$73,700 Penalty for Repeat Lockout/Tagout and Other Violations

May 07, 2007

OSHA has proposed penalties of $73,700 against Arch Aluminum and Glass Co. Inc. for one repeat and 10 serious safety violations found at its manufacturing plant in Fort Pierce, Fla., between November 2006 and March 2007.

Inspectors visited the plant as part of OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which targets the nation's most hazardous workplaces for inspection based on their histories of having high numbers of injury and illness cases.

OSHA proposed one repeat citation, with a proposed penalty of $50,000, for the company's failure to develop and implement lockout/tagout procedures, which are used to prevent machinery from accidental operation while employees are making repairs. The employer already had agreed to implement lockout/tagout procedures at all of its locations during previous OSHA inspections of other company facilities.

"Our inspection of the Fort Pierce plant determined that the employer never implemented its lockout/tagout program at this facility, in spite of earlier agreements with OSHA," said Darlene Fossum, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale. “It is important that companies pursue safety proactively and not wait for OSHA inspectors to discover problems.”

OSHA also found 10 serious safety violations resulting in $23,700 in proposed penalties. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

OSHA Forms Alliance with Industrial Minerals Association

Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. and Mark G. Ellis, president of the Industrial Minerals Association-North America (IMA-NA), signed an alliance to help reduce and prevent exposure to rail and truck hazards common to industrial minerals facilities.

"This agreement will provide IMA-NA members and others in the industrial minerals industry with information, guidance and access to training resources to stay safe and healthy at work," said Foulke. "The alliance will particularly focus on the movement of rail cars and trucks between holding and loading and unloading sites, securing loads, and loading and unloading practices."

"The Industrial Minerals Association–North America is committed to improving safety in the industrial minerals industry," said Ellis. "This alliance provides an opportunity for IMA-NA and OSHA to pool resources to minimize employee exposure to the rail and truck hazards that are common in industrial plants. We hope that others beyond our industry also will benefit from our collaboration."

Through the alliance, IMA-NA will work with OSHA to deliver or arrange for the delivery of rail and truck safety courses to the industrial minerals industry. IMA-NA will also work with OSHA to develop information in the recognition and prevention of workplace hazards and to develop ways of communicating this to employers and employees in the industry.

Founded in 2002, IMA-NA is a trade association representing 42 producer member companies who mine minerals throughout North America including ball clay, bentonite, borates, calcium carbonate, feldspar, industrial sand, mica, talc, trona (soda ash), and other minerals. IMA-NA has 61 associate member companies that include equipment manufacturers, railroad and trucking companies, law firms, and consulting professionals.

$120,500 in Fines for Repeat Fall Protection Violations

Potentially fatal 18- and 27-foot falls at a Norwich, Conn., residential construction site have led to $120,500 in proposed fines for a Newark, N.J.-based residential framing contractor. OSHA has cited New Place Carpentry for 15 alleged violations of safety standards following an inspection begun Oct. 31, 2006.

Upon arriving at the South Thames Street worksite, OSHA inspectors observed New Place Carpentry employees working without required fall protection, including one employee exposed to a 27-foot fall. The inspection also found employees exposed to 18-foot falls from ladders of insufficient height.

This inspection resulted in New Place Carpentry being issued two repeat citations, with $80,000 in proposed fines. In 2004 and 2005, New Place Carpentry was cited for similar hazards at worksites in North Haven and Milford, Conn.

"Falls are the number one killer in construction," said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "Effective fall protection is absolutely essential for protecting employees against death or disabling injuries. There is no good reason for this contractor's failure to provide fall protection."

Other fall hazards found at the jobsite included a defective stepladder, a wooden pallet used instead of a ladder to access a work area, lack of inspection of ladders for defects, missing handrails, and not training employees to recognize fall hazards. The inspection also identified a damaged lifting sling; lack of head, hand, and eye protection; ungrounded electrical cords and receptacles; absence of fire extinguishers; and lack of hazard communication training. Additionally, the jobsite was littered with scrap lumber with protruding nails.

These conditions resulted in the issuance of 13 serious citations, carrying $40,500 in proposed fines.

$117,000 in OSHA Fines after Employees Exposed to Asbestos Hazards

A Queens, N.Y., residential complex's failure to protect its employees against asbestos hazards has resulted in a total of $117,000 in proposed fines from OSHA. Parkway Village Equities Corp., 81-26 150th St., was cited for nine alleged violations of health and safety standards following an OSHA inspection begun Nov. 1, 2006, in response to a complaint.

