Failing to protect employees from machine guarding hazards may cost the Ivy Steel and Wire Company $47,000 in penalties according to citations issued by OSHA.
On April 1, a worker at the company's plant was operating two machines that spun wire onto rotating spools. As one spool reached capacity the operator attempted to stop the machine but was caught around the neck by a loop of wire and killed.
The company received two serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $12,000 for failing to properly guard rotating machine parts.
The agency also issued two repeat citations with proposed penalties totaling $35,000 for failing to properly guard machine pulleys and to implement lockout-tagout procedures, making the machine inoperable during wire threading, welding or maintenance.
The company, a division of MMI Products, Inc., has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
CPSC, CAVAGNA NORTH AMERICA INC., ANNOUNCE RECALL OF SAFETY RELIEF VALVES FOR LARGE PROPANE TANKS
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Cavagna North America Inc., of Branchburg, N.J., is recalling about 6,100 safety relief valves manufactured by Omeca, of Bresia, Italy. These valves, imported by Cavagna, are designed to relieve excess pressure in large propane tanks, typically the 500- to 1,000-gallon size. The recalled valves can have sharp internal edges that can cut into gasket seals in the valves, causing a propane gas leak. This poses a risk of fire or burn injuries.
Cavagna has received 18 reports of leaking valves. No fires or injuries have been reported.
The valves, model 66-1031, are approximately 7-inches long. Writing on the valve reads "OMECA 66-1031." Only valves that contain year and batch codes of "99.02," "99.16," "99.27," or "99.28" are included in the recall. The valves from these batch codes were installed on tanks that were refurbished or manufactured after May 1999.
The valves were sold to propane processors and distributors nationwide from May 1999 through May 2002 for between $10 and $15.
LP distributors, LP tank owners and propane gas users with recalled valves should immediately contact Cavagna to schedule an appointment to have the safety relief valve replaced at no charge. For more information, contact Cavagna toll-free at (866) 422-8246 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.
PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT STRESSES WORKER PROTECTION AS KEY COMPONENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
The federal government must help train emergency personnel and provide updated safety guidelines so the workers are better protected against hazards such as they faced at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, according to a public health workshop report released by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a component of the federal National Institutes of Health.
The report, "Learning from Disasters: Weapons of Mass Destruction Preparedness Through Worker Training," summarizes the findings of an NIEHS Worker Education and Training Program technical workshop that brought together national experts involved in the recent terrorist attacks with those providing the emergency response and cleanup around weapons of mass destruction. It says there were many deficiencies in the protection of rescue and other workers that resulted in needless injuries, particularly to eyes and lungs, as they faced the catastrophic structural failures at Oklahoma City and later, on September 11 of last year, at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. The last "was so massive, extensive in duration and complex that nearly all aspects of our well developed and relatively mature destructive incident response and cleanup operations plans were challenged and, in many cases, found defective in some measure."
Improvements recommended in the report include:
- First-on-the-scene emergency response personnel, such as police and firefighters, need to be trained in and provided with appropriate protective gear, particularly respiratory protection. Major urban centers should identify sources of additional, back-up equipment in the face of a major attack or disaster.
- The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration should develop safety regulations tailored to the challenges of large terrorist events, and these revised guidelines need to be included in Federal Emergency Management Agency and other response plans. Older, more general guidelines, according to the report, are "essentially useless" in the face of such a mass destruction as that at the Trade Center.
- Firm guidelines for ending the search and rescue phase after 12-15 days are needed. The report says that there is virtually no likelihood of recovery of living victims after that time and that rescue workers cannot function safely after two weeks of 12-hour days. Continued protracted efforts then "begin to take a toll in both physical and mental terms," which leads to increased risk taking, injuries and illness.
- Worker protection standards must be enforced.
- With personnel at the scene of the World Trade Center numbering more than 5,000, command, control, communication and coordination were extremely difficult. These should be improved under a unified command.
The report concludes with recommended elements of a training preparedness initiative by the NIEHS Worker Education and Training Program.
SERIOUS AND REPEAT SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS AT FOOD PROCESSOR LEAD TO $78,500 IN PROPOSED OSHA FINES
Numerous and repeated exposures of employees to safety and health hazards at a Rochester area food processing plant have resulted in $78,500 in proposed fines against Cantisano Foods, Inc., of Fairport, N.Y.
