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Showing posts from 2011

OSHA cites Minnesota-based Best Buy for Safety Violations

OSHA has recently cited the Best Buy Company on Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth for 5 various safety violations, following an incident where a worker suffered from severe head injuries from a fall. According to reports, the employee was stacking television sets on a storage rack while standing on an elevated industrial truck’s platform, when it suddenly shifted and caused the employee to fall about 12 feet.

2 repeat violations were found for failing to provide the employees with personal protective equipment and for not putting up guardrails for a 12 feet fall hazard. A repeat violation was found as well. 1 serious violation was found for allowing modifications to be made to a powered truck without seeking manufacturer’s approval by shutting the drive limit switch. 2 other-than-serious violations were found for failing to fill out the OSHA 300 log for workplace illnesses and injuries and for failing to certify the log in 2008 and 2009.

OSHA bans the usage of cut-off saws to bevel the edges on ductile iron pipes

Most of us don’t even know that our water comes through pipes everyday; underground pipes that are necessary for the water to pass through from its source right to our kitchens and bathrooms – and away. Today, billions of gallons of water flow through underground pipes every day, thus resulting in corrosion every now and then. There is however, a new HDPE beveled edge that completely eliminates the possibility of erosion but also adheres to the OSHA safety standards.

The Bevel-Sert helps connect underground ductile iron or PVC pipes together. And it really is as simple as that! What this HDPE tool really does is amazing! Currently, what most construction workers use is a cut-off saw to cut through piped and then using the same saw; grind a bevel onto the cut pipes so as to connect them. However, OSHA has now started prohibiting this due to various safety implications that may risk the workers safety if the tools are used incorrectly.

Without this new tool, there have been many complaint…

OSHA Celebrates its Anniversary with a Photo Contest!

OSHA has recently announced a nationwide photography contest called “Picture It Safe Workplaces for everyone!” This contest challenges photographers to capture images of workplace safety and health practices and share it with OSHA. The goal is for OSHA to interact with the general public and rely on the talent and creativity out there to kick start a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the importance of workplace health and safety.

This contest is a part of OSHA’s year-long celebration for its 40th anniversary and is open to anyone aged 18 and above. The contest ends on August 12th. Amateur as well as professional photographers are welcome to enter this contest. Photographers are entitled to interpret a photo of workplace safety and health in any manner that they choose to and are not restricted to specific subject matters and themes.

The First, Second and Third place prizes will be given for the best portrayal of Occupational Safety and Healthy with regards to artistic value and it…

OSHA’s new guidance documents explains the Importance of Testing

OSHA and NIOSH have come together to develop two new guidance documents for workers and for employers that describe the importance and usage of spirometry testing and how it helps reduce or prevent worker exposure to various respiratory hazards at the workplace.

Spirometry is a standard pulmonary function test that helps to measure how well a person can move the air in and out of his lungs. Workers are generally exposed to a number of gases and dusts or contaminants in the air and over time can suffer from lung damage. This spirometry test will detect any breathing problems or changes in a worker’s lung function at an early stage. The information contained in these documents will help employers identify and eliminate the various workplace hazards and reduce or even prevent their workers from developing any kind of lung disease.

These sheets will inform employers about spirometry, why it is needed, when it is needed and the important elements that an employer can use to determine the qua…

OSHA’s Final Rule for Shipyard Worker Protection

OSHA announced earlier yesterday that they have released the final rule for the protection of the safety and health of shipyard workers. The rule was published in today’s edition of Federal Register. The rule updates all the existing requirements and reflects the major advancements in the industry practices and technology. The rule also provides better protection from hazards that were not addressed previously, like control of hazardous energy. This new rule is expected to prevent nearly 350 serious injuries this year.

OSHA collaborated with the maritime industry to make this final rule. Shipyard work is extremely dangerous and it is of immense importance to craft a rule that protects the health and safety of the workers while at the same time takes the employers concerns about implementation into consideration.

This final addresses 14 workplace safety and health categories, and it also updates and clarifies all those shipyard employment standard provisions that have gone unchanged sinc…

OSHA urges Recovery Workers to guard themselves against dangers during Tornado and Storm cleanup Operations

With residents just about recovering from the damage caused by the storms that occurred recently in the South, OSHA has begun urging workers and the public in general to be aware of the hazards that they may encounter during the cleanup activities.

Emergency response to hazardous situations should not be dangerous to the cleanup workers. Storm recovery activities involve a wide range of safety hazards that can only be minimized if the workers are made aware of these hazards and are taught the right safety practices and how to use personal protective equipment.

Cleanup activities involve restoring communications, electricity, food and water, sewer services, removal of floodwater, demolition work, entering flooded areas, trimming trees, cleaning up debris, repairing structures, repairing roads and bridges, using aerial lifts, cranes and lifting heavy equipment.

Some of the hazards faced include illnesses caused due to exposure to contaminated food or water, downed electrical wires, exposur…

OSHA provides Teleconferences for Small Businesses on Proposed Changes

OSHA is looking for feedback on its recent plans to alter the 300 Log, a form which contains all the details on various workplace illnesses and injuries that should be completed by most businesses in the United States on a regular basis.

