OSHA PROPOSES $58,900 PENALTY AGAINST KOEHLER BAKERY CO. INC.

February 08, 2001

OSHA has cited Koehler Bakery Co. Inc., in North Little Rock, Ark., with alleged safety and health violations and proposed penalties totaling $58,900, announced the U.S. Department of Labor.

The alleged violations resulted from a follow-up inspection that began Sept. 14, 2000. The company was cited for three alleged serious violations, which consisted of failing to provide covers for floor holes, failing to guard live electrical parts and failing to provide proper electrical wiring for equipment. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result. The penalties totaled $3,900.

Additionally, the company was cited for failing to abate (correct) safety violations cited in a previous inspection that was conducted on January 27, 1999. The violations included improper machine guarding and failing to properly identify electrical circuits. The penalties for failing to abate the previous violations totaled $55,000.

Koehler employs about 40 workers at its Warden Road facility in North Little Rock.

Koehler has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Little Rock area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


OSHA REVISES RECORDKEEPING REGULATIONS

OSHA published a final rule in January that revises the system employers use to track and record workplace injuries and illnesses. The final rule becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2002 and will affect approximately 1.3 million establishments. Until the new rule becomes effective, you must adhere to the requirements of the original rule. Like the former rule, employers with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from most requirements of the new rule, as are a number of industries classified as low-hazard: retail, service, finance, insurance and real estate sectors. The new rule updates the list of exempted industries to reflect recent industry data. All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act must continue to report any workplace incident resulting in a fatality or the hospitalization of three or more employees.

The revised rule includes a provision for recording needlestick and sharps injuries that is consistent with recently-passed legislation requiring OSHA to revise its bloodborne pathogens standard to address such injuries. This provision is expected to result in a significant increase in recordable cases annually. The recordkeeping rule also conforms with OSHA's ergonomics standard published last November. It simplifies the manner in which employers record musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), replacing a cumbersome system in which MSDs were recorded using criteria different from those for other injuries or illnesses. The revised forms have a separate column for recording MSDs, which will improve the compilation of national data on these disorders.

One of the least understood concepts of recordkeeping has been restricted work; the new rule clarifies the definition of restricted work or light duty and makes it easier to record those cases. Work-related injuries are also better defined to ensure the recordkeeping process, providing workers and their representatives access to the information on recordkeeping forms and increasing awareness of potential hazards in the workplace. Privacy concerns of employees have also been addressed; the former rule had no privacy protections covering the log used to record work-related injuries and illnesses.

The new rule updates three recordkeeping forms:

  • OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses);simplified and printed on smaller legal sized paper.
  • OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report); includes more data about how the injury or illness occurred.
  • OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses); a separate form updated to make it easier to calculate incidence rates.

Other significant changes in the rule include:

  • Requires records to include any work-related injury or illness resulting in one of the following: death; days away from work; restricted work or transfer to another job; medical treatment beyond first aid; loss of consciousness; or diagnosis of a significant injury/illness by a physician or other licensed health care professional.
  • Includes new definitions of medical treatment, first aid, and restricted work to simplify recording decisions.
  • Requires a significant degree of aggravation before a pre-existing injury or illness becomes recordable.
  • Clarifies the recording of "light duty" or restricted workcases.
  • Requires employers to record cases when the injured or ill employee is restricted from their "normal duties" which are defined as work activities the employee regularly performs at least once weekly.
  • Provides a separate column on the OSHA Form 300 to capture statistics on hearing loss.
  • Applies the same recording criteria to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) as to all other injuries or illnesses. Employer retains flexibility to determine whether an event or exposure in the work environment caused or contributed to the MSD. Forms include columns dedicated to MSD cases.
  • Includes separate provisions describing the recording criteria for cases involving the work-related transmission of tuberculosis or medical removal under OSHA standards.
  • Eliminates the term "lost workdays" and focuses on days away or days restricted or transferred. Also includes new rules for counting that rely on calendar days instead of workdays.
  • Requires employers to establish a procedure for employees to report injuries and illnesses and tell their employees how to report. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who do report. For the first time, employee representatives will have access to those parts of the OSHA 301 form relevant to the employees they represent.
  • Protects employees privacy by: prohibiting employers from entering an individual's name on Form 300 for certain types of injuries/illnesses (e.g., sexual assaults, HIV infections, mental illness, etc.); providing employers the right not to describe the nature of sensitive injuries where the employee's identity would be known; giving employee representatives access only to the portion of Form 301 which contains no personal identifiers; and requiring employers to remove employees' names before providing the data to persons not provided access rights under the rule.
  • Requires the annual summary to be posted for three months instead of one. Requires certification of the summary by a company executive.
  • Changes the reporting of fatalities and catastrophes to exclude some motor carrier and motor vehicle accidents.

For more information, visit http://www.osha-slc.gov/recordkeeping/index.html.


WORKPLACE INJURIES AT RECORD LOW IN CALIFORNIA

Job-related nonfatal injury/illness rates in 1999 continued to decrease, reaching a record low of 6.3 workers injured out of every 100, reports the California Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Labor Statistics and Research. This is the lowest rate since collection of workplace injury and illness statistics began in 1971.

The injury/illness rate decreased from 6.7 per 100 workers in 1998 to 6.3 in 1999, while employment increased 3 percent.

The greatest declines in job-related injuries were in agriculture and construction: injuries and illnesses declined by one per 100 agriculture employees and 0.7 per 100 construction employees. This decrease is due in large part to the Cal/OSHA inspection programs targeting agriculture and construction. The programs are designed to decrease the number of injuries suffered by employees working for general building contractors and for farms producing crops.

"Targeting employers in the highest-hazard industries such as construction and agriculture has proved that employers with workplaces containing the highest proportions of fatalities, injuries, illness and workers' compensation losses often benefit the most from Cal/OSHA's assistance," said Stephen J. Smith, director of the Department of Industrial Relations.

The Cal/OSHA Consultation Service also has assisted employers in providing a safe work environment. The consultation service works cooperatively with industry and labor to improve safety and health conditions in workplaces by offering on-site assistance, participation in safety seminars and incentives for employers who improve safety and health at their worksites.

Of the eight major industries only one - finance, insurance and real estate - recorded an increase in injuries and illnesses, up from 2.7 per 100 workers to 3.1. However, the number of lost workdays due to injuries and illnesses declined from 3.3 to 3.1 days per incidence.

Of the nonfatal occupational illnesses reported, 56 percent were disorders associated with repeated trauma, which is a workplace ergonomics issue.

The workplace injury/illness rate is a statistic that counts nonfatal accidents and exposures caused on the job. For copies of statistical tables for the 1999 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in California, visit the department's Web site at http://www.dir.ca.gov/DLSR/NonFatal1999Index.html.


OSHA PUBLISHES ECATs ON WEB SITE

OSHA has developed several "eCATs," which are electronic Compliance Assistance Tools, for ergonomics. The eCATs provide guidance information for developing a comprehensive safety and health program. Therefore, they include recommendations for good industry practice which may go beyond specific OSHA mandates. The eCATs do not create new OSHA requirements. The examples and solutions presented in eCATs do not ensure compliance with the OSHA Ergonomic Standard, because the standard requires a two-part action trigger to be met before action is taken and a Job Safety Analysis before control solutions are identified. They can, however, be used as tools to get you on the road to compliance with the standard. ECATs are currently available for respiratory protection, computer work stations, baggage handling, beverage delivery, construction, grocery warehousing, logging, safety and health management systems, scaffolding, sewing and silica operations.

For more information on OSHAÆs eCATs, see http://www.osha-slc.gov/dts/osta/oshasoft/ecats.html.