entertain and educate about food preparation techniques and helpful kitchen hints, which should include proper food safety practices, he said.

"We hear about safety issues from unclean food or when something has gotten through the food system," Chambers said. "It can be detrimental to young children and the elderly, but many times when people think they have the 24-hour stomach flu, it's often from poor food preparation practices."

According to the study, about 1 in 6 Americans are exposed to foodborne illnesses each year, which can economically and socially affect consumers. Practices promoted by the Fight Bac! consumer food safety education campaign, which the researchers used to evaluate the chefs' food safety practices, can help improve public health. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the campaign encourages cooks to clean, separate, cook, and chill to help prevent foodborne illness.

"All celebrity chefs have to do is mention these things as they go along: 'Remember to wash your hands,' 'Don't forget to change out your cutting board,' or 'I washed my hands here'—which some chefs did do," Chambers said. "They don't have to show it on television but they should remind viewers that there are safety issues involved in food preparation."

No chef received a perfect score but the researchers noticed some were more careful in the kitchen, which included more safe practices than others did. Chambers said that viewers may know proper food safety, but because people are creatures of habit, they may rely on practices that they are familiar with instead of adopting safe recommendations. Celebrity chefs can help make viewers more likely to use their food safety practices, he said.

"I think that celebrity chefs have a responsibility for entertaining us, but they also have a responsibility to give us good food," Chambers said. "We want celebrity chefs to teach us how to make food that not only tastes good but is good for us—and part of that is good food safety."

Two Alabama Companies Face $2.5 Million in Fines After Worker Fatality

When she wasn't employed as a temporary worker at a Cusseta, Alabama, manufacturer that stamps metal parts for Hyundai and Kia vehicles, Regina Allen Elsea was making final plans for her wedding and looking forward to a new life with her future husband.

On June 18, 2016, those dreams ended when the 20-year-old Elsea was crushed to death in a robotic machine. That day, the assembly line stopped and she and three of her co-workers entered a robotic station to clear a sensor fault. The robot restarted abruptly, crushing the young woman inside the machine. Her death occurred two weeks before her wedding day.

An investigation by OSHA has led the agency to issue citations for 23 willful, serious and other-than-serious violations, including 19 egregious instance-by-instance willful violations, to Joon, LLC, doing business as Ajin USA of Cusseta. OSHA also cited two staffing agencies - Alliance HR Inc., doing business as Alliance Total Solutions LLC and Joynus Staffing Corp.—for two serious safety violations each. Collectively, the three companies face $2,565,621 in penalties for the federal safety and health violations.

"This senseless tragedy could have been prevented if Regina Elsea's employers had followed proper safety precautions," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "In addition, it is unfortunate that Hyundai and Kia, who set strict specifications on the parts they purchase from their suppliers, appear to be less concerned with the safety of the workers who manufacture those parts."

In 2015, Dr. Michaels traveled to Korea and met with Hyundai and Kia's top managers, warning them of hazardous conditions at their suppliers, explaining to them that the automobile firms' production policies were endangering workers at the suppliers' factories.

"Kia and Hyundai's on-demand production targets are so high that workers at their suppliers are often required to work six and sometimes seven days a week to meet the targets," said Dr. Michaels. "It appears that—to reduce its own costs in meeting these targets—this supplier cut corners on safety, at the expense of workers' lives and limbs."

OSHA issued willful citations to Ajin USA for:

  • Failing to utilize energy control procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing
  • Exposing workers to caught-in, struck-by, and crushing hazards by allowing them to enter a robotic cell without shutting down and securing hazardous stored energy according to safety procedures
  • Failing to provide safety locks to isolate hazardous energy
  • Exposing employees to crushing and amputation hazards due to improper machine guarding

OSHA issued two serious citations to Ajin USA for exposing workers to laceration hazards by allowing them to work with parts having sharp edges while improperly wearing or not wearing protective sleeves and not installing effective shields or curtains on welding machines to protect the operator and others from flying sparks.

The agency also issued two serious citations to Alliance and Joynus for failing to utilize specific safety procedures to control potentially hazardous stored energy during maintenance and servicing and not providing or ensuring employees had locks to properly shutdown machinery.

Alliance and Joynus, both based in Opelika, provide approximately 250 temporary employees to Ajin USA. Elsea was hired to work at Ajin through Alliance Total Solutions.

