OSHA watch

Fines to increase significantly

For a quarter century, OSHA was exempted from increasing its penalties to account for inflation. However, the recently passed budget contains an amendment that strikes the exemption. It is expected proposed fines will rise by about 80% – the maximum penalty for a willful violation would rise to about $127,000 from the current $70,000. The adjustment must occur before Aug. 1, 2016. In subsequent years, penalties will be adjusted based on inflation levels.

Hazcom webpage updated

The hazard communication webpage is updated to include easier access to topics on the revised standard. The new page has tabs directing users to various letters of interpretation, guidance documents, and frequently asked questions regarding requirements in the rule.

The latest deadline for compliance with the standard’s new requirements was Dec. 1, which is when distributors shall not ship containers that are not compliant with new labeling requirements.

Guidance on safety and health program management updated and comments sought

Published Nov. 16, the voluntary Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines detail core elements of an effective safety and health program. According to the draft guidance, employers should have a program designed to find and fix safety hazards.

For more information and to review the draft guidelines and provide comment, visit http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=OSHA-2015-0018-0001. Comments will be accepted until Feb. 15, 2016.
Video focuses on temporary worker safety

The role of host employers and staffing firms in protecting temporary workers is stressed in a new video.

Fact sheets on agricultural, maritime safety

The agricultural fact sheet, focuses on tractor hazards, noting the majority of farmworker injuries and deaths are the result of tractor incidents such as overturns and unintended contact with tractor attachments or implements. The maritime fact sheet addresses hazards stemming from the repair and maintenance of refrigeration systems on vessels.

Emphasis program for poultry industry launched in South

A Regional Emphasis Program focusing on the poultry industry in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas went into effect Oct. 26. The program will run for one year, but can be extended, and will focus on musculoskeletal disorders and ergonomic stressors.

Final rule for handling retaliation complaints from workers in Railroad and public transportation industries

A final rule establishing procedures and time frames for handling employee retaliation complaints under the National Transit Systems Security Act and the Federal Railroad Safety Act went into effective Nov. 9, 2015.

Recent fines and awards

California

  • In January of 2012 Cal/OSHA cited Tri-State Staffing (TSI) and the National Distribution Center (NDC) for an indoor heat related illness that an employee suffered. Recently, in the first case regarding indoor heat, the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board ruled that the citations for failing to effectively address indoor heat in the required Injury and Illness Prevention Programs (IIPP) could stand. It noted the IIPP standard could be used to address hazards that are not specifically identified in the standard.

 

 

Georgia

  • Jose M. Hernandez Cruz, doing business as JA Siding Construction Services LLC, faces more than $65,000 in fines for exposing workers to dangerous falls and other safety hazards.
  • Virginia-based Interstate Resources Inc., doing business as RB Lumber L.L.C., was cited for repeatedly exposing workers to safety hazards and faces a nearly $60,000 fine.

 

Massachusetts

  • Ludlow-based contractor A. Martin & Son Construction Inc. faces $14,000 in fines for failure to identify and eliminate excavation hazards, which led to the drowning of an employee.
  • After a follow-up inspection, Mass-Granite Inc. in Acton was cited for failing to correct six hazards that were found at an earlier inspection in 2014, and for several new hazards. The repeat violations relate to failure to address hearing hazards and new citations relate to electrical hazards, and failure to provide protective equipment, among others. Proposed fines are $87,200.

 

Michigan

  • Detroit-based general contractor, DMC Consultants Inc., was cited for exposing workers to asbestos at a residential construction site in Ypsilanti. Proposed penalties are $265,200.

 

Missouri

  • Piramal Glass USA did not provide fire-retardant clothing and an employee suffered 3rd-degree burns in a glass factory fire. The company received one willful, one repeated and six serious safety violations. Proposed penalties total $122,000.
  • Fastrack Erectors, which was fined over $500,000 earlier this year, is being charged by U.S. Department of Justice with violating an OSHA regulation and causing the death of a 22-year-old employee.

