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Showing posts from November, 2010

OSHA is on the Prowl - Two Companies Heavily Penalized

Recently, the United States, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, seemed to be on the prowl, for they not only penalized the Findlay-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., with nine safety and health violations, but they also fined the Cedar Creek Carpentry Inc. for committing some serious willful violations.

OSHA's area director in Toledo, Ohio, Jule Hovi, said that, "The lack of employee protection from fire, explosions and hazardous chemicals is completely unacceptable", he further went on to say that, "OSHA is committed to ensuring workers have a safe and healthful workplace, and failing to follow proper safety and health procedures puts workers at unnecessary risk."

With regards to the carpentry company, Gary Anderson, OSHA's Area Director said that, “Cedar Creek Carpentry has a history of failing to provide fall protection for workers at a number of previous work sites”.

This Michigan-based carpentry company has been penalized with a fine of $56,0…

Kilgore College offers OSHA Safety Classes Free of Cost

This December, Kilgore College will be offering two free safety classes. The course, “What to Do When OSHA Knocks your Door”, will take place on the 6th and 7th of December between 6 to 10 pm.

This eight hour course aims to prepare businessmen for inspections carried out by OSHA. An instructor will be chosen for role playing and the students will be participating in the mock inspection during class.

Then on the 8th and 9th of December, courses covering the cause of accidents and injuries will be covered. These courses will take place between 8 am to 5 pm. The topics covered would be accident investigation, ladder safety and fall protection.

These 16 hour courses will deal with the how and why of incidents that are both unexpected and dangerous. They will also teach ways to properly conduct an investigation and how to produce information that will be valuable for prevention.

Accidents involving heights are common not only at the workplace but also at home. Therefore, the topics of fall pro…

OSHA Investigates Harsco Explosion

One of the representatives from the United States, Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, has been sent to investigate a scene at a factory in Gallatin County, Kentucky. It was here that one man died and four others were left seriously injured in an explosion.

This accidental explosion took place at around 3.30 pm, at Harsco Metals on U.S. Highway 42 in Ghent. As per the preliminary investigation that was carried out by the Gallatin County Sheriff's Deputies, it has been revealed that the accident involved a very large tire on a heavy equipment vehicle that exploded while the workers were working on it, inside the facility.

Robin Kelley of Madison was only 48 years old when he died at the Carroll County Memorial hospital. He had been an employee at Harsco for approximately four years. David Davanzati of Lousville, the site manager was in a serious condition and he had to be transported by a medical helicopter to the Cincinnati hospital.

Harsco is only a contractor for…

OSHA Slaps 24 Citations on a Foam Manufacturing Plant in Denver

In Denver, StyroTech LLC has been heavily slapped with twenty serious and four other than serious violations by the U.S. Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA has fined the foam manufacturing company with a heavy penalty of $66,400 for the lack of a safety program covering the handling and use of flammable material.

The inspection of the foam manufacturing facility was started under a program that focused on employers with high illness and injury rates. “The processing of flammable chemicals involves well known hazards”, says Greg Baxter, the regional administrator of OSHA in Denver. “For the safety of the workers, the employer must ensure that protective measures are taken to prevent the catastrophic release of flammable vapors, which can lead to fires and explosions”, he adds.

OSHA allegedly found out that the company had not structured any safety training for the use of inflammable substances in large quantities. The other reasons for citation were:

U.S. Postal Service Fined By OSHA for Hazards at Facility Near LAX

The U.S. Postal Service was fined by the Labor regulators with $220,000 for electrical hazards at their Los Angeles International Service Center.

The U.S. Postal Service has 488 employees at the plant, which is near Los Angeles International Airport. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said that the fine was a reflection of a conspicuous disregard for the worker’s safety as the Postal Service keeps on to neglect vital workplace safety measures. This has put the lives of their employees at definite risk.

The violation came into the light after OSHA conducted an inspection, which began at June 2. They found that the USPS employees failed to de-energize parts of the machine before working on and that exposed them to electrical shocks.

The postal service officials also failed to do flash hazard or shock hazard analysis before they start the work or provide workers with the proper protection. Other violations included failure…

OSHA caught up in Woodburn Murder Trial

In accordance to a witness testimony this week, the city of Woodburn had asked a certain state enforcement agency not to conduct an investigation into the bank bombing that occurred on the 12th of December 2008.

