Author Archives: EHS Today Staff

Fatal Fire Leads to OSHA Violations for Two Companies

In December 2018, a fire at MarkWest natural gas processing plant killed one worker and left three other employees with severe burns that required hospitalization. The companies responsible for the Houston, Pa.-plant's operations are now facing thousands of dollars in OSHA penalties. “Providing workers with a safe and healthful workplace is required of every employer,” said Christopher Robinson, OSHA area director in Pittsburgh, Pa, in a statement. “This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had followed safety processes to control the release of gases from highly hazardous chemicals.” Energy Transportation LLC and MW Logistics Services LLC were cited for serious safety violations after agency inspectors investigated after the incident occurred. OSHA cited Energy Transportation for violations of the process safety management (PSM) standard and for exposing employees to flammable vapor and liquid while they off-loaded waste material from a vessel into a mobile tank. The agency cited MW Logistics Services LLC, the host employer that operates the natural gas processing plan, for violations of PSM standards, and for failing to inspect the facility’s energy control procedures at least annually. Energy Transportation LLC faces penalties totaling $51,148.  MW Logistics Services LLC faces $47,360 in penalties. Both companies have 15 business days to respond to the citations. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Texas Companies Win Award for Driving Safety

Sixteen Texas companies are being recognized for their efforts to reduce driving fatalities. The Texas Employer Traffic Safety Awards are being presented to employers who have collaborated with the National Safety Council and Our Driving Concern identifyrisky driving behaviors and affect culture change. “It is heartbreaking to know that every day for more than 18 years someone has lost a spouse, a child, a friend or a co-worker,” said Lisa Robinson, a senior program manager with the National Safety Council and head of Our Driving Concern. “Equally alarming is data that shows one person is injured in a crash on Texas roads every two minutes. This underscores the importance of working together to keep everyone safe, and employers have a critical role. We are pleased to see these Texas organizations leading the way, and we are proud to recognize them for their efforts.” Award recipients range from businesses with as few as 200 employees to as many as 10,000, and from nonprofits to municipal organizations. Worker education, training and other activities centered on traffic safety were considered in the evaluation process. This year four Texas employers went above and beyond to earn an Exemplary Award: the city of Waco, Pioneer Natural Resources, ProFrac Services and Texas Mutual Insurance Company. Twelve other Texas employers are highlighted in Award and Honorable Mention categories: AFC Transportation City of Austin Public Works Department City of Irving City of San Antonio Office of Risk Management City of San Marcos CPS Energy Jetco Delivery Star Shuttle & Charter Honorable Mention: Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority City of Frisco GHD Services Saulsbury Industries Visit txdrivingconcern.org for more information about the Texas Employer Traffic Safety Awards and the Our Driving Concern program. Let's block ads! (Why?)

ASSP Names Environmental Engineer Safety Professional of the Year

CH. Rama Krushna Chary's commitment to advancing innovation in the safety and health profession has earned him the 2019 Edgar Monsanto Queeny Safety Professional of the Year accolade. The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) will present the award to Chary at the organization's Safety 2019 professional conference from June 9-12 in New Orleans. “He has excellent technical skills involving environmental management systems, environmental assessment studies and management of air quality studies,” said ASSP Region 9 Vice President Ashok Garlapati, CSP, CFIOSH, QEP, in a statement. “He is a self-motivated and highly committed team player with strong conceptual skills.” Chary is a senior environmental engineer for the drilling and technology directorate at Kuwait Oil Company and 10-year ASSP member. His safety career spans more than 17 years in the oil and gas, consultancy and chemical sectors. As an expert at implementing workplace safety standards, his wide-ranging areas of professional responsibility include environmental management systems, environmentally friendly drilling operations, chemical management, air emissions compliance, global sustainability, waste management and recycling, and energy management systems. Chary also is an expert at implementing workplace safety standards and has collected numerous awards and certificates for his accomplishments in occupational safety and health, according to ASSP.“He has conducted outstanding technical presentations and a webinar for our group of safety professionals, and his high level of expertise is apparent,” said Herbert Bell, CSP, CHMM, CIHC, QISP, administrator of ASSP’s Environmental Practice Specialty. Chary is a member of ASSP’s Kuwait Chapter and served as 2016-17 chapter president. For the past eight years, he has served on the advisory committee of ASSP’s Environmental Practice Specialty. The award is named after Edgar Monsanto Queeny, president of the Monsanto Company on April 16, 1947, when a freighter explosion destroyed the company’s Texas City plant. The incident killed 512 people, including 145 Monsanto employees, and led to measures that forever enhanced safety at the company through Queeny’s leadership. Let's block ads! (Why?)

