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Showing posts from June, 2010

Post Office cited for safety problems in Maine

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has cited the U.S. Postal Service and proposed penalty $430,000 in fines for "willful and repeated" electrical safety violations at a processing and distribution center. OSHA had done an investigation on the Southern Maine Processing and Distribution Center in Scarborough after a worker complaint against it and brought the matter to light.

OSHA inspectors found that postal workers were exposed to electric shock, arc flashes and arc blasts from mail-processing equipment, the Labor Department said.

David Michaels, the assistant labor secretary for OSHA, said that their bosses did not prepare the workers "with the necessary knowledge and skills" to work with equipment with live electrical parts. Michaels added, "The Postal Service knew that proper and effective training was needed for the safety of its workers but did not provide it.”

Tom Rizzo, the spokesman for the Postal Service in Northern New England District…

Queens contractor was busted for selling bogus safety certificates

A Queens contractor was found selling dozens of fake safety certificates that are needed by the hardhats on construction projects and so was busted on Thursday. It was shocking to know that Junior Lewis, owner of Jule Builders Group Inc. in Jamaica had sold around 69 workers Labor Department cards that certify 30 hours of safety training course completion; but actually they had not completed the course.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office has disclosed the matter. Now, it has been brought into the light by Daily News investigations that there has developed a widespread black market in the coveted certificates named OSHA-30 cards. These cards are required by the workers to work with the most city construction of buildings of 10 or more stories.

According to the prosecutors, under a program regulated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Lewis, 53, has been certified as a construction-safety trainer. And illegally they have started selling the certificates for $200-$400 apiec…

MMS Moving to Mandate Safety Standards for Rig Workers

Minerals Management Service (MMS) has finally decided to regulate safety standards that are mandatory for rig workers after a long procedure. The Deepwater Horizon blast that took place two months ago has made the authorities more concerned about the safety matters of the workers. According to a senior official at the retooled Minerals Management Service (MMS), the worker-safety standards in place for offshore oil rigs were voluntary developed in consultation with the oil industry two months before the Deepwater Horizon blast.

Doug Slitor, acting chief of offshore regulatory programs at the reorganized MMS, has told the members of the House Education and Labor Committee that his office has now worked to turn the once-recommended worker safety guidelines -- drafted with the American Petroleum Institute -- into a mandatory program.

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the Education and Labor panel said, "Safety process management rules are absolutely critical. It is stunning th…

O’Donnell parking structure now closed says OSHA

It seems the O’Donnell parking structure is seeing its last days when OSHA shut it down after a partial wall collapsed killing one person and injured two more. Some of the visitors who have parked their cars prior to the incident will be unable to retrieve their cars for days since it has been completely closed down.

The county officials had received a call shortly after 4 p.m. informing them that a 30-foot slab of concrete collapsed onto a driveway below. The incident happened on the park east facade and the concrete trapped at least one person inside and two others were injured in the collapse.

The cause of the collapse has not been disclosed yet, but the city engineers were being summoned to the scene to determine the integrity of the parking structure.

Some motorists were still allowed to retrieve their vehicles from the south section of the parking structure. When OSHA took over the matter, they gave a nod to close down the whole structure completely. It seems the investigation will…

OSHA in collaboration with AESC renewed alliance to promote safety and health in the oil and gas industry

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has opened yet another door for the importance and enhancement of workplace safety for the oil and gas workers. Now, OSHA in collaboration with the Association of Energy Service Cos. has developed and signed an alliance of workplace safety for oil and gas workers.

William Burke, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Dallas, said "We welcome this opportunity to join with the AESC in emphasizing employer awareness of hazardous working conditions in the oil and gas industry. The joint resources of this continuing relationship will help make this industry as safe and healthy as possible." The members of AESC have agreed to work closely with OSHA for the sake of enhancing and building upon existing training and educational goals, outreach and communication goals, and workplace health, safety and environmental goals.

This alliance will help OSHA work with groups that are committed to the workers safety and health, including businesses, trade and p…

OSHA cites Ford Motor Co. for not repairing damaged overhead cranes at Buffalo Stamping Plant in western New York

OHSA (U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has found the Ford Motor Co. Buffalo Stamping Plant in Hamburg, N.Y., allegedly violated OSHA safety standards. The company did not repair or remove the unsafe overhead cranes from their service. OSHA inspected the site in January 2010 in response to a complaint from workers at the plant.

