OSHA is seeking public comment for 30 days on Oregon State standards for fall protection, forest activities (logging), and steel erection. The amended State standards differ from the corresponding Federal OSHA standards.
OSHA's review and approval process for changes to state occupational safety and health standards requires public comment if a state standard differs significantly from the comparable federal standard, and if OSHA needs more information on whether the standard meets its requirements. A state standard must be "at least as effective" as the federal standard. If applicable to a product in interstate commerce, the standard must also be required by local conditions and not unduly burden commerce.
The state of Oregon operates an OSHA-approved state plan administered by the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OR-OSHA) of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. OR-OSHA standards are fully enforceable upon adoption and prior to Federal review and approval. Significant differences in the three standards include:
- Forest Industries - Oregon's forest industries requirements are more extensive than the federal logging requirements and were developed to address the differences in western-style logging.
- Steel Erection - Federal OSHA generally requires fall protection at 15 feet and at 30 feet in some cases. Oregon's amended standard parallels the Federal fall protection levels. It contains additional requirements, including a written site-specific erection plan, use of tag lines to control loads, and protection with covers or guardrails of large roof and floor openings that can't be decked over.
- Fall Protection - Oregon's fall protection rules have a higher overall height requirement, but the state does not allow as many alternatives and exceptions as the Federal standard and residential construction compliance policy.
A detailed description of the Oregon State standards and opportunity for public comment was published in the Aug. 9, 2004 Federal Register.
OSHA Issues Final Rule on Respiratory Protection
OSHA announced an addition to the approved fit- testing protocol in its Respiratory Protection Standard. The revision adds a new quantitative fit-testing procedure to assist workers and employers in the proper fit and selection of respirators.
The new fit-testing protocol, referred to as the Controlled Negative Pressure (CNP) REDON protocol, requires three different test exercises followed by two redonnings of the respirator. The three test exercises, listed in order of administration, are normal breathing, bending over, and head shaking.
The procedures for administering the new CNP REDON protocol, with three test exercises and the two respirator donnings to an employee, and for measuring respirator leakage during each test, are summarized below:
- Facing forward. In a normal standing position, without talking, breathe normally for 30 seconds; then, while facing forward, hold breath for 10 seconds during sampling.
- Bending over. Bend at waist for 30 seconds and hold breath for 10 seconds during sampling.
- Head shaking. Shake head back and forth vigorously several times while shouting for approximately three seconds and, while facing forward, hold breath for 10 seconds during sampling.
- First redonning. Remove respirator, loosen all face-piece straps, and then redon the respirator mask; after redonning the mask, face forward and hold breath for 10 seconds during sampling
- Second redonning. Remove respirator, loosen all face piece straps, and then redon the respirator mask again; after redonning the mask, face forward and hold breath for 10 seconds during sampling.
Complete details of the new respiratory protection fit-testing requirements and the notice of the final rule were published in the August 4, 2004 Federal Register.
OSHA Penalty Reductions for Small Business
OSHA considers the size of the employer, among other factors when determining the penalty to be proposed for any violation. The Agency has always had detailed procedures in place for making this determination; they are currently embodied in Chapter IV of the Field Inspection Reference Manual (FIRM; OSHA Instruction CPL 2.103), which is conveyed to and followed by all compliance staff.
The FIRM provides that proposed penalties will be reduced by the following percentages in considering employer size:
- 60% penalty reduction may be applied if an employer has 25 employees or fewer;
- 40% if the employer has 26-100 employees; and
- 20% if the employer has 101-250 employees.
OSHA Penalty Records
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OSHA has a page on its website that will help you answer these and other enforcement questions. For details, see http://www.osha.gov/oshstats/
OSHA Cites Daytona International Speedway
OSHA has cited the Daytona International Speedway, LLC, for alleged violations of safety standards following the agency's investigation of a worker fatality on Feb. 8, 2004, at the Daytona racetrack.
OSHA issued one serious citation to the company with four alleged violations. Proposed penalties total $11,175. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
OSHA began its investigation after a speedway worker was struck and killed by a racecar while he was gathering debris from the racetrack. The investigation found that the company failed to enforce industry-recognized safety protocols for entering the track during a race, as outlined in the National Fire Protection Association Handbook. The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is $6,300.
Proposed penalties for other alleged violations included in this citation, but not directly related to the accident, total $4,875.
The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Electrical Contractor Faces $52,000 in OSHA Fines
A Pembroke, Mass., electrical contractor faces $52,000 in fines from OSHA following an April 28, 2004 accident in which a worker lost parts of both arms.
Employees of Amber Electrical Company Inc. were installing electric cables at the Hingham Mall when one worker became caught in a motorized cable-pulling machine. OSHA's inspection found that the cable puller's on/off switch was broken and inoperable.
