OSHA watch

Preliminary list of top ten violations released

For the fifth year in a row, the fall protection standard is the most frequently cited standard. The preliminary list covers fiscal year 2015:

  • Fall Protection (1926.501)
  • Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
  • Scaffolding (1926.451)
  • Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  • Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
  • Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
  • Ladders (1926.1053)
  • Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305)
  • Machine Guarding (1910.212)
  • Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303)

A new inspection protocol

A new Enforcement Weighting System will guide inspections in FY 2016. Under the new system, routine inspections are valued as one Enforcement Unit, while more complex categories are valued up to eight Enforcement Units. For example, process safety management inspections are seven units, workplace violence inspections are three units, and inspections involving a chemical for which there is no permissible exposure limit are also three units. Typically 40,000 inspections are made annually; under the new plan, the target will be measured in enforcement units.

Confined space resource released

New guidance helps small businesses comply with the agency’s Confined Spaces in Construction Standard. Full enforcement of the standard for non-residential construction employers is in effect, but full enforcement for residential construction is delayed until Jan. 8.

The publication outlines several aspects of confined spaces in construction, including:

  • The difference between confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces
  • Work covered by the standard
  • Employer responsibilities
  • Worker training
  • Rescue and emergency services
  • Examples of a permit-required confined space program and entry permit

Updated guide on trenching, excavation features info on bidding for jobs

The guidance on trenching and excavation activities is updated to include a section on the employer bidding process.

Enforcement of new PSM policy delayed

A July 22 memorandum revised the interpretation that exempted retail facilities from Process Safety Management (PSM) requirements. The new interpretation states that only facilities with North American Industry Classification System codes of 44 and 45 will be exempt; however, lawmakers feel the interpretation is arbitrary and there should be a formal rule making process. A new policy that will last through July 22, 2016 will focus efforts on compliance assistance and, in most cases, will not cite newly non-exempted facilities for failing to comply with the PSM rule.

New injury reports flood office

The revised reporting requirements, effective Jan. 1, added a new requirement that employers report the hospitalization of a single employee – rather than three or more employees as previously required – as well as all amputations and loss of an eye. The result is the agency is receiving 200 to 250 new reports each week on top of the roughly 40 reports it already received under continuing rules.

Updated statistics from OSHA show:

  • 75% of valid incidents were hospitalizations that did not involve an amputation or eye injury
  • 25% were amputations
  • Less than 1% were eye injuries
  • 55% resulted in a rapid response investigation seeking more information, including employer corrective actions
  • 38% resulted in an on-site inspection
  • Only 7% resulted in no action

 MIOSHA launches emphasis program on exterior building contractors

Michigan OSHA has launched a Local Emphasis Program targeting enforcement activities on industries that recently have experienced an increase in injuries and illnesses. From Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2016, MIOSHA intends to inspect more than 50 siding, structural steel and pre-cast contractors at various jobsites.

Recent fines and awards


  • After a criminal investigation by California OSHA, the San Francisco District Attorney has brought manslaughter charges against the employer and foreman of a 51-year-old carpenter at Versaggi Construction who was killed in a fall in December 2012. The charges relate to failing to provide fall protection and scaffolding violations.
  • Two Northern California construction companies have been issued total fines of more than $300,000 for allegedly exposing workers to cave-in hazards at a construction site. San Mateo, California-based EMI Design & Construction Inc. was fined $164,465 for 10 alleged workplace safety violations, while Salt Light Investments Inc. of Oakland, California, was fined $140,375 for three alleged violations.



  • A 33-year-old woman had two fingers amputated as she used a mechanical power press for the first time without proper training or safety guards at the Homerville facility of Bway and the company was cited for four repeated, 15 serious and three other-than-serious safety violations. SMX LLC, the staffing agency that employed the injured worker, was also cited for three serious and two other-than-serious safety violations. Proposed penalties for both companies total $217,720.
  • Arlington, Virginia-based Interstate Resources Inc., doing business as RB Lumber L.L.C., was cited for two repeated violations for failing to provide fall protection equipment to employees working and walking on top of machinery and for exposing workers to electrical hazards and faces fines of almost $60,000.
  • Apache Mills Inc., a floor mat manufacturer, was cited for failure to properly guard a machine as well as other violations, after an employee’s hand was injected with hydraulic fluid while he was providing maintenance. Fines total $51,000.


  • Big Lot Stores in Danvers was fined $66,000 after an assistant manager was hospitalized when boxes of patio furniture and other stock fell on him. Similar violations were found in New York and Georgia stores in 2014, so the violations were considered repeat.



  • An inspection revealed that the Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, didn’t follow federal guidelines for working in confined spaces at the hatchery. The private-sector penalty for the violations would be $70,500; however, fines aren’t assessed for federal agencies.



  • An employee of glass manufacturer, Piramal Glass USA Inc., suffered third-degree burns on his legs and hands. The company faces proposed penalties totaling $122,000 for one willful, one repeated and six serious safety violations.
  • CBS Pilings Solutions Inc., was cited for improper rigging of the load, failing to train workers in struck-by hazards associated with working around cranes and suspended loads, and not removing all nonessential employees from the fall zone during crane operations following the death of a worker at a Nebraska job site. Proposed fines are $14,700.



  • Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services, faces $963,000 in penalties after two employees died in an explosion. Seven egregious willful violations involving multiple instances of failing to monitor air quality properly in confined spaces and for not fit-testing employees required to use respirators in railcars were issued. The company was also placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
  • Endicott Clay Products, a brick manufacturing plant, was fined $15,300 after a 41-year-old worker was fatally crushed in a machine without required safety guards.


New York

  • Brooklyn-based J&M Metro General Contracting Corp., faces $84,600 in proposed fines after an employee fell and died while raking freshly poured concrete at the unprotected 6th floor edge of a building under construction. The company received one willful violation for the lack of fall protection and five serious violations for other hazards.
  • General contractor Harco Construction LLC and subcontractor Sky Materials Corp.were indicted for manslaughter by the state, and face fines of $140,000 after a 22-year-old worker was killed in a trench collapse.
  • After a landscape employee’s death from being stuck by a rock, Perry’s Maintenance Inc., of Lockport, received one willful violation for failure to properly maintain equipment. Proposed penalties are $70,000.
  • Harden Furniture Inc. was cited for 25 serious violations of workplace safety standards during an inspection conducted under the National Emphasis Program on amputation risks. Proposed penalties are $106,200.



  • Following a trench collapse where an employee was rescued after being buried by a collapsing trench wall, Mark Mashuda Excavating Inc received two willful and one serious safety citations with fines totaling $147,000.
  • Arthur Funk & Sons received one willful citation, and Weaver Construction and Roofing one willful and two serious citations after a compliance officer observed employees of both companies working without fall protection and exposed to a 13-foot fall. Proposed penalties: $42,350 for Arthur Funk & Sons Inc.; $49,600 for Weaver Construction and Roofing Inc.
  • A 27-year-old furnace worker was killed in an explosion when a boiler lid, 20 feet in diameter, flew off inside the Morgantown TIMET titanium manufacturing plant. Proposed penalties total $42,000 for eight serious – including two general duty clause citations – and one other-than-serious citation.



  • Peak Roofing Inc., a Houston-based roofing company, was cited for one willful violation for exposing workers at an Abilene jobsite to falls from heights greater than 6 feet without providing fall protection. Proposed fine is $54,000.
  • Maverick Arms Inc., of Eagle Pass was cited for one willful and 23 serious violations for failing to reduce dangerous noise levels and exposing workers to electrical, fall and amputation hazards. Total proposed penalties are $197,000.


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

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