Each and every witness called by Mr. Joshua Turnidge’s defense attorneys, told jurors how the Woodburn city officials sent several e-mails, wrote hundreds of letters and made phone calls, requesting and pleading the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration, not to launch an investigation.

Michael Wood, the OSHA Administrator said that, “It became clear that the city of Woodburn had concerns not only about the timing of the opening conference they did not want us to proceed with the inspection.”

Although OSHA normally investigates when serious injuries or fatalities occur, this time the agency decided not to pursue the investigation following the meeting.

Furthermore, Scott Derickson, the Woodburn City Administrator said that, “The city did not have the capacity to resp…

OSHA Issues Warnings to Store Owners urging them To Stay Prepared for Black Friday

OSHA has sent a letter to all the major retailers of the city of Phoenix urging them to take all the necessary precautions on Black Friday. It has also suggested that all stores have police officers to manage large crowds. As per the federal agency, a plan should be created in such a way that it gives a specific location to every employee.

Joel Kinjerski of Phoenix says, “It's just chaos”. “You walk in and it's like a cattle stampede. Everyone everywhere is just grabbing stuff, there's fights, it gets ugly”, he adds.

Black Friday officially kick starts the holiday season the day after Thanksgiving every year. Stores give heavy discounts on every sale, typically drawing in hordes of customers.

Chase Eggert of Scottsdale says, “People do die because of Black Friday, why put yourself in that position”. Two years ago, a temporary employee working at a store died in the stampede on Black Friday. The shoppers trampled over him when the doors opened. OSHA is trying to take precautio…

OSHA Investigates the Historic Maples Inn

Federal inspectors could take up to 6 months to complete an investigation that's related to the collapse of New Cannan's historic Maples Inn. Robert Kowalski, the director of OSHA's Bridgeport area office said that, "We are in fact-finding mode," he went on to say that, "Once we have all the information ... if there are citations warranted, they will be issued. But it's too early in the investigation process."

Currently, the OSHA inspectors have found that high winds were primarily responsible for toppling this historic Inn that dates back to 1876. The Maples Inn is located on the Oenoke Ridge Road.

The owners of the Inn, Tom Kennedy and Andy Glazer, said that they would continue to build luxury apartments on the site. Unfortunately, they will have to start from scratch. When the accidental mishap occurred, work had been underway for 6 months. Nearly 6 workers were on the site at the time but luckily no one was injured.

However, the town's chief bu…

OSHA May Penalize Heavily For the Gas Main Rupture

Six days ago, Lee County faced a disastrous gas main rupture, fire and explosion. TECO gas blamed Posen Construction for the cause of the unfortunate incident. However, the latter has still not issued a comment on the situation stating what happened and why.

At the same time, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, in Tampa has confirmed that the situation is being thoroughly investigated. The fines for willful violations can go up to seventy thousand dollars, says the assistant director of the OSHA office. He also said that the serious violations can draw fines of up to seven thousand. Those who are repeatedly fined for the same violation can be fined up to ten times the original penalty. OSHA is supposed to issue a citation or find a violation well within the first six months of the incident. OSHA has not confirmed how long the investigation might last.

TECO gas says it isn't its liability to pay for the losses of those customers who didn't have natural gas. I…

OSHA Fines Fall River, MA, Company

We never fail to hear news about OSHA citing a company almost every day. It has become a routine and it seems it will continue to do so. Yet another citation has been slapped by OSHA and this time it’s Miranda Roofing Inc., a Fall River, MA, roofing and siding contractor.

The firm had committed an alleged willful violation of safety standards. One employee was injured after falling 15ft from a ladder at a Portsmouth work site. The company now faces a maximum proposed fine of $70,000 for their failure to provide fall protection for their employees working atop a roof at 3001 East Main Road in Portsmouth.

OSHA has issued a willful violation as this accident seems to be committed with plain indifference to or an intentional disregard for the employees’ safety and health.

The agency has also found employees at Miranda Roofing performing their task without any form of fall protection at heights up to 15ft and it is a well known fact that these kinds of acts are risky. Any worker working at a …

Rochester Company Gets Penalized for Lying To an OSHA Inspector

A jury in Rochester, recently convicted Mr. Keith Gordon-Smith and his asbestos abatement company, Gordon-Smith Contracting, Inc. (GSCI) for committing eight violations of the Clean Air Act.

