Posts Tagged ‘Occupational Safety and Health Administration’

OSHA Gives Company Go-Ahead to Test More Equipment and Materials for Safety Standards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration gave the thumbs-up today to a company to test more equipment and materials used in workplaces

The announcement in today’s Federal Register recognizes. Intertek Testing Services NA, Inc. (ITSNA), as a Nationally Regulated Testing Laboratory for 7 additional products.

OSHA recognition of a NRTL signifies that the organization meets the requirements specified by 29 CFR 1910.7. Recognition is an acknowledgment that the organization can perform independent safety testing and certification of the specific products covered within its scope of recognition and is not a delegation or grant of government authority. As a result of recognition, employers may use products properly approved by the NRTL to meet OSHA standards that require testing and certification of the products.

OSHA’s recognition of any NRTL for a particular test standard is limited to equipment or materials for which OSHA standards require third-party testing and certification before using them in the workplace. Consequently, if a test standard also covers any products for which OSHA does not require such testing and certification, a NRTL’s scope of recognition does not include these products.

Check the announcement for a list of appropriate test standards for inclusion in the company’s recognition as an NRTL.

Thanks to Jon Hyman for referencing this blog post in his weekly compilation of must-read blogs.

 

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OSHA Leans on NY Plant to Trim Lead Exposure

Employees at a New York City manufacturing plant can look forward to less lead in their worksite.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Acme Parts, Inc., of Brooklyn have reached a settlement agreement to improve Acme Parts’ workplace safety and health.

OSHA found high levels of lead throughout the facility presenting serious lead hazards to employees. Workers who ingest or inhale lead are at risk of serious lead-induced health hazards, including hypertension; cardiovascular, kidney, and neurological diseases; adverse reproductive effects; and cancer.

Under the terms of the agreement, Acme Parts will pay $40,000 in penalties. Additionally, Acme Parts has agreed to hire a qualified lead hazards and abatement consultant to evaluate the facility and to recommend improved practices.

“Once implemented, the changes from the Acme Parts’ settlement will have a significant and long-lasting impact for workers at this facility,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Robert Kulick.

“The fines and abatement measures packaged together will raise awareness among employers working with leaded brass about the potential serious health effects of occupational lead exposure. This result highlights the need for comprehensive risk assessment and implementation of policies, procedures, and equipment to reduce such exposure,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff.

OSHA cited the company in April 2016 after an inspection by its Manhattan Area Office. Attorneys Kathryn L. Stewart and R. Alexander Cárdenas of the Department’s New York Regional Solicitor’s Office litigated the case.

OSHA Enforcement Back on in Tex., Louisiana

If you operate a business in Texas and Louisiana, the pause in  workplace safety enforcement is over.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which had ceased most programmed enforcement actions following Hurricane Harvey, resumed normal enforcement throughout Texas and Louisiana, effective on Oct. 10.

Following Hurricane Harvey, OSHA provided compliance assistance and outreach to employers and workers in a number of counties and parishes in Texas and Louisiana. This action enabled OSHA’s staff to provide faster and more flexible responses to hazards facing workers involved in the cleanup and recovery operations. Thousands of crews and individual workers received job safety and health technical assistance. OSHA retained the right to inspection cases involving fatalities, catastrophic accidents, employee complaints, and employers who repeatedly exposed employees to serious hazards during cleanup and recovery operations.

“We are now able to resume regular enforcement operations in most of the impacted areas,” said OSHA’s Region VI Administrator Kelly Knighton. “For those areas most heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey, we will continue to provide employers and workers with compliance assistance and outreach. We will be monitoring these areas closely, and as they transition from cleanup and recovery to normal operations so will OSHA’s enforcement.”

Employers and employees working in these areas may call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit the agency’s website to reach Texas representatives who can provide on-site assistance.

Pa. Contractor Dinged on Electrical Hazards

Ignore repeated safety violations and federal safety watchdogs will eventually catch up with you.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a Pittsburgh masonry contractor for exposing workers to serious dangers including fall and electrical hazards after an employee was fatally electrocuted in April.

On April 20, 2017, OSHA conducted an investigation of Ski Masonry LLC after a 21-year-old laborer doing restoration work at a Pittsburgh residence was electrocuted. The residential and commercial masonry contractor received two willful and five serious citations for violations, including knowingly allowing employees to work within 10 feet of overhead, energized, and uninsulated electrical lines, failing to provide fall protection, and using scaffolding without a secure base plate.

“Ski Masonry knowingly took unacceptable risks when performing masonry work close to overhead powerlines,” said OSHA Area Office Director Christopher Robinson, in Pittsburgh. “Companies must assess their worksites and follow all safety requirements to prevent such tragedies from recurring.”

