Workplace Exposure to Common Flavoring Compounds

November 14, 2016

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released formal recommendations for controlling workplace exposures to diacetyl and 2,3-pentandione, widely used food flavoring compounds that have been associated with decreased lung function in exposed workers. The recommended exposure limits (RELs) were published recently in the NIOSH Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Diacetyl and 2,3-Pentanedione.

Charlotte RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Charlotte, NC, on November 29–December 1 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Burbank RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Burbank, CA, on December 6–8 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Cleveland RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Cleveland, OH, on January 3–5 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)

When OSHA aligned the Hazard Communication Standard with the United Nations’ globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals, the agency required virtually every product label, safety data sheet (formerly called “material safety data sheet” or MSDS), and written hazard communication plan to be revised to meet the new standard. Although all of the deadlines have past, many worksites are still struggling with outdated MSDSs, old product labels, and workers that don’t understand the international hazard statements and symbols.

Environmental Resource Center is offering live online training for you to learn how to implement the rule at your facility. Bring your questions to the upcoming webcast on How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS) on November 15.

Update on Engineering Controls for Nanotechnology

A group of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers provided an update on engineering controls for nanotechnology at a recent NIOSH Board of Scientific Counselors meeting.

Worker at Prinz Grain & Feed Died After Being Engulfed by Grain

Working to clear crusted corn from the sides of a grain bin, a 52-year-old maintenance employee found himself engulfed in hundreds of pounds of grain, just minutes after the wall of corn collapsed and buried him. Rescued by emergency crews, he died of his injuries two days later.

Federal investigators found multiple violations of OSHA standards for grain handling at Prinz Grain & Feed's facility in West Point. The Agency proposed penalties of $526,633.

On November 3, 2016, OSHA cited the animal feed facility for three willful, 15 serious, and two other-than-serious violations after its investigation of the May 18, 2016, fatal injury. The agency has placed Prinz in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate violations.

"An ‘engulfment’ often happens when ‘bridged’ grain and vertical piles of stored grain collapse unexpectedly, as in this tragic case. The density, weight and unpredictable behavior of flowing grains make it nearly impossible for workers to rescue themselves without help. In more than 60 percent of grain engulfments, workers suffer fatal injuries," said Kim Stille, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City. "OSHA urges employers and workers in this hazardous industry to review and implement OSHA's grain-handling standards to prevent injuries and loss of lives."

During its investigation, the agency found Prinz Grain & Feed failed to:

In 2015, the industry reported 22 grain-entrapment cases nationwide. Of those, 4% occurred in commercial grain facilities and 82% occurred on farms exempt from OSHA compliance. In 2010, 51 workers found themselves engulfed by grain stored in bins, and 26 died—the highest number on record—researchers at Indiana's Purdue University found. Purdue also reported that—of the more than 900 cases of grain engulfments reported since 1966—62% resulted in worker deaths.

"OSHA has done extensive outreach in the past several years working with leaders, farmers and those employed in the grain and feed industry to increase awareness of hazards in the grain industry and discuss ways to protect workers on the job and prevent these tragedies," said Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in Omaha. "OSHA is always available to answers questions on how you can protect your workers on the job."

Employee at Weathercraft Incorporated Suffers Fatal Heat Stroke

Federal investigators have cited a Jefferson City roofing contractor after a 47-year-old laborer collapsed on August 17, 2016, and later died after being hospitalized with a core body temperature above 107 degrees.

OSHA investigators determined the employee collapsed on his third day on the job while installing roofing materials at Helias High School. The heat index was about 90 degrees when he collapsed. He died of his injuries on August 18, 2016.

On November 2, 2016, OSHA cited his employer, Weathercraft Incorporated, for one serious violation of OSHA's general duty clause following its investigation.

"This tragedy occurred on this worker's third day on the job. His needless death underscores how critical it is for employers to ensure that workers are acclimated to heat conditions. A review of heat-related deaths across industries finds most workers were new to the job and not physically used to the constant heat and sun exposure," said Karena Lorek, OSHA's acting area director in Kansas City. "Workers should have frequent access to water, rest and shade to prevent heat illness and injuries during the hot summer months and during hot indoor conditions and be trained to recognize and respond to the signs of heat-related illness."

