OSHA watch

Comment deadline on proposed OSHA injury reporting rule extended

A comment period on a proposed rule that employers have a “continuing obligation” to keep and maintain injury records has been extended to October 28. The proposed rule would require employers to enter every recordable case on their injury log and update logs with cases not previously recorded. These obligations remain for the five years employers are required to keep and maintain records.

Publication to protect the safety of firefighters, other responders revised

To better protect emergency responders, there is a revised Fire Service Features of Buildings and Fire Protection Systems. The manual explains how different building features can affect fire service operations.

Sometimes it’s just hard to believe

Minnesota OSHA inspectors have posted “Best of the Worst” photos of hazardous work practices. You might not believe what you see in this photo gallery

Be on the lookout: NLRB decision may mean more OSHA scrutiny for temporary workers and franchisor-franchisee relationships

In a close vote, a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the Browning-Ferris Industries case “refined” its standard for determining joint-employer status, announcing a new joint-employer standard that is significantly broader and more inclusive than the standard the NLRB has upheld for the past 30 years. While the OSHA definition of “employer” is not identical to the definition in the National Labor Relations Act, it could adopt the reasoning of the Browning Ferris decision and treat multiple contractors as controlling employers, significantly increasing franchisor and staffing agencies’ exposure to citations even when they had no control over the workplace or awareness of the hazard.

Recent fines and awards

Georgia

  • The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission upheld a citation and proposed a $74,800 fine against the company producing the movie “Midnight Rider” for failure to provide safety measures to protect employees from moving trains that led to the death of a 27-year-old camera assistant.
  • American Air Filter Co. of Atlanta, fined nearly $120K for exposing temp workers to serious safety hazards, including improper machine guarding. Many are repeat violations and the company faces $119,900 in penalties and was placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
  • Atlanta window and door manufacturer, Dyke Industries Inc., and staffing agencies, Staff Right Inc., and Koosharem LLC, doing business as Select Staffing, were cited for exposing nearly 90 workers to fire, amputations and other serious safety hazards. $70K in fines to three companies are proposed.

Kansas

  • An inspection of Reser’s Fine Foods, Topeka, initiated by a complaint about an ammonia leak, led to citations for 13 serious safety and health violations, many involving process safety procedures. Proposed penalties are $71,700.

Missouri

  • When a 54-year-old employee lost four fingers at Wahlco, a baby diaper recycling facility, the inspection focused on how the accident occurred, but inspectors also found extensive combustible dust and potential sources of ignition that could have caused an explosion and fire at the plant. The Jackson-based company was cited for one repeated and 12 serious safety and health violations, including a lack of machine safety guards, with proposed penalties of $74,480.
  • After a judge issued a contempt order forcing a Kansas City foundry, Martin Foundry Co., to allow an inspection, the company was cited for five repeated and seven serious violations including exposing workers to lead hazards, with proposed penalties of $119,000. The inspection was initiated after the Missouri Department of Health reported a foundry employee with an elevated blood lead level.

Nebraska

  • An inspection of MP Global Products LLC, a flooring materials company, after a 65-year-old temporary worker suffered an amputation of one finger and serious damage to another when his left hand was caught in a machine, uncovered efforts by the employer to hide hazards and threats to fire employees who complained about unsafe working conditions. The company was cited for 25 willful, serious and other-than-serious safety violations with proposed penalties of $244,000, and placed in Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
  • Select Van and Storage doing business as Mayflower/United, Omaha, was cited for one serious, and one other-than-serious safety violation in a heat-related death of worker. Proposed Penalties: $12,000

New York

  • Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. faces fines of $175,000 for repeat lockout/ tagout violations and for inadequate hand and face protection for the employees.
  • American Recycling & Manufacturing Co. Inc. contested citations related to the loss of an employee’s left hand, but a judge affirmed the citations and ordered the company to pay $154,800 in penalties and correct the cited hazards, including appropriate signage for workers who were not fluent in English.
  • Idea Nuova, which makes goods for brands like Nickelodeon, Disney and MLB, is looking at $84,150 in fines for violations related to emergency exits, exposed electrical parts, and merchandise that was not stacked safely.
  • Queens manufacturer, Juniper Elbow Co. Inc, exposed employees to new and recurring hazards, including blocked exits, unguarded machines, noise exposure, and lack of training among others and faces $85,140 in penalties.

Pennsylvania

  • Sterling Technologies Inc., Lake City, received one general duty clause citation for exposing employees to heat stress conditions while working rotational molding ovens operating at 600 degrees Fahrenheit and one additional serious safety citation. Proposed penalties are $9,900.
  • High Structural Erectors LLC was cited after a worker was hospitalized for heat-related illness during a bridge reconstruction project. Proposed penalties are $4,900.

Texas

  • After an accident where an unguarded machine crushed a worker’s index and middle finger and amputated part of his ring finger, an inspection, conducted under the National Emphasis Program on Amputations, of Stampcoat, headquartered in El Paso, led to 33 citations. During the inspection, a machine sheared off the tip of another worker’s thumb. Proposed penalties are $119,000.
  • A 29-year-old man working at a Brownsville bowling alley died when his shirt collar tangled in a defective pinsetter, strangling him as the machine twisted the collar tighter. The inspection led to citing Galaxy Bowling with 10 serious violations related to lockout/tagout and unguarded machinery and proposed penalties of $50,400.
  • A 59-year-old Hispanic man who was hired for the day to sort aluminum cans outdoors for Al Star Recycling died from heat exposure. The company was cited for failing to implement a heat management program for all workers exposed to excessive heat outdoors as well as four other serious violations. Proposed penalties are $13,800.
  • Baze Chemical Inc. was cited for 20 serious violations, most of which related to OSHA’s standard for the management of processes using highly hazardous chemicals. Proposed penalties are $114,800.
  • Hensel Phelps Construction was fined $70,000 and CVI Development was fined $18,000 for exposing workers to excavation hazards on a multi-employer worksite at the new central library project excavation site in downtown Austin.
  • An oil rig inferno killed three workers and Mason Well Service of Odessa was cited for one repeated and five serious violations. Proposed fines total $50,400.
  • Pier 1 Imports in Fort Worth was cited for safety hazards at two sites with fines totaling $86,100. Two serious violations cited at the Fort Worth distribution center involved failing to ensure proper training for forklift operators and proper inspections for forklifts. A serious violation at the Mansfield location involved a damaged storage rack.
  • Sequin home builder, Cavco Industries Inc., failed to protect workers from unsafe machinery, falls and other safety hazards and received 15 citations, with fines totaling $67,000.

Wisconsin

  • H & S Manufacturing Co. Inc., Marshfield, a farm machinery and equipment manufacturer was cited for 13 safety and health violations related to machine guarding, exposure to falls, not training workers about hazardous chemicals, and improper storage of flammable liquids. Proposed penalties are $59,000.
  • Dry wall manufacturer, Total Wall Inc. of Rio,was cited for exposing workers to respiratory, chemical and fall hazards. Violations include exposure to dangerous silica and dust particles. Proposed penalties are $60,200.
  • Country Vision Cooperative, Reedsville, was cited for exposing workers to grain bin hazards. Proposed penalties are $70,000.
  • Metal salvage recyclers, Waukesha Iron & Metal,received 11 safety citations in death of maintenance manager. Proposed penalties total $42,000.

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

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