OSHA standards require the employers to inspect the cranes or other heavy vehicles that are used in their workplace to identify if there is any unsafe condition. And while find any such condition, the employers need to remove it from operation until the hazards are corrected. OSHA has found five instances of using overhead cranes to lift and set dies or lift coils of steel were allowed to remain in service after defects were identified during inspections conducted in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The citation included worn brake drums, loose or sheared coupling bolts, and worn or damaged gears.

Arthur Dube, OSHA's area dire…

Iowa Interstate Railroad violated Federal Rail Safety Act

OSHA(Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has found that the Iowa Interstate Railroad has violated the Federal Rail Safety Act. The Iowa Interstate Railroad was found to have retaliated against a train conductor because he reported a workplace injury. According to OSHA, Iowa Interstate Railroad will have to make amends for the conductor.

In January 2009, an employee was issued a notification of formal investigation by Iowa Interstate Railroad for reporting a work injury and also retaliated against the employee by disciplining him in the form of a letter of censure. The employee filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that the railroad had retaliated against him for reporting his work injury. After getting the complaint, Whistleblower Protection Program of OSHA conducted an investigation under the Federal Rail Safety Act, and found merit to the complaint and ordered relief.

Michael G. Connors, OSHA regional administrator in Chicago, said, "An employer does not have the r…

Oil Spill taking a Toll on Florida Vacationer

Oil spill in Mexico has become a threat to the vacationers who usually enjoyed the fun and sun in the lovely Gulf Coast near Destin. Officials fear that this time there may be an economic disaster due to the oil spill accident. But, though people have seen a few tar balls show up, it is disclosed that the world famous sugar sands are largely pristine in Destin and are still open for business.

Dennis McKinnon, the Escambia County Chairman of the Tourism Commission said, "The perception that everybody has is: No way am I going to the beaches of Florida right now because if I get in the water I'm going to get tar all over me. And it just isn't happening today.”

But according to the coast guard, nothing like this will happen at least for the next few days, as they have not found anything significant while they were within three miles offshore with skimmer and cleaning vessels.

Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association said, "We have a reality crisis as to what is actually g…

Increasing Roofing Fatalities and OSHA Investigation

Roofing fatalities have been on the rise and have doubled in the last few years. Workers involved in this field are at high risk. Last Tuesday, a worker fell from the roof of a commercial building on Stone Castle Road in the Town of Montgomery while repairing it. According to the police, the worker, named Gary Shatlaw, was 26 and fell 40 feet down and died. He was from Beacon and was working for OCS Industries. This fatal accident has caught the eye of OSHA, who in turn has started investigations into the case on the lookout for potential safety violations.

On the other hand, OSHA cited C.A. Franc construction company and a proposed penalty of $539,000 for the company was found following an investigation of a roofing worker who fell 40 feet to his death at a Washington work site. The owner Christopher A. Franc was cited for the willful violation of failure in providing his employees with falling protection gear.

Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, said, “Mr. Franc…

Cleanup Team Working with Risky Safety Nets

The safety and the health of the clean up workers at the Gulf of Mexico oil spill areas has become an issue of great concern. Now, 19,000 temporary workers have volunteered to assist in the clean up operation at the BP oil spill sites. But it is not known till now who is responsible for ensuring the safety and health of those workers involved in this dangerous work.

The government finally has woken up and announced that they will make greater contributions towards worker safety in the Gulf. They announced this after more than 50 days of the rig explosion.

According to Labor and environmental advocates, worker safety in the Gulf is insecure. The safety disaster at the rig explosion includes:

A massive toxic spill.The rapid deployment of a vast work force over four states.Limited government resources.BP’s dismal safety record.To wear heavy protective gear is extremely uncomfortable in hot temperatures.Non-English speaking workers involved in the effort have problems with communication.The…

OSHA cites Linden for Exposing Employees to Chemical Hazards

OSHA has cited Infineum USA L.P. as the company's Linden facility has violated safety rules including the involvement of employees exposed to chemical hazards. The company has proposed penalties of a total of $88,500.

