Occupational Safety and Health Accident Reporting Expanded in Alaska

May 30, 2016

On May 17, 2016, Governor Walker signed Senate Bill 148 into law. The legislation brings Alaska’s workplace accident reporting requirements in line with federal standards by requiring notice within 8 hours of an employer becoming aware of an incident involving the loss of an eye or an amputation. The new law has an immediate effective date.

Alaska’s workplace accident reporting requirements now require reporting within 8 hours of an employer becoming aware of the following incidents:

  • A fatality of one or more employees
  • Overnight hospitalization of one or more employees
  • Loss of an eye
  • Amputation of a body part

“This new law will improve workplace safety in Alaska by ensuring timely investigations can be conducted to identify the causes of accidents and how to avoid future occurrences,” said Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas.

Employers may report accidents in person or by telephone to Alaska Occupational Safety and Health offices in Anchorage, Juneau, or Fairbanks or by calling 1-800-770-4940 or 1-800-321-6742 (evenings, weekends and holidays).

Baltimore RCRA, DOT, and IATA Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Baltimore, MD, on June 7–9 and save $100. Ensure you have the training you need to ship dangerous goods by air at Transportation of Dangerous Goods: Compliance with IATA Regulations on June 10. To register for these courses click here or call 800-537-2372.

Chattanooga RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Chattanooga, TN, on June 14–16 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Dayton RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Dayton, OH, on June 27–29 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)

OSHA has issued a final rule revising its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, safety data sheet (formerly called “material safety data sheet” or MSDS), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard. Worker training must be updated so that workers can recognize and understand the symbols and pictograms on the new labels as well as the new hazard statements and precautions on 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 webcast on How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS) on July 13.

Cal/OSHA Cites Agricultural Firm After Explosion Kills Worker, Burns Resident and Home

Cal/OSHA has cited Big & Deep Ag Development Company for serious safety violations following an investigation into a November 13, 2015, explosion in Bakersfield that killed a bulldozer operator and destroyed a nearby residence, resulting in injuries to the occupants including serious burns and smoke inhalation.

Big & Deep had been hired to prepare land near Wible Road for planting almond trees, an activity known as “soil ripping.” In this case, the field was being ripped to a depth of 5.5 feet. PG&E had previously placed flags in the ground to identify an underground high-pressure pipeline in the area in response to Big & Deep alerting the utility to the planned dig.

Cal/OSHA’s inspectors found that Big & Deep, also known as Jeff Alexander Farming, had not trained the bulldozer operator on the hazards of underground utilities or warned him about the location of a natural gas pipeline near the area he was working. During soil ripping operations, the bulldozer's attached shank pierced the "high priority" pipeline resulting in ignition of natural gas under pressure.

“Employers are required to train workers to recognize and avoid hazards that could endanger their lives,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Big & Deep Ag Development was aware of the pipeline’s location and failed to protect their employee and nearby residents from the danger.”

Cal/OSHA issued a total of three workplace safety citations to Big & Deep Ag Development Company, with proposed penalties of $40,250. Two of the citations are serious, with one being serious and accident-related. These involved Big & Deep’s failure to train the bulldozer operator, or to correct unsafe workplace conditions. This employer had pierced the same gas line on a different piece of property in October 2014. That incident did not result in any injuries. A third citation, classified as willful, was issued because the permit to conduct this work had expired.

A serious violation is cited when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazardous condition. A willful violation is cited when the employer is aware of the law and violates it nevertheless, or when the employer is aware of the hazardous condition and takes no reasonable steps to address it.

Best Choice Plumbing Worker Fatally Struck by Car Due to Lack of Work Zone

Had his employer properly created a work zone, a passing car on Philadelphia's 63rd Street might not have struck and killed a 27-year-old plumber working to repair an underground leak on a mid-November night in 2015.

Employed by Best Choice Plumbing, Inc., Robert Harvey died after a vehicle whose driver could not see him hit him as he worked in the middle of the street. An investigation by OSHA of the incident identified 10 serious violations. OSHA found the company failed to:

  • Develop and implement a traffic control program to address, recognize, evaluate and control traffic hazards.
  • Ensure that a competent person implemented and inspected the traffic control plan.
  • Instruct employees in recognizing, eliminating or controlling hazards in an active roadway.
  • Provide advanced warning to drivers, and other road users that work was underway.
  • Designate flagmen to control traffic on the adjacent shoulder or in a barricaded lane.