"This was a preventable incident—Ajin USA only had to ensure that proper safety measures were followed to de-energize the robot before the workers entered the station," said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's regional administrator in Atlanta. "Incidents like this one are not isolated and that is why OSHA has developed and implemented its Regional Emphasis Program on Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry."

The agency has also placed Ajin USA in its Severe Violators Enforcement Program. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

Crystal Finishing Systems Fined $171,169 Following Worker Fatality

A federal investigation, prompted by the death of a 51-year-old chemical technician at a coatings company's facility in Mosinee, Wisconsin, has resulted in multiple safety violations.

OSHA issued three repeated, four serious and three other than serious safety citations on December 7, 2016, to the Schofield-based, Crystal Finishing Systems' following the agency's investigation into the June 14, 2016, death.

Federal investigators determined the worker suffered fatal injuries when an automated crane pinned him between the crane hook and dip tank load bars as it moved product to different tanks on an anodizing line. The employee was pronounced dead at the scene.

The agency's investigation found Crystal Finishing failed to:

  • Adequately guard machines to prevent workers from coming in contact with operating parts
  • Protect workers walking working surfaces
  • Provided adequate personal protective equipment
  • Train workers about hazardous chemicals in use at the facility

"A man died tragically, leaving his family, friends and co-workers to suffer an overwhelming loss," said Robert Bonack, OSHA's area director in Appleton. "Crystal Finishing must improve its safety and health programs and procedures to protect workers at all its Wisconsin facilities."

OSHA has proposed penalties of $171,169 for the violations.

RP Construction Sited After Another Idaho Worker Falls to his Death

Brandon Horine's first day at work removing shingles from a residential roof in Nampa was also his last. Without required fall protection equipment in place, the 42-year-old worker fell to the ground on September 12, 2016—suffering severe brain trauma that ended his life several days later.

Investigators with OSHA found Horine's employer, RP Construction failed to prevent the man's death by ensuring fall protection equipment was used. The agency also cited the Nampa-based contractor for not training new workers before roof tear-off and re-roofing activities took place. The worker's death, OSHA says, is the result of an all-too-common occurrence.

"The number of employers in Idaho's residential construction industry that consistently fail to protect their workers from falls hazards is very troubling," said David Kearns, OSHA's area director in Boise. "Brandon Horine's death is a tragic reminder of what happens when employers do nothing to protect their workers. Employers must stop gambling with workers' lives and change the way they operate before an OSHA inspection or before another worker dies needlessly."

Falls account for nearly 40 percent of all deaths in the construction industry, making falls the deadliest of all industry hazards. Sadly, falls are wholly preventable with proper safeguards. OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection be in use when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level.

In its determined effort to reduce preventable, fall-related deaths, the agency offers a Stop Falls online resource with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page provides fact sheets, posters and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.

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

New Paper on Chemicals in Children's Markers

The first paper from a collaborative study with the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been published. The team examined the potential for children to be exposed to volatile chemicals emitted during marker use, finding higher emissions from permanent and dry erase markers compared to highlighters and washable markers. The next phase of the study will be to evaluate potential health risks to children from estimated exposures.

The abstract of the paper is available here. To request a copy of the complete PDF of the publication, please email Leah Bumalay.

Shield Packaging Co. Inc. Worker Injured

An investigation by OSHA found a Dudley contract packager failed to inform the agency as required that a temporary worker needed hospitalization after he sustained a serious injury on May 26, 2016. Even worse, the employer failed to contact emergency medical services immediately when the injury occurred.

The temporary worker at Shield Packaging Co., Inc.—which fills, packages, and ships aerosol containers—was on a production line where a gas head injects chemicals into aerosol cans. The employee, who had not received sufficient training, was cleaning a gas head when the production line activated unexpectedly. The gas head needle pierced his finger and injected him with a propellant gas which inflated his arm.

Company managers did not call 911 or other emergency services personnel. The injured employee did call 911 but was taken in a private vehicle to a hospital for medical treatment before emergency services arrived. The man was hospitalized. OSHA requires employers to notify the agency within 24 hours whenever an employee is hospitalized.