OSHA has been aiming to restore a column of the log that requires employers to fill in details on the various musculoskeletal disorders at the workplace. Many opponents of this decision to restore the column have complained that it is in reality an attempt to actually revive an ergonomics’ standards that was repelled a decade ago.

Before this, OSHA’s injury and illness log consisted on a column that put the MSD’s and hearing together. OSHA had planned to separate these two columns, but the MSD column was removed entirely. Opponents to this have claimed that the new column might come as an unnecessary burden to most businesses. However, OSHA head, Mr. David Michaels has said that most small businesses will not be required to update the log, and only thos…

OSHA Safety Tips to Stay Safe in a Heat Wave

A heat wave can bring a nation down with its sweltering temperatures. Heat can be a great health threat for workers, what with conditions remaining oppressive. Employers and workers should take some necessary precautions.

According to OSHA, heat-induced workplace sicknesses and injuries can reduce productivity and generally occurs when workers are exposed to hot working environments. Apart from causing life threatening conditions like heat strokes and heat exhaustion, working in hot conditions can lead to a number of accidents due to sweaty palms, sweating, fogged up glasses and dizziness. Severe burns can also occur when workers come in contact with hot surfaces.

Keep an eye on workers who may show signs of heat stroke and exhaustion, as this can help prevent a fatality. OSHA has come up with a number of products for employers and workers to use when stuck in a heat wave.

OSHA also offers advice on how workers should protect themselves against UV radiation, extreme heat, Lyme disease an…

OSHA’s findings challenged by Buffalo Recycling

A workplace incident that took place last October resulted in OSHA investigating into the working procedures of Buffalo Recycling Enterprises LLC. The investigations revealed a number of violations and the company was cited by OSHA.

OSHA announced recently that the company was cited with 10 serious violations after an investigation was conducted following an incident where a workers arm was found to be severely lacerated on October 7 last year. The worker’s arm got caught in a conveyor belt, which accidently got activated when he was trying to clear a paper jam.

OSHA has also said that the penalties for these 10 violations amount to $60,000 in fines and an additional $1,000 for 5 other-than-serious violations. The company has decided to contest these findings.

OSHA’s Standards for Laboratory Procedures

OSHA maintains a very strict set of guidelines as far as workplace safety is concerned, in any industry type. These guidelines and procedures are regularly updates with the latest information, health concerns and technology releases. OSHA maintains a complete record on all the current federal regulations.

According to OSHA, a laboratory is a facility where the use of hazardous chemicals takes place for laboratory purposes. It is a workplace where small quantities of hazardous chemical are used for non-production purposes. Such chemical usage is done for the purpose of research and development or for testing. Laboratory safety includes a set of guidelines that maintain a safe and hazard-free working environment in a laboratory.

OSHA also defines the use and handling of hazardous chemicals in a laboratory as the usage of chemicals on a laboratory scale. All hazardous chemicals are used in small quantities for non-production purposes. Multiple chemicals are sometimes used on a daily basis.…

Launching a Successful Safety Management Program for your Dentistry Practice

Dentists are trained and educated to solely care for patients. However, Most dentists, hygienists or administrative personnel will tell you that multitasking is the key to any job. Not only are they responsible for patient care but are also responsible for the safety management. Safety management is absolutely essential for any business, and this includes the dentistry field as well. It doesn’t matter whether your safety management program is handled by an experienced safety coordinator or whether it is an OSHA compliance coordinator, what matters is that your safety management program should never be compromised due to your busy schedule or basic lack of knowledge.

Does your dentist practice come with its fair share of unnerving irregularity, like a bunch of dirty needles lying around? A pile of dusty Material Safety Data Sheets just lying around? The weekly spore testing documentation that is just not available? Yes, all of us experience these inconsistencies, which is why having a s…

Domestic Service Employees are Vulnerable to Workplace Safety Hazards

Domestic service employees who are actively involved in performing tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and caring for children or the elderly are also exposed to a number of occupational health hazards, including musculoskeletal injuries, exposure to harsh chemicals, physical and verbal abuse, and injuries that are caused due to lifting or moving heavy objects etc.

And although the federal OSH Act does regulate worker health and safety in the United States, it however does not protect domestic workers who come under the self-employed category or who may be employed by a private client. The OSH Act also offers very limited protection to those domestic workers who are employed by public or third party agencies such as a cleaning agency.

Since domestic workers tend to work in private homes, we usually assume that they are in a safe working environment and don’t require protection. However, the home as a safe haven is a myth, as the home setting can pose several really serious dangers.

OSHA for Safety Driving!

It is fairly old news that OSHA has partnered with NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and NETS (Network of Employers for Traffic Safety) to release new guidelines as far as the reduction of motor vehicle crashes involving employees are concerned. This document suggests the various actions that employers can take in order to ensure that vehicles in the workplace and other areas are safe for their employees. These guidelines however are not regulatory but merely advisory. However, OSHA requires employers to comply with the various hazard-specific safety and health standards, and employers can be cited for not taking the necessary preventive measures to avoid motor crashed involving their employees.

But the document also concentrates on the significant costs of crashes to employers at the workplace, as well as to employee’s private lives. Motor vehicle crashes are estimated to cost an employer $60 billion per year. An average crash would cost an employer nearly $16,500…

OSHA attempts to improve Trainer Reliability by revising its Outreach Training Programs

OSHA has recently revised its voluntary Outreach Training programs to include trainer verification and other such changes to improve the overall quality of the trainings and to ensure the integrity of its instructors.