Parkway employees whose duties routinely required them to enter crawlspaces known to contain asbestos or presumed asbestos-containing material were not provided with required safeguards. Specifically, OSHA found that Parkway did not monitor the employees' exposure levels; inform them of the presence, location, and quantities of asbestos; institute a training program; and label asbestos-containing material.

As a result of these conditions, OSHA issued Parkway four willful citations, carrying $112,000 in proposed fines.

"There's no good reason for needlessly exposing these employees to the hazards of asbestos, particularly since Parkway knew these work areas contained asbestos and also knew what it had to do to protect its employees," said Richard Mendelson, OSHA's area director for Queens and Manhattan.

Parkway was also issued five serious citations and fined an additional $5,000 for failing to provide appropriate hand, face, and eye protection; respirator safety deficiencies, a lack of quick-drenching eyewashes; the absence of a hazard communication program; and failing to properly label and dispose of asbestos-contaminated material.

Continued exposure to asbestos can eventually result in serious diseases of the lungs and other organs.

$55,250 Fine for Failing to Protect Employees from Fall Hazards

OSHA has proposed $55,250 in penalties against Columbus, Ga.-based Composite Construction Systems for safety violations committed while installing roof decking at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Ga.

Under an agency regional emphasis program focused on reducing falls in the construction industry, an OSHA compliance officer initiated the inspection after observing fall hazards at the site.

"This company placed its employees' lives at risk by allowing unsafe working conditions," said John J. Deifer, OSHA's area director in Savannah. "Falls are a leading cause of death in construction and most are preventable if companies follow the proper procedures."

OSHA proposed a $49,000 penalty against the company for a willful violation of safety regulations by not ensuring that employees used personal fall protection or a fall restraint system, although the agency had issued a prior warning about this hazard.

Composite Construction also received three serious citations, with proposed penalties of $6,250, for improper use of a lifeline and ladder and allowing employees to climb over guard rails on an aerial lift basket to gain access to the roof.

CSB Board Member William E. Wright Calls on American Petroleum Institute to Revise Guidelines on Siting of Work Trailers

William E. Wright, a board member of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), has called on the American Petroleum Institute (API) to revise its draft recommended practices for the use and siting of trailers and other portable buildings in and around hazardous process areas in refineries and chemical plants. The API is the largest oil industry association and sets important guidelines for its members.

The CSB issued an urgent recommendation to API to update the guidelines for portable work buildings such as trailers in August 2005, following the explosion at the BP Texas City refinery in March of that year. Fifteen contract workers were killed. Most had been working in or near portable trailers located near hazardous process equipment—the refinery's isom unit—during one of the most hazardous operations—a unit startup.

Speaking at the 22nd Annual International Conference of the Center for Chemical Process Safety, an arm of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Mr. Wright said, "Our investigation of the tragedy at the BP refinery showed an urgent need for the industry to revamp its procedures for locating trailers and other portable buildings. While we appreciate the response by API to our recommendations, we are concerned that their draft Recommended Practice 753 does not effectively address the issue and would fall short of providing workers the safety they need when working in temporary facilities at petrochemical plants."

Guidance for the industry in this matter, therefore, should explicitly seek to minimize the use of these structures near hazardous areas."

The API's Recommended Practice 753 is entitled "Management of Hazards Associated with Location of Plant Portable Buildings, 1st Edition, December 2006." API indicated to the board that it would be seeking to issue the guidance in final form during the first half of 2007.

Mr. Wright told the CCPS conference, held as part of the 3rd Global Congress on Process Safety, that the CSB's concerns include the following: the API guideline fails to establish minimum safe distances for trailers and similar structures from hazardous areas of process plants; it does not provide specific guidance to protect occupants from accident hazards; it fails to comprehensively address the potential hazards of trailers; it does not include a clear definition of occupancy; and it fails to explicitly include other requirements that would help ensure safety. Those should include, the CSB has informed API, a strong emphasis on reducing to a minimum the use of temporary structures as well as the number of personnel authorized to occupy them, and strict limitations on the use of portable structures for any personnel during periods of increased risk, such as startups and shutdowns.