"This delay in contacting and securing professional medical help exposed this worker and other employees to additional bodily harm or potential permanent and disabling injuries. At a minimum, Shield Packaging and other employers must have systems in place to ensure that 911 is called immediately after an employee suffers an injury that requires medical care to reduce the delay in receiving professional medical treatment," said Mary Hoye, OSHA's area director for central and western Massachusetts.

OSHA's Springfield Area Office subsequently learned of the incident through a complaint and began an inspection on June 6, 2016, at Shield Packaging. Soon after, inspectors expanded their investigation to include two temporary staffing agencies which supply about 86 of the 140 workers at Shield Packaging: ASI Staffing of Leominster and Southern Mass Staffing of Worcester.

The agency's inspection identified several new and recurring hazards at the plant that exposed workers to lacerations, amputation, hearing loss, hazardous chemicals, crushing and struck-by injuries and being unable to exit the plant safely in the event of an emergency.

Specifically, Shield Packaging also failed to:

  • Properly guard aerosol can crimping machinery against employee contact
  • Provide proper hearing protection and training to employees exposed to high noise levels
  • Provide employees with and ensure the use of face shields, gloves, and other protective equipment
  • Ensure that designated exit routes did not pass through high hazard areas
  • Develop and utilize procedures to prevent the unintended startup of machinery during maintenance and train employees about those procedures
  • Prevent the operation and use of defective powered industrial trucks
  • Provide employees with information and training about the hazardous chemicals in their workplace

As a result of these hazards, OSHA has cited Shield Packaging for 17 serious, repeat, and other than serious violations of workplace health and safety standards. Proposed penalties total $295,967. The repeat citations involve hazards similar to those cited during an OSHA inspection of the plant in 2013.

In addition, OSHA cited:

ASI Staffing for two serious violations for not providing required training to employees exposed to high noise levels and not providing effective training to employees about the hazardous chemicals in their work areas. Proposed penalties total $24,942.

Southern Mass Staffing, Inc., for two serious violations for not providing employees with hazardous energy control training and effective training about the hazardous chemicals in their work areas. Its proposed penalties total $17,460.

"Using temporary workers from staffing agencies does not exempt a host employer from its responsibility to comply with OSHA requirements. Nor are the staffing agencies exempt. Staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers," said Hoye. "Employers must not use temporary workers as a way to avoid meeting all their compliance obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act and other worker protection laws;"

Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning Fined After Worker Suffers Fall

An employee of Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning and General Contracting of Massachusetts, Inc., was injured when he fell 9 feet from a garage roof in Lexington on October 24, 2016. It was the second such incident in Massachusetts in less than a year for the New Jersey-based company that specializes in cleaning gutters and roofs. On November 29, 2015, another employee fell 26 feet from a roof in Newton.

An inspection by OSHA found that the employee working in Lexington atop a garage at 21 Adams St. lacked fall protection, as did his foreman who was exposed to a 21-foot fall from the roof of the adjacent house. As a result, OSHA has now cited Ned Stevens for a repeat violation of fall protection requirements and proposed $68,591 in fines for that violation. In March 2014, the agency cited the company for a similar hazard at a northern New Jersey worksite.

"This is a disturbing pattern—two falls, two incidents—in which this employer did not provide its employees with the proper and required safeguards. The seriousness of fall hazards cannot be understated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 10 workers in Massachusetts died in falls in 2014. While the workers in these two incidents were not killed, the threat of death or disabling injuries was real and present. Ned Stevens must act to protect its employees against this common but preventable hazard at all its jobsites," said Anthony Covello, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties.

In the Newton case, OSHA cited Ned Stevens in April 2016 for two violations, with $45,500 in fines, for failing to ensure the use of protective equipment when the workers went atop the roof and not guarding two skylights through which the workers could also have fallen. Those citations and penalties are currently under contest.

Violations at Mountaire Farms Inc. Led to Amputation

On December 2, 2016, OSHA issued citations to the company's Selbyville, Delaware, poultry processing facility for five serious safety violations, including one issued as a violation of the OSH Act's general duty clause. Two hazard alert letters were issued on December 2, 2016.

OSHA's inspection began on June 3, 2016, after the employer reported that a worker suffered a finger amputation while operating a packaging machine.