 

New York

  • Tomra NY Recycling L.L.C.’s Schenectady faces $84,000 in fines as a result of a forklift incident that left an employee with a compound leg fracture. Four forklifts were found to be defective and not taken out of service.
  • Perry’s Maintenance Inc., headquartered in Lockport, faces $70,000 in penalties for one willful violation as a result of an incident where a landscaper was killed after being struck by a rock.
  • A Queens cemetery operator, St. John Cemetery Corp., is facing $123,200 in proposed penalties after a gravedigger was partially buried when the walls of the grave he was working in collapsed and buried him up to his waist.
  • An employee working alone late at night at a company gasoline station/convenience store in South Syracuse was shot in the leg during an armed robbery and the employer, Speedway LLC Inc., faces $7,000 in fines for lacking adequate workplace violence safeguards.

 

Pennsylvania

  • A Clarion Sintered Metals Inc. plant was inspected after the company reported the hospitalization of an employee whose right leg was amputated after it was crushed while he loaded cardboard into a stationary trash compactor. The manufacturer was issued 30 serious citations, including four general duty clause citations, which mandates that employers furnish a workplace environment free of recognized hazards likely to cause or causing death. Proposed fines are $74,000.
  • Initiated by a complaint, an inspection of Alberto El Romero found that the company continues to expose workers to fall hazards and fines of over $51,000 are proposed.
  • A compliance officer observed forklift hazards and employees of Rockvale Construction LLC exposed to fall hazards up to 26 feet, prompting the investigation. Proposed penalties are $61,600 and, due to the cited willful violations, the company was placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).
  • M&A Excavating LLC, exposed workers to trenching hazards and more than $57K in fines are proposed.

 

Texas

  • A furniture manufacturer, MooreCo Inc., and staffing agency, Milwaukee-based Manpower Group US Inc., are facing $161,000 in possible fines after temporary workers were seriously injured twice in 14 months. The fines relate to inadequately guarded machines that in one instance led to the amputation of fingertips. Receiving three repeat and six serious violations, MooreCo was placed in the SVEP.
  • Design Plastering Inc. and Design Plastering West LLC were cited for multiple safety and health violations following the death of a construction worker who fell from a third-story balcony. It’s alleged the company had not installed scaffolding or provided workers with personal fall protection. Proposed fines total $407,400.
  • Three Texas commercial real estate services companies, FBZ Broadway L.P., One Eighty Construction Inc. and Roscoe Properties Inc., all owned by the same person and based in Austin, were cited for exposing workers to asbestos at a residential apartment construction worksite in San Antonio. Proposed penalties are: $14,000 against FBZ, $63,000 against Roscoe, and $35,000 against One Eighty.
  • Genesis Today Inc. and Texas Management Division Inc., doing business as TMD Temporaries, were cited for failure to provide machine guarding after a worker’s hand had to be amputated. Proposed penalties: Genesis Today $56,000 and Texas Management Division $7,000.
  • Peak Roofing Inc. was cited for failure to provide fall protection at an Abilene jobsite and faces $54,000 in fines.
  • Two Texas contractors, Keller-based North Texas Contracting Inc. and Willis-based K&S Contractors, are facing a total of $65,900 in proposed fines for exposing employees to cave-in hazards.
  • Two employers cited for exposing workers to fall hazards after a worker falls to his death at a Conroe construction site. Ramco Erectors Inc. was fined $69,300 and Isabel Facundo Garcia was fined $7,000.

 

Wisconsin

  • Prompted by a complaint, an inspection of food manufacturer, IPM Foods in Beloit, revealed workers were exposed to numerous safety hazards, including the possible start-up of machinery during service and maintenance and electrical hazards. The company was cited for 14 safety violations, with proposed penalties of $103,600.
  • Ashley Furniture was cited again for on-the-job machine hazards and faces $431,000 in fines for safety hazards at its Whitehall facility. This penalty is in addition to more than $1.8 million in fines issued earlier this year during inspections at other company facilities in Wisconsin. As a result of its earlier SVEP designation, inspections are open at Ashley’s facilities in California, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and North Carolina.
  • For the fourth time in three years, a Bloomer roofing contractor, Affordable Exteriors, was found allowing workers to work without fall protection equipment. Proposed penalties total $112,200.

 

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

 

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