Author Archives: OH&S News

Oregon OSHA Fines a Company after a Fatal Music Festival Incident

Oregon OSHA Fines a Company after a Fatal Music Festival Incident After a boom lift accident killed two workers at the Pickathon Music Festival in Happy Valley, Oregon OSHA has fined two companies $31,000. Feb 14, 2020 Oregon OSHA investigated an accident on August 8, 2019 after two workers died on site of a music festival in Happy Valley, OR. The investigation found Pickathon LLC and GuildWorks LLC—a subcontractor to Pickathon LLC—failed to follow safety rules regarding a boom lift. Those rules included keeping safety alarm devices activated and heeding the manufacturer’s operating and maintenance instructions for the machine. “It is an employer’s responsibility to make sure that safety rules are followed for the very purpose of protecting workers from such tragedies,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “This is a time to pause and remember that two people died, leaving behind family and friends. And it is a time to remind ourselves that this accident was entirely preventable.”  The two workers were positioned in the platform of a boom lift raised about 40 feet high, and they were performing tasks after the music festival had ended. They were dismantling event-related hardware and ropes attached to trees when the boom lift tipped over, crashing to the ground and killing them. Pickathon and GuildWorks were cited for a serious violation because two alarm devices on the boom lift had been disabled. One device would sound an alarm warning against operating the machine on uneven terrain. The other device would stop the upward motion of the platform if an employee became pinned between an overhead obstruction and the platform’s railing and controls. Each company is being cited $12,500. Additionally, Oregon OSHA fined GuildWorks $6,000 for another serious violation: failing to follow the boom lift manufacturer’s operating and maintenance instructions. Those instructions included the following: do not raise the boom while on an uneven surface; maintain a firm footing on the platform floor at all times; do not move the machine while the boom is extended and while the machine is stationed on a sloped surface; and do not put the boom in a raised position while the counterweight (which acts as a balance) is located on the downward side of a slope. Oregon OSHA determined that companies will not receive the normal reduction in the penalty granted to small employers. This decision is based on the particular facts uncovered by the division’s investigation of the accident. For more information, read Oregon.gov’s news release here. Let's block ads! (Why?)

OSHA Cites Pearson Farms After Employee Death

OSHA Cites Pearson Farms After Employee Death OSHA has cited the Georgia-based peach farm $128,004 after an employee suffered fatal injuries at the facility. Feb 13, 2020 OSHA has cited Pearson Farms LLC for safety violations after an employee died at the farm’s post-harvest operations facility in Fort Valley, Georgia. The farm is facing $128,0004 in penalties. Francisco Rodrigues, a 56-year-old employee for Pearson, died in August after being hit in the head by a pallet on a forklift, reports say. Investigators found that the employee was caught between the load on a forklift and a metal railing while performing maintenance. He died less than an hour after the accident at nearby hospital from blunt-force trauma to the head, one article noted. OSHA also cited the employer for exposing workers to fall, chemical and amputation hazards. The employer has also failed to: provide an early warning system to detect anhydrous ammonia leaks; develop and implement an emergency response plan; adequately train workers to respond to potential release of anhydrous ammonia; provide effective machine guarding; and develop, implement, and utilize lockout/tagout procedures. “Employers must assess their workplaces to identify hazards and take corrective actions to eliminate serious or life-threatening injuries and illnesses,” said OSHA Acting Area Director Condell Eastmond, in Atlanta-East. “A comprehensive safety and health program should be implemented to ensure controls are in place to protect workers.” OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks—Forklifts webpage provides information on forklift hazards and solutions, and the applicable forklift use standards. 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 before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. You can read the full, official news release here. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Mitigating the Risks of Grain Handling

