OSHA watch

Final rule on confined spaces in construction

More than 20 years after the standard to regulate confined spaces in general industry was released, a similar rule specific to the construction industry was released May 1.

Under the Confined Spaces in Construction Standard, employers must design a confined-space permit program that protects workers from both atmospheric and physical hazards at construction sites, and must continuously monitor those hazards.

New resources on preventing roof falls

Protecting Roofing Workers is a 44-page booklet that includes information about personal fall arrest systems, worker rescues, and using fall-restraint and guardrail systems. Other sections focus on ladders, scaffolding, lifts and emergency action plans, among other topics.

Fall Protection in Construction includes information about Subpart M, which sets criteria for fall protection in construction work. The resource also provides examples of fall protection requirements in areas specific to construction, such as leading edges, low-slope roofs, steep roofs and overhand bricklaying.

Compliance poster, ‘It’s the Law’, redesigned

The Job Safety and Health – It’s the Law poster, intended to educate workers about their rights and employers about their obligations for a safe workplace has been updated for the first time since 2007.Previous versions of the poster do not need to be replaced, but whatever version is used must be displayed in a conspicuous place where workers can see it. It can be downloaded online or ordered by calling (800) 321-6742, and also is available in Spanish, Chinese, Polish, Korean, Nepali and Portuguese.

App to help workers avoid heat illness updated

The Heat Safety Tool application, which is available for download on iOS and Android devices in English and Spanish has been updated. Workers can use the app to calculate the heat index at their worksite and determine heat illness risk levels.

It also includes information for workers to monitor themselves and others for heat illness signs and symptoms. The app for iPhones now includes full-screen color alerts for all heat conditions, as well as other technical upgrades.

Toolkit on respiratory protection for health care workers

A new toolkit from OSHA and NIOSH aims to help protect health care workers from transmissible diseases and other respiratory hazards.

The Hospital Respiratory Protection Program Toolkit, released May 15, addresses respirator use, public health guidance on using respirators during exposure to infectious diseases, and hazard assessments. It also provides links to additional resources, including templates and educational materials.

The Joint Commission also has developed a report on establishing respiratory protection programs. It explains possible obstacles, offers examples of strategies from health care institutions, and explores the role of leadership, improvement and evaluation.

Spring regulatory agenda

The regulatory agenda for the Department of Labor includes a total of twenty-three regulatory entries for OSHA specific actions. Jackson Lewis, P.C., a labor and employment law firm, provides a good summary in its May 26th blog.

Recent fines and awards

Forever 21 Retail Inc. store faces $165K in fines because of obstructed emergency exit route – Connecticut

The consequences of repeat offenses in different locations are evident in the hefty fine levied against Forever 21. An inspection following a complaint at the fashion retailer’s Westfarms Mall Farmington location found the workers put at risk of not being able to exit the store swiftly because of fire or another emergency.The company has been cited 12 times for similar hazards in other stores. Due to the recurring nature of the hazards, proposed fines total $165,000 for three repeated violations.

Foundry and owners found in contempt for not allowing inspection – Missouri

A foundry, its owner and three members of its safety consultant company have been found in criminal contempt by a U.S. District Judge after disobeying a court order to allow federal inspectors to investigate a report of an employee at the foundry with an elevated blood lead.The U.S. District Court in Kansas City has ordered the defendants to jointly pay $10,778 to reimburse departmental costs. Martin Foundry and Stone are also each liable for $1,000 in fines for their failure to cooperate. The three third-party consultants will each pay fines of $2,000.

Company faces $70K in fines for exposing 18 workers to deadly carbon monoxide – Missouri

A total of 18 workers were hospitalized after exposure to deadly carbon monoxide gas levels of up to 6.71 times the permissible limit at JRI Holdings Inc. Employees were testing a commercial industrial parts washer powered by two natural gas heaters and were working inside a building with its doors closed because of cold temperatures, which limited ventilation.Proposes fines are more than $70K.

Lack of safety equipment and training cost electrical technician his life – Missouri

A 31-year-old assembly technician was working with a battery charger manufacturer, Ferro Magnetics, for about a month when he was electrocuted. Cited for multiple electrical safety hazards, machines with moving parts without safety guards, inadequate protections to stop machine starts during service and maintenance, lack of PPE, and improperly stored chemicals, the company faces penalties of $106,400.

Steel manufacturer faces $147K in fines for “avoidable” hazards – New York

An electric technician at the Republic Steel Corp. steel manufacturing plant in Blasdell was removing wiring from a fan motor in an overhead crane when an ungrounded electrical conductor touched a grounded surface causing an arc flash. The electric technician sustained third degree burns on her hand and first degree burns on her face.

Death of demolition worker in Staten Island mezzanine collapse – New York

Inspectors found that the death of a 46-year-old demolition worker, killed in a building collapse in November 2014 at a Staten Island auto dealership was a result of his employer, Formica Construction, willfully disregarding demolition safety protocols designed to prevent such incidents. As a result of these actions, Formica Construction was cited for three willful, three serious and one other- than-serious violation. Proposed fines total $121,000.

Conway Stores face fines of $80,000 for repeat violations – New York

According to inspectors, Conway Stores in the Bronx location jeopardized workers and shoppers despite two warnings from federal safety inspectors in December 2014 by blocking emergency exits.

Lloyd Industries Inc. fined $822,000 after workers suffer dozens of injuries – Pennsylvania

Duct manufacturer Lloyd Industries Inc. was fined $822,000 and placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program after a worker lost three fingers. The company was cited with 10 willful violations based on the company’s repeated failure to guard machines, and to provide annual audiometric tests.

Americold Logistics facing $47,300 penalty – Pennsylvania

An inspection initiated in response to three complaints, led to citations for two repeat and two serious violations for safety hazards involving forklifts, including forklifts in need of repair not taken out of service until restored to safe operating condition; workers exposed to falls of four feet or more; and improperly anchored storage racks. Proposed penalties are $47,300.

Storage tank manufacturer exposes welders to toxic metal hazards – Wisconsin

Workers welding stainless steel and other alloy steels containing chromium metal at a Wisconsin bulk storage tank manufacturer were exposed to hazardous levels of hexavalent chromium. After a complaint, inspectors visited Imperial Industries in Rothschild and identified two willful and 12 serious safety violations. Proposed penalties total $161,100.

Americold warehouse cited for refrigeration system violations – Wisconsin

Investigators found 18 serious safety violations, many cited under the Process Safety Management Standards, which contain specific requirements for managing highly hazardous chemicals in work processes. Proposed penalties are $70,593.

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

 

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