OSHA has proposed penalties totaling $201,354, and has added the company to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

OSHA: Paperboard Mill Repeat Safety Offender

Working conditions aren’t safe for workers at this paperboard mill.

A New York paperboard mill faces $357,445 in proposed penalties for exposing workers to 61 safety and health hazards.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in Syracuse opened an inspection of Carthage Specialty Paperboard Inc., on Dec. 27, 2016, in response to a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions. Inspectors discovered employees exposed to serious safety hazards, including more than 20 instances of machinery lacking safety guards to prevent employees from the risk of amputation.

Machinery in the mill did not have safety locks to prevent the accidental start-up of machinery during maintenance, and employees did not receive required training or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to work on electrical systems with up to 2,300 volts. Metal catwalks did not have restraints to help protect employees from falls, some as high as 13 feet. Employees also entered confined spaces without prior atmospheric testing, or means to rescue persons overcome by fumes.

OSHA also issued citations for exposing workers to struck-by hazards when the company failed to inspect  cranes and hoists.

“The violations found during this investigation put employees at serious risk of injury or even worse,” said OSHA Area Director Christopher Adams. “This is a significant number of hazards for a single workplace. Carthage Specialty Paperboard must implement corrective measures to protect their employees’ safety and health.”

The Carthage-based company has notified OSHA of its intent to contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Read more about the citations for inspection number 1207843, totalling more than $256,000.
Read more about the citations for inspection number 1199680, totalling more than $101,000.

To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Syracuse Area Office at 315-451-0808.

Fla. Roofing Company Hit With $1.5M OSHA Fine for Failing to Protect Workers From Fall Dangers

Everyone with a job works to some degree at risk. The risk of being fired or the risk of being injured, among others.

Construction workers for a North Florida roofing company take on more risk than most, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA said on Aug. 9 it has again cited a North Florida roofing contractor for failing to protect its workers from the risks of dangerous falls and other hazards at two St. Augustine work sites.

On Feb. 3, 2017, an OSHA inspector observed employees – without the use of proper fall protection – removing shingles and plywood sheeting from the roof of a multi-story residential structure in the city’s Crescent Beach area. Although the employees wore harnesses, they were not tied off to the rope grabs and roof anchors. After noticing other Great White employees working under similar conditions at a nearby site, a second inspection was initiated immediately as part of OSHA’s regional enforcement program for falls in construction.

OSHA cited Great White Construction Inc., based in Jacksonville, with 14 violations and proposed penalties totaling $1,523,710. Given the employer’s extensive prior history of violations and OSHA’s egregious citation policy, the agency issued 11 separate willful citations for failing to protect employees from fall hazards. OSHA also cited the company for three repeat violations for failing to ensure employees used eye protection while operating nail guns and for ladders used to access roof sites, again exposing employees to fall hazards.

“In the past five years, Great White Construction’s series of willful, serious, and repeat violations has demonstrated indifference towards the safety of their employees,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer. “The company allowed their employees to work without fall protection and made no reasonable effort to eliminate the hazard.”

As a result of these investigations and citations, Great White is now in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program due to high-gravity willful, egregious violations related to fall hazards.

OSHA has investigated Great White 12 times since 2012, and issued 22 citations related to improper fall protection, ladder safety, and eye protection.

Click here and here for the recent citations that OSHA issued to Great White.

Great White specializes in residential and commercial roofing. The company’s workforce consists of approximately 150 employees.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities, or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Jacksonville Area Office at 904-232-2895.

OSHA: Monorail Hoists Exempt From Crane and Derricks Rule If Meet Other Safety Regulations

Employers that use monorail hoists can get out of one set of safety obligations if they meet other requirements.

That’s the gist of an announcement by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of  a new enforcement policy that excludes monorail hoists from the requirements of Subpart CC – Cranes and Derricks in Construction, as long as employers meet other OSHA requirements.

The policy change was made in response to comments from stakeholders and in recognition that a monorail hoist–which is attached to a fixed monorail mounted on equipment such as trucks, trailers, or scaffolding systems–is significantly different from other cranes and derricks in construction.

Some monorail hoists can be extended and contracted in only a fixed horizontal direction. They do not rotate, swing on a hinge, or boom out much farther than the equipment on which they are mounted. They are often used in construction to hoist precast concrete components, storage tanks, and mechanical equipment.

Under the new policy, the agency will not cite employers for failing to meet the requirements of Subpart CC if they meet the requirements of the overhead hoists and general training standards.

The general industry requirements for monorail hoists remain intact.

“This enforcement policy is a commonsense approach to addressing industry concerns while also ensuring workers are protected,” said Dean McKenzie, director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.