Mitigating the Risks of Grain Handling OSHA’s webpage on grain handling is designed to provide workers, employers, and safety and health professionals with up-to-date safety and health information regarding grain handling facilities. Feb 12, 2020 Fires, explosions, suffocation, engulfment, entrapment, falls from heights, amputation, and even death—these are the most notable safety and health risks most common in grain handling facilities. Luckily, OSHA recognizes the importance of industry-specific safety measures. Read the OSHA ­webpage on risks and prevention tips for grain handling facilities. The webpage answers some of people’s most frequently asked questions including: what are grain handling facilities, what are the hazards of grain handling facilities, and what can be done to reduce hazards in grain facilities? Grain handling facilities are pretty much what they sound like: facilities that receive, handle, store, process, and ship bulk raw agricultural commodities like corn, wheat, oats, barley, sunflower seeds and soybeans. These facilities use equipment like grain elevators, feed mills, flour mills, rice mills, dust pelletizing plants, dry corn mills, soybean flaking operations, and dry grinding operations of soycake. The grain handling industry is considered a high hazard industry where worker safety is at a high threat. The most common serious and life-threatening hazards include: fires and explosions from grain dust accumulation, suffocation from engulfment and entrapment in grain bins, falls from heights and crushing injuries and amputations from grain handling equipment. In terms of death, suffocation is the leading cause among grain handling workers. Suffocation can happen when a worker is buried (engulfed) by grain as they walk on moving grain or attempt to clean grain built up on the inside of a bin. Moving grain can act like “quicksand” and bury a worker in seconds. Grain dust explosions are also a serious hazard, and it is the main source of fuel for explosions in the industry. It is highly combustible and can burn or explode if it becomes airborne or accumulates on a surface and finds an ignition source such as hot bearing, overheated motor, misaligned conveyor belt, welding, cutting, and brazing. For these reasons, OSHA mandates that both grain dust and ignition sources be controlled in grain elevators to prevent these often-deadly explosions. Let's block ads! (Why?)

BCSP Improves Application Process for Non-U.S. Degree Holders

BCSP Improves Application Process for Non-U.S. Degree Holders Now, academic records will be submitted directly to BCSP, where they will continue to be evaluated under the same rigorous standards for U.S. equivalency. Feb 11, 2020 The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) has a special announcement about the application process for non-U.S. degree holders. See the press release below: Indianapolis (February 6, 2020) - Beginning February 3, 2020, non-U.S. degree holders who wish to apply for the Associate Safety Professional® (ASP®) and Certified Safety Professional® (CSP®) certifications may now upload their academic records directly to BCSP during the application process. Previously, non-U.S. degree holders were required to submit academic records to a third party degree evaluator from National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) to determine U.S. equivalency. Now, academic records will be submitted directly to BCSP, where they will continue to be evaluated under the same rigorous standards for U.S. equivalency. With this change, BCSP will encourage more international applicants by simplifying the process and removing the monetary barrier associated with non-U.S. degrees. "These changes reflect BCSP's commitment to continuous improvement in our certification processes, as well as our desire to grow professional safety practice through certification globally," said BCSP's Director, Global Strategic Advancement Erica Poff MA, PMP, CAE, IOM. "Not only are we breaking down barriers to entry for qualified safety professionals, but we are doing so while maintaining our high standards of accountability and fairness in evaluating degrees." Becoming the leader in global safety is BCSP's goal. A standardized, worldwide base of safety knowledge is key in reducing workplace hazards and incidents. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Pennsylvania Company Exposes Employees to Toxic Hexavalent Chromium Fumes

Pennsylvania Company Exposes Employees to Toxic Hexavalent Chromium Fumes OSHA fined a Pennsylvania company $280,874 for putting employees at risk for toxic fumes and other safety hazards. Feb 10, 2020 OSHA has cited Cleveland Brothers Inc. (doing business as CB HYMAC) for exposing workers to hexavalent chromium fumes and other safety hazards at the company’s Camp Hill, Pennsylvania site. The company, which provides hydraulic service and repair, machining and chroming services, is facing one willful violation and 18 serious and two other-than-serious citations from OSHA. The penalties total $280,874. OSHA first conducted an investigation on the company in July 2019 after receiving a complaint of overexposure to the toxin. OSHA also cited the company for failing to train employees on hexavalent chromium’s hazards and maintain a satisfactory respiratory protection program. “Occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium can result in significant adverse health effects for employees,” said OSHA Harrisburg Area Director David Olah. “Engineering controls must be implemented and affected employees must be trained to recognize the hazards of this toxic chemical.” “Employers must continually evaluate their facilities for hazards, and use proper safety controls and equipment to protect workers’ safety,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “OSHA provides free resources to help employers comply with hexavalent chromium standards.” Hexavalent chromium is no joke. OSHA’s webpage on the toxin provides resources on protecting employees from the toxic chemical, including the Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Hexavalent Chromium Standards. The National Toxicology Program provides helpful information on hexavalent chromium’s risks and health effects. Cleveland Brothers Inc. has 15 business days from the receipt of the citations and penalties (view them here and here) to comply, request an informal conference with an OSHA area director, or contest the findings. Read the official news release for more information. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Dell Announces the Top 20 Most Rugged Jobs Out There