"Best Choice Plumbing could have prevented this tragic incident by developing a proper traffic control plan that included signs, cones, barrels and barriers. Drivers, workers on foot and pedestrians must be able to see and understand the proper routes," said Nicholas DeJesse, director of OSHA's Philadelphia area office. "Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers from safety hazards, and will be held accountable when they fail to do so."

OSHA has fined the company $42,960 for the hazards, which has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employee at The Timken Company Loses Part of Finger in Unguarded Machine

OSHA issued one repeated safety violation to The Timken Company, a bearing and power transmission manufacturer. Inspectors from OSHA's Toledo office opened an inspection after the company reported a 42-year-old worker was injured when he was troubleshooting equipment.

Investigators found the March 15, 2016, injury occurred as the employee reached for a part on a conveyor and his finger was pinched as an unguarded moving part lowered. The employee sustained abrasion injuries and subsequently the amputation to the end of the left ring finger. Investigators determined the moving part was not guarded.

OSHA has cited Timken twice in the previous five years for machine-guarding violations. The company employs about 285 workers at the Bucyrus site, which makes bearings for a variety of industries.

"The Timken Company's repeated failure to protect workers from operating machine parts by installing guards is unacceptable," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "Last year, 759 Ohio workers suffered preventable amputation injuries."

Proposed penalties total $70,000.

Joint Employee of Tootsie Roll Subsidiary and MJR Management Lacked Adequate Training, Suffers Amputation

A candy-wrapping machine surgically amputated part of a temporary worker's left index finger at a subsidiary of Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc., of Chicago on January 6, 2016, an incident that his employer might have prevented by meeting federal safety and health standards.

MJR, a Boston staffing company that does business as Snelling Staffing Services, supplied the worker to Cambridge Brands, Inc.'s, production facility at 810 Main St., in Cambridge.

OSHA began an inspection on February 2, 2016, soon after learning of the injury. OSHA's inspection found that:

  • Cambridge Brands failed to guard moving parts of the candy-wrapping machine against unintended contact, exposing workers to possible broken bones, soft tissue damage, and amputation
  • Neither Cambridge Brands nor MJR trained the worker adequately about mechanical and noise hazards and safeguards
  • Cambridge Brands did not certify that it had performed periodic inspections of its energy control procedures to prevent the unintended startup of machinery during servicing and maintenance
  • Cambridge Brands failed to report the amputation to OSHA within 24 hours, as required

"This was a joint employment situation in which MJR supplied and paid the worker and Cambridge Brands, as host employer, supervised and dictated temporary employees' work. Both employers had a responsibility to adequately train temporary workers about hazards and safeguards associated with their work duties and both failed to do so," said Anthony Covello, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties. "We found that the temporary workers did not receive the same level of training as permanent employees at Cambridge Brands. Adequate and effective training is essential so employees can identify and avoid work-related hazards and injuries."

As a result of its findings, OSHA cited Cambridge Brands for two repeat, three serious and one other than serious violations and MJR Management for two serious violations of workplace safety standards. The repeat violations to Cambridge Brands stem from OSHA's citing Tootsie Roll Industries in 2010 and 2014 for similar machine-guarding hazards at its Chicago location.

Cambridge Brands faces a total of $46,000 in proposed penalties while MJR Management faces $9,000 in penalties. The citations can be viewed here and here.

"Neither employer informed OSHA of the worker's injury. We remind employers that OSHA's reporting requirements for employers were strengthened beginning in January 2015. Employers are now required to report to OSHA within 24 hours any workplace incident that results in the in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye of one or more employees," said Covello.

OSHA Schedules Meeting of National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health

OSHA will hold a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, June 14–15, 2016, in Washington, D.C. The NACOSH Injury and Illness Prevention Program Work Group will meet June 14 and the full committee will meet June 15.

The tentative agenda for the committee meeting includes: an update on OSHA initiatives from Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels; remarks from Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. John Howard; an update on OSHA's major regulatory activities; and reports from the NACOSH Emergency Response and Preparedness Subcommittee and NACOSH Injury and Illness Prevention Program Work Group.

The work group meeting will address workplace safety and health issues regarding contractors at multi-employer worksites, including workplace protections and best practices as part of injury and illness prevention programs. The work group will also discuss efforts to promote the occupational safety and health profession.