National Safety Council Appoints New President and CEO

Lorraine Martin, has been named the new president and CEO of the National Safety Council (NSC). The current co-founder of the nonprofit Pegasus Springs Foundation will join NSC on June 3 at its headquarters in Itasca, IL, in suburban Chicago. “Lorraine has more than 30 years’ experience leading and developing successful global and international businesses,” said NSC Chairman Mark Vergnano, in a statement. “She has a successful track record of working in both civic and corporate roles, which makes her a natural fit for the Council – an organization that offers a suite of products, training services and advocacy resources with the mission of eliminating preventable deaths.” As co-founder and current president of the Pegasus Springs Foundation, Martin has focused on providing opportunities for educators, students and community members to collaborate on learning models. She is an enthusiastic advocate for school, community and national resource engagement. Martin is actively involved and passionately dedicated to social impact and global change endeavors promoting diversity, inclusion and equality. As a champion for advancing women and girls in STEM, she was recently named among STEMConnector’s 100 Corporate Women Leaders, and she frequently lectures on core issues related to the cause. Over her career, she has led global aircraft and complex system development and manufacturing, always with a focus on safety for the employees and for those who used the products, often in high consequence environments. Among her top achievements, Ms. Martin led the largest defense program, F-35 Lightning II, a stealth fighter aircraft.  “Saving lives and preventing needless injuries is a noble mission and one I was drawn to immediately,” Martin said. “I am deeply passionate and committed to keeping people safe wherever they are, and I will bring that commitment to NSC as we work to eliminate all preventable deaths.” The NSC board partnered with Koya Leadership Partners, the executive recruiting firm that specializes in mission-driven searches, on the comprehensive national search that resulted in Martin's recruitment. Let's block ads! (Why?)

$10.5 Million in Worker Training Grants are Available Through OSHA

Nonprofit organizations searching for ways to help their workers identify and prevent workplace injuries now have an opportunity to apply for training grants through OSHA. The agency opened $10.5 million in available funds through Susan Harwood Training Grants for community and faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, Indian tribes, and colleges and universities. Harwood Training Grants give organizations the money needed to provide in-person, hands-on training for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates; and vulnerable workers, who are underserved, have limited English proficiency or are temporary workers. The grants will fund training and education to help workers and employers identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards. The program is named after Susan Harwood, a former director of the Office of Risk Assessment in OSHA's Health Standards Directorate, who died in 1996. During her 17-year tenure with the agency, Harwood helped develop OSHA standards to protect workers exposed to bloodborne pathogens, cotton dust, benzene, formaldehyde, asbestos and lead in construction. Grants are available in three areas: Targeted Topic Training, Training and Educational Materials Development, and Capacity Building. Targeted Topic Training grants support educational programs that address identifying and preventing workplace hazards. These grants require applicants to conduct training on OSHA-designated workplace safety and health hazards.  Training and Educational Materials Development grants support the development of quality classroom-ready training and educational materials that focus on identifying and preventing workplace hazards.  Capacity Building grants support organizations in developing new capacity for conducting workplace safety and health training programs, and must provide training and education based on identified needs of a specific audience or a set of related topics. Details on the grants and how to apply are available at Grants.gov.  Harwood applications must be submitted online no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 2, 2019.  Let's block ads! (Why?)

On A Mission to Highlight Safety

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) is calling on widespread participation in a number of activities that began on April 28 with the observance of Workers’ Memorial Day, an international day of remembrance for workers who died on the job. “We often take for granted that our families will be safe and healthy at the end of the workday,” said ASSP President Rixio Medina. “But that assumption is far from reality given the many who are lost every day around the world as a result of work-related incidents.”  “These campaigns draw attention to the responsibility we all have to make our jobs safer and healthier," he added. ASSP’s 38,000-plus members worldwide – who develop and implement safety and health management programs for employers in every industry – will be involved in the following safety observances. May 5-11:  Safety and Health Week - Created by the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (and formerly known as North American Occupational Safety and Health Week), this observance encourages grassroots efforts at every organization in all industries to bolster workplace safety. (#SafetyAndHealthWeek) May 6-10:  Construction Safety Week – This campaign is led by an alliance of construction firms and it raises safety awareness on construction sites. Stand-downs and workplace presentations engage employees and offer important reminders about safe building practices. (#ConstructionSafetyWeek) May 6-10:  National Safety Stand-Down -The sixth-annual campaign to prevent falls in construction is led by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in partnership with ASSP. Falls from height are a leading cause of death for construction workers. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforce the importance of fall prevention. (#StandDown4Safety) August 12-18:  Safe + Sound Week– Spearheaded by OSHA, this campaign aims to connect safety and profitability. Safety and health management programs address workplace risks before they cause problems, improving a company’s bottom line. (#SafeAndSoundAtWork) Let's block ads! (Why?)

