OSHA watch

Court denies preliminary injunction on new rules on drug testing, retaliation claims, and accident reporting

The Federal District Court has denied industry’s request to enjoin new rules on mandatory post-accident drug screenings and safety incentive programs, workplace retaliation, and requiring employers to post OSHA logs electronically. (see the article, OSHA’s revised recordkeeping rule in effect: are you ready?)

New rule stresses maintaining injury and illness records for five years

Effective Jan. 18, 2017, a new final rule clarifies that employers have a continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness for five years. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected this position in 2012 and some still argue the continuing obligation does not exist, but it is a long-held agency stance.

Update to construction safety guidelines

Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction is an effort to help small and medium-sized construction businesses improve workplace safety. The practices are advisory and do not establish legal obligations.

Add worker safety and health to sustainability plans

A new white paper documenting a link between workplace safety and sustainability calls for safety to be fully integrated into sustainability initiatives.

Final rule for handling retaliation complaints in the automotive industry

A final rule establishing procedures and time frames for handling employee retaliation complaints under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) became effective Dec. 14, 2016.

Recent fines and awards

Florida

  • Four contractors, Southern Chills Inc., Capri Construction Corp., SB Painting & Waterproofing Inc., and Brothers Carpentry Corp., received eight citations when a worker died after falling through an unprotected floor opening while performing punch-list work at a housing development in Miami. Combined, the four contractors face $91,536 in penalties.

Illinois

  • Molinee-based Deere & Co. has agreed to pay a former employee about $275,000 to settle complaints it violated the anti-retaliation provisions after terminating an employee who reported unsafe work conditions.
  • Just six weeks after a machine amputated a maintenance worker’s left hand at Kerry’s, Inc. Melrose Park bread products facility, the company reported a second worker’s right forearm suffered multiple fractures as he cleaned another machine. Proposed penalties are $86,942 for allowing employees to service machinery without isolating operating parts.
  • Spotted in a drive-by inspection, Joiner Sheet Metal & Roofing of Greenville faces fines of $61,721 for failing to provide fall protection.
  • JW Construction and Plastering faces fines of $80,741 for failure to provide gloves, goggles, fall protection and protection from silica hazards.

Massachusetts

  • A Dudley packaging firm, Shield Packaging Co. Inc., and two temporary agencies, Leominster-based ASI Staffing Group Corp. and Worcester-based Southern Mass Staffing, face a total of $338,000 for failure to call 911 when a temporary employee was seriously injured and for not providing the required training.
  • An employee of Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning and General Contracting fell nine feet from a garage roof in Lexington and the company is facing fines of $45,500 for lack of fall protection.

Michigan

  • Inspected in response to an employee complaint, Ypsilanti automotive exhaust component manufacturer, Bosal Industries Georgia Inc., received 19 citations and faces fines of $265,600.
  • Warren-based Central Transport L.L.C. will pay $265,400 in penalties as a part of a settlement agreement that commits the company to improving forklift safety at more than 100 terminals in 26 states.

Minnesota

  • Berwald Roofing paid $113,200 and Mortenson Construction paid $34,300 in a settlement after an August 2015 fatality in which an employee fell from the roof of U.S. Bank Stadium.

Missouri

  • A federal court order allowed investigators to respond to complaints of unsafe working conditions at a sheet metal manufacturing facility, Hammond Sheet Metal, which operates as Barrington Manufacturing Corp in El Dorado Springs. Proposed fines are $138,430 for more than a dozen alleged violations relating to chemical and machine hazards.

New York

  • A Queensbury manufacturer, RWS Manufacturing Inc., failed to verify that it corrected previous violations and faces penalties of $197,820 for failure to abate and new and reoccurring hazards.

Pennsylvania

  • A Plymouth Meeting contractor, Vanilson Da Silva, doing business as Real Contractors LLC, has been fined $87,000 after a compliance officer observed workers exposed to fall hazards.
  • The Doylestown campus of Universal Health Services, a behavioral health facility, was fined $36,701 for failing to protect workers from assaults by patients, among other issues.
  • The sexual assault of an employee of Epic Health Services resulted in a citation for failure to protect employees from workplace violence. Proposed fines are $98,000.

Wisconsin

  • The death of a 51-year-old chemical technician at Crystal Finishing Systems Inc. in Mosinee results in fines of $171,169 for improper machine guarding, inadequate PPE, and failure to properly train workers.
  • Alliance Laundry Systems faces fines of $124,709 after a 65-year-old-employee’s right middle finger tip was amputated, the third employee who suffered an amputation in the past year.

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

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