June 28, 2001

The National Safety Council, with the support of UPS, has named June 24-30 Workplace Safety Week. The month of June is designated National Safety Month. Other weeks focus on home and community, environment and public health, and teen driving. 

On an average, 14 people are killed and more than 10,400 people are disabled each day at work. The workplace death toll is equivalent to a major airline disaster every two weeks. Yet even these staggering numbers are dwarfed by estimates that job-related diseases cause as many as 60,000 deaths a year, according to a study entitled Occupational Injury & Illnesses in the United States by J. Paul Leigh and colleagues, published in 1997, and sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Economic Policy Institute.

The cost to the economy of job-related injuries alone was estimated at more than $122 billion in 1999. This amount exceeds the combined profits of the top 17 Fortune 500 companies in 1999.

Workers are UPS are surrounded by the challenges of time and traffic, including the potential for injuries and accidents. To help employees stay safe, UPS has developed the Comprehensive Health and Safety Process (CHSP): a process made up of specific action steps that work in combination to strategically reduce occupational injuries and auto accidents.

CHSP was developed in 1995 and implemented at UPS in 1996. By 2000, the OSHA recordable frequency had improved 36 percent since implementation of CHSP and the lost work day injury frequency had improved 38 percent.

These four elements are the core of CHSP:

  • Management Commitment and Employee Involvement
  • Worksite Analysis
  • Hazard Prevention and Control
  • Safety Education and Training

After examining which practices, procedures, and facility conditions may pose hazards, CHSP employee committee members work with management committee members to target solutions. These might include communicating policies, changing procedures, or implementing training.


UPS is the world's largest express carrier and package delivery company, serving more than 200 countries and territories and employing more than 340,000 people worldwide.


OSHA has cited Bulkmatic Transport Company and proposed penalties totaling $59,000 following an inspection prompted by an accident at the company's Chattanooga, Tenn., bulk transfer terminal.

On Jan. 3, a company employee was transferring sulfuric acid from a railroad car into a tanker truck when the hose connection failed. He was sprayed with the acid, causing chemical burns over fifty percent of his body.

"This company had been cited before for exposing employees to hazardous chemicals," said Roberto Sanchez, Nashville's acting area director for OSHA. "The injured employee was not outfitted with proper personal protective equipment and the employee responding to the accident did not receive adequate emergency response training."

The Griffith, Indiana-based company employs 1200 workers nationwide. Four employees were involved in the terminal operation at the accident site. The company was cited for two repeat violations with proposed penalties totaling $25,000 for failing to implement a respiratory protection program, including proper employee medical evaluations, respirator fit-testing and training.

Nationwide, OSHA has inspected Bulkmatic Transport Company eight times. Two inspections found respiratory protection violations. A repeat violation occurs 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.

OSHA also issued six serious violations with proposed penalties totaling $33,000 for failing to:

  • install proper adapters and connections for the material being transferred;
  • fully develop an emergency response plan;
  • provide readily available emergency eye wash and shower facilities;
  • assure that employees wore eye and face protection;
  • provide employee training in the proper use of respirators, and
  • supply NIOSH-certified respirators.

A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard. An additional $1,000 penalty was proposed for not properly maintaining an injury and illness log and for not having an up-to-date copy on site.

Bulkmatic Transport Company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalty before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


OSHA has cited Amrep, Inc. and proposed fines totaling $140,000 following an inspection at the company's Marietta plant where a Jan. 25 accident cost an employee both legs.

OSHA's inspection began as a result of a referral from local police responding to the accident. The injured employee had been using his feet to tamp down cardboard inside a compactor's receiving chamber while the machine was running. The employee's feet became caught in the cardboard and he was pinned in the machine. Unable to remove his legs, both were severed above the knee as the machine's horizontal ram pushed into the chamber to flatten the cardboard.

The agency fined Amrep $70,000 each for two willful violations related to the accident. One willful citation was issued for failure to use lockout procedures to render the compactor inoperable when employees entered the ram chamber to tamp or unjam cardboard. The second dealt with the absence of machine guarding to protect workers from amputation hazards while feeding cardboard into the compactor's hopper.

According to Susan Johnston, OSHA's Atlanta-West area director, the agency issues a willful citation in cases where there appears to be an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

Johnston explained that the company had a lockout procedure for the compactor but did not enforce its use even though employees routinely got into the activated compactor to crush cardboard.

OSHA found that the company also failed to take action to guard against injuries while feeding cardboard into the compactor's hopper. To allow for ground level operation of the machine, usually fed from above, the employer modified its hopper by having one of the sides removed enabling employees to reach into the compactor's chamber.

Although a two-hand control was installed requiring the operator to hold the control buttons to energize the machine, the protection this provided the operator did not extend to other employees who could still reach into the compactor while it was running.

"In addition," Johnston explained, "workers bypassed the two-hand control by taping down the control buttons, allowing them to both feed cardboard into the compactor and enter the chamber to pack down cardboard without stopping the machine."

The area director added that the employer knew about the practice because "on more than one occasion, an outside maintenance vendor found the control buttons taped down and warned the company about the hazard and its potential for OSHA fines."

OSHA has inspected Amrep 14 times since 1982. Prior to this inspection, the most recent ones in June 1999 and July 1997 involved accidents, one of which resulted in a fatality. In both cases, OSHA issued willful citations. In the 1999 incident, an employee was severely burned when a flash fire occurred in a mixing tank. Another flash fire started in 1997 while employees were using flammable liquid to clean a sticky floor. Two workers were burned, one of whom died about a month later.