OSHA got a complaint regarding chlorine release at the facility and so on the basis of this tip started inspection on Nov. 24, 2009. The result of the inspection showed the violations that had been done by the company related to a deficient process safety management system. The company failed to establish and implement written procedures required to manage any changes to technology, facilities, equipment and procedures that can potentially impact a chemical process.

Patricia Jones, the director of OSHA's Avenel Area Office said, "Chlorine is a highly hazardous chemical that can have a severe impact on the employees' safety and health. All aspects of the OSHA safety management standard must be followed by employers in order to ensure that workers go home sa…

David Michaels: Future of Occupational Safety and Health

OSHA Administrator, David Michaels, has expanded on the actions that are taken by OSHA till date in a plenary session at the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Safety 2010 conference on June 14. His speech was quite inspirational and has inspired safety professionals across the globe to get involved and help shape the agency’s future.

Michaels told ASSE attendees, “We want you to hear from us that OSHA is back and we are a strong regulatory agency first and foremost.” Explaining the aim and objective of OSHA, he said that OSHA is working “to make fundamental changes to secure workplaces.” He emphasized on the matter that OSHA's goal is to encourage employers to plan, prevent and protect, but not to punish or react.

Michaels gave a brief idea regarding some of OSHA’s priorities and actions over the past months, including: hiring additional standards writers and inspectors; moving more personnel into enforcement; developing a Severe Violator Enforcement Program; making the ag…

New OSHA Training for Workers' Rights

OSHA has introduced a new OSHA training program that emphasizes on workers' rights. The name of the training program is ,"Introduction to OSHA” and it is a required content in every OSHA 10 and 30 hour Outreach Training Program class. The aim of OSHA is to strengthen the voice of workers through this training.

The new training will focus on the importance of workers' rights and advise them of their right to:

Safe and healthy workplaces.Know about the presence and effects of hazardous chemicals.Review all the workplaces information about injuries and illnesses Receive training.File for an OSHA inspection in need and participate with it on time.Be free from pay back to exercise safety and health rights.David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA said, "For too long, workers have avoided making claims of unsafe work conditions out of fear of losing their jobs. We are confident that this new training session will embolden workers to speak up when they find work p…

Chemical Exposures, Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Worker's Safety and Health, and OSHA Monitoring

The potential accidents and other safety concerns for workers working in hazardous environments are immense. Today, with the recent BP oil spill disaster, the workers who are involved in the oil spill clean up operations, inhale chemicals that cause many severe health problems. In an effort to reduce the number of serious injuries, OSHA has been monitoring, assessing and characterizing all the issues related to chemical exposures regarding oil spill areas.

In the clean up operations going on in the oil spill affected areas, workers on ships are exposed to fresh oil as well as weathered oil (where the toxic volatile substances have evaporated), which can cause serious permanent health injuries.

A team of industrial hygienists have been brought by OSHA to conduct its own independent air monitoring, both on shore and on the cleanup vessels after reviewing the data of BP monitoring. OSHA has taken the decision to provide the workers with necessary protection from air contaminants. OSHA has …

OSHA ACTIVITIES DURING OIL SPILL RESPONSE AND CLEANUP

More than 13,000 cleanup workers have been employed in the clean up operation for the oil spill affected areas at Gulf of Mexico, and each and every one of these workers are at high safety and health risk. Apart from this figure, there are nearly 1,800 federal employees from four separate states that are also directly involved with the clean up operation.

These workers are subject to such serious hazards like drowning, heat, fatigue, injury through sharp objects, and also there is danger of receiving bites from insects, snakes, and other wild species that are native to the Gulf Coast area. Crude oil, dispersant, oil constituents and byproducts, cleaning products and other chemicals all pose as threats to the workers health and safety. OSHA has provided proactive, vigorous leadership to ensure the safety of the workers at oil spill clean up operations.

