Posts Tagged ‘Occupational Safety and Health Administration’

Forklift Injury Sets Back Employer $164K in Fines

Had this employer provided some basic training on the use of forklifts, it could have saved alot of money.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) yesterday cited Hilti Inc.–a hardware merchant wholesaler–for exposing employees to struck-by hazards after an employee was injured while operating a forklift at a distribution center in Atlanta, Georgia. The Plano, Texas-based company faces penalties of $164,802.

OSHA inspectors determined that Hilti failed to provide forklift operator training and instructions to employees operating the vehicles, and ensure that employees performed daily forklift inspections. The company also exposed employees to corrosive materials; failed to provide eyewash stations and showers in the work area; failed to develop a written hazard communication program and data sheets for forklift battery electrolytes; and failed to notify OSHA within 24 hours of any incident that leads to an employee’s hospitalization, as required.

“Developing, implementing, and maintaining a safety and health program, and ensuring safety standards are followed can significantly reduce the chance of unfortunate incidents such as this one,” said OSHA Atlanta-East Area Director William Fulcher.

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.

OSHA: Unsafe Lead Levels at Texas Gun Range

Perhaps it isn’t a surprise that lead levels would build up at a shooting range since bullets have high lead content. When they reach unsafe levels, workplace safety enforcers may ride in to save the day.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Tap Rack Bang Indoor Shooting Range LLC – operating as The Gun Range – for exposing employees to unsafe levels of lead at its facility in Killeen, Texas. The employer faces penalties totaling $214,387.

OSHA investigated the shooting range in August 2018 after receiving a complaint of worker exposure to lead during firing range activities. Inspectors found airborne lead exceeding the permissible exposure limit, and lead contamination on surfaces throughout the facility. OSHA cited the company for failing to replace damaged personal protective equipment, and medically monitor employees for lead-related illnesses; and for sweeping up lead debris rather than using vacuum methods with high-efficiency particulate air filters.

OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Lead addresses lead hazards in the workplace. Inspections focus on hygiene facilities, engineering controls, respiratory protection, exposure monitoring, and medical surveillance. Employers are required to monitor their facilities to ensure workplace health and safety hazards are controlled.  OSHA also has a QuickCard® to educate employers and workers on how to prevent lead exposure.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

OSHA Rescinds Requirement for Electronic Submission of Workplace Injury Logs, Reports

The Labor Department took another step last week to ease reporting requirements on workplace injuries and illnesses, citing protecting worker privacy as its main concern.

To protect worker privacy, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule that eliminates the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report) to OSHA each year. These establishments are still required to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses).

By preventing routine government collection of information that may be quite sensitive, including descriptions of workers’ injuries and body parts affected, OSHA is avoiding the risk that such information might be publicly disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This rule will better protect personally identifiable information or data that could be re-identified with a particular worker by removing the requirement for covered employers to submit their information from Forms 300 and 301. The final rule does not alter an employer’s duty to maintain OSHA Forms 300 and 301 on-site, and OSHA will continue to obtain these forms as needed through inspections and enforcement actions.

In addition, this rule will allow OSHA to focus its resources on initiatives that its past experience has shown to be useful—including continued use of information from severe injury reports that helps target areas of concern, and seeking to fully utilize a large volume of data from Form 300A—rather than on collecting and processing information from Forms 300 and 301 with uncertain value for OSHA enforcement and compliance assistance.

The agency is also amending the recordkeeping regulation to require covered employers to electronically submit their Employer Identification Number with their information from Form 300A. The final rule’s requirement for employers to submit their EIN to OSHA electronically along with their information from OSHA Form 300A will make the data more useful for OSHA and BLS, and could reduce duplicative reporting burdens on employers in the future.

OSHA has determined that this final rule will allow OSHA to improve enforcement targeting and compliance assistance, protect worker privacy and safety, and decrease burden on employers.

Collection of Calendar Year 2018 information from the OSHA Form 300A began on January 2, 2019. The deadline for electronic submissions is March 2, 2019

OSHA Cautions on Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Details Ways to Prevent Exposure on Worksites

Federal workplace safety inspectors thought it a good idea as the year was winding down to remind workers and employers of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

On Dec. 31, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued this Quick Card on this noxious gas.