In addition to acclimating workers to heat conditions OSHA also recommends employers:

  • Train supervisors and other employees in the proper response to employees reporting heat-induced illness symptoms, which includes stopping work, moving to a cool place, and providing help, evaluation and medical assistance
  • Require trained supervisors to go into the field and conduct in-person evaluations of employees complaining of heat-induced symptoms
  • Establish work rules and practices that encourage employees to seek assistance and evaluation when experiencing heat stress symptoms

Commonly, people believe mistakenly that if they are sweating, they are not in danger of heat stroke. In fact, sweating is no indication that heat stroke is possible. One frequent symptom of heat stroke is mental changes, such as confusion or irritability. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. If there is any suggestion of heat stroke, call 911 and institute the other safety measures as quickly as possible.

OSHA's Heat Safety Tool App is available to employers, employees and the public for free download on iPhones and Android phones.

OSHA has proposed penalties of $12,471.

Unguarded Machinery Led to Amputation at Klosterman Baking Co.

Just five weeks after a 28-year-old maintenance worker lost part of his right arm in an improperly guarded bread wrapping machine at the Cincinnati-based Klosterman Baking Co., federal safety inspectors investigating the injury found another worker exposed to the same hazard.

On November 3, 2016, OSHA proposed penalties of $146,979 for one willful and two serious violations of safety standards at the Klosterman facility. Inspectors found the large wholesale baking company—with production and distribution operations in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee—continued to allow employees to clean the machine without isolating operating parts, a process known as lockout/tagout.

"A 28-year-old worker suffered a permanent and debilitating injury because his employer failed to follow required safety procedures and isolate energy to this machine before allowing workers to clean it," said Ken Montgomery, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati. "Just as tragic is the fact that the company failed to re-evaluate its machine safety procedures and continued to expose other workers to the same hazard even after this young man lost part of his arm. Klosterman needs to make immediate changes to its safety procedures and protect workers on the job."

Investigators determined the worker was using an air wand to remove bread crumbs from the machine and conveyor belt when he was injured on May 29, 2016, resulting in the amputation of his right arm just below the elbow. Federal safety inspectors found workers cleaning the same wrapper machine on July 7, 2016, without locking out operating parts, exposing them to amputation and other serious injuries, resulting in the willful violation.

OSHA also found the company:

  • Failed to conduct periodic inspections of machine lockout/tag out procedures
  • Reduce compressed air for cleaning to 30 lb per square inch

OSHA to Hold a Meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health OSH Professionals Pipeline Work Group

OSHA has scheduled a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health's OSH Professionals Pipeline Work Group. The meeting will be November 15 in Washington, D.C.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels has asked the OSH Professionals Pipeline Work Group to develop recommendations to grow the next generation of occupational safety and health professionals. "The size of the field is small and there is increasing concern about how these gaps will be filled as the workforce ages," Michaels said.

The meeting will allow the work group to hear from representatives of professional safety and health organizations and other stakeholders about their initiatives, best practices and model programs to promote careers in occupational safety and health.

The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 1 p.m. ET in Room N-3647 at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210. Those interested in attending the meeting in person or by teleconference, submitting written comments, or making an oral statement should contact Ms. Michelle Walker at 202-693-2235 or Walker.Michelle@dol.gov by the day before the meeting.

NACOSH was established by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to advise and make recommendations to the secretaries of labor and health and human services on occupational safety and health programs and policies and matters relating to the administration of the OSH Act.

Multiple Violations Led to $226,937 Fine at Fuyao America Glass

Workers began making multiple complaints of unsafe working conditions at the Fuyao Glass America, Inc., facility in Moraine, Ohio, not long after it opened in October 2015, leading to eight separate federal inspections and $226,937 in proposed penalties for the automotive glass supplier to plant brands such as Audi, Cadillac, Land Rover, Volvo, and Volkswagen.