OSHA has also been involved in other important activities and has contributed a lot towards the clean up. OSHA's efforts have thus b…

Oil Spill Worker's Health Effects – A Burning Issue

Potential health hazards have been a burning issue at the Gulf of Mexico Oil spill as the spilled oil has spread and has begun to cause life threatening pollution. Workers and the general public residing in the nearby areas have become victims to this large scale destruction. Serious medical problems have been observed that can only be limited by taking certain safety precautions. As we know, the government as well OSHA has taken effective steps to ensure the safety and health of the workers and also that of the common people.

The oil spill needs more and more workers with the passing of time, and that may be the reason for the rapidity of growth in adverse health effects. The workers have been facing problems like headaches and breathing difficulties and many have been hospitalized due to sudden illness. Till date, at Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, 60 exposure-related complaints have been filed.

Dr. David Michaels, the assistant secretary of the labor for the Occupationa…

OSHA Needs Input on Combustible Dust Worker Hazards

OSHA is going to conduct the first-ever stakeholder meeting on June 28, 2010, for the sake of getting more inputs on combustible dust workplace hazards for the safety and the health of the workers. The meeting format is going to provide quick and easy access to a broader audience including all kind of businesses who would otherwise not be able to participate. They need comments from all concerned, which in turn will help the agency develop a proposed standard on combustible dust.

It is not a new thing for workers who are exposed to combustible dust to face problems at the workplace. According to OSHA more than 130 workers have been killed and 780 injured in combustible dust explosions since 1980. This is the fourth meeting addressing combustible dust hazards.

David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, has said, "OSHA is committed to expanding the opportunity for the public to engage in its rule making activities, and this virtual stakeholder meeting will provide a wid…

Investigate oil spill clean-up safety – LA speaks to OSHA

Taking into account the recent news of a number of oil spill workers being hospitalized and after many other workers experiencing serious problems at various clean-up sites, the Louisiana health and environmental officials have requested the federal safety officials to make sure that the workers operating for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill are thoroughly protected.

Great concerns about the safety of the clean up workers have come up after a few oil-spill workers were hospitalized after complaining of dizziness, nausea and headaches. Alan Levine, Health and Hospitals Secretary, and Peggy Hatch, Environmental Quality Secretary, have said that the daily reports of illness and injuries by the workers are worrying. They have requested the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate into the matter and to find out what protection these clean up workers are getting.

BP is trying to allocate nearly 3,000 more cleanup workers to Louisiana and for their safety, the agencies wan…

Gulf oil Spill and Safety of Cleanup Workers

Safety of the clean up workers in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has become a burning issue. Obama administration has been bombarded with many questions regarding the safety of the workers and have since been called on to ensure that BP has been properly protecting their workers. Two of the congressional Democrats have cited a memo from a Labor Department official calling attention to a "systematic failure on BP’s part to ensure the safety and health of those responding to this disaster."

Reps. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, “We cannot allow BP’s oil spill to cause any more damage or claim any more lives than it already has.” David Michaels, assistant secretary of Labor for occupational safety and health, said, “ The problems appear to be indicative of a general systemic failure on BP's part to ensure the safety and health of those res…

A Peep Through BP's Horrible Safety Record

BP seems to be in the limelight these days, but under a negative light. With people becoming more interest in them, some horrible secrets have come ashore. BP has been fined by OSHA 760 times, in complete contrast to the oil giant ExxonMobil (XOM) that has been fined only once.

The question is, with all these citations, how did OSHA allow BP to operate? Before, we were unaware of these skeletons in the closet but now, BP or OSHA has an explanation to give.

Let us take a look back into the past and browse through the track record of BP’s safety violations:

In 2007, 200,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled into the Alaskan wilderness and BP got hit with $16 million in fines.

Approximately $353 million was paid to the Justice Department as part of an agreement to hold prosecution on charges that BP contrived to manipulate the propane gas market.

Prior to Deepwater Horizon, 30 BP workers were killed in two separate disasters and more than 200 were seriously injured.

In the last three years, BP…

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill And Remarks of BP boss

As the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has effected to a great extent, the clean up operation has also been going for a long time and the most important point is that the catastrophe that is made by this big oil spill has snatching the attention of all the world political leaders, environmentalist and socialist. At this point of time all we hope is to diminish the effect soon. US president Barack Obama has also paid much attention regarding this oil spill. He has said already that BP will have to face criminal charges and also a year-long ban on new offshore deep-water drilling. But it's surprise that the boss of BP has been commenting on all the matters differently.