"The broken on/off switch prevented a swift shutdown of the machine at a time when every second counted," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. "Had the switch been in working order, this accident could have been prevented or, at the very least, its severity lessened."
As a result, OSHA has issued a willful citation to Amber Electric for the broken and inoperable on/off switch and proposed a $28,000 fine. 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 inspection also found that the workers had not been adequately trained to recognize, avoid and prevent hazardous conditions, the work area lacked adequate lighting and there was no competent person to regularly inspect the jobsite to ensure that tools and equipment were in proper working order. A competent person is one with both the knowledge to identify hazards and the authority to correct them.
For these conditions, Amber Electric was issued three serious citations with $21,000 in fines.
For failing to maintain a workplace illness and injury log for the past three years, the company was fined an additional $3,000 and issued an other than serious citation. An other-than-serious violation is a condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
Amber Electric has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Pesticide Manufacturer Cited for Hazardous Work Conditions
OSHA has cited HPI Products Inc. for failing to protect workers from health and safety hazards at its Damascus, Ga., plant. The agency is proposing $69,200 in penalties against the pesticide manufacturer.
"Employees at this facility were exposed to hazards that can lead to falls, amputations and electrocutions," said John Deifer, OSHA's Savannah area director. "The citations and proposed penalties in this case should send a strong message that such conditions will not be tolerated."
OSHA issued six repeat citations to the company, with proposed penalties of $31,200, for failing to assess workplace health hazards; not providing employees with personal protective equipment, such as gloves and coveralls; and failure to have a written respirator protection program, including medical evaluations and fit-testing for employees required to wear respirators in areas containing high concentrations of pesticide dust.
The agency also issued 20 serious citations, with proposed penalties of $38,000, for exposing workers to fall hazards from unguarded open-sided floors, tanks and stairways; failure to provide electrical and machine guards to protect workers from burns, shocks and "caught-by" injuries; and failure to have a lockout-tagout program that would render equipment, such as augers and feed hoppers, inoperable during maintenance and repair.
OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The company has 15 working days to contest the latest OSHA citations and proposed penalty before the Commission.
OSHA Fines Company $137,500 For Federal Workplace Safety Violations
Field Container Company, L.P., headquartered in Elk Grove Village, Ill., is facing proposed penalties of $137,500 following an investigation into alleged workplace safety violations at its Marseilles, Ill., facility.
Field Container Company received citations for alleged serious and willful violations of federal workplace safety standards. Alleged serious violations included deficiencies related to the storage of flammable liquids and an inadequate flammable liquid storage room, as well as failing to train workers in hazard communication. Alleged willful violations address improper electrical wiring and equipment, and inadequate ventilation.
OSHA initiated its investigation of the Marseilles plant following receipt of a formal complaint. Field Container Company employs more than 2,000 workers at 13 plants nationwide, including more than 100 in Marseilles, Ill.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA Issues Alert on the Dangers Associated with Cleanup and Recovery from Hurricanes
OSHA urged employers and workers to take appropriate safety measures to avoid injury and illnesses associated with the recovery and cleanup efforts following hurricanes.
The potential for fatal accidents involving electrocution from power lines, as well as serious injuries associated with tree trimming, have prompted the agency to remind employers, workers and the public to ensure that they observe appropriate safety and health precautions while performing cleanup and utility restoration operations. This includes coordinating with control centers responsible for power circuits so that workers do not enter areas where there are live wires.
"The hurricane season is now upon us," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw, "and it's important to remember that even when the storm has past, the dangers are not-particularly for workers restoring power lines, cutting down tree limbs, and doing other cleanup and recovery work. This kind of work is hazardous and accidents can cost lives."
Information on avoiding hazards and safely cleaning up after a hurricane is available from OSHA to help workers who are involved in recovery and restoration efforts. Three fact sheets-Cleanup Hazards, Food Cleanup, and Fungi-are available on OSHA's web site at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/toc_fact.html. A Safety and Health Information Bulletin on mold safety and remediation is also available.
- Cleanup Hazards gives people involved in cleanup operations tips on avoiding injuries and health hazards, such as how to avoid electrical hazards and fires, and suggestions on clothing and personal protective equipments to where while cleaning up.
- Flood Cleanup discusses the hazards contained in floodwater, how to protect against contamination or disease from exposure to floodwater, and what to do if symptoms of illness develop after exposure to floodwater.
- Fungi contains information on fungal diseases and conditions that can develop after floods, tips on protecting workers against exposure, and suggestions on what to do if symptoms develop after potential exposures.
- Mold Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB) offers recommendations on how to prevent mold growth and how to protect workers involved in the prevention and cleanup of mold.