Author Archives: OH&S News

Armor Fabricator Exposing Employees to Amputations and Other Safety Hazards

Armor Fabricator Exposing Employees to Amputations and Other Safety Hazards One fabrication company is cited for failing to protect its employees from a handful of preventable hazards. Aug 16, 2019 The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited a Miami Lakes, Florida fabrication company $92,820 in penalties for failing to protect its employees from amputation, silica, and other machine-related injuries. Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. has reportedly failed to ensure the following safeguards for its employees: machine guarding for employee band saws, a lockout/tagout prevention program for unexpected machine starting, proper silica prevention methods, appropriate signage for a silica-regulated area, and adequate monitoring to determine employees’ exposure to silica. OSHA conducted the inspection in conjunction with the National Emphasis Program on Amputations. OSHA recommends finding and fixing hazards in the workplace before they cause injury or illness to employees. A list of recommended practices for safety and health programs can be found on OSHA’s website. Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. has fifteen business days upon receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA director, or contest the findings before the Independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Read the full report from the U.S. Department of Labor here. Let's block ads! (Why?)

OSHA Considers Revising Silica Standard for General Industry

OSHA Considers Revising Silica Standard for General Industry Many are calling for an expansion of silica exposure considerations, and an OSHA consideration of change is now underway. Aug 15, 2019 The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is now accepting comments regarding a revisal to the both the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction and the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry. The revision(s) would further limit exposure to silica in two ways: using additional engineering and work practice control methods; equipment; and tasks; and broadening the circumstances under which general industry and maritime employers would be allowed to comply with the silica standard for construction as an alternative to the general standard. As with any revision consideration to industry standards, if submitted information and response indicates these revisions are necessary, the agency will then propose the revisions to the Federal Register for public comment. Comments must be submitted by November 13, 2019. Comments and materials may be submitted electronically at  http://www.regulations.gov , the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, or by facsimile or mail. See the  Federal Register notice  for submission details. Let's block ads! (Why?)

The #FlySafe Campaign’s Latest: Preventing Loss of Control Accidents

The #FlySafe Campaign’s Latest: Preventing Loss of Control Accidents The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is giving GA pilots safety advice every single month. This month, its focus is weather analysis and loss of control accidents. Aug 14, 2019 Not surprisingly, mastery of GA piloting requires continual training and experience. The #FlySafe series is helping pilots stay safe while operating aircrafts. August’s focus? Evaluating weather reports. Most GA piloting fatalities are a result of loss of control (LOC) accidents. According to the FAA, a LOC accident occurs when the aircraft enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelop and quickly starts spinning or stalling – often surprising the pilot. Unfortunately for GA fatalities, over half involve stall or spin scenarios. To help pilots avoid the dangerous LOC stall or spin, the FAA outlines three main pieces of advice: Use Plenty of Weather Sources, Study and Evaluate, and Question. Use Plenty of Weather Sources to give yourself more than enough information before taking off. You can never have enough weather reports to aid in your decision-making, and your interpretation and operational decisions rest heavily on these sources. Study and Evaluate weather reports after you have acquired them. Weather theory and use of weather products in aviation are major facets of preparedness and piloting, and it takes continuous study to develop weather evaluation skills. Make sure you are trained to evaluate your weather reports. Question the ways in which the weather will affect your flight plan, your operational products, and your route. After all, operating aircrafts is a high-risk activity, and all outside factors should be considered including estimations, pilot-aircraft team, and other strategies. For more advice on how to avoid LOC accidents, interpret weather, and stay safe in the aircraft, visit the FAA website and #FlySafe’s August article . Let's block ads! (Why?)

U.S. Department of Labor Cracks Down On Employee Exposure to Carbon Monoxide

U.S. Department of Labor Cracks Down On Employee Exposure to Carbon Monoxide This silent toxin is both colorless and odorless, and exposure to it is often deadly; that’s why the U.S. Department of Labor does not take carbon monoxide (CO) matters lightly. Aug 13, 2019 This silent toxin is both colorless and odorless, and exposure to it is often deadly; that’s why the U.S. Department of Labor does not take carbon monoxide (CO) matters lightly. One seemingly minor slip-up can have detrimental and hazardous effects. As one case between the U.S. Department of Labor and AJR Landscaping company shows, simply starting a gasoline-fueled machine in confined quarters is a violation of safety protocol and a potential death sentence. A U.S. Department of Labor OSHA news release goes into further detail. The Washington Township New Jersey Police Department was the first to request an OSHA inspection of AJR Landscaping. Two landscaping employees died from CO exposure after a gasoline-fueled lawnmower was started inside an enclosed company trailer that then transported the crew to a jobsite. Not only did the company expose its employees to the deadly gas, but it failed to train employees to recognize the hazard to begin with. Now the company is faced with $17,051 in penalties. As OSHA Area Office Director Lisa Levy explains, “any time there is a gas-powered motor or engine running in an enclosed space, there is risk of exposure to exhaust fumes,” which contain the odorless, toxic carbon monoxide. This tragedy would have been preventable had the employer adhered to basic safety and health practices. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. To help other employers and employees remain educated on carbon monoxide exposure, OSHA provides compliance assistance resources at https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/carbonmonoxide-factsheet.pdf. For other ways in which OSHA is working to enforce these safety and health standards, visit the OSHA website. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Collision in the Singapore Strait: Tips for Safe U.S. Navy Vessel Steering