The jury found Gordon-Smith guilty for they had made certain false statements to an OSHA inspector who had received complaints from GSCI employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector had visited the site, three times in 2007 and on each and every occasion Gordon-Smith lied.

The Assistant Attorney General for the Natural and Environment Resources Division, Ignacia S. Moreno, said that, “Gordon-Smith knowingly exposed workers and public areas to the toxic air pollutant asbestos,” he further stated that the verdict should send a strong message to those in the asbestos abatement industry”.

Furthermore, Special Agent-in-Charge for EPA Office of Criminal Enforcement, William V. Lometti, said that exposure to asbestos can be fatal and the government will not tolerate illegal activit…

OSHA Will Not Investigate the Fallen Smoke Stack

When the smoke stack collapsed at the old Ohio Edison site, the state safety officials declared that they will not investigate into the situation. The failed detonation is not going to be looked into by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA.

The reason behind this, as given by OSHA, is that nobody was injured in the mishap. The 275 foot smoke stack that came crashing down in the wrong direction did not harm anyone. The aim of OSHA is to look after the health and safety of employees. Since nobody suffered any negative consequences from the whole incident, the agency does not see any point in looking into the matter.

The reason for the detonation has already been determined. Apparently, there was a small crack in the smoke stack. This is believed to be a possible cause for the stack falling in the wrong direction.

The whole situation is being investigated by Ohio Edison. First Energy is also involved in finding out the problem along with Ohio Edison. Both these agencies…

Black Friday - OSHA Releases a List of Safety Precautions

Have you heard about Black Friday? Well, it is considered by many to be one of the biggest shopping days. But more importantly, it marks the beginning of the holiday gift season. Unfortunately, it is also considered as one of the most deadly days, for just 2 years ago a Valley Stream Wal-Mart worker was trampled to death by a stampede of shoppers.

An employee of Valley Green Wal-Mart said that, “I think we’re going to beef up the security this year”. He further stated that, “We just want to make sure that everything goes smoothly, and to be prepared in case it doesn’t.”

OSHA has also done its part by releasing a list of safety precautions, for employee’s, retailers and even shoppers, in order to prevent history from repeating itself.

Present below is a list that has been formulated by some of the best OSHA experts that highlight the safety measures that people ought to observe on that faithful day:

1.Firstly, all retail outlets need to have crowd management personnel, trained security or …

Brazilian Blowout to sue Oregon OSHA

Last week, Oregon OSHA had warned hair stylists against the use of a hair product called Brazilian Blowout. This and other hair straighteners were found to contain very high levels of a carcinogen.

Now, the hair straightening company, Brazilian Blowout, says that it has already started legal proceedings against Oregon's Safety and Health Division. Their product allegedly contains high levels of formaldehyde, which is a cancer causing agent. The company is going to sue the agency for punitive damages.

The Health and Safety Division had issued this warning statement after testing almost all the hair straightening products used in salons. These products included Brazilian Blowout which is the most popular hair straightener that is frequently asked in salons. According to Brazilian Blowout, Oregon OSHA has failed to note the difference between methylene glycol and formaldehyde after testing.

The director of Oregon OSHA, Michael Wood, shared his opinion before any legal action was announc…

Hyatt Hotels Corp. Under Pressure after Workers Complain to OSHA

Hyatt housekeepers have filed a repetitive motion and other injury complaints with the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration. The charges refer to the Hyaat Regency Waikiki as well as eleven other properties in Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco and four other mainland cities.

An OSHA spokesman said that the agency will be making its own determination and if there is any investigation, it would be conducted without giving prior announcement.

Earlier this year, there was a record of high incidence of workplace injury at Hyatt, more so than the other hotel chains. In the record, women in general, particularly Hispanic women are prone to being injured while working.

However, Hyatt defended its workplace safety record and according to them, the employees are apparently making some false charges about their work environment. All these accusations, according to them have been aimed to increase union membership and due. Hyatt has also stated that they care deeply about the…

Cal/OSHA and the Adult Film Industry - Making it Explicit

Cal/OSHA has received a series of posts regarding its latest meeting that addressed the standard STD safety protocols, of the adult film industry.

Currently, Cal/OSHA seems to be weighing the merits of a petition that was issued by the AIDS Health Care Foundation to alter the state's blood borne pathogen standard. The industry representatives, the state and local public health officials and activists have already discussed how this blood borne pathogens standard can be effectively revised. In fact, this discussion was the fourth in a series of public meetings.

