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Showing posts from January, 2011

Labors Unions Don't feel Good about the Withdrawal of Rules Proposed by OSHA

Labor is now growing increasingly concerned as a number of rules that were proposed by OSHA and designed for employee health and safety have been withdrawn by the Obama administration.

The AFL-CIO's director of health and safety, Peg Seminario, said, “All of these actions are coming because of the November elections and the fierce business opposition to anything. Just because the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups scream doesn't mean there is a legitimate reason to retreat. There are real negative impacts here that can harm workers”.

On the 19th of January, OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, withdrew its proposed reinterpretation that would have strengthened its standard relating to noise occurring at the workplace. Then, on Tuesday, the federal agency again withdrew its proposed regulation that would have restored a column for musculoskeletal disorders on the logs that recorded employee injury and illness.

According to Seminario, there isn…

Logistics Center Receives OSHA Citations

The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center has recently received a few more OSHA citations that deal with violations in workplace safety. 27 citations were reportedly given out to the center on Monday and another 20 are expected to be given in the next few days.

The center’s commander, Maj. Gen. McMahon, has taken full responsibility for creating a safe working environment. According to him, his job is all about creating a safe working environment for the employees to be able to work properly.

The center received 13 citations last May. The citations had to do with the employees being potentially exposed to excessive levels of lead, cadmium and chromium in a building, where nearly 200 workers were present.

The latest citations on the other hand came because the OSHA inspectors continued to inspect the center and its maintenance processes at a number of different locations right through to January this year. The citations that were received on Monday fell into 3 basic categories: exposure to l…

OSHA Withdraws its Proposed Column for MSDS on a Temporary Basis

OSHA recently announced that it has withdrawn its proposal to restore a column for work related musculoskeletal disorders on employer injury and illness logs on a temporary basis. The federal agency has taken this step with a view of seeking maximum input from all small businesses on the impact the proposal will have on them. This will be done through outreach in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy.

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Material Safety Data Sheets accounted for around 28 per cent of all the reported workplace injuries and illnesses in the year 2009. This proposed rule will not alter the existing requirements of when and under what circumstances the employers should record MSDS on their illness and injury logs. Although a large number of employers are supposed to maintain these logs, many of the small business owners are not required to keep these records.

The federal agency and the U.S Small Business Administration's…

OSHA penalizes Mansfield Company for not Protecting Roof Workers

OSHA has recently penalized roofing contractor Sheriff-Goslin Co. of Mansfield for failing to provide any kind of fall protection for those employees working on a roofing project at Sandusky. The company received one willful and one repeat safety violation. The total penalty that the company faces amounts to $86,500.

This citation comes right after an investigation that was conducted on Nov.9, 2010. Sheriff-Goslin has been slapped with one willful violation with a penalty of $70,000 for allowing workers to be exposed to a 27 foot fall hazard without providing them with any fall protection.

Fall are the main cause of death and injury at any workplace and Sheriff-Goslin has reportedly had a long history of failing to comply with OSHA and protecting workers from fall hazards.

What’s more, Sheriff-Goslin has also been issued with one repeat violation citation with a penalty of $16,500. This is for failing to protect workers from overhead hazards by providing them with adequate heard protecti…

The Recently Proposed Interpretation of Occupational Noise Withdrawn by OSHA

On the 19th of January, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that it is withdrawing its proposed interpretation titled “Interpretation of OSHA's Provisions for Feasible Administrative or Engineering Controls of Occupational Noise”. This proposed interpretation would have properly clarified the term “feasible administrative or engineering controls” that is described in the noise standard laid down by OSHA.

“Hearing loss is caused by excessive noise levels and remains a serious occupational health problem in this county”, said Dr. David Michaels, who is the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “However, it is clear from the concerns raised about this proposal that addressing this problem requires much more public outreach and many more resources than we originally anticipated. We are sensitive to the possible costs associated with improving worker protection and have decided to suspend work on this prop…

Man falls 30 feet in a Scaffolding Collapse in Boston

Recently, it was reported that a man hurtled 30 feet towards the ground when his scaffolding collapsed in Boston. The worker was found to be unconscious and has been since transferred to the Beth Israel Hospital.

Work at the scaffolding site was stop until OSHA personnel arrived on the scene for further investigation. The company happened to be a New England scaffolding firm.

Steve MacDonald, the man behind Boston Fire, has said that the man actually fell from the 6th floor right down to the 4th floor. The man was reportedly banged up quite a bit, but has however, not suffered any serious injuries.

The Boston Fire Department has further commented on the incident, stating that it had occurred on 10 Vining Street. The condition of the worker is unknown as of now. Steve MacDonald also went on to say that he was not entirely sure whether the scaffolding fell on the person or whether the worker was on the scaffolding when it collapsed.