Collision in the Singapore Strait: Tips for Safe U.S. Navy Vessel Steering While operating large transportation vessels like the USS John S McCain, the following are crucial: sufficient training, adequate bridge operating procedures, and operational oversight. Aug 13, 2019 Two massive ships collided in August of 2017, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is just now confirming the cause of the crash. An August 2019 NTSB news release relates the accident and the safety lessens gleamed from it. Two years ago, the USS John S McCain and tanker Alnic MC crossed deadly paths in the Middle Channel Passage of the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme. Ten sailors lost their lives and forty-eight more were injured, and to make matters worse, the property damage totaled to a hefty $1.2 million. Since the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme is one of the world’s busiest waterways, it’s surprising a collision like this does not happen more often. However, the NTSB confirmed that the case of this ship collision was not only disastrous but also preventable. The collision likely was caused by a lack of effective operational oversight – specifically related to steering – that resulted in both insufficient training and inadequate bridge operating procedures. The crash was also a result of the crew’s inability to follow the loss of steering emergency procedures, the lack of communication between the U.S. Navy destroyer and nearby vessel traffic, and even the fact that the system was being operated in backup manual control, which removed a safeguard against steering control transfers. The ship’s crew lost control of the vessel and was unable to follow emergency procedures to secure control, but the collision was further caused by the crew’s untimely change of critical control systems that resulted in an unbalanced thrust. After this fatal collision and a conclusion of causes, the NTSB issued some key safety recommendations to the US Navy Seeking: Issuance of permanent guidance directing destroyers equipped with computer-assisted steering modes, except during an emergency. Issuance of guidance to crews emphasizing the importance of appropriate use of high frequency radio for safe navigation. Revision of written instructions for bridge watchstanders on destroyers equipped with the Integrated Bridge and Navigation System to include procedures for shifting steering, throttle ganging and unganging, and thrust control. Instituting Seafarer’s Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping Code rest standards for all crewmembers onboard naval vessels. With the implication of these safety recommendations, the NTSB hopes to prevent another fatal and costly collision like this one. Marine Accident Report 19/01 is available at https://go.usa.gov/xyujj. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Immigration Raid at Mississippi Plants Provokes Concerns About Worker Health and Safety

Immigration Raid at Mississippi Plants Provokes Concerns About Worker Health and Safety Advocates are worried about how the arrests will affect the plants’ remaining workers and scare undocumented employees from reporting safety violations. Aug 12, 2019 A massive immigration raid at agricultural processing plants across Mississippi on Wednesday has some worker safety advocates worried about the potential consequences for the remaining workers at those plants and undocumented workers across the country.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested about 680 people at food processing plants across the state, making it perhaps the largest worksite operation ever carried out by ICE in a single state, Reuters reported.  Dawn M. Lurie, an immigration compliance attorney at Seyfarth Shaw LLP in Washington, D.C., told Bloomberg Lawthat the suddenly short-staffed plants will face a slowdown in production that could lead to missing orders and massive food spoilage. That spoilage could lead to major maintenance issues and health problems for the remaining workers, who will have to take on added job duties with the absence of their colleagues, Lurie said.  “I’m sure this is all being looked at now,” she said.  OSHA has cited the poultry processing industry, which had several plants raided by ICE, 737 times in five years, according to Bloomberg. Some lawyers and advocates worry that the large number of immigration arrests at processing plants makes undocumented workers less likely to report safety concerns to federal agencies.  “These raids will give the green light to companies with already egregious safety records to further cut corners and endanger workers because workers will be too frightened to speak up,” Debbie Berkowitz, the worker health and safety program director at the National Employment Law Project, told Bloomberg.  Let's block ads! (Why?)