The existing blood borne pathogen safety standard requires "personal protective equipment," which is also defined as "specialized clothing or equipment worn or used by an employee for protection against a hazard."

However, the adult film industry representatives still believe that the AIM testing program is good enough to eliminate the need of using condoms on the sets. AIM (Adult Industry Medical Health Car…

OSHA fines Amtec Corp. for safety violations

Amtec Corporation, a contractor at the U.S. Army's Space and Missile Defense Command has been cited for safety violations that resulted in an explosion killing two of their employees.

Earlier this year, in May, two workers suffered third degree burns in an explosion that was caused due to n-Butanol and ammonium perchlorate. The workers were trying to purify ammonium perchlorate by separating it from a mixture containing n-Butanol. During this process, an explosion occurred killing both the workers.

OSHA's area director, Roberto Sanchez, said, “Management knew the hazards associated with ammonium perchlorate recovery and failed to ensure the proper equipment was being used, while also allowing the workers to process the material in excess of 10 times the amount of explosives according to the Army's standard operating procedures”.

OSHA has cited the corporation with two willful violations for exposing their employees to explosive hazards and fire and also not testing the suitab…

OSHA fines Lowe's Distribution Center

OSHA, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has heavily fined Rockford's Lowe's Distribution Center. They are looking at a penalty of almost 200,000 dollars for failure of documenting and reporting employee injuries. This documentation and reporting is required as per OSHA Safety and Health regulations.

The OSHA Area Director of North Aurora Ill, Kathy Webb says that correct records for injuries and illnesses are extremely important in protecting workers' health and safety. “Accurate records are an important tool that employers and workers can use to identify hazards in the workplace, and they also enable OSHA to better target its resources”, she adds.

The Lowe's Distribution Center has already received two repeat violations with hefty fines of $20,000. Interestingly it has also received two penalties of $2,000 for other not very serious record keeping violations.

After hearing about the proposed fines, Lowe's issued a state…

Construction Company Cited by OSHA for exposing workers to trenching hazards

Daisy Construction Co. was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for alleged trenching violations and awarded a total of $67,000 as penalty.

After being notified about imminent danger faced by workers while installing utility lines, OSHA had initiated an inspection and found two willful violations and a serious violation.

Excavation is one of the most dangerous operations in the construction industry. With proper precautions, cave-ins can be easily prevented. The company had left its workers at risks of potential injury and possible death by bypassing the necessary safeguards.

The company failed to provide their workers with adequate protective system that would prevent cave-ins and prevented them to work in an unprotected trench. These acts are done intentionally and OSHA has slapped two willful violations for putting the workers’ lives in danger.

The serious violation was awarded due to the failure to instruct the employees on how the hazards can be recognized and p…

OSHA Gives Power Resources Limited Star Safety Award

The regulatory agency of the United States, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is mostly known for its ferocity, unforgivable nature, hefty penalties and strict workplace safety standards and regulations. But recently, OSHA handed over the Star Safety Award to the Big Spring Company. Indeed! This regulatory body does have a lighter side.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is very familiar with handing out fines and citations to organizations with poor safety records. But, in a shocking turn of events, a Big Spring Company managed to bag the Star Safety Award for having a great safety record.

Power Resources Limited was primarily recognized for having three years of excellence in employee safety and health and for completing OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program.

Jerry Barker, the General Manager, said that they had worked with a mentor in order to help them recognize any potential safety hazards. They then applied to be in the program. Finally, OSHA se…

Hair Straightening Products are Hazardous says OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of Oregon has issued an alert about the presence of formaldehyde in products used for hair straightening.

OSHA has recently tested more than hundred product samples that were taken from over 50 different salons of Oregon. All of these products showed significant levels of formaldehyde. Samples of the hair straightening product called Brazilian Blowout were also included in this testing. What is surprising is that these products are labeled “formaldehyde free”. Studies showed that these results ranged from six percent to almost twelve percent of formaldehyde content.

All solutions that contain more than 0.1 percent of formaldehyde should list formaldehyde as an ingredient. Not only Brazilian Blowout, but even other brands of hair straightening products were shown to have considerable amounts of formaldehyde.

Oregon OSHA administrator, Michael Wood, said, “Although it's not clear whether the regulatory level of airborne exposure would b…