According to Obama, BP's catastrophe "may prove to be a result of human error – or corporations taking dangerous shortcuts that compromised safety". So, he mentioned that this is the time for the oil industry to pay for green energy. This is count as the world's biggest economy off fossil fuels and he hopes…

OSHA Safety Training Course For Oil Spill Cleanup

For those who are interested in helping with the clean-up team, should the Deepwater Horizon spill reach Sanibel and Captiva islands, they can now take an online OSHA training session that is being offered by various websites.

Oil is considered to be a hazardous material and there are very strict state and federal requirements for volunteers once oil hits the shorelines or even if it occurs in near shore waters. Some of the online OSHA safety course providers have arranged for the courses and are currently offering a 4 hour OSHA training session. The cost is very reasonable and they also offer discounts on bulk admission. An online safety course has its own benefits. Unlike the on-site training course, for online training you need not waste your time, money and energy in traveling to a specific site.

Now, with this online safety training session, you can now complete the course at your own time. For any assistance, you can now get in touch with your trainers anytime, anywhere, as they …

NH Seafood Plant Faces Fine of $214,500 by OSHA

The federal government has proposed a fine of more than $214,000 against a Canadian seafood processing company for alleged violations at its Portsmouth, N.H., plant. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), inspectors found 17 violations of workplace health and safety standards at High Liner Foods. The problems were mostly involved with the ammonia piping system used for freezing.

The company which is based in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, is accused of failing to do the inspection and test the system, which OSHA says was corroded and encased in ice. It also was fined for failing to correct previously identified problems with the system.

The company has been given a time period of 15 days to comply or contest the findings. No spokesperson was available to comment on this issue.

Job Safety at Theme Parks And Entertainment Venues Criticized by OSHA

Theme parks and entertainment venues have been put ‘on notice’ by top federal job safety regulators after they found a series of injuries and in death.

David Michaels, assistant secretary for OSHA, said that safety was often not considered the highest priority in the entertainment industry, which even included Walt Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando.

At Disney World, three deaths took placed last summer and a trainer was drowned at SeaWorld by a killer whale in February. All four fatalities propelled OSHA to investigate. Disney was fined $35,200 for one of the deaths. However, they were cleared for a wrongdoing when a stunt performer broke his neck during a rehearsal. The probe for the SeaWorl fatality is still ongoing.

Michaels’ accusations was objected by the representatives from the theme parks. A spokeswoman for Disney World said that safety was their single most important responsibility and the company has a dedicated team whose main task is to measure and enhance safety in the …

More BP Oil Spill Workers Experiencing Health Problem

More BP oil spill clean-up workers are experiencing health problems resulting from the use of dispersant and the effects of the oil spill. Two more workers have been hospitalized after they were experiencing headaches, dizziness and nausea after chemical dispersant was applied within a mile of their operating clean-up vessels.

Earlier, seven workers were complaining of feeling unwell and were sent to a hospital. All of the workers were properly trained and had been using appropriate protective gears.

The workers seem to be in contact with some sort of irritant, but so far, the hospital where they are being admitted doesn’t have the ability to run the test and determine the cause.

It is possible to get sick if volatile compounds are still there in the oil and if a worker comes in direct contact with the concentrated dispersant, the chemicals tend to break the oil before they get mixed with the water and that could affect the health. The smell from the oil throughout the coastal area has b…

OSHA Finds Ways to Improve Workers' Safety and Health

Occupational Safety and Health Administration is going to bring a radical change to protect the safety and health of American workers by accepting the membership nominations to the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, NACOSH was established and it has played a vital role regarding the site-specific targeting, whistle blower protection, and continuing outreach to Latino workers. For 40 years, NACOSH has advised the Secretaries of Labor, and Health and Human Services in this field.

Now, OSHA has sought those as nominees who possess occupational safety and health expertise and are qualified to represent employers, workers, the public, safety and health professionals. The nominees are required to fill one management, two public, one occupational health representative and one occupational safety vacancies.

The point is that people are expecting a lot from this new venture as they recently have seen the …