OSHA watch

Severe Violator Enforcement Program expanded

The Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) has been expanded to include upstream oil and gas hazards as High-Emphasis Hazards. This means that when in a non-fatality inspection, there are two or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices, it will qualify as a severe violator enforcement case for employers that are classified by NAICS (codes) as Oil and Gas Production Services, Drilling and Well Servicing/Upstream Oil and Gas Industry. The February 11th, 2015 memorandum was not posted on OSHA’s website until late March.

Guidance on preventing workplace violence in health care, social services

Updated guidance for health care and social service workers includes best practices on reducing the risk of violence in the workplace.

Bulletin on preventing green tobacco sickness

Workers who plant, cultivate and harvest tobacco are most at risk of nicotine poisoning, also known as green tobacco sickness. A recommended practices bulletin is now available.

New fact sheets on filing whistleblower complaints

Three new fact sheets outline workers’ rights and the procedures for filing whistleblower complaints under the Clean Air Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.


Recent fines and awards

Home improvement company faces nearly $300,000 in fines – Massachusetts

Three roofing workers employed by Provencher Home Improvement of Beverly were hospitalized after a two-story fall from a scaffold platform that broke beneath them. An inspection revealed a spruce plank used as the platform could not support the workers’ weight, was not graded for scaffold use, and the plank’s invoice was clearly marked “not for scaffold use. As a result of this and other violations, the company’s owner Daryl J. Provencher faces fines totaling $294,500.

Dentist to pay $85,000 to employee fired for reporting safety violations – Massachusetts

A dental assistant raised issue with the dentist Dr. N. Terry Fayadwhen he changed the practice’s procedure for disposing of contaminated needles, telling his Beverly-based office staff to first remove the protective caps before dropping them into sharps disposal containers, allegedly to reduce the frequency and cost of their disposal. When she filed a complaint with OSHA, she was fired. A judge has ordered the dentist to pay the worker $51,644.80 in back wages and ordered both Fayad and the practice to pay her $33,450.26 in compensatory damages. The practice was also fined $11,000 for violations of bloodborne pathogen and hazard communication standards.

Aluminum parts manufacturing facility faces penalties of $63,000 – Missouri

Gateway Extrusions Ltd. allegedly exposed workers to amputation and other serious hazards while operating presses at the company’s plant in Union, An inspection found that two operating machines lacked proper safety mechanisms; the company was cited for a similar violation in 2013.

Twice in 18 months, violations found at metal-mesh manufacturer – Missouri

Workers at Metso Minerals Industries Inc. were found in danger of suffering cuts, lacerations and amputation from machine hazards at the Warrenton metal-mesh manufacturer. Acting on a complaint, inspectors identified one repeated and eight serious safety violations at the facility, including exposing workers to hexavalent chromium. Proposed penalties are $64,250.

Insulation company faces almost $500,000 in fines for regularly exposing employees to asbestos hazards – Pennsylvania

Inspectors found three workers exposed to asbestos while removing thermal pipe insulation at an unoccupied residence in Harrisburg. First Capital Insulation of York faces a $490,000 penalty for seven willful violations, including allowing workers to remove asbestos improperly, failing to make sure their employees’ respirators fit correctly, and not decontaminating employees and their clothing before leaving the work site.

Koser Iron Works faces penalties of more than $102,000 – Wisconsin

Responding to a complaint, inspectors found workers were exposed to dangerous amputation hazard while fabricating metal products because safety mechanisms were not in place at Koser Iron Works Inc. Inspectors found two willful, four repeated and 12 serious safety violations, including lack of training and personal protective equipment. The Barron-based company faces fines of $102,180.

Foundry reaches comprehensive settlement agreement – Wisconsin

Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries has signed a comprehensive settlement to resolve the health violations at the company’s facilities in Browntown. The company will abate all identified health hazards, which include three repeated and one serious violations for failing to properly fit and train workers for respirator use and failing to train workers about hazardous chemicals found in the workplace. Grede will also pay $98,000 in penalties.

Detailed descriptions of the citations above and other OSHA citations can be found here.

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Author | Speaker | Certified Risk Manager | Certified Work Comp Advisor

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