These new requirement now include a code of conduct for trainers and a statement of compliance where each trainer should swear that the training conducted by him or her will be in compliance with the program procedures and requirements. Other changes involve limiting the classroom size to about 40 students and limiting the use of translators and videos as well.

These program requirements will now apply to all the Outreach Training programs, with separate guidelines and procedures for each program. These changes will tighten the program controls and will ensure that the best training is provided to the participants.

Business up in flames the same day as OSHA issues 23 citations

Investigations are being conducted to determine the cause of fire at a South Side chemical processing business on the same day that it received 23 violations from OSHA. A certain mix of chemicals exploded in a duct and caused a fire at the Howard Industries Inc. on Wednesday.

The company received citation from OSHA for an investigation conducted by the agency in December of last year. According to OSHA, the company faces fines of more than $70,000.

In less than a year, the company has been cited twice by OSHA for failing to ensure that the electrical conductor boxes were properly closed in order to avoid shock risks. The company has received 4 safety citations in the last five years and has also received an additional fine of $5,000 at its Columbus facility.

Napa State Hospital Cited for death of worker

Cal/OSHA’s safety personnel have issued a fine of $100,000 against the Napa State Hospital for slaying a psychiatric technician in October and neglecting to restrict the movements of patients that are violent – including the man charged for the strangling.

Cal/OSHA issued these citations on Tuesday against the psychiatric hospital, which has experienced a steady increase in the number of patient assaults on staff and peers in spite of going through a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit in 2006.

The gravest of all citations includes that the hospital has violated its own policies by not restricting its patients’ ground passes. The hospital knew that the patient responsible for Donna Gross’ killing has a past and recent history of aggressive behavior, stalking and illegal drug usage. But in spite of this, they allowed him to walk around the hospital without any supervision. The patient in question, Jess Willard Massey, has pleaded not guilty to all charges of murder and robbery on the grou…

OSHA cites 3 subsidiary companies of Jinny Corp.

OSHA has cites 3 subsidiary companies that are owned by Jinny Corp. The companies in question are: JBS Beauty Club, Jinny Beauty Supply Co. and JBS Hair Distribution Center. All three companies are based in Doraville and have been given combined safety violations of 22 counts. The proposed penalties total up to $71,000.

Jinny Corp. is a manufacturer and supplier of beauty and hair care productions, and has operations that cover Miami, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles. In response to a complaint made, OSHA conducted several investigations into the 3 subsidiary companies. JBS Beauty Club was cited with 6 serious violations including blocking exits with shelving, locking emergency exits, exposing employees to electrical hazards, not illuminating exit signs and failing to provide employees with trainings on how to operate a fork lift. These penalties amounted to $25,000.

The JBS Hair Distribution Center was also given 6 serious violations for incorrectly marking an interior exit as an emerge…

OSHA issues health warning to Hair Salons

OSHA has recently issued a health warning to hair salon workers and owners about formaldehyde exposure that is caused due to working with hair smoothening and straightening products. The health warning provides information that OSHA derived from its investigations and shows the health hazards caused due to formaldehyde exposure and how people can protect themselves from hair smoothening and straightening products.

Responding to various complaints about the possible exposure to formaldehyde, OSHA and many other state and health agencies have begun conducting investigations. Oregon’s OSHA, Connecticut’s Department of Public Health and other such agencies have already issued warnings.

OSHA has found that formaldehyde is present in the air when hair stylists use hair smoothening products, which even have formaldehyde listed on their labels. During one test, the agencies air tests showed very high levels of formaldehyde, even though the product in question was labeled as formaldehyde-free.


OSHA documents shows Residential Construction Workers how to prevent injuries and deaths at work

OSHA has recently issued guidance on Fall Protection for residential construction industry workers. This guidance will help employers in this industry prevent injuries and deaths that are caused by falls amongst residential construction workers. Reports have shown that falls are the biggest causes of worker deaths in the residential construction industry.

OSHA has issued this compliance guidance for residential construction workers in December of last year. OSHA requires residential construction employers to provide their workers with adequate fall protection systems that comply with OSHA’s fall protection standards. This new document will show the ideal working methods that employers should use in order to comply with the safety standards.

This document is mainly directed for those working on new construction and describes the various safety methods that employers should ideally implement during each stage of construction. Some of the methods for preventing falls at the workplace inclu…

Work Precautions for handling hazardous drugs

Healthcare and hospital employers were reminded yesterday hazardous drugs like antineoplastic drugs can be extremely dangerous to works if proper precautions are not taken while handling these drugs. OSHA, NIOSH and the Joint Commission have all highlighted the need for safer work practices that hospitals in the United States should implement.

Drugs used for antiviral treatments, chemotherapy, hormone regimens and other such applications can pose as potential hazards to workers who come in contact with them. The effects are irreversible even if exposed at low levels, and this is why adequate safety measures should take place. Some of the problems faced include: cancer, allergic reactions, reproductive or developmental problems and many others.