At 40, it’s Time OSHA Thinks of a Makeover

The very idea of Democrats and Republicans coming together and enacting a legislation for the sole purpose of protecting American workers from on-the-job injuries and fatalities seems inconceivable. But this is exactly what happened almost 40 years ago. On the 29th of December, 1970, President Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Act into law. This act was a compromise that sought to assure that every man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources”.

The OSHA Act has been successful in saving many thousands of lives. If the workers had the same risk of death as they had in 1933, the death rate would have gone up by 40,000 more workers per year.

However, the OSHA Act has not been properly updated since the time it became law. OSHA has become hopelessly overmatched and struggles to look after 21st century workplaces with 20th century tools. Each year, nearly 5,000 American workers pay the price for this, with their …

Chicago's Food Processing Facility Slapped with a Heavy Fine of $212,000

Bridgford Foods Processing Corp. facility in Chicago has been issued 10 safety citations by the U.S Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to provide proper training to workers on lockout and tagout procedures. Now, the meat processing plant is facing a heavy penalty of $212,000.

“By failing to train employees and enforce lockout/tagout procedures, Bridgford Foods placed employees in danger of serious injury from equipment that was not properly de-energized”, said Gary Anderson, who is the area director of OSHA in Calumet City, Ill. “OSHA is committed to ensuring that workers are provided a safe and healthful workplace”, he added.

The July 2010 OSHA inspection issued Bridgford Foods Processing one willful violation and a penalty of $70,000. The citation was issued for allowing employees to remove a shovel stuck in an auger screw conveyor without tagging or locking it out, thereby putting them in danger of the machine operating while they work…

Plastering Firm Slapped with $99,000 Fines for Fall Hazards

Best Plastering Contractors in El Paso, Texas, has been fined by OSHA for five repeat citations. The company has allegedly been penalized for exposing workers to fall hazards. The proposed fines sum up to almost $99,000.

Jack Rector says, “Falls are one of the most common and well known hazards at a construction site. This is not the first time this company has jeopardized the safety of its workers”. Rector is OSHA's area director in El Paso, “Falls can injure or kill a worker within seconds. It is fortunate in this case that there were no injuries or fatalities”, he added.

The El Paso's Area Office of OSHA initiated this inspection on the 19th of October, 2010. The inspection was started after observing employees working on a scaffold without the use of fall protection equipments. Best Plastering Contractors has employed 18 workers at its El Paso facility. 8 of these workers were present at the site at that time.

The violations the company has been cited for include failing to p…

OSHA Fines Steel Maker $143,500 for Committing Serious Safety Violations

The United States, Steel Corp. and the contractor that was currently working at the steel maker's Clairton coke plant were penalized and cited by the federal safety regulators for basically exposing 20 workers to burns from the July fourteenth explosion and also failing to provide an effective energy control procedure and plan.

OSHA or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of Pittsburgh has heavily penalized the United States Steel for primarily committing 11 serious and 2 willful safety violations. The fines have currently mounted to a total sum of $143,500.

Whereas, Power Piping Co. of Lawrenceville, a contractor that was providing the steam fitting services at the coke batteries, was penalized for 6 serious safety violations. Hence, the fines have mounted to a total sum of $31,500.

The director of OSHA's Pittsburgh office, Mr. Robert Szymanski, said that, "U.S. Steel and Power Piping did not have the proper controls in place to prevent worker exposure to ha…

OSHA Fines $229,000 for the Death of Two Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued out $229,000 in fines to two companies in connection with a July 2010 explosion that killed two welders. Northeast Energy Management Inc. of Indiana, Pa. and Huntley and Huntley Inc. of Monroeville, Pa. are the two companies. The incident occurred at the Murry Heirs #6 well site owned by Huntley in Cheswick.

The two men were workers from Northeast Energy. Huntley and Huntley had contracted Northeast Energy to repair a leaking barrel tank at the well site. The former was responsible for making sure that Northeast Energy had properly trained its workers on safe welding procedures. In a press release, OSHA said, “These companies did not ensure that proper welding procedures were followed resulting in this tragic loss of life”. Robert Szymanski, the director of OSHA's Pittsburgh area office, said, “OSHA remains committed to holding employers legally responsible when they fail to adhere to federal law and compromise the safety…

Leetsdale Copper Plant Explosion Being Invested by OSHA

OSHA is now investigating an explosion that took place at a copper plant in Leetsdale. The explosion that occurred early Tuesday morning injured three people. It happened at Hussey copper along Washington Street at around 9 30 am.