Construction Company Found in Contempt of Court For Not Paying OSHA Fines

Construction Company Found in Contempt of Court For Not Paying OSHA Fines The decision found that New Jersey-based Altor Inc. and its owner were ultimately liable for paying the full penalty amount of $412,000. Aug 09, 2019 A federal appeals court found a New Jersey construction company in contempt of court last month for failing to pay $412,000 in penalties issued by OSHA. Altor Inc. and its owner, Vasilio Saites, were cited by the agency for “numerous safety violations” that including multiple willful violations of fall protection standards, OSHA said in a statement. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit had previously ordered Altroc and Saites to pay the full fine after the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission affirmed the violations. The judgement, issued on July 25, states that Saites is liable for the full amount of the penalty if his company does not pay. If either Altor or the owner do not fully pay within 30 days or show the court why they cannot pay, the Secretary of Labor can propose a daily penalty that would add to the fine. The ruling came after lengthy litigation led by the Labor Department’s office of the solicitor that included multiple hearings to affirm the company’s violations of OSHA’s safety requirements and “remedy the company’s longstanding refusal to pay” penalties. According to a brief from law firm White and Williams LLP, the court relied on Altor’s bank records to determine that the company could have made “at least relatively modest” payments to OSHA but never attempted to negotiate a reduced sum or payment plan. “The U.S. Department of Labor will use all appropriate and available legal tools to ensure that employers are held accountable for their obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to help ensure that workplaces are safe and employers who violate the law do not gain an unfair economic advantage over law-abiding competitors,” Solicitor of Labor Kate S. O’Scannlain said in a statement. John Baker of White and Williams wrote that the court’s decision should draw corporate attention because of the way it holds business leaders liable for OSHA violations. “The Altor case, particularly because it highlights the personal liability of its officers, should encourage businesses to provide a strong and comprehensive response at the early stages of an OSHA investigation to minimize the risks of runaway penalties and personal liability,” Baker wrote. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Atlanta Paper Product Manufacturer Cited for Lack of Hot Steam Protection in Texas Facility

Atlanta Paper Product Manufacturer Cited for Lack of Hot Steam Protection in Texas Facility After a worker was burned at the Queen City, Texas facility, OSHA launched an investigation and found multiple violations. Aug 09, 2019 A Georgia-based paper product manufacturer – Graphic Packaging International LLC – was cited in July for exposing employees to hot steam and failing to ensure the use of proper hazardous energy control methods. The company now faces $211,400 in proposed fines. An employee who was trying to repair a leak on a steam-line header was burned by hot steam at the Queen City, Texas facility. After the incident, OSHA launched an investigation and determined the header had been leaking for several months. In addition, the company violated federal safety standards for personal protective equipment (PPE), lockout/tagout and process safety management. “Unexpected energy such as steam has the potential to cause severe injuries when proper procedures are absent,” said OSHA Area Director Basil Singh, in Dallas, Texas. “Using safe energy control procedures could have prevented this injury.” OSHA provides compliance assistance resources on protective equipment, controlling hazardous energy and safely managing hazardous chemicals. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Ohio Plumbing Contractor Cited for Multiple Hazards Following Employee Fatality

Ohio Plumbing Contractor Cited for Multiple Hazards Following Employee Fatality Payne Enterprises Inc. has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program after an employee was killed in a trench collapse. The company has two repeated violations as it was cited for violations related to the trench collapse in 2017 and 2018. Aug 08, 2019 Payne Enterprises Inc., an Ohio plumbing contractor, has been cited for exposing employees to multiple trenching and excavation hazards following an employee fatality and now faces penalties of $145,860. An employee suffered fatally injuries in a trench collapse at a residential construction site in Bellbrook, Ohio, and following the fatality, OSHA cited the company for two repeated violations for not having a competent individual inspect the trench before allowing employees to enter, and for failing to install an adequate protective system to prevent the trench collapse. As the company was cited for similar violations in 2017 and 2018, the company has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. “Tragedies such as this are preventable when employers comply with safety standards that exist to protect workers from trenching hazards,” said OSHA Area Director Ken Montgomery, in Cincinnati, Ohio. “OSHA regulations require employers to slope, shore, or shield trench walls to prevent cave-ins.” The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and 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. For more information on protecting workers from trenching hazards are available on OSHA’s trenching and excavation webpage. Let's block ads! (Why?)

New Software Reduces Risk of Post Blast Ground Falls in Mines

New Software Reduces Risk of Post Blast Ground Falls in Mines Mining engineers can use the DRIFT program to develop conceptual blast designs and produce potential damage calculations. Aug 08, 2019 A new software developed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health—a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—seeks to reduce the risk of post-blast ground falls in mines, helping to improve safety for miners. Controlled blasting is often used to create entries, or drifts, in underground metal and nonmetal mines. But poor blast design can lead to safety risks for miners, particularly if the blasts lead to scaling, excessive overbreak and damage to supporting ground, NIOSH said. To make it easier for engineers to limit damage areas surrounding the blast zone, researchers at NIOSH developed DRIFT, an acronym for Design method to Reduce risk of Injury from ground Falls Technique. The software combines perimeter blast designs with a buffer row to reduce ground falls that can occur from perimeter damage, according to NIOSH. “DRIFT is an invaluable tool for mines that want both more control over their blasting designs and a reduced risk of ground falls for workers,” Dr. Jessica Kogel, the associate director for mining at NIOSH, said in a statement. The program allows engineers to create a conceptual blast design, providing nine blast damage models to use when developing and evaluating designs. DRIFT can also produce damage calculations for each blasthole, allowing the user to determine the spacing necessary for each buffer row. Engineers can save, revise and print blast designs along with graphs and calculations. Since DRIFT is a conceptual tool, NIOSH continues to recommend field trials and refinements “until design objectives are met for each entry.” The latest version of DRIFT is available for download here. Let's block ads! (Why?)