Inspectors found serious violations associated with electrical and process safety management hazards, and deficiencies with the procedures meant to prevent accidental machine start-up or movement, known as lockout/tagout, which contributed to the amputation. They also found that workers were exposed to musculoskeletal stressors as they performed tasks requiring repetitive, forceful motion for extended periods of time, and often in awkward positions.

The agency issued one hazard alert letter for medical management practices in place at the facility that prevent appropriate standards of care, increase the likelihood of workers developing serious musculoskeletal disorders, restrict referrals to physicians, and discourage employees from reporting symptoms and injuries.

The other hazard alert letter warned about the company's storage of incompatible chemicals.

"The combination of musculoskeletal stressors and inappropriate medical management practices at the Selbyville processing facility is harming workers, who are exposed to completely preventable injuries," said Erin Patterson, area director of OSHA's Wilmington office. "Musculoskeletal stressors remain prevalent in the poultry industry and employers must abate those hazards to protect the safety and health of their employees."

Proposed penalties total $39,762.

USPS Fined $178,156 for Repeatedly Exposing Workers to Multiple Hazards

On December 12, 2016, OSHA issued citations to the postal service for three repeat and two serious safety violations, including one issued as a violation of the OSH Act's general duty clause.

OSHA began the inspection on June 13, 2016, in response to a complaint alleging employee exposure to struck-by hazards at the Merrifield distribution center.

The repeat violations relate to the postal service allowing workers to operate powered industrial trucks without seatbelts, employees exposed to caught-between hazards, and powered industrial trucks used without being inspected. USPS was cited previously for similar violations in 2014 and 2015.

Struck-by hazards due to inadequate lighting, and the use of defective equipment, resulted in the serious violations.

"Thousands of workers are injured each year—some fatally—while operating powered industrial equipment. Employers like the USPS, whose workers move materials with powered industrial equipment, must that ensure workers are trained properly, loads are stable, and pathways are well lit and clear of obstructions to prevent injury," said Stanley Dutko Jr., director at OSHA's Norfolk Area Office. "It is every employer's legal responsibility to provide workers with a safe and healthful workplace."

Proposed penalties total $178,156.

Paterson's Star Laundry Fined $91,911 for Multiple Repeat Violations

On December 7, 2016, OSHA issued citations against Brite Services, Inc., doing business as Star Laundry, Inc., for seven repeat, two serious, and three other-than-serious violations.

OSHA opened an inspection July 6, 2016, after receiving a complaint alleging that employees were exposed to heat stress and being struck by motor vehicles when crossing the street in between two buildings in which the company operates.

Inspectors cited repeat violations for vehicular struck-by hazards, blocked fire extinguishers, unguarded machinery, and electrical hazards. The company was previously cited for similar violations in 2014. The serious violations reflected additional electrical hazards. Other-than-serious violations were issued for the lack of a hearing conservation program, an insufficient number of toilet rooms and no tepid water in the existing rest rooms.

"Star Laundry continues to needlessly leave its employees vulnerable to hazards that can cause serious injury or death," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. "Employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and healthful work environment for workers."

Proposed penalties total $91,911.

OSHA Renewed Initiative to Improve Worker Safety Culture in Colorado

OSHA's Denver and Englewood area offices and the CSA have renewed their 2012 alliance to reduce and prevent safety hazards in Colorado. Signed December 9, 2016, the renewal by the agency's area directors and the CSA's Executive Director Liz Couture and Board President Jere Zimmerman will provide the association's members and others with information, guidance, and access to training resources. The goal is to help protect the health and safety of workers and improve understanding of workers' rights and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The alliance has a four-year term.

"In collaboration with the Colorado Safety Association a leader in providing safety training, OSHA can help private industry, governmental bodies and small business employers train and protect their employees from preventable workplace injuries," said Herb Gibson, OSHA's area director in Denver. "Our alliance allows us to collaborate in making Colorado a safer place to work."

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith and community-based organizations, and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. For more information on OSHA partnerships and alliances, please call OSHA's toll-free hotline 800-321-OSHA (6742) or OSHA's Denver Area Office at 303-844-5285 or OSHA's Englewood Area Office at 303-843-4500.

Skanska Closner and MIOSHA Partner to Protect Workers During Construction of New Marquette Hospital

Skanska Closner and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) recently signed a formal partnership with the goal of zero worker injuries, accidents and near misses during the construction of the new hospital and medical office building in Marquette.