Some of these drugs are highly potent and can have great benefits for patients if used properly, where the doses are highly controlled and the risks are minimized. But these same drugs can pose as serious hazards to those who handle, apply, mix, d…

OSHA cites Nebraska-based Fremont Beef for Safety Violations following an Amputation

OSHA has recently cited the Nebraska-based Fremont Beef Co. after a safety inspection was conducted at the facility. The inspection was conducted in response to a report that an amputation took place at the facility. The citations given out include 1 serious, 1 repeat and 1 other-than-serious violation. Most of the citations are directly related to the amputation.

It is every employer’s responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe and healthy for workers. Safety should be the number one priority for employers and they should take all the necessary steps to eliminate any hazards from the workplace.

The serious violation was for failing to ensure that proper lockout/tagout devices were used by employees to de-energize the machines.

Hilda L. Solis, Secretary of Labor appoints 15 new members to the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health

Hilda L. Solis the Secretary of Labor announced that 15 new members will be appointed to the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. An open meeting will be held on the 19th and 20th of April at the Department of Labor’s headquarters in Washington.

In January, the MACOSH charter was re-established by Secretary Solis, and this will be the first meeting held by the committee. Experts in the issue of maritime safety and health, the members of the committee will all serve two year terms and will represent the best interests of labor, management and the occupational safety and health professions.

The MACOSH committee in turn will act as advisors to OSHA as far as protecting the safety and health of workers in the maritime industry is concerned. The MACOSH meetings will provide the public with the chance to participate in the committee’s activities on various issues related to safety and health of the shipyard, long-shoring and maritime workers.

The maritime industry ha…

OSHA fines the North Central Farmers Elevator in Ipswich for exposing workers to grain engulfment

OSHA has recently fined the North Central Farmers Elevator in Ipswich with 6 willful violations for exposing workers to grain engulfment. The proposed fines amount to $378,000.

The worker who was engulfed was very fortunate to have survived, because under such circumstances, most people would not survive. Grain entrapments are highly dangerous and more often than not, end up killing workers who are engulfed. Grain elevator operators should always implement a number of safety practices to help prevent any injuries or deaths in a grain bin.

Last year, at least 26 workers were killed due to grain entrapments, and the number of cases keeps increasing each year. OSHA started investigating into the North Central Farmers Elevator facility in October last year after an employee was found engulfed by corn in a grain bin. The violations given out were related to grain and confined spaces, the failure of the employer to ensure proper lockout/tagout procedures, confined space and grain bin entry pe…

OSHA fines Alabama Contractor for Trenching Violations

OSHA has recently issued 3 safety violation citations to Trax Development LLC of Northport, Alabama for exposing the employees to potential cave-ins and to struck-by hazards while installing sewer lines. The proposed fines amount to $115,000.

The company was issued 2 willful citations with a proposed penalty of $112,000 for failing to provide its employees with a safe way of entering and exiting a trench that was more than 11 feet deep and 200 feet long, and for also failing to provide its employees with adequate cave-in protection.

The company also received 1 serious violation worth $3,000 in proposed penalties for exposing its employees to struck-by hazards around loose rocks and equipment and for not wearing proper head protection gear.

A trench can be a very dangerous place and can turn into a grave in just a matter of seconds. Disregarding your workers’ safety at the work site by leaving them unprotected from the various hazards is absolutely unacceptable. It is the employer’s respo…

OSHA cites Tyson Foods’ Jefferson Branch for exposing workers to safety hazards

OSHA has recently cited the Tyson Foods’ Jefferson branch with 10 safety violations for failing to comply with the general industry workplace safety regulations. The company faces fines worth $45,000 after OSHA investigated its worksite in October last year.

OSHA firmly believes that employers are responsible for identifying the hazards that exist at the worksite and making sure that their workers are not exposed to these risks, as this could result in injuries or even death.

The company was initially cited with 9 serious violations after the OSHA inspectors noticed the deficiencies in the company’s process safety management program, the lack of fall protection, deficiencies in the respiratory protection program and lack of adequate hazardous energy lockout/tagout program. What’s more, the company also failed to maintain the powered industrial trucks.

In addition, the company also received 1 serious violation for failing to conduct a proper personal protection equipment hazard assessment…

OSHA seeks Applications from Companies for Online Worker Health and Safety Trainings

OSHA announced yesterday that it will be looking for and accepting applications from companies to provide the 10 hour and 30 hour online OSHA Outreach Training Program courses for the construction, general as well as maritime industries. This program will help train workers about their rights, showcases employer responsibilities, provides details on how to file complaints and describes the various work-related hazards. All applications should be received by OSHA’s Directorate of Training and Education by the 27th of June this year.

OSHA first started giving these outreach trainings in 2002, and has since seen a steady increase in the number of workers signing up for these courses online. In 2010, more 110,000 workers signed up and received online trainings. Because of the interest in these courses, OSHA is now providing this competition to ensure that they provide quality training to all participants.

All applicants will be selected based on their organizational as well as staff experie…

OSHA clears up doubts about payment responsibilities for its new PPE directive

OSHA has released a new directive that updates and details compliance for employers to provide employees and workers with personal protective equipment. This enforcement guidance was issued for the general industry workers.

This directive replaces the previous guidelines of 29 CFR Part 1910 Subpart l, which were the revised standards issued in 1995 for the workers of the general industry.