In bullet points, the card details the Effects of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning; Symptoms of CO exposure; Some Sources of Exposure.

Also, these CO Exposure Prevention Steps:

• Never use a generator indoors or in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces such as garages, crawl spaces, and basements. Opening windows and doors in an enclosed space may prevent CO buildup.
• Make sure the generator has 3-4 feet of clear space on all sides and above it to ensure adequate ventilation.
• Do not use a generator outdoors if placed near doors, windows or vents which could allow CO to enter and build up in occupied spaces.
• When using space heaters and stoves ensure that they are in good working order to reduce CO buildup, and never use in enclosed spaces or indoors.
• Consider using tools powered by electricity or compressed air, if available.
• If you experience symptoms of CO poisoning get to fresh air right.

 

Fall Hazard Penalties Mount for Fla. Company

Protecting employees from falling continues to be a problem in the construction industry. Last Thursday brought the announcement of penalties against this Florida construction company for not protecting its workers from falls.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Turnkey Construction Planners Inc.–a roofing contractor based in Melbourne, Florida–for exposing employees to fall hazards. The company faces $199,184 in penalties.

OSHA initiated an inspection as part of its Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction. Inspectors observed employees working without the use of conventional fall protection at two separate worksites in Port St. Lucie, Florida. OSHA has cited the company four times in the past five years for similar violations.

“Repeatedly exposing employees to fall hazards that can lead to serious injuries or fatalities is inexcusable,” said OSHA Fort Lauderdale Office Director Condell Eastmond. “Employers have an obligation to identify and eliminate known hazards that place their employees in harm’s way.”

Turnkey Construction 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.

OSHA Proposes Tweaks for Beryllium Standard

The Trump Administration won’t leave well enough alone when it comes to how much beryllium workers should be exposed to.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on December 10 issued a proposed rule to revise the beryllium standard for general industry. The proposed changes are designed to clarify the standard, and to simplify or improve compliance with the standard.

The proposed rule would amend selected paragraphs of the standard, including “Definitions,” “Methods of Compliance,” “Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment,” “Hygiene Areas and Practices,” “Housekeeping,” “Medical Surveillance,” “Hazard Communication,” and “Recordkeeping.” It would also remove the existing Appendix A, which lists suggested controls, and replace it with a new Appendix A, Operations for Establishing Beryllium Work Areas.

Comments, hearing requests, and other information must be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or by facsimile or mail. Read the Federal Register notice for submission details. Comments must be submitted by February 9, 2019. The enforcement date for the provisions affected by this proposal is December 12, 2018. While this rulemaking is pending, compliance with the standard as modified by this proposal will be accepted as compliance.

The proposal satisfies a settlement agreement with stakeholders that had concerns about some of the provisions in the 2017 beryllium final rule. The proposed rule would affect approximately 50,500 workers employed in general industry, and is estimated to yield minor net cost savings to employers. OSHA expects the proposed changes would provide employees with equivalent safety and health protections to the current standard.

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 help 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.

OSHA: Fla. Company Ignored Manufacturer’s Safety Instructions, Employee Burned as a Result

This employer faces a nearly six-figure fine for exposing its worker to safety hazards, resulting in burn injuries.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited L.A. Disaster Relief and Property Maintenance LLC after an employee suffered burn injuries at a McDavid, Florida, worksite. The property maintenance and land clearing company faces $94,415 in penalties.

OSHA investigators determined that the company owner directed the injured employee to ignite wood and debris inside an air burn box using a torch and gasoline, which caused an explosion. OSHA cited the company for failing to implement a hazard communication program to familiarize employees with flammable and combustible dust hazards.

“This owner’s intentional disregard of the manufacturers’ safety instructions and failure to take proper safety measures resulted in serious injuries to an employee,” said OSHA Jacksonville Area Office Director Michelle Gonzalez.

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.

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 help 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 https://www.osha.gov.’

Post-script: My thanks to Jon Hyman for posting this blog in this Friday’s weekly roundup of the Ohio Employer Law Blog.