The OSHA officials said that the explosion was minor and occurred when water spilled beneath ingots during the process of making copper. The Leetsdale Police Chief James Santucci said, “We had two other victims who were down in the hole. Once the minor explosion occurred they were burned about twenty per cent of their body”.

The three victims are being treated at UPMC Mercy Hospital in the burn unit. The victims' names and conditions have not yet been released. Even after the incident, the plant was not evacuated. Moreover, it continued to run throughout Tuesday.

It has been discovered that the plant was fined around $60,000 during the past decade. Most of these fines were for an explosion that occurred in the year 2000 and injured five workers. When a brok…

Five New Rules to be ruled Out by OSHA and Ergonomics is not One of Them

In order to improve work place safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration plans to roll out five new rules. However, a rule for curbing ergonomic injuries is not going to be one of them. OSHA has been handing out forms to employers for reporting safety ailments and job health. Interestingly, this form does not even have a separate column for ergonomic ailments.

The five new rules covered by OSHA include general working conditions for shipyards, confined spaces at construction sites, hazard communications, electric power transmissions and standards improvement.
The OSHA staffers said, “We also anticipate publishing finals for several whistle blower regulations. In addition, we estimate publishing a proposed rule for silica”. They did not, however, part with any details. OSHA announced a rule for curbing ergonomic injuries after a decade of work and delays due to business pressure. These injuries include sprains, repetitive motion injuries, thrown out backs due to heavy lif…

OSHA Proposes To Fine MillerCoors for Ammonia Leak

The Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States, has recently fined the MillerCoors company with a hefty fine of $63,500 for an ammonia leak that sent two employees to the hospital.

You will be shocked to know that nearly 2,000 pounds of toxic anhydrous ammonia leaked when an ammonia line had ruptured at the Coors Brewing plant on the 12th of July.

The OSHA investigators had found that while two workers were busy working on the faulty ammonia system, an uncontrolled release occurred during the regular maintenance operations. Luckily, these employees escaped with serious injuries. They were then rushed to the Lutheran Hospital, where they were promptly treated.

OSHA’s area office director in Englewood, Mr.John Healy, said that, "Employers must be diligent in ensuring that employees and the public are not unwittingly exposed to serious hazards caused by inadequate maintenance of systems controlling highly hazardous chemicals”. He further wen…

OSHA Investigates into Hackettstown Forklift Accident

A man from Sussex County is in a critical condition after he was injured in a forklift accident. The incident took place at a Hackettstown construction site. Gregory Schimdt, aged 41, was working for the Blue Ridge Lumber Co. Detective Darren Tynan said that he was working at a senior citizen residential facility under construction on Route 57 at the time of the accident.

Apparently, Schimdt was trying to place pieces of wood under a pallet of lumber for elevating it so that a forklift operator could take off the Blue Ridge delivery truck. The forklift driver was not present at that time. But, he had left the forklift in drive, according to the police. The victim was manually widening the forks for accommodating the pallet. This caused the forklift to roll forward, pinning Schimdt against the truck.

Tynan said, “We don't know after the forklift driver got off the vehicle where he went to. All we know is he got off the forklift and left it in drive”. Schimdt was pinned against the tr…

Educating Kids on Farm Safety is Important

Last weekend, a four year old boy drowned in a manure pit. A local agency claimed on Tuesday night that the child's death could have been prevented. This incident adds to the list of several farming deaths that have occurred in the recent years.

According to 'Safe Kids', an organization that works on the safety of children, these accidents prove that more efforts have to be put in to educate the public on farm safety.

The manure pits are the hidden hazards on farms, as per Sue Lackmann of Safe Kids Lancaster County. “To somebody who doesn't know what they're looking for it looks like a hole in the ground and young children, being young children, they will take that opportunity to go and look at it and explore“, she added.

Farm owners should fence the pit or cover it and lock it up. However, there are no official safety requirements issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The farm fatalities seem to have hiked in the year 2008 with a sum of 44 dead…

New Work Place Safety Laws take Effect in California

With the start of the New Year, there are new safety laws that have been enforced at work places. A complete revision of California's labor law will make it easier for Cal/OSHA to look into and investigate the serious violations of work place safety.

The labor law attorney for California Chamber of Commerce is Susan Kemp. A list of new laws is compiled by the Chamber each year. Employers need to know all the new changes made in this list.

According to Kemp, the boost to the state's worker safety agency enforcement power applies mainly to those companies that own and operate heavy equipment. “Any type of machinery that involves anything that can pinch you, push you, cut you, smash body parts, anything with the height that you can fall, tunneling, people in ditches where there's a cave-in, those kinds of things”, Kemp said.

A new safety standard will be enforced this year to prevent farm workers from getting sick from the heat. All farm and orchard managers will have to provide…