The most significant changes made were:

The type of personal protective equipment that must be provided at no cost, when employers are required to pay or are required to replace equipment, and when employers are not required to pay for the equipment.
The payment requirements for the personal protective equipment that is worn off the job site, for the equipment that must be left at the job site and for the equipment that is owned by employees.
Enforcement policies that give details about court and review commission decision with regards to protective equipment.
Guidance that helps employers to use equipment…

PETA petitions OSHA for Elephant Protection Rule

PETA or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have recently filed a petition requesting OSHA to enforce a regulation prohibiting any direct physical contact between employees and elephants where they are kept in captivity, like the zoo, circus, etc. Submitted by PETA’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement section, this petition requests OSHA to start with a regulation and issue enforcement guidance saying that direct contact is prohibited and elephants should be protected.

PETA has acted on the same day that the Knoxville Zoo announced that it would switch to “protected contact” after a handler was killed earlier this year. The petition includes 240 pages of appendices, exhibits, articles and other documents that contain extensive information with regards to protected contact and many incidents in which elephant handlers have been injured or killed in direct-contact situations.

The petition declares that being an elephant handler is indeed a dangerous job and that has a fatality rate hi…

NuStar Energy Facility recognized for Excellence in Safety and Health

OSHA has recently recognized the management and employees of NuStar Energy’s facility in Amarillo for 3 years of achieving an excellent employee workplace safety and health program. This facility has been marked as a “Star” site.

Some of NuStar’s outstanding efforts at this site include maintaining an injury and illness rate that is 70% below that of other facilities in its industry. Nu Star should be set as an example for what managers and employees all over the country can accomplish if they work together to eliminate hazards.

OSHA has since presented the company with a flag and a plaque in recognition of its efforts to comply with the OSHA standards and keep its employees safe.

OSHA slaps Builders with Fines

OSHA has recently cited a Myrtle Beach construction company for a minimum of 3 safety violations. The company allegedly faces a fine of $59,000 for violations after a work fell at the site last year.

The worker in question fell at least 21 feet onto a concrete sidewalk while passing furniture from a debris container that was mounted on the forklift truck. OSHA investigated into the matter and has since cited the company with an overall fine of $56,000 for failing to provide employees with appropriate fall protection and $1,500 for failing to train workers about the various fall hazards. In addition, the company was also charged with a $1,500 fine for exposing untrained employees to hazards at work.

The Florida based Winter Park Construction Company was also cited by OSHA for 5 serious safety violations and have been issued fines of $11,250.

OSHA’s PPE Standards Revised

On February 15 this year, OSHA issued revised directives with regards to determining whether employers are complying with OSHA’s PPE standards. This directive is also known as the Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in the General Industry and is the latest about PPE from OSHA. It is an important document for employers as well as employees.

The PPE standards first emerged in order to keep up with the rapid scientific advances in determining and eliminating workplace safety hazards, developments in the type of fabrics and materials used to avoid hazards and the type of respiratory and personal protection tools used. PPE has become a lot more sophisticated since then.

There are several important changes that have been made, namely:

Firstly, the document now clarifies just what type of PPE should be provided by employers at no cost to the employees and when are employers required to pay for PPE such as respirators, hard hats, hearing protection, personal fall protection, …

OSHA notifies Air Traffic Control Tower about Workplace Safety Violations

OSHA has recently issued Notices of Unsafe or Unhealthful Working Conditions to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) lakefront Airport Air Traffic Control Tower situated in New Orleans. The notice contains conditions where employees were found to be exposed to potential fire hazards.

OSHA started investigating this in September last year, as part of its Airport Air Traffic Control Tower Monitoring Program, and has since found a number of violations for the alternate standard for fire safety. Notices were issued to 6 alleged repeat violations and 1 serious violation.

The repeat violations included the improper use of electrical equipment, failing to correct deficiencies in the fire alarm and stair tower pressurization systems, failing to provide emergency action plans and fire prevention plans, and failing to ensure that fire drills are regularly performed. The FAA was previously cited for these same violations in 2009 as well. The serious violation was for failing to provide empl…

Explosion at Chemical Plant Injures 4

An explosion at a chemical plant in Middleton has injured 4 people and shaken the surrounding community. The explosion occurred on March 13th, 2011 at the Bostik Chemical Plant in Middleton somewhere around 8 p.m. According to officials at the plant, it is still unknown what really caused the explosion at the plant.

The company however, was not exactly in a position to share the cause of the blast or to provide more details of the chemical process that takes place normally and what happened at the time of the incident. Residents around the area described the explosion as a sonic boom and said that it could be felt for miles around.

The number of people injured in the blast included three men and one woman. These victims were immediately rushed to an area hospital where a decontamination tent was set up. All 4 victims have since been treated and releases.

OSHA is currently investigating into the case.

Grain Company fined by OSHA after Worker’s Death

A grain company was recently cited by OSHA for willful safety violations. The company was slapped with a $500,000 fine after a worker was killed when cleaning out a grain bin. Andrew Nicholas Dill was killed when he got entangled in an auger at Gavilon Grain in Marion County.

OSHA stated that Dill’s death could have been prevented, and has since fined the facility $175,000 for safety violations. OSHA has also issued fines worth $171,000 and $119,500 to the company at its Ohio facilities in West Jefferson as well as in Harpster.