NACOSH will meet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 15, in Surface Transportation Board Hearing Room 120C, Patriots Plaza I, 395 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024. Some committee members may attend by teleconference. The work group will meet from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., June 14 in the same room. Both meetings are open to the public. Comments and requests to speak at the NACOSH meeting 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. The deadline for submitting comments and requests to speak is June 3, 2016.

NACOSH advises, consults with and makes recommendations to the secretaries of labor and health and human services on matters relating to the Occupational Safety and Health Act including regulatory, research, compliance assistance, and enforcement issues.

Gun Shop Fined $194,400 for Lead and Respiratory Violations

Federal safety and health investigators found that employees of an Ohio gun shop may face life-long health damage because their employer continues to expose them to lead hazards and has failed to establish a respiratory protection program.

On May 24, OSHA placed Pro Armament Company, LLC, in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program after the company failed to correct serious violations identified in a November 2014 inspection. The agency issued two failure to abate and six serious safety and health violations to the company, which faces total proposed penalties of $194,400.

"Failing to correct conditions that cause serious health hazards is unacceptable," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "Eliminating exposure where possible, using engineering controls and personal protective equipment such as respirators and protective clothing, as well as properly cleaning lead dust can limit worker exposure and prevent workers from bringing contamination home to their families, especially young children."

OSHA's November 2015 follow-up inspection found that Pro Armament:

  • Overexposed workers to lead
  • Did not monitor workers' exposure to lead
  • Failed to train workers on respiratory and lead hazards
  • Failed to provide protective clothing such as shoe covers
  • Did not provide clean changing rooms or require employees to shower at the end of a work shift to prevent lead contamination
  • Lacked housekeeping procedures to remove lead from surfaces such as cash registers and tables

Pro Armament is a gun range and shop that sells firearms and accessories and also provides instructional classes.

US Chutes Inc. Fined for Repeat Violations

After OSHA cited and fined U.S. Chutes, Inc.'s, Bantam, Connecticut, plant $94,428 for repeated and serious safety violations in January 2015, the manufacturer of galvanized chutes for laundry and trash conveyors asked for time to correct the hazards completely.

After the company failed to submit verification of the hazards' corrections, OSHA's Hartford Area Office opened a follow-up inspection and, as a result, U.S. Chutes now faces an additional $422,680 in federal penalties for uncorrected, repeat and new workplace safety hazards.

"U.S. Chutes' ongoing refusal to correct serious conditions that can sicken or injure its employees must stop. Every day it fails to correct hazards, it needlessly places its workers at risk of crushing and amputation injuries, dangerous chemical exposure, eye injuries, electric shock and exposure to a cancer-causing substance," said Warren Simpson, OSHA's area director in Hartford.

The uncorrected hazards encompass the company's continuing failure to:

  • Properly guard and inspect mechanical power presses
  • Update its respiratory protection program
  • Provide medical evaluations for employees required to wear respirators
  • Conduct monitoring to determine employees' exposure to hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen
  • Provide chemical hazard communication training chemical safety data sheets for employees
  • Provide a certified hazard assessment for each job task
  • Correctly use and install electrical equipment

The recurring hazards included not fit-testing employees' respirators; blocked access to electrical panels; and unsecured compressed gas cylinders. New hazards involve lack of an emergency eyewash station; an eyewash station installed immediately below energized light switches; and inadequate insulation on a power cord.

These conditions led OSHA to cite U.S. Chutes on May 9, 2016, for 10 instances of failing to abate previously cited hazards as well as three repeat and three serious violations of workplace safety and health standards.

CVS Faces $88,000 Fine for Blocked Exits at Multiple New York Stores

Responding to complaints, inspectors from OSHA found access to emergency exits at two New Rochelle CVS stores blocked by merchandise, boxes, and other objects. As a result, OSHA is citing the retailer for two repeated violations of workplace safety standards and proposing a total of $88,000 in fines.

"Blocked or obstructed exits are dangerous. They can prevent workers from leaving their store swiftly and safely in a fire or other emergency. This is an easily preventable hazard that we encounter all too frequently in retail stores," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's area director in Tarrytown.

