OSHA watch

Labor-law compliance pre-assessment now available to federal contractors

The Department of Labor offers labor-law compliance pre-assessments to all current or prospective federal contractors to help them meet new disclosure requirements in the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. The process is designed to answer questions from employers expecting to compete for federal contracts worth at least $500,000.

This is a proactive and voluntary way for current and prospective government contractors to be reviewed on labor compliance history. Participating in Preassessment:

  • Provides current and prospective contractors the opportunity to be assessed on their labor law compliance history, and how it would be reviewed as part of the acquisition process
  • Serves as a proactive and voluntary measure if there are labor law compliance history concerns, because the contractor can develop a labor compliance agreement and start taking steps to mitigate issues before there is a specific acquisition
  • Will be considered in future acquisitions

Pre-assessment is ongoing, and employers may complete request intakes after the first phases of the final rule go into effect on Oct. 25.

Every webpage is now available in Spanish

Every page on OSHA’s website can now be translated into Spanish by going to the Spanish link at the top right corner of the webpage to have the text instantly translated.

New guidelines for whistleblower settlements prevent employers from silencing workers

There are new guidelines for approving settlements between employers and employees in whistleblower cases to ensure that they do not contain terms that could be interpreted to restrict future whistleblowing.

Final rule addresses whistleblower protections for seamen

A new final rule aims at improving protections for seamen who inform the government about violations of maritime safety laws or regulations. The rule, published in the Sept. 15 Federal Register, institutes procedures and time frames for managing retaliation complaints under the Seaman’s Protection Act.

MIOSHA launches state emphasis program targeting blight removal projects to protect workers from asbestos and other hazards

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has launched a state emphasis program on blight removal projects to address hazards such as asbestos and lead that pose health threats to workers. During the yearlong program, MIOSHA will inspect mostly residential blight removal jobsites for hazards associated with asbestos, lead and cadmium, as well as all other serous hazards.

 

Recent fines and awards

California

  • California OSHA issued $101,385 in penalties to SW Forage LLC of Hesperia following an incident where a worker was caught and killed in a forage compactor. The company failed to properly label, stop and de-energize machine movements during cleaning and servicing and also failed to train workers on hazardous energy control procedures and did not provide guardrails on all open sides of elevated work locations.
  • Big Pines Ziplines faces $85,000 in fines for serious and willful safety violations uncovered following an unreported rider accident that resulted in a major injury. Cal/OSHA investigators found that riders could reach speeds of up to 55 mph on lines more than a quarter-mile long that had no effective emergency braking system and that the company continued to operate unsafe zip lines even after the division ordered them to stop.

Georgia

  • Auto parts manufacturer, HP Pelzer of Thomson and staffing agency Sizemore face $704,610 in penalties for 24 violations related to fall, amputation, and electrocution hazards. The inspection was initiated by a complaint and as part of the Regional Emphasis Program (REP) on Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry. HP Pelzer Automotive Systems meets the listed criteria for inclusion in the Severe Violators Enforcement Program (SVEP).

Florida

  • AJ New Construction and Repair faces fines of $139,000 after sites inspections in Jacksonville and St. Johns revealed dangerous fall hazards.The inspections were part of the REP on Falls in Construction. Proposed penalties are $139,675.
  • Rogero & Williams Roofing Contractors Inc. of St. Augustine was inspected under the REP on Falls in Construction and fined $128,077 for exposing workers to falls by performing re-roofing work on a residence without fall protection and failure to require workers to wear eye protection equipment.
  • Chris Sawdo Construction LLC, a roofing contractor from St. Augustine, exposed workers to dangerous fall hazards at two Northern Florida work sites and faces nearly $200,000 in fines.

Illinois

  • Cargo-handling company, Alliance Ground International, was cited for the third time for exposing O’Hare workers to forklift and electrical hazards. The inspection was a result of a complaint and part of the REP on Powered Industrial Vehicles. Proposed penalties are $338,881.
  • Joliet construction contractor, P.T. Ferro, was cited for ignoring the dangers of trench collapse for the seventh time, and faces penalties of $104,756.

Indiana

  • A framing contractor, LLG Construction of Grabill, was cited for failing to protect workers from fall hazards on residential construction sites. Facing $44,000 in penalties, the company was placed in the SVEP because this was the second failed inspection in five months.
  • Townsend Tree Service Company LLC of Muncie faces penalties of $12,471 when a 23-year-old ground crewman died after being hospitalized with a core body temperature above 108 degrees at a Poplar Bluff Missouri project. This was one of 16 heat-related deaths reported since Jan. 2016.

Mississippi

  • Koch Foods of Mississippi LLC, located in Morton, faces $88,632 in fines for exposing workers to falls, unguarded machinery, electric shock and other safety hazards. The investigation was a result of two serious injuries and part of the REP for Poultry Processing Facilities.

Missouri

  • Following a complaint from an employee of Dollar Generals’ store in Van Buren, the company was fined nearly $98,000 for blocked exits and other hazards.

Nebraska

  • Cooperative Producer’s (CPI) Hayland facility in Prosser was cited after an elevator superintendent died in a soybean bin when his lifeline tangled in an unguarded and rotating auger. Proposed penalties are $411,540. Headquartered in Hastings, CPI operates 29 grain-handling facilities in Nebraska, has been cited seven times since 2011 for grain handling safety violations, and is in the SVEP.

New York

  • York Metal Toll Processing Inc., a Syracuse auto parts manufacturer, faces $218,000 in penalties when a follow-up inspection revealed uncorrected electrical, crushing and respiratory hazards, as well as recurring amputation hazards.

Pennsylvania

  • The Children’s Home of Reading, which is a facility for children and youth in crisis, had at least 10 workplace violence incidents in seven months. Inspected in response to a complaint, the agency faces proposed penalties totaling $23,160 for failing to protect workers from assaults.
  • Birdsboro Kosher Farms Corp., a chicken processing company, was fined $317,000 for exposing workers to health and safety hazards after a worker suffered a thumb amputation while operating a mixing machine.

Wisconsin

  • An investigation of a lathe operator’s fatal injuries finds machine guards were bypassed at Cedarburg machining facility,Carlson Tool & Manufacturing. Proposed penalties are $124,709.

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

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