Anti-retaliation provisions effective now
The enforcement of anti-retaliation provisions in the injury and illness tracking rule went into effect December 1, after the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas denied a motion that challenged the new provisions.
Final rule on walking/working surfaces, fall protection issued
A long-awaited final rule has been issued updating the standard on walking/working surfaces that addresses slips, trips and falls in the workplace and establishes employer requirements for the use of personal fall protection systems. The most significant update to the rule allows employers to choose the fall protection system that is most effective for them based on a variety of acceptable options, including the use of personal fall protection systems.
The rule also allows employers to:
- Use rope descent systems up to 300 feet above a lower level
- Prohibit the use of body belts as part of a personal fall arrest system
- Require worker training on personal fall protection systems and other equipment designed for falls
The final rule does not change construction or agricultural standards. The final rule for general industry updates requirements for ladders, stairs, dockboards, and fall and falling object protection.
It’s expected that this rule will stand under the Trump administration since it is uncontroversial and employer-friendly.
Amputation prevention initiative launched in four states
Enforcement initiatives emphasizing the prevention of amputation hazards among workers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, began November 1. Inspectors will examine operations, working conditions, recordkeeping, and safety and health programs in these states for compliance. The program will also focus on employers in industries using machinery that can be hazardous to workers.
Regional emphasis program focuses on retail establishments in Pennsylvania
A Regional Emphasis Program for the Retail Industry will include a program of comprehensive safety inspections of certain retail establishments, with a focus on proper exits, material handling and storage and electrical hazards. The emphasis program will cover each of the counties that fall under the jurisdiction of the Wilkes-Barre area office, including: Bradford, Carbon, Clinton, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne and Wyoming.
Guide on silica rule compliance for small businesses
A compliance guide is available for small businesses in the construction industry to help them adhere to a final rule regarding exposure to crystalline silica in the workplace. The guide is intended as an advisory tool and does not create or change any obligations for employers.
NIOSH issues recommended exposure limits for chemicals linked to ‘popcorn lung’
NIOSH has released recommended limits for controlling occupational exposure to flavoring chemicals diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione, both of which have been linked to reduced lung function in food flavoring and production industry workers. Published Oct. 31, Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Diacetyl and 2,3-Pentanedione lists the recommended exposure limits for diacetyl at 5 parts per billion and 9.3 ppb for 2,3-pentanedione as an 8-hour time-weighted average during a 40-hour workweek.
Recent fines and awards
- Elite Electric Inc. of Riverside faces $130,125 in proposed fines for serious and willful safety violations after a worker installing solar panels fell 29 feet through a skylight.
- AAA Roofing was fined $24, 575 after a foreman’s instructions to use a propane torch to loosen a discharge pipe on a tanker filled with liquid asphalt caused an explosion that injured two workers.
- Flacks Painting & Waterproofing of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea faces nearly $90,000 in fines after an employee suffered neck and back injuries when the balcony he was working from collapsed. A willful citation was issued for not ensuring the walking and working surface where employees were working was strong enough to support the workers. There were also four serious and two other-than-serious safety and health violations.
- Collis Roofing Inc. of Deland faces nearly $143,000 in penalties for failing to protect employees from falls. The inspection took place as part of the Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction.
- A mobile medical trailer fell and fatally crushed a 58-year-old electrician on his first day on the job at Advanced Mobility’s location in Monee. The company faces $58,792 in fines.
- Coilplus Illinois Inc., a steel processing facility, faces penalties of $53,628 following the death of a 50-year-old employee after being pulled into a scrap metal baller. Penalties related to violations of confined spaces, machine guarding, and lockout/tagout standards.
- Magna Seating doing business as Excelsior Springs Seating System, a manufacturer of automotive seats, was cited for one serious health violation of the agency’s general duty clause after a May 2016 agency investigation found musculoskeletal disorder injuries. Proposed penalties are $12,471.
- A Jefferson City roofing contractor, Weathercraft Incorporated, was cited for one serious violation of the general duty clause after a 47-year-old laborer died from suffering heat stroke on his third day on the job. Proposed penalties are $12,471.
- Prinz Grain & Feed was cited for multiple violations at its West Point facility after a worker died when a wall of corn debris collapsed in a grain bin. Proposed penalties are $526,633 and the company has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
- A 23-year-old tree service worker was killed on the first day of his job after a wood chipper pulled him into the machine. Albany-based Countryside Tree Service was cited for willful, serious safety violations including failure to train and lack of PPE. Proposed fines total $141,811.
- Smithfield Farmland Corporation in Clinton faces $77,000 in fines for failing to properly guard workers from a cutting band saw, exposing workers to amputation hazards.
- An administrative law judge recently affirmed nine cited federal safety and health violations and assessed $344,960 in fines against Lansdowne masonry contractor, J.C. Stucco and Stone. The company has been cited 41 times since 2011 for exposing workers to life-threatening scaffolding hazards.
- Philadelphia contractor, Hua Da Construction, was fined $72,000 for fall and trenching safety violations.
- Crystal Window & Doors was cited for 8 violations at its Dalton facility and fined nearly $75,000 for not correcting safety hazards following the amputation of a workers’ finger.
- Dollar General in Jonestown fined for blocking emergency exit again and faces $215,000 in penalties.
- KG Marketing and Bag Company of Waukesha, a manufacturer of plastic bags for commercial use, was cited for one willful violation of the machine-guarding standard and one other-than-serious violation for failing to report an amputation within the required 24-hour reporting period. The proposed penalty is $78,325.
Detailed descriptions of the citations above and other OSHA citations can be found here.
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