In New Rochelle, the exit door in the receiving and stock room at the 16 Weyman Ave. store was blocked by containers of merchandise, boxes, and carts and the exit route was obstructed by boxes and crates stored in aisles; the stock room exit route at the 625 North Ave. store was blocked by boxes and totes filled with merchandise. Between 2010 and 2016, OSHA had cited CVS stores in Brooklyn, Garden City, Ozone Park and Troy, New York, and Bridgeport and Orange, Connecticut, for similar hazards.

"Particularly disturbing is the recurring nature of this hazard. This is not the first time OSHA has cited CVS stores for obstructed exit routes, but it should be the last. CVS needs to take effective action to eliminate and prevent this hazard at all its locations for the safety and well-being of its employees," said Cortez.

Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based CVS Health is the largest pharmacy health care provider in the U.S., with 9,600 pharmacy stores and more than 243,000 employees in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Payton Roofing Fined $53,900 for Exposing Workers to Dangerous Falls, Other Hazards

Inspectors with OSHA issued citations to Payton Roofing for three repeated and four serious safety violations after visiting two work sites, at a residential apartment complex, where employees were removing and installing roofing materials without fall protection. This inspection fell under OSHA's Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction.

The repeated citations were issued for the employer's failure to protect employees from fall hazards while working from heights up to 18 feet, at two separate worksites, and not providing workers training to recognize the hazards of falling and procedures to follow. OSHA cited the company for the same violations in October 2015 at a work site in Plantation, Florida.

The serious violations involve exposing workers to falls up to 12 feet due to unguarded holes in the floor, and allowing employees to use the same anchorage system that is intended for one person.

Proposed penalties total $53,900.

"Payton Roofing continues to expose its workers to previously cited and easily correctable hazards," said Condell Eastmond, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale. "Falls are a leading cause of death in the construction industry, and OSHA is committed to doing what it can to ensure all workers are protected."

Midwest Grain & Barge Co. Exposed Workers to Grain-Handling Hazards

OSHA’s St. Louis Area Office cited Midwest Grain & Barge Company, Inc., for 11 serious and two other-than-serious violations. The citations are the result of a March 2016 investigation initiated after OSHA received a complaint alleging workers were exposed to multiple grain-handling hazards.

The inspectors found:

  • Lack of confined space entry procedures for grain bins including testing the atmosphere, issuing permits, monitoring workers, and training
  • Equipment was not powered down or locked out to prevent unintentional operation prior to workers entering grain bins
  • Workers were not trained at least annually on safe grain handling procedures
  • Equipment and training were not provided for grain rescue operations
  • Workers were exposed to fall hazards from floor openings, platforms lacking guardrails, and open-sided work platforms
  • Workers were not trained about hazardous chemicals in use in the facility or safe handling of such products
  • Personal protective equipment needs were not evaluated
  • Store rooms, service rooms, and passage ways were not kept clean and orderly

“Grain handling can be a hazardous operation. The ever-present risks of suffocation, amputation, being crushed, falling or explosion can dangerous and, in worst cases, deadly. OSHA’s grain-handling standards address the hazards found in grain bins. These common sense safety standards exist to protect workers on the job in this hazardous industry. It’s up to employers to do the right thing and follow them,” said Bill McDonald, OSHA’s area director in St. Louis.

First Missouri Terminals, Inc., is based in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Proposed penalties total $42,000.

Atlas Die LLC Recertified in Safety Achievement Program

Atlas Die LLC, of Elkhart, Indiana, was recertified as an Indiana Safety and Health Recognition Program (INSHARP) site. INSHARP sites are leaders in workplace safety and health and are recognized for their success in proactively protecting Hoosier workers. Atlas Die’s location on Middlebury Street in Elkhart is the only INSHARP site in Elkhart County.

Atlas Die, LLC, in business since 1952, manufactures cutting tools that include steel rule dies, rotary dies, and accessories. The company has 7 locations in the U.S. and employs a total of 174 employees company-wide, 24 located at the Middlebury Street location.

“Employees deserve a safe and healthy work environment. Atlas Die, LLC, reciprocates the dedication of its staff by prioritizing wellbeing and making sure employees go home safe and sound every day,” said Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Rick J. Ruble.

Managers and employees of Atlas Die actively maintain safety and health programs including routine inspections, self-audits, facility-specific hazard training, and a newly implemented behavior based program. The Middlebury Street facility recorded only one injury in 2015 and currently has a Total Recordable Case (TRC) rate of 3.7 for the past three years, which sits below the national industry average.

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