Amrep employs 400 workers, 170 of whom work at the Marietta plant manufacturing aerosols such as brake cleaner, adhesive glues, and glass and carpet cleaners. The company has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


The U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) announced it is seeking the largest civil penalty ever proposed against a gas transmission pipeline operator in the history of the federal pipeline safety program.

The $2.52 million civil penalty, proposed by RSPAÆs Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), is against El Paso Energy Pipeline Group for safety violations related to the August 2000 pipeline failure in Carlsbad, N.M.

"We must do everything we can to prevent loss of life from pipeline failures. The penalties we seek in this case reflect the importance of comprehensive integrity management programs. The importance of thorough risk assessments, training and communication of vital safety information among all operating elements of a company must be emphasized," said RSPA Acting Deputy Administrator Edward Brigham.

This penalty action includes fines against El Paso for safety violations identified during OPS's investigation following the failure, which resulted in the deaths of 12 people.

RSPA cited El Paso for the following safety violations:

  • Failing to ensure that qualified personnel perform required internal corrosion control procedures.

  • Transporting corrosive gas on numerous occasions without taking proper preventive and mitigative steps. This included failing to communicate to appropriate personnel when excessive water content was in the gas stream and when liquids and solids were found, and failing to perform necessary tests for corrosion.

  • Failing to follow procedures for continuing surveillance of its facilities which would have led to action to control collection of liquid at low points, thereby mitigating conditions which led to the accident.

  • Failing to take action to minimize the possibility of a failure recurrence following a similar incident in 1996.

  • Not having an accurate elevation map for lines involved in the accident, which would have shown low points where liquid could accumulate and corrosion could occur.

After the pipeline failure in August 2000, OPS ordered the pipeline to be shut down. Since that time, El Paso has performed required hydrostatic testing, internal inspection, repairs to areas with critical metal loss, other forms of direct assessment, revised corrosion control procedures and training, and established a comprehensive integrity management program. OPS has monitored these actions on an ongoing basis to assure that all actions needed to return the line to a safe condition are being taken.


They've battled mine fires, contained underground floods, and rescued their colleagues trapped beneath layers of rock or disoriented by toxic gas. Mine rescue teams are highly trained specialists with skills that enable them to save lives and recover mine property. Their technical expertise was put to the test June 20 and 21 during the Ohio Valley Mine Rescue Contest.

Twenty-two teams from seven states competed in the annual two-day event, second only in size to the national coal mine rescue competition which will be held Sept. 18-20, 2001 in Louisville, Ky.

"Mine rescue contests are invaluable training exercises that enable teams to solve an elaborate problem when miners' lives are not on the line," said Dave L. Lauriski, assistant labor secretary for mine safety and health. "Naturally, we hope their skills will never be needed, but their fellow miners can feel confident knowing that, even in practice, they demand of themselves the highest standards in mine safety."

Mine rescue competitions require six-member teams to solve a hypothetical mine emergency problem - such as a fire, explosion or cave-in - while judges rate them on their adherence to safety procedures and how quickly they complete specific tasks.

In other phases of the competition, benchmen - those individuals charged with maintaining rescue equipment - must thoroughly inspect breathing devices that have been purposely tampered with and must correct those defects as quickly as possible.

In the first aid contest, participants must demonstrate the correct method of caring for an injured miner. Teams are judged on the proper application of skills according to the fundamentals of first aid.

Mine rescue training began in the United States in 1910, the year the U.S. Bureau of Mines was created. Joseph A. Holmes, the bureau's first director, sought a training vehicle that would provide the mining industry with a cadre of mine rescue specialists who would be prepared to respond to mine disasters. The training efforts evolved into local and regional competitions and, a year later, a national contest.

Eastern Associated Coal Corporation's Southern Appalachia Team from Twilight, W.Va., was the winner in this year's Ohio Valley Mine Rescue, First Aid and Bench Contest held in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Consol PA Coal Company's Bailey Mine from Graysville, Pa., and American Coal Company's Galatia Team from Harrisburg, Ill., placed second and third, respectively.


The Labor Department announced more details on the ergonomics forums scheduled to be held around the United States in July. A notice containing further information appeared in the Federal Register on June 22, 2001. The three public forums will be held on the following dates at the following locations and times:

Washington, DC area -- The forum will be held on July 16 and 17, 2001, at the George Mason University, Arlington Campus Professional Center, Room 329, 3401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA. The starting time will be 9:00 a.m. on July 16 and 8:30 a.m. on July 17.

Chicago, Illinois -- The forum will be held on July 20, 2001, at the University of Chicago, Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 East 59th Street. It will begin at 9:00 a.m.

Stanford, California -- The forum will be held on July 24, 2001, at Stanford University, Kresge Auditorium of Stanford Law School. It will begin at 9:00 a.m.

Interested individuals and groups may make public comments at these forums. Because time is limited, it may not be possible to schedule all those who make a request to speak. In addition, because of the time constraints, individuals who are selected to speak will be allotted no more than 10 minutes to make a presentation. Following each presentation, a panel may question the presenter on relevant issues.

More information on submission requirements for notices of intention to speak at any of the forums, as well as submission of statements and other written comments, can be found in the Federal Register Notice.