Dell Announces the Top 20 Most Rugged Jobs Out There Computer technology company, Dell Inc., is recognizing those who work in the most extreme environmental elements and in some of the most labor-intensive settings. Feb 07, 2020 Not everyone goes to work at sitting desk or a quiet office every day. Many individuals work in demanding, labor-intensive, exhausting environments for work. Some scale 20-foot trees, carry heavy machinery, dig deep into the group, or test a 15-foot electricity pole. David Plourde from Dell outlines the company’s analysis in a blog post on the company website, and the top 20 most rugged jobs may surprise you—or not. Dell’s Rugged testing lab team studied each of the jobs intensively to discern which were the most taxing. The testing lab even used a durability test on specialty to devices in the following elements: temperatures hot enough to fry an egg and cold enough to freeze an ice cube stormy winds up to 70 miles per hour and nearly 6 inches of rain per hour 40 mile-per-hour sandstorms The evaluation of the jobs also took physical demands, injury risk, and environment into account. Dell’s Top 20 Most Rugged Jobs are the following, in no particular order: Oil & Gas Engineer Mining Machine Operator Construction Worker Electrical Line Technician  Rescue Worker Geologist/Volcanologist Marine Biologist  Pilot Police Officer Commercial Fisher Military Personnel Firefighter/EMT Demolition Expert Farmer Storm Chaser Warehouse Logistics Operator  Insurance Claim Adjuster Manufacturing Worker  For a full report on the analysis and the Rugged Labs team, read Plourde’s blog post . Let's block ads! (Why?)

Oregon Workers Are Invited to take a ‘Safety Break’ May 13

Oregon Workers Are Invited to take a ‘Safety Break’ May 13 Oregon OSHA recently announced the statewide initiative to take part in Safety Break for Oregon on May 13 in an effort to promote workplace safety and health. Feb 06, 2020 Employers and workers across Oregon state are invited to participate in the 17th annual Safety Break for Oregon—a designated time to pause and reflect on the importance of protecting people from hazards and harm while on the job. On Wednesday, May 13, you can gather your team for a clear-eyed examination of potential new hazards and discuss how to tackle them. You can refresh your knowledge and training. You can even celebrate past successes and recognize emerging safety leaders. Oregon OSHA leaves the choice of activity up to companies and employers. Oregon OSHA believes this safety break event is important for a number reasons. It allows employers, workers, and teams to celebrate on-the-job health and safety, and it allows employees to work together to address existing safety and health concerns. The results include fewer injuries and reduced workers’ compensation costs. “This stand-down provides an opportunity for employers and workers to remember the high value they should place on preventing injury and illness in the workplace,” said Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA. “At its best, it is not merely symbolic, but also an opportunity for a focused discussion about the best ways to make safety a reality in the workplace by identifying and eliminating hazards.”  If group bonding and teamwork is not incentive enough, companies that participate will be entered to win one of three $100 checks. These checks can be used for a luncheon of their choice when they sign up online by Friday, May 8. The prizes will be given to participating companies based on a random drawing. Sponsoring the contest is the Oregon SHARP Alliance—a nonprofit group that promotes safety and health management by encouraging teamwork and cooperation among people, employers, and organizations to improve workplace health and safety for Oregon workers. Oregon OSHA encourages participating companies to share their activities on social media by tagging @OregonOSHA on Facebook and using #SafetyBreak on Twitter. For more information, ideas on how to host an event, or download graphics, visit the Safety Break for Oregon website . Let's block ads! (Why?)