Open Recalls for Vehicle Safety Issues Fall

The increased use of monitoring services is helping lower the rate of vehicles on roads with open recalls. One out of every five registered vehicles has an open recall, but the rate is slowly decreasing, according to CarFax. "Open recalls are a critical safety issue that can impact everyone on the road," said Dick Raines, Carfax president, in a statement. "It's imperative that car buyers, sellers and especially owners stay informed about recalls and take action on them to maintain the safety of their vehicles and our roads." The company released annual research findings that show more than 52 million vehicles with a recall remain unfixed. California (6.3 million), Texas (5.5 million), Florida (3.2 million), Pennsylvania (2.2 million) and New York (2.1 million) have the most vehicles with open recalls. For the second year in a row, light trucks and minivans are the vehicles most likely to have unfixed recalls.  Overall, open recalls have declined over the last two years, down from 63 million in 2017 and 57 million in 2018, according to Carfax. In addition to monitoring services, checks for open recalls during state vehicle inspections have helped consumers fix critical safety issues. While taking any vehicle off the road to be fixed can be an inconvenience, recall repairs often are completed in only an hour or two, and most take less than a day, CarFax reported. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Riverside Military Academy Racks Up $300,000 in OSHA Penalties

OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation launched in October 2018 in response to a spike in trenching fatalities. The agency recently investigates Riverside Military Academy, a college preparatory academy in Gainesville, Ga., as part of this initiative and discovered willful and serious violations. “Trenching and excavation hazards are preventable if employers follow OSHA standards and use required protective systems to keep workers safe,” said William Fulcher, OSHA Atlanta-East area office director. Investigators found employees were allowed to work inside a trench without cave-in protection and did not have a safe means to enter and exit the excavation. In addition, Riverside Military Academy failed to locate underground utilities prior to conducting excavation work. OSHA issued willful citations for these violations. OSHA also gave the academy serious citations for failing to identify permit-required confined spaces and train employees to recognize and avoid trenching hazards. Proposed penalties total $381,882, and Riverside Military Academy Inc. in now in the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings. Let's block ads! (Why?)

OSHA: Montana Highway Contractor Exposed Workers to Burns

Kalispell, Mont.-based Nelcon Inc. is facing $261,418 in fines after numerous injuries at one of its mobile asphalt-mixing plants. Three workers suffered burns when ambient oil was poured into a larger hot oil tank. One of those workers was hospitalized after falling 15 ft. during the incident. OSHA opened an investigation shortly after the accident and found that Nelcon Inc. exposed worked to 23 safety violations including failure to use fall protection systems; guard machinery; provide adequate personal protective equipment; control hazardous energy; and report a work-related incident leading to in-patient hospitalization within 24 hours, as required. Nelcon Inc. has 15 business days to respond to the citations either through compliance, an informal conference or contesting the findings. Let's block ads! (Why?)

OSHA Seeks Input on Whistleblower Laws

A meeting scheduled for May 14, 2019 in Washington D.C. is aimed at improving OSHA's whistleblower customer service and public understanding of related laws. The agency listen to public comments and suggestions from stakeholders on issues relating to whistleblower protection under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This is the third installment in a series of meetings the agency is hosting in order to gain public feedback. The meeting will be held from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. EDT at the U.S. Department of Labor, Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210 in Room S-3215A-C. Those interested in participating or attending the meeting, either in-person or via telephone, must register by April 30, 2019. There is no fee to register. Electronic or written comments also are welcome through May 7, 2019. OSHA is interested in comments on how it can deliver better whistleblower customer service, and the types of assistance it can provide to explain the whistleblower laws it enforces. All materials may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal using OSHA Docket No. OSHA-2018-0005. Let's block ads! (Why?)