The new facility will replace UP Health System – Marquette with a 265-bed, 542,817 square-foot building equipped with diagnostic, therapeutic, patient care, administrative support, and operational support services, as well as a central power plant and mechanical, electrical, and telecommunications areas. The project will also include a more than 97,000-square-foot adjoining medical office building and parking structure. Construction began in June 2016 and is expected to be completed in October 2018.

“Partnering with the employer community is fundamental to preventing workplace hazards, which is why MIOSHA is pleased to form its first cooperative relationship with Skanska Closner on this exciting project,” said MIOSHA Construction Safety and Health Division Director Lawrence Hidalgo. “Together, we can better protect the health and safety of Michigan workers.”

Signing partners included Hidalgo; Gary Cooper, Skanska Closner senior vice president of operations; Tim Roman, U.P. Building and Construction Trades Council president and partnering subcontractors.

The partnership outlines a clear safety objective and provides analytics to help all parties improve their safety awareness with the ultimate goal of zero recordable injuries and ensuring everyone returns home in the same condition they came to work in.

The safety of the construction project’s employees is fundamental to this partnership with MIOSHA. The leadership of Skanska Closner, partnering contractors and MIOSHA are aligned and committed to achieving the objective of worker protection by providing a workplace with an effective safety management system that is hazard-free. All partners agree to commit their leadership, time, and resources to achieve this valuable goal.

The partnership does not preclude MIOSHA from enforcing its mission of addressing complaints, fatalities, or serious accidents, nor does it infringe on the rights of employees to report workplace hazards.

Continuous Improvement & Making Safety Simpler Is Topic at CONN-OSHA Roundtable

Continuous improvement principles and applying them to enhance a company’s approach to workplace safety is the topic of a December 20 Breakfast Roundtable Discussion Group meeting sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA).

Making Safety Simpler – Using Continuous Improvement Principles to Enhance Your Safety Approach will be discussed by Peter Susca, principal owner of OpX Safety of Wethersfield. The 8:15 to 9:45 a.m. roundtable discussion will be held at the agency’s Central Office, 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield. Susca will discuss ways to make safety more practical, visual, and sustainable in an organization.

“For many of us in the safety profession, there are times when we question why our safety actions don’t always seem to ‘stick’ in certain situations,” notes John Able, CONN-OSHA Occupational Safety Training Specialist and roundtable project coordinator. “Unfortunately, we may be part of the problem if our safety approaches—including the rules, procedures, and controls we use—do not fit well with the operational reality of the organization.”

Admission to the roundtable is free, but pre-registration is required. Please contact John Able at to register, or for additional information.

OSHA Finds More Than a Dozen Repeated, Serious Violations; Proposes $138K in Fines

A federal workplace safety inspection—that occurred only after a federal court ordered an El Dorado Springs, Missouri, sheet metal manufacturer to allow inspectors to respond to complaints of unsafe working conditions and employee injuries—led to the discovery of more than a dozen repeated and serious violations and an assessment of $138,430 in proposed fines.

With a warrant in hand from the U.S. District Court in Missouri, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors arrived at Hammond Sheet Metal, which operates at Barrington Manufacturing Corporation, and soon found one repeated and 15 serious safety and health violations. A review of injury logs also found numerous workers had suffered lacerations to the hands and wrists as alleged in the complaint. The inspection began on July 7, 2016.

"Employers have a legal responsibility to provide safe working conditions and allow OSHA to investigate complaints when safety is overlooked," said Karena Lorek, OSHA's acting area director in Kansas City. "Barrington Manufacturing must make immediate changes to its safety and health programs to ensure workers are protected from injuries and illnesses in its facility."

The agency also found Barrington failed to:

  • Evaluate the workplace for hazards
  • Ensure workers used eye and face protection and other personal protective equipment as necessary
  • Train workers on the hazardous chemicals used in the facility, proper handling and safety precautions
  • Install adequate machine guarding
  • Develop energy control procedures which include training workers and conducting periodic inspections of machine safety procedures
  • Keep spraying areas free from accumulation of combustible residues
  • Locate spark producing equipment at least 20 feet from the spray area
  • Remove damaged powered industrial trucks from service
  • Keep chromium from accumulating on surfaces

View current citations here.

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