OSHA also fined Ace Iron and Metal Co. $63,000 for multiple safety violations after a worker was trapped under a scarp hauler, which resulted in permanent leg damage.

Lincoln Paper and Tissue Cited

Lincoln Paper and Tissue has recently been slapped with a whopping $200,000 fine for various workplace safety violations, including violations that were related to an incident where an employee was injured.

OSHA has cited the Lincoln Paper mill for 9 repeat and serious workplace violations and has fined the company nearly $212,000. An OSHA spokesman said that many of the violations were based on issues that were brought up in a previous inspection in 2008 and were corrected but have recurred since then.

Keith Van Scotter, the owner of the paper mill has said that the mill’s safety record has improved drastically over the past few years and that each and every one of the citations have been corrected. In September, a worker was injured and suffered from serious burns and scalding hot water and steam fell on him. OSHA cited the company with 8 repeat violations and fines worth of $196,000 for failing to block the steam line and preventing such an accident. The company was cited for the sam…

Giant Panda bites its keeper at the San Diego Zoo – Cal/OSHA Investigates

Cal/OSHA is a state agency that is solely responsible for ensuring and enforcing worker safety. It is now going to investigate into an incident which involved a female giant panda biting its keeper at the San Diego zoo.

Krisann Chasarik of Cal/OSHA has said that the agency will go ahead and review the safety practices at the zoo and check to see whether the workers were being sufficiently protected from the pandas and other animals and what the zoo does in case of an injury caused to its employees. An OSHA investigator will also examine the scene where the incident took place and will interview all the other employees.

The investigations could lead to civil penalties, but it is expected to take a few months to come to a decision. The incident occurred on Sunday morning when the keeper was trying to coax the female panda into returning to her sleeping area but was bitten and clawed and was taken to the hospital for treatment. The incident has been listed as an “attack” by Cal/OSHA.


Refinery Hit with OSHA Citations

Holly Corp. was recently fined $62,500 for 14 alleged serious violations of federal workplace safety regulations, at its Tulsa unit. The refinery was fined for failing to address a number of workplace hazards including: adequate emergency response, process safety management, ventilation, evacuation procedures and eliminating all potential ignition sources.

OSHA began investigating the refinery in September last year. Failure to implement any of OSHA’s regulations to protect employees from all or any workplace hazards is not tolerated by OSHA. The refinery has 15 business days to request a conference and comply or to contest the citations.

The refinery employs hundreds of workers who are actively engaged in processing nearly 125,000 barrels of crude oil on a daily basis into diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and other such products. In January last year, a worker was burned when hot water accidentally gushed out of a coke drum.

OSHA establishes final Procedures for Safe handling of Nuclear and Environmental Retaliation Complaints

OSHA has recently established final rules that explain the procedures for handling whistleblower retaliation complaints. Similar to many of the other whistleblower provisions, these rules not only help works to correctly file written complaints, but to also file complaints orally.

This particular approach improves the access to the entire complaint filing process for employees who tend to have difficulty in filing written complaints. What’s more, workers also receive copies of the documents that are submitted by the employer with regards to their whistleblower complaints and are subject to confidentiality laws.

Workers who are silent are not safe workers. These changes in the whistleblower provision help workers by standing by them and providing them with the courage to come forward especially if they feel that the employer is violating the environmental or nuclear safety laws.

The rule basically covers all those workers who wish to voice concerns over nuclear and environmental safety is…

OSHA urges FDA to work with them to determine the safe levels of Formaldehyde

The United States Food and Drug Administration or FDA has recently been urged to work alongside with OSHA to help establish whether hair smoothening treatments give out unsafe levels of formaldehyde.

Following the CIR’s findings on the safety of formaldehyde and methylene glycol in hair smoothening treatments, it has been announced that an understanding of these ingredients and the conditions of use is very important. The panel reached a conclusion that methylene glycol and formaldehyde are safe to be used in cosmetic products when used in the minimal effective concentrations and should not exceed 0.2 percent.

This is why FDA is being urged to work with OSHA and other appropriate state as well as local organizations to determine whether salon hair smoothening products emit dangerous levels of formaldehyde gas that could be potentially unsafe for salon workers and customers.

OSHA provides Guidance Document for Small Business to comply with the Cranes and Derricks Rule

OSHA has recently issued a Small Entity Compliance Guide for Cranes and Derricks in Construction to help such small business comply with the various recent Cranes and Derrick’s rules.

OSHA published the document in August of last year to help address the rising number of worker injuries and deaths that are caused due to cranes and derricks in the construction industry. This rule also includes the technological advancements made in equipments since the old rule.

In the past 40 years, it has been observed that the number of injuries and deaths caused due to electrocution, struck-by and crushed-by hazards from working on cranes and derricks was steadily increasing. This new guide helps employers in the construction industry understand that they must protect their workers from these dangerously fatal incidents.

This guide has been divided into separate chapters and accompanies various other OSHA compliance materials that are related to cranes and derricks.

Pep Boys Cited for Electrical and Machine Guarding Hazards

OSHA has said that workers in the Hamden store were exposed to electric hazards from damaged power cords, and were also exposed to cuts and lacerations from a grinder without any safety guard.

