OSHA watch

Full enforcement of new rule on confined spaces in construction delayed

Full enforcement of the Confined Spaces in Construction standard, which became effective Aug. 3, 2015, is postponed to Oct. 2, 2015 in response to requests for additional time to train and acquire the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard. During this 60-day temporary enforcement period, citations will not be issued to employers who make good faith efforts to comply with the new standard. Employers must be in compliance with either the training requirements of the new standard or the previous standard. Factors that indicate employers are making good faith efforts to comply include: scheduling training for employees as required by the new standard; ordering the equipment necessary to comply with the new standard; and taking alternative measures to educate and protect employees from confined space hazards.

New video highlights heat illness prevention

A new video reminds employers and workers of the importance of acclimatization, recognizing common symptoms, and following best practices to prevent heat illness. The video is also available in Spanish.

Reversal: injuries treated with kinesiology tape not recordable

An interpretation on the use of kinesiology tape to treat worker injuries has been changed so now elastic tape is considered first aid and injuries treated with it are not recordable. The change is explained in a July 6 letter.

PSM standard exemption applies only to small retail establishments

Large facilities that store and sell chemicals may no longer be exempt from the Process Safety Management Standard, according to a July 22 revised interpretation. In the new interpretation, the exemption now will apply only to retail trade facilities with the North American Industrial Classification System codes of 44 and 45. These facilities include hardware stores, office supply stores or automotive dealers.

Inspectors instructed on enforcing hazcom standard

Compliance officers have a new instruction document that outlines inspection procedures for the updated Hazard Communication Standard and explains how inspectors should enforce the standard during the transition period leading up to June 1, 2016 – the deadline for full implementation of the rule.

Inspection instructions for workplace tuberculosis exposure updated

A new directive updates procedures for carrying out inspections and issuing citations for workplace exposure to tuberculosis. Among the changes, the directive introduces a new screening method for examining blood for Mycobacterium tuberculosis; decreases the frequency of worker screenings; and classifies health care settings as “low risk,” “medium risk” and “potential ongoing transmission.”

Recent fines and awards

Construction company cited in fatal steel pipe accident – California

Cal/OSHA cited a Bay Area company, Maggiora & Ghilotti, following an investigation into a fatal accident where a 28-year-old worker was killed when a 40-foot concrete-coated steel pipe being unloaded from a forklift rolled down a slope and crushed him. Citations total $38,250.

Amputation leads to fines of nearly $100K for pair of employers – California

Cal/OSHA recently issued citations totaling $90,935 to C.C. Myers, Inc. and $7,200 to Terry Equipment, Inc. following an accident in which an employee of C.C. Myers was pulled into an unguarded concrete placer machine. The 35-year-old man was cleaning the hopper of the machine owned by Terry Equipment, and sustained traumatic injuries to his right leg that resulted in subsequent complete amputation to the hipbone.

Agricultural equipment manufacturer cited for 21 safety violations with nearly $45K in proposed penalties – Georgia

An inspection of Durand-Wayland Inc., following a complaint, led to 11 serious and 10 other safety violations related to confined space, amputation and fall hazards. Proposed penalties are $44,710.

Storage tank manufacturer cited for toxic metal and noise hazards – Missouri

Inspectors issued 12 serious safety violations for exposing workers to hazardous levels of hexavalent chromium and potentially deafening noise to Abec Inc., which manufactures food-grade stainless steel tanks for use by the biopharmaceutical industry. Proposed penalties total $74,000. The inspection was part of the agency’s National Emphasis Program for Hexavalent Chromium.

Roofing contractor cited for exposing workers to fall hazards – Missouri

An investigation of Hugo’s Roofing Contractors was opened after workers were observed being exposed to fall hazards at a residential jobsite in Illinois.

Two willful, one repeat and five serious violations were issued with proposed penalties of $43,780.

Paper manufacturer cited for willful, repeated, serious safety violations – New York

A 57-year-old general mechanic died after removing burned filter bags of combustible fly ash dust from a dust collector in the facility’s power plant and replacing them with new bags when the fly ash ignited. International Paper was placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The company faces $211,000 in proposed fines.

Texas worker injured after being denied safety equipment; companies face fines of more than $367K – Texas

Despite his request for a safety harness, a temporary worker without fall protection on a roof later fell 12 feet through the roof, incurring fractured arms and severe contusions. Cotton Commercial was fined $362,500 for seven safety violations, including one willful and four willful egregious. The violations include failing to provide fall protection for four workers, failure to promptly report the hospitalization of an employee resulting from a workplace incident, and not training employees in the use of fall protection and ladders.

Gardia Construction, which provided the laborers to Cotton Commercial, received a citation for one serious violation and a fine of $4,900, for failing to conduct frequent and regular inspections of the job site where its laborers worked.

Trench collapse seriously injures worker, leads to $424K fine for employer – Texas

A worker, buried by a trench collapse was rescued by his co-workers who dug him out with their bare hands. His injuries were serious and led to his hospitalization.

Hassell Construction Co. Inc. was cited for 16 safety violations, including six egregious willful violations for failing to protect workers inside an excavation from a cave-in. The company faces penalties totaling $423,900 and has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Long history of violations leads to more than $321K in fines – Texas

After an inspection prompted by a formal complaint, D&D Manufacturing Inc, a metal stamping plant in El Paso, Texas, was cited with 13 safety and health citations for exposing workers to amputations and other serious injuries from unsafe machinery. With a 15-year history of safety violations, the company faces $321,750 in fines.

Deaths of four workers places DuPont in Severe Violators Program – Texas

In November 2014, a worker was overcome at a DuPont chemical manufacturing facility when a supply line unexpectedly released more than 20,000 lbs. of methyl mercaptan, a deadly chemical. Three co-workers came to the worker’s aid in an attempted rescue, but all four were asphyxiated fatally.

After the initial investigation into the four deaths, the inspection was expanded under the National Emphasis Program for chemical facilities. DuPont received citations for three willful, one repeat and four serious violations at their chemical manufacturing plant in La Porte. The agency has proposed penalties of $273,000 for these new violations.

Ashley Furniture cited again – Wisconsin

After a 56-year-old employee of furniture manufacturer, Ashley Furniture Industries Inc., had his right ring finger amputated, the company was issued two willful violations for failing to protect workers from machinery operating parts and neglecting to report a hospitalization within 24 hours. OSHA cited two other-than-serious safety violations for failing to keep accurate injury records. Placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program earlier this year, Ashley faces proposed penalties of $83,200.

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

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