In its inspections at the plant, OSHA found multiple machine safety violations which expose workers to amputation and other serious injuries, as well as a lack of personal protective equipment, electrical hazards, failing to train workers about hazardous chemicals in use and unmarked exits.

In total, OSHA has cited the company for 23 serious safety violations and one other-than-serious violation.

"Fuyao Glass America needs to protect its workers. Period," said Ken Montgomery, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati. "Since Fuyao began operations in October 2015, we have received multiple complaints and conducted eight inspections at the facility. We found safety and health violations in six of them. OSHA will remain vigilant until this rapidly expanding company protects its workers from serious safety hazards by making needed improvements to equipment, procedures and training. Providing jobs in a community should not come at the expense of workers' safety and health."

Most recently, OSHA cited the company for 11 serious safety violations carrying proposed penalties of $131,836 on Nov. 2, 2016, following two inspections opened in May 2016. The inspections found workers exposed to operating parts of machinery because Fuyao failed to implement energy control procedures and install adequate machine guarding, electrical safety violations, and unmarked exits. View citations here.

Fuyao has contested all the following OSHA violations issued this year:

  • On October 6, 2016, the agency issued four serious and one other-than-serious violation to the company for lack of personal protective equipment, failing to guard live electrical wires to prevent contact by employees, and improper use of electrical cords. OSHA proposed total penalties of $48,101 for the violations found in two separate inspections. View violations for the inspection opened May 24, 2016 here and Aug. 8, 2016 here.
  • On July 27, 2016, OSHA issued three serious citations for lack of exit signs, lighting and exit height and failing to implement an alarm system. OSHA proposed penalties of $21,000. View citations here.
  • On July 14, 2016, the company received three serious violations of OSHA's hazards communication standards, which govern the use of chemicals in the workplace, as a result of an April 12, 2016 inspection. The agency proposed penalties of $12,000. View citations here.
  • On April 11, 2016, the agency issued two serious violations with proposed penalties of $14,000 for lack of machine guarding and not securing floor openings. View citations here.

Santec Fined $83,375 for Exposing Workers to Chemicals, Other Hazards

On November 4, 2016, OSHA issued Santec, Inc., citations for 11 serious and one other-than-serious violation.

OSHA's inspection began on May 5, 2016, after the Avenel, New Jersey, Area Office received information about chemical hazards related to improper labeling of chemicals manufactured by Santec, Inc.

The agency cited the company with the following serious violations after inspectors found it:

  • Failed to properly label hazardous chemicals
  • Lacked forklift training and maintenance
  • Exposed employees to electrical hazards
  • Lacked guardrails on an open-sided platform 6 feet above ground level
  • Failed to implement a lockout/tagout system to prevent inadvertent machine start-up and provide employee training
  • Did not develop and implement a respiratory protection program, including medical evaluation and employee training for employees required to use respirators
  • Failed to address exposure to confined space

OSHA also cited the company for improper storage of compressed gas cylinders containing chemicals including acetylene and improper labeling of shipped chemicals, resulting in the other-than-serious violations.

"Santec is leaving its employees vulnerable to hazards that can cause serious injury, health issues and possible death," said Patricia Jones, director of OSHA's Avenel Area Office. "Employers are legally responsible for providing workers with a safe and healthful workplace. Santec must address each of the identified violations; anything less is unacceptable."

Proposed penalties total $83,375.

Cal/OSHA Cites Roofing Company After Preventable Tanker Explosion Burns Two Workers

Cal/OSHA has cited AAA Roofing by Gene, Inc., for serious safety violations following an asphalt tanker explosion in Santa Fe Springs that burned two workers and launched them 10 feet onto the ground. Both workers suffered third-degree burns. One worker’s burns covered up to 36% of his body.

AAA Roofing had been hired to repair the flat roof of a warehouse when the accident occurred on May 2, 2016. Two employees standing on top of a tanker truck were attempting to turn the truck’s discharge pipe to face another direction. Cal/OSHA inspectors learned that the workers’ foreman instructed them to heat the pipe with a propane torch to loosen it.