OSHA has cited the Pep Boys auto service company with 1 serious and 4 repeat violations after an inspection was conducted in its Hamden facility. The company currently faces a fine of $75,000.

The sizable amount of the fines issues reflects the fact that the company was previously cited as well for a number of workplace hazards in its Orange County location. OSHA recommends that the employers at its other stores and locations should find what other hazards exist and eliminate them in order to keep the employees safe.

OSHA also announced that the workers in the Hamden unit were exposed to electric hazards due to damaged power cords. They were also exposed to cuts and lacerations from a grinder that lacked a safety guard.

‘Spider Man: Turn off the Dark’ cited for Federal Safety Violations

Spider Man’s been hunted down by the Green Goblin, the Lizard and even the Venom, but the webbed superhero hasn’t been challenged by what could possibly its most powerful foe – the US government. At least up until now.

The show has already been plagued by a number of different problems ranging from rewrites and delays to actor injuries, the last of which has resulted in the musical and its production company being issued with 3 citations for workplace safety standard violations, by OSHA.

The troubled musical, which has cost nearly $65 million to finance, now faces a fine of $12,600. The citations were issued because of injuries that were caused to 4 separate actors during performances that began towards the end of last year. The most notable incident being in November, wherein cast member Natalie Mendozaand suffered a concussion and in December, wherein Christopher Tierney fell into the orchestra oit and fractured his skull and broke a few ribs.

Is OSHA Abandoning Key Workplace Safety Rules to Steer Clear of Budget Cuts

It has been observed that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seems to be abandoning the implementation of key workplace safety rules in an attempt to steer clear of budget cuts that the congressional Republicans are keen to bring about.

The Republicans have been pretty upset about OSHA stringent enforcement of rules under the Obama Administration. They claim that such enforcement of safety rules can take away plenty of jobs. While on other hand, supporters of OSHAs stringent enforcement say that OSHA is only helping those with jobs by preventing them from getting killed.

Congressional Republicans have demanded cutting at least $99 million from OSHAs budget this year, which is a drastic reduction. Such a drastic reduction would have a devastating effect on all of OSHA’s activities.

The Republicans have been particularly upset by a set of ergonomic rules which was delayed or stopped by OSHA. These rules would have forced companies to take into account ergonomic injuri…

OSHA Certifies Schneider Electric as a VPP Star Site

OSHA has recently commended the management and employees of the Schneider Electric USA Inc. for their achievements in the safety and health program. The company’s Lincoln branch has been certified as a “star” site.

The Schneider Company manufactures miniature circuit breakers and has earned recognition for adhering to a comprehensive on-site safety program. With more than 25o workers at the Lincoln facility, OSHA was pleased to see all the processes in place.

Right from the top down, the company has displayed and outstanding ability to implement a comprehensive workplace safety and health system, making it an exemplar example of how a company should run its workplace safety program.

OSHA recognizes employers and employees in federal agencies and private industries if they have implemented an effective safety and health system and have managed to ensure that injury and illness rates are below the average statistics for their industry.

OSHA cites Millard Refrigerated Services for Serious Health & Safety Violations

OSHA has recently cited Millar Refrigerated Services in Theodore for serious health and safety violations. These 16 violations were found following an incident in which 152 workers were exposed to and overcome by ammonia vapors. Proposed fines are $52,500.

In August last year, anhydrous ammonia leaked out of a pipe located on the roof of the company’s facility. The company personnel became aware of this leak when a crane operator fell unconscious by the ammonia vapors while evacuating his crane can on board the ship that was being loaded. The vapor carried all the way across the ship canal to a site being used by the BP workers and Patriot Environmental workers who were responsible for the decontamination of equipment in the cleanup efforts of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. 152 workers from different companies were hospitalized due to ammonia vapor exposure and 4 were placed in the intensive care unit.

The company has been cited for 7 serious violations with $45,500 fines in proposed…

Toxic Hydrofluoric Acid Leak at Oil Refinery

A hydrofluoric acid leak was reported last week in an Ohio oil refinery. The leak has since sent 1 worker to the hospital and has required the use of a ‘water cannon’ to disperse the gas. This event has brought much attention to the potentially hazardous nature of the chemical, which is used at least 50 refineries across the country.

The Marathon Oil Refinery has reported that nearly 145 pounds of hydrofluoric acid escaped during an incident that occurred on February 23rd. The cause for the escape was reported to be equipment failures. The workers were evacuated as soon as the leak was reported. Remedial steps were taken, including flooding the exposed are with water.

The oil refinery industry is vulnerable to a number of hazards, including fires, explosions and even mechanical breakdowns that can put the workers at great risk. Such incidents show lack of safety measures taken and this can lead to a great calamity. In the past 5 years, this Ohio refinery has been cited by OSHA more ofte…

Brazilian Blowout causes Cancer

Brazilian Blowout, one of the most recent and most popular hair products, has recently been linked to cancer, and these concerns have peaked recently what with more and more stylists complaining about the product. Authorities have begun a thorough investigation into the components of the hair straightening and smoothening product.