"It is our hope that API will include the minimum considerations outlined here today for its recommended practices for use and siting of these structures and strengthen its guidelines. Because it is such an important organization, API guidelines carry a great deal of weight. Strong guidelines and recommended practices on temporary structures from the API could help save lives and prevent the kind of tragedy that occurred at BP in 2005," Wright said.


Youth Job Safety Campaign Focuses on Construction

 Now in the second year of a five-year campaign, OSHA is striving to reduce work-related injuries among teenagers by teaching them on-the-job safety early in their careers. The multi-year project focuses on industries in which young people are likely to work during their high school and college years. This year's campaign focuses on construction.


OSHA Issues Proposed Rule on Explosives

The agency is accepting public comments on the proposal until July 12, 2007. The proposed rule aims to enhance the protections provided to employees working in the manufacturing, storage, sale, transportation, handling, and use of explosives. Complete instructions for submitting written comments are available in the notice.


National Electrical Safety Month

Engineers, lineman, electricians, and others work directly with electricity, including overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Some immediate tips for avoiding burns and electrocution (death) on the job include:

  • Look for overhead power lines and buried power line indicators
  • Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines and assume they are energized
  • De-energize and ground lines when working near them
  • Use non-conductive wood or fiberglass ladders when working near power lines



Michigan Safety: Take a Stand Day

For the third annual "Take a Stand Day," MIOSHA will dedicate more than 125 professional staff to work cooperatively with employers to heighten awareness and address workplace safety and health issues on "Take a Stand" day, Aug. 15, 2007.

At your request, a MIOSHA professional (including compliance staff, outreach consultants, managers, and supervisors) will provide a special one-on-one consultation, such as:

  • Explain a specific MIOSHA rule
  • Conduct a safety or health hazard survey
  • Evaluate a safety and health management system
  • Provide other requested technical assistance

On “Take a Stand” day there will be no citations and no penalties for participating workplaces. Participants must agree to correct all serious conditions.

This is a PDF version of the application. A MIOSHA representative will contact you after August 8, to arrange your August 15 consultative appointment.

Oregon Announces 2006 Workplace Deaths

Thirty-seven people covered by Oregon’s workers’ compensation system died on the job during 2006, the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) announced on April 30, 2007..

The 2006 total marks the third-lowest number of compensable workplace deaths in the state’s history. Thirty-one workers died on the job during 2005, the lowest number reported since the state began tracking workplace deaths in 1943. There was an average of 55 workplace deaths per year in Oregon in the 1990s and 81 deaths per year during the 1980s.

“Oregon employers and employees have worked together to improve workplace safety, which has resulted in a significant drop in workplace deaths over the years,” said Cory Streisinger, DCBS director. “But 37 deaths is 37 too many. There still is much work to do to ensure that all Oregonians come home from work safely each day.”

The largest concentration of deaths occurred in logging (seven deaths) and truck transportation (six deaths). Thirty-two percent of the deaths resulted from motor vehicle accidents.

“Motor vehicle accidents have been the leading cause of workplace deaths in Oregon in four of the past five years,” said Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA. “At Oregon OSHA, we are increasing our efforts to help employers develop effective driver safety programs, which can prevent many of these accidents.”

Oregon OSHA currently offers educational workshops, consultation services, training videos and Web site information to help Oregon employers create or improve their motor vehicle safety program.

DCBS compiles fatality statistics from records of death claim benefits paid by Oregon workers' compensation insurers during the calendar year. The data reported may exclude workplace fatalities involving self-employed individuals, city of Portland police and fire employees, federal employees, and incidents occurring in Oregon to individuals with out-of-state employers. These workers are either not subject to Oregon workers' compensation coverage requirements or are covered by other compensation systems.

Deaths that occur during a prior calendar year may appear in the compensable fatality count for a later year because of the time required to process a claim. Complete data on all deaths caused by injuries in Oregon workplaces, regardless of whether they are covered by workers' compensation insurance, are computed separately and reported in the annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) administered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 2006 CFOI report is not expected for release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics until the fall 2007.

Wisconsin to Adopt New Flammable and Combustible Liquid Standards

Wisconsin has proposed adoption of new rules for the storage and dispensing of flammable liquids in above and underground storage tanks. 

CSB Safety Videos Now Available on YouTube, iTunes Podcasts, and RSS

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) announced that CSB Safety Videos are now available on YouTube and as iTunes podcasts. The CSB also announced that the videos, agency news releases and other information are now available through RSS.