The tanker was half-filled with hot liquid asphalt. Heated liquid asphalt releases flammable vapors.

“Flammable vapors accumulated in kettles and tankers, if ignited, can burn or explode,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Employers must ensure that no source of ignition is permitted in any location, indoors or outdoors, where the concentration of flammable gases or vapors exceeds or may reasonably be expected to exceed 25 percent of the lower explosive limit.”

Cal/OSHA issued three workplace safety citations to AAA Roofing by Gene this week, with proposed penalties of $24,575. Two of the citations are serious, and one is regulatory in nature. One of the serious citations involves AAA’s failure to ensure the tanker truck was equipped with a 42-inch guardrail. This could have helped ensure the workers did not fall 10 feet as they did. The other serious citation was for allowing a source of ignition to be introduced where the flammable gases exceeded 25% of the lower explosive limit.

A serious violation is cited when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazardous condition.

Excelsior Springs Seating System Exposes Workers to Injuries

OSHA’s Kansas City Area Office has cited the manufacturer of automotive seats for one serious health violation of the agency's general duty clause after a May 2016 agency investigation found musculoskeletal disorder injuries. OSHA also issued the company two "Hazard Alert" letters in which the agency raises concerns about possible medical mismanagement by the company. The concerns include denying access to medical care and violating medical restrictions placed on injured employees, as well as tasks on the manufacturing line that cause workers to reach—too high and too low—for prolonged periods of time, which can result in injury.

After reviewing the company's injury and illness logs, investigators found workers suffered musculoskeletal injuries of the hand, wrist and elbow after exposure to ergonomic stressors and risk factors related to tasks such as:

  • Repetitive motion in the assembly of automotive seats
  • Forceful exertions and awkward postures
  • Extended reaching too high or too low for prolonged periods of time

A review of injury logs found the company recorded six musculoskeletal related injuries requiring employee surgery in 2014, 15 in 2015, and one so far in 2016.

"OSHA's review found multiple reports of hand, wrist, and shoulder injuries related to employees accomplishing tasks that require repetitive motion and awkward posture. Musculoskeletal injuries are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time," said Karena Lorek, OSHA's acting area director in Kansas City. "Magna Seating's lost work time rate was more than twice the Bureau of Labor Statistics' industry average. The company needs to improve its ergonomics program to prevent further employee injuries and review its management of employees who suffer work related injuries."

OSHA has inspected the Magna facility in Excelsior Springs five times since 2007, including this inspection. In December 2015, this facility had an employer reported amputation, which resulted in one recordkeeping violation; this inspection resulted in the ergonomics referral. In 2016, two recordkeeping inspections were conducted.

Excelsior Springs Seating System specializes in seat assembly for the automobile industry, and is an operating group of Magna International Incorporated. Specific to seating, the company has manufacturing and assembly plants in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Magna is a leading global automotive supplier across 29 countries with over 152,000 employees, including approximately 250 employees at the Excelsior Springs Plant. The company designs, develops, and manufactures automotive seat systems, to original equipment manufacturers, including Ford Motor Company.

Proposed penalties total $12,471.

Safety News Links

Findings from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, California, 2015

Five Best Practices to Ensure the Injured Worker Comes First

Plastic Recycling Worker Killed in Equipment Accident

Worker Injured in Boat Plant Explosion

OSHA Weighs in on EPA Proposed Rule Governing the Use of New Chemical Substances

Universal Orlando Employee Dies While Working on Ride

Keep Hazmats in Their Containers

Communications Worker Electrocuted Working on Utility Pole

Lineman Shocked While Working on Power Lines Dies

Towing Company Worker Struck in Hand on I-68

New York City Transit Worker Killed, Another Injured in Subway Accident

OSHA Investigating Death Last Week of Nebraska Worker

Railroad Worker Alleges He Was Unlawfully Terminated After Being Injured on the Job