NIOSH and the National Science Foundation’s Funding for Workplace Robots

NIOSH and the National Science Foundation’s Funding for Workplace Robots Funding will soon be available to further research collaborative robots (co-robots) in the workplace. The deadline to apply is February 26, 2020. Feb 05, 2020 The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently announced its partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the US Department of Agriculture to make funding available for collaborative robotics studies. The Program Announcement from Dec. 2, 2019 called for proposal applications for the National Robotics Initiative 2.0 (NRI 2.0). The program reportedly expands on the original robotics initiative program to better support research of co-robots—robots whose main purpose is to work with other people or other robots to accomplish a goal. NIOSH sees potential in co-robots specifically to help reduce workplace risk exposures. Further research on co-robots will hopefully identify potential risks of co-robots to workers and evaluate various control strategies to protect workers. Project research proposals should address industry sectors likely to deploy and benefit from co-robots such as agriculture, construction, healthcare, and mining. Proposals should consider modeling and simulation to evaluate potential hazards to humans in a virtual environment. NIOSH will consider projects with budgets ranging from $85,000 to $250,000 per year for up to three years. Those interested in applying for funding can read more about the opportunity on the NSF website. The deadline to apply is February 26, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. in the submitter’s local time zone. There are a number of platforms to which applicants can submit: FastLane, Research.gov, or Grants.gov. This program and funding is through NIOSH’s Center for Occupational Robotics Research which works to guide the development and use of occupational robots that enhance workers’ safety, health, and well-being. The Center researches a number of robotic topics such as robotic cells and cages away from human workers, emerging robotic technologies, wearable robotics or powered exoskeletons, remotely controlled or autonomous vehicles and drones, and future robots using advanced artificial intelligence. Let's block ads! (Why?)

NSC Provides Tips for Employers Regarding the Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV

NSC Provides Tips for Employers Regarding the Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV Employers need to ensure that they are doing everything they can to keep workplaces safe and healthy in the presence of the coronavirus. Feb 04, 2020 Employers and workers can take important steps in keeping the spread of the coronavirus at bay—even in countries like the United States that are not geographically close to Wuhan, China. The National Safety Council (NSC) is closely following data about coronavirus, or 2019 nCoV., and it is clear that employers need to recognize their responsibility in up-keeping a healthy workforce. The NSC says that all employers can take important measures to keep workers healthy; however, those in the healthcare sector, with employees who travel internationally and those in the international travel industry, are at particular risk of contracting the virus. Workplace illness prevention training is imperative for all employees, and employers should ensure their workplaces offer appropriate training. NSC echoes recommendations from OSHA and the CDC on preventing possible transmission of the virus, including the following: Practice proper infection control and sterilization measures. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water is unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with those who are sick. Stay home when you are sick, and see a doctor immediately to be evaluated for 2019-nCoV. If a worker becomes infected, insist that he or she fully recovers before returning to work. Employees who have traveled with heightened levels of exposure should inform their employers immediately. Avoid sending staff on business trips to China, where the virus has originated and has not yet been detained. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Michigan Food Manufacturer Will Stop Production After Repeat Food Violations

Michigan Food Manufacturer Will Stop Production After Repeat Food Violations Home Style Foods, Inc. has agreed to discontinue selling food products until the company complies with federal regulations and other standards. Jan 31, 2020 As of January 13 of this year, Home Style Foods, Inc. and the company’s owner, Michael J. Kowalski, and quality manager, Juan Valesquez, agreed to discontinue food sales for the time being. The company will not resume distributing and selling products until it complies with regulations and standards, as was settled in the injunction between the U.S. and the company. After several inspections conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono) in the company’s food preparation area and violations of seafood safety regulations associated with the processing of fish and fishery products. “After repeated food safety violations, the FDA worked with the U.S. Department of Justice to obtain this injunction in order to prevent potentially contaminated food from reaching consumers. The company failed to take the appropriate corrective actions resulting in this action,” said FDA Chief Counsel Stacy Cline Amin, J.D. “When a company fails to follow the law, the government will take action to protect the food supply.” The consent decree by U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox prohibits the defendants from receiving, preparing, processing, packing, holding, labeling and/or distributing foods at or from their facility, or any other facility, until certain requirements are met. It also requires the defendants to make corrective actions and notify the FDA before any operations resume. According to the FDA press release, L. mono is a species of disease-causing bacteria. When ingested, people may develop listeriosis—an infection that can have serious adverse effects for consumers, particularly women who are or may become pregnant, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Let's block ads! (Why?)