To put the videos on an iPod, viewers may simply click on the iTunes link in the CSB Video Room, download the video they wish to view as a podcast into iTunes, and from there copy it onto an iPod.

The BP Texas City refinery accident computer simulation is available in Spanish, German, French, and Korean as well as English. These videos are aimed at improving safety and hazard awareness in the processing industries. There is a video request form on the site for placing requests for these safety videos, free of charge.

In addition to the new distribution for CSB videos, the CSB has added RSS (Real Simple Syndication) capabilities to the website, enabling viewers to set up automatic feeds of CSB news releases and other information through their individualized RSS “readers.”

To access this service, users must first set up an RSS reader from any common internet search engine. For example, a reader may establish a user account with Google Reader . The user would then go to CSB.gov, click on the RSS icon, copy the URL, and paste it back onto the Google Reader under "add subscription." Each time the viewer goes to the website Google.com/reader, the latest CSB news releases will appear. CSB RSS feeds also include videos.

CSB Chairman Carolyn W. Merritt said, “The CSB is committed to using the latest technologies for distributing critical safety information. We believe that making CSB Safety Videos available as Podcasts and on YouTube will make the videos even more accessible and convenient to watch for key stakeholders throughout the world.” The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

MIOSHA and the Metalworking Industries of Michigan Workers' Compensation Fund Sign Alliance to Protect Workers

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) and the Metalworking Industries of Michigan Workers' Compensation Fund (MIM W.C. Fund) signed a formal alliance to protect the safety and health of Michigan's metalworking industry workers. The MIOSHA program is part of the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG).

Mark Sledzinski, fund administrator, MIM W.C. Fund; and Doug Kalinowski, director, MIOSHA Program; signed the alliance. Also participating in the signing were the Fund Board of Trustees, which is composed of active MIM W.C. Fund members.

"Keeping Michigan metalworking industry workers safe and healthy on the job is the focus of this alliance," said Kalinowski. "This proactive partnership between labor, industry, and government can save lives by ensuring that worker safety and health plays an integral role in fund member's workplaces."

Alliances enable organizations committed to workplace safety and health to collaborate with MIOSHA to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. Alliances are open to all groups, including trade or professional associations, businesses, labor organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies.

"The members and trustees of the Metalworking Industries of Michigan Workers' Compensation Fund remain fully committed to the principles of workplace safety and this alliance supports that philosophy," said Sledzinski. "The MIM W.C. Fund has been an industry leader in maintaining a focus on education and training. This knowledge and commitment to safety has enabled our membership to grow and evolve into top tier providers of metalworking services in Michigan."

The goals of this alliance include, but are not limited to:

  • Promoting and improving shop safety by providing safety awareness and other outreach activities across the state
  • Providing training and education activities and encouraging member participation
  • Sponsoring seminars with the Consultation Education and Training Division on power press safety, safety and health management systems, and lockout/tagout
  • Including articles in regular membership mailings on the alliance, the seminars, and other safety issues

Rising workers' compensation premiums in the late 1970s inspired a group of individuals in the metalworking trades to band together and form the Metalworking Industries of Michigan Self-Funded Workers' Compensation Program (MIM W.C. Fund) as an alternative to purchasing traditional insurance. Since its inception in 1981, the group has grown to more than 150 member companies, representing in excess of $6,000,000 in estimated premiums, with an average experience modification of just 0.81.

The MIM W.C. Fund utilizes specialized underwriting requirements which enable it to enroll only metalworking companies that are actively managing their loss control and safety programs to reduce claims costs. The fund feels that a strong safety education and claims management commitment at the corporate level equates to low claims exposure for the entire group. This allows them the opportunity to potentially make larger returns of surplus premiums.

Fund members are encouraged to maintain an on-going employee education and training program, with the goal of reduced injuries and lower medical expenditures. This results in greater surpluses and more money returned to their members.

There are many benefits to participating in an alliance with MIOSHA. Through this program, organizations will:

  • Build trusting, cooperative relationships
  • Network with others committed to workplace safety and health
  • Exchange information about best practices
  • Leverage resources to maximize worker safety and health protection

For more information about forming an alliance or partnership with MIOSHA, contact the Consultation Education and Training Division at 517-322-1809.

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