OSHA has cited the company for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at its facility. The firm has until Sept. 5 to contest the citations.
According to Joseph Brown, OSHA's acting area director in Buffalo, the action results from an inspection that took place between March 28 and August 12, 2002, which was conducted as a follow up inspection to an accident investigation from over a year ago. The just-completed inspection also incorporated a comprehensive review of the workplace based on OSHA's national emphasis program for food processing industries.
As a result of the inspection, Cantisano Foods, Inc., has been cited for ten alleged serious violations of OSHA's safety and health standards, which include a proposed penalty of $28,500 for failing to: provide safe mobile ladders; provide emergency exit directional signs where exits were not readily visible; ensure employees using liquids and powders that could injure the eyes wore proper protective glasses; ensure that fire extinguishers were readily available for use; ensure that propane tanks were properly secured to forklift trucks; guard the punch point on an ironworker machine; ensure access to electrical power panels was kept clear; label products in secondary containers; ensure employees using liquids and powders understood the hazards; and several items concerning the overexposure of employees to high levels of workplace noise.
Cantisano Foods was also cited for two alleged repeat violations, carrying proposed penalties of $50,000 for failing to train temporary employees in lockout/tagout standard requirements for dealing with hazardous energy releases in the workplace; and for failing to inform and educate temporary employees in evacuation and/or fire procedures.
A serious violation is defined as a condition that exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee. A repeat violation is one in which the employer has been cited during the past three years for substantially similar infractions of the law.
OSHA SEEKING INFORMATION TO ADDRESS HEALTH EFFECTS OF OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE TO HEXAVALENT CHROMIUM
OSHA is asking for comments and information from the public to help the agency determine the best way to address occupational exposures to hexavalent chromium. The request for information was published in the Aug. 22, 2002, Federal Register.
Hexavalent chromium is most commonly used as a structural and anti-corrosive element in the production of stainless steel, ferrochromium, iron and steel, and in electroplating, welding and painting. Exposures to the metal have been associated with lung cancer, dermatoses, and some respiratory problems.
OSHA's request for information is arranged among numerous topics that include: health effects; risk assessment; methods of analyzing exposure levels; investigations into occupational exposures, control measures, and technological and economic feasibility; use of personal protective equipment and respirators; current employee training and medical screening programs; and environmental and small business impacts.
Comments must be submitted by Nov. 20, 2002. To submit comments by regular mail, express delivery, hand delivery or messenger service, send three copies and attachments to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. H-0054a, Room N2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20210. You may also fax comments (10 pages or fewer) by calling the Docket Office fax at (202) 693-1648. Include the docket number in your comments. Further information on submitting comments can be obtained by calling the Docket Office at (202) 693-2350.
OSHA's current general industry standard sets a permissible exposure limit for hexavalent chromium compounds at 100 micrograms per cubic meter as a ceiling concentration; the standard for construction is 100 micrograms per cubic meter as an 8-hour time-weighted average.
OSHA FINES CONTRACTORS NEARLY $61,000 FOLLOWING FATAL ACCIDENT
Failing to protect workers from impalement hazards at a Gulf Breeze, Fla., drug store construction site may cost two Georgia contractors a total of $60,900, according to citations issued by OSHA.
The agency began an inspection following an April 20 accident that killed a 32-year-old laborer who fell from a scaffold onto a protruding reinforcing steel bar, known as a rebar. The worker was employed by Canton, Ga.-based Chadwick T. Wallace, Inc., a subcontractor at the site where Cannon/Estapa General Contractors, Inc., also headquartered in Canton, was the general contractor.
"Cannon/Estapa failed to take appropriate action even after sub-contractors on the job informed the general contractor that the protruding rebar needed to be covered," said James Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville area director. "Employers must take immediate action once they are aware of serious safety hazards that can cause injury or death."
The general contractor was cited for a willful violation for not guarding the protruding rebar and a serious violation for poor housekeeping. Proposed penalties for the alleged violations total $50,050.
OSHA issued three serious citations against Chadwick T. Wallace for not guarding the rebar to eliminate impalement hazards, not providing safe access to scaffolds, and poor housekeeping. The sub-contractor was fined $10,850 for the alleged violations.
According to OSHA, neither employer had a safety and health program in place.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations.
Each company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.