The formula which first started in 2005 in Brazil became so popular that it spread to North America as well as Europe. With many celebrities endorsing the product, it quickly turned into a must-have over the years. Apart from the fact that smooth and straight hair is considered to be very glamorous, the product also came as a blessing to those who were struggling to manage frizzy and curly hair on a daily basis. With just $300 in hand and 90 minutes to spare, it could transform any unruly, curly hair into sleek, straight strands!

But the major part of the trouble began when many stylists and users of the product started experiencing a whole range of health iss…

Reduction in Aircraft Cabin Protection leads to Criticism

Flight attendants are among those who are urging senators and other figures of authority to reject the amendment that was passed by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, which states that OSHA protection would be eliminated for those who work in aircraft cabins. This amendment, if successfully passed, would go ahead and eliminate any coverage that flight attendants and other crew members have so desperately been trying to seek from the Federal Aviation Administration’s budget appropriation.

Currently, the FAA has some sort of jurisdiction over airplane cabin safety and health issues. However, FAA has not really created or enforced any set of standards or regulations and this leaves flight attendants and travelers unprotected. Some of the cabin hazards that flight attendants and passengers might face include: biohazards, air quality, noise, temperature and humidity.

Many labor groups like the AFL-CIO claim that with OSHA protection, the number of injuries and illnesses caused due to these hazar…

Cal-OSHA cites Children’s Hospital for Gun Violence Threat

A whole spate of violence, as well as a hostage crisis, has led to Cal-OSHA (California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health) to fine the much esteemed Children’s Hospital of Oakland. What was the violation found? Cal-OSHA fined the hospital for not protecting its employees adequately.

The hospital has a long history of violence, which started in July when a 49 year old man swept into the building and held a ward clerk and nurse at gunpoint. Yes, the police did come before he could hurt anyone, but this episode has caused a lot of apprehension in the hospital, which is located in a rough neighborhood in the North Oakland. It is just a few blocks away from an apartment complex where a man was caught two weeks ago, shooting at police officers!

Tensions mounted once again in October when nurses were called in to treat a gunshot victim who was mysteriously dropped off in front of the hospital. This event happened soon after the registered nurses ended a three day strike over issues …

OSHA focuses on Telecoms

At this week’s National Association of Tower Erectors annual event in Oklahoma City, Kurt Bagwell from SBA Communications Inc. spent considerable time talking about the importance of safety in the tower business and how safety can lead to profitability in the long run.

It’s easy to say that you will follow the rules, but not as easy to put into practice. In the end it all boils down to routine. Most people get involved in their routines and neglect safety at the workplace. However, constantly being alert and looking out for safer ways to do a job is easier said than done. To maintain this attitude can be extremely difficult, especially when you take into consideration the fact that tower builders are always under extreme pressure from the tower owners as well as the wireless carriers to get new towers up and running as fast as possible.

Building towers can be extremely dangerous, but some of the dangers can be prevented. In the past 8 years, there have been 83 tower deaths reported, but…

Cintas joins OSHA’s SHARP Program

Cintas, a 27 employee company in Eugene, has become a member of the Oregon OSHA’s SHARP (Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program) last week.

Oregon OSHA announced that the Cintas Corporation of Eugene is the latest company to join the SHARP program, which helps employers in the state to work with and encourage employees to look for, find and correct hazards, and to develop and implement an effective safety program so as to improve continuously. There are nearly 70 companies in Oregon that actively participate in SHARP and since its inception, more than 90 have graduated.

Cintas is a Cincinnati based center that has about 27 employees in its Eugene branch, who are responsible for providing uniform rental services as well as bathroom and kitchen sanitation services. The company has recently stated that the SHARP program has helped them a great deal by strengthening the employee-customer relationships. The company believes that safety is a responsibility that should be taken seri…

Pizza Shell Company faces hefty OSHA fine

A Rochester company has recently been caught by OSHA for certain violation and may be looking at a very hefty fine. Bona Via Inc. was recently cited by OSHA for failing to follow the safety standards and correct the safety hazards prevalent at its main plant on White Street.

The company is currently facing a total fine of $195,200. This sizable fine basically reflects the fact the company’s employer was given many chances to correct the various health and safety hazards that were having a negative effect on the workers – but failed to do anything about it.

The company was fist cited by OSHA in 2009 for a number of hazards, and the company had agreed at that time to correct the hazards. However, after a follow up inspection was conducted in 2010, OSHA found that many of the hazards remained uncorrected.

Some of the hazards include: failing to install and maintain all the electrical equipment, failing to replace pressure relief devices in the oil separator for the ammonia refrigeration com…

OSHA cites Prologix Distribution Services after workers arm was amputated

Recently, OSHA has cited a certain Prologox Distribution Services company with 14 safety and health violations after an incident in which a worker was found to have gone through an amputation in the company’s Doral, Fla. Facility.

The OSHA safety investigations commenced in August 2010 after it was reported that a worker had his arm amputated at the elbow after it got trapped in a machine. In the following months, the agency began to conduct separate inspections that focused mainly on all the health-related issues at the plant.

OSHA believes that employees at any work site should not be required to risk their lives just to earn their daily bread and butter. The employee’s amputation could have been prevented if the company had diligently followed all the proper safety and equipment maintenance procedures in the first place. The total penalties amounted to $239,000.

Following the inspections, OSHA cited Prologix for 3 willful violations of $210,000. These violations included: exposing wor…