Effective July 29, 2016, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has added bromodichloroacetic acid (CAS No. 71133-14-7) to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer for purposes of Proposition 65. The listing of bromodichloroacetic acid was based on formal identification by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), an authoritative body, that the chemical causes cancer. The criteria used by OEHHA for the listing of chemicals under the authoritative bodies mechanism can be found in Title 27, Cal. Code of Regs., section 25306.
The documentation supporting OEHHA’s determination that the criteria for administrative listing have been satisfied for bromodichloroacetic acid is included in the Notice of Intent to List Bromodichloroacetic Acid posted on OEHHA’s website and published in the May 27, 2016, issue of the California Regulatory Notice Register (Register 2016, No. 22-Z). The publication of the notice initiated a public comment period that closed on June 27, 2016. OEHHA received no public comments on bromodichloroacetic acid.
A complete, updated chemical list is published in this issue of the California Regulatory Notice Register and is available on the OEHHA website at http://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/proposition-65-list.How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS)
OSHA has issued a final rule revising its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, safety data sheet (formerly called “material safety data sheet” or MSDS), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard. Worker training must be updated so that workers can recognize and understand the symbols and pictograms on the new labels as well as the new hazard statements and precautions on safety data sheets.
Environmental Resource Center is offering live online training for you to learn how the new rule differs from current requirements, how to implement the changes, and when the changes must be implemented. Bring your questions to the upcoming webcasts on How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS) on November 15.
Oscar Renda Contracting Fined $124,300 for Unprotected Excavations
An OSHA investigator witnessed workers performing trench and excavation work unsafely at a subdivision in Houston and initiated an inspection on February 11, 2016. As a result, the agency has cited Oscar Renda Contracting, Inc., for allowing employees to work unprotected in excavations and permit required confined spaces. Without using a trench box or proper benching or sloping techniques, trench walls may collapse—crushing and burying workers. A cubic yard of soil can weigh almost 3,000 lb, the weight of a small automobile, which makes escape difficult or impossible for workers. Each year, dozens of workers die in trench collapses and hundreds more are injured often seriously.
OSHA issued citations for one willful, 11 serious and two other violations. The willful violation was cited for exposing workers to cave-ins. The agency has investigated Oscar Renda Contracting six times in the past 10 years and cited the company each time for similar violations.
This inspection falls under the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavations.
Inspectors identified the following serious violations as the company:
- Allowed unnecessary material and unsupported equipment within 2 feet of the excavation’s edge
- Failed to train employees in the safe performance of their duties
- Did not verify that permit-required spaces were safe for entry
- Failed to provide rescue and emergency equipment
- Did not ensure that the required supervisor checked all appropriate entries on the permit before allowing employees to enter
Proposed penalties total $124,300.
“Six times in 10 years, we have found Oscar Renda Contracting risking the lives of its employees in underground trenches. Imagine the fear of working below ground when thousands of pounds of soil begin to fall on you and the likelihood that you will be buried alive because your employer valued a contract more than your life,” said Mark Briggs, OSHA’s area director in the Houston South office. “OSHA remains firm in its commitment to hold employers accountable for their actions when fundamental common sense and humanity are not enough to make them change.”
Contractors Fined $117,170 for Fall, Fire, and Electrical Hazards
OSHA inspectors have cited two Queens construction companies a total of $117,170 for exposing workers to fall, fire, and electrical hazards while rehabilitating three adjoining buildings at 223 Grand St. in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
The Manhattan Area Office of OSHA conducted the inspections as part of its local emphasis program targeting construction sites. The agency inspected building contractor W&L Group Construction, Inc., and steel erection contractor Top Master Industries, Inc./H&J Iron Works, Inc. OSHA found that both contractors failed to:
- Provide fall protection for employees working on a scaffold
- Ensure fall protection training for employees
- Prevent employees from climbing cross-braces to access the scaffold’s work platform
- Cover a floor hole that exposed employees to falls of up to 17 feet
- Ensure planks on a scaffold platform were secured, which exposed employees to a fall hazard of more than 7 feet
- Separate stored oxygen cylinders from fuel-gas cylinders or combustible materials
- Secure compressed gas cylinders in an upright position
- Ensure a fire extinguisher was near compressed gas cylinders and combustible materials
- Use cabinets or other forms of enclosures to guard employees from accidental contact with live parts of electric equipment
These conditions led OSHA to cite W&L Group Construction, Inc., for eight repeated and six serious violations of workplace safety standards with $93,170 in proposed fines. The agency also cited Top Master for 10 serious violations with $24,000 in proposed fines. OSHA found repeated violations by W&L Group that the agency cited for similar fall-related, electrical and compressed gas cylinder hazards in inspections in 2012 and 2014.
“The hazards we found at the Grand Street site are of concern since they involve two of the four leading causes of death in construction work—falls and electric shock. These employers are not meeting their responsibility to provide their employees with safe working conditions. Especially disturbing is the fact that W&L Group Construction has been cited for similar hazards over the last four years,” said Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director for Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.
Arlington Plating Co. Faces $115,930 Penalty for 21 Safety Violations
Federal safety inspectors found a suburban Chicago electroplating company continues to put its employees in danger of serious injuries by failing to install adequate machine safety guards, train workers in machine safety procedures, and correct electrical deficiencies in the plant—all violations for which inspectors cited the Arlington Plating Company in 2013.
On July 27, the OSHA issued the company five repeated and 16 serious safety violations after a February 2016 follow-up inspection. Arlington Plating now faces $115,930 in fines. The company provides electroplating services to the automotive, motorcycle, electronic, consumer, and gaming industries.
“Most consumers never think about the dangers faced by the Arlington workers who may have plated their cars’ rims, trucks’ step rails, motorcycles’ pipes or the parts of their personal electronics,” said Angeline Loftus, area director of OSHA’s Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines. “Every year, manufacturing workers suffer amputations, serious injuries and worse because companies like this one ignore common sense safety standards. Arlington Plating must change its dismissive attitude and do what’s right. Implement safety and health programs and provide workers with equipment that protect them from needless and avoidable job-related injuries and illnesses.”
OSHA’s inspection found the employer failed to:
- Require workers to wear personal protective equipment, including goggles and face protection
- Follow respiratory protection standards, such as individual fit-testing and medical evaluations
- Install adequate machine safety guards
- Follow electrical safe work practices including using electrical equipment rated for wet and corrosive environments and remove damaged equipment from use
- Train workers on machine safety procedures, known as “lockout/tag out”
- Inspect lifting devices and remove damaged devices from service
Great Southern Peanut Fined $110,310 for Combustible Dust, Improper Machine Guarding, and Other Hazards
OSHA issued citations to Great Southern Peanut, LLC, of Leesburg, Georgia, on July 25 for 13 repeated, four serious, and four other-than-serious safety and health violations.
OSHA initiated the follow-up inspection to verify abatement of hazards from citations the agency issued to Great Southern Peanut and Georgia Farm Services, LLC, in March 2014.
The repeated citations relate to the employer’s failure to:
- Properly guard open sided floors and platforms
- Keep floors clean and dry in the vehicle service pit area
- Develop and implement procedures to enter a confined space area
- Keep surfaces free from hazardous accumulations of combustible peanut dust
- Provide a handrail and railing on a fixed stairway
The serious citations relate to the employer:
- Not having the required height for a guard railing system
- Exposing workers to unguarded horizontal shafts
- Failing to have stairway risers uniform and consistent
The other-than-serious citation relates to the employer.
- Not posting the annual summary of workplace injuries and illnesses recorded on the OSHA 300 log
- Failing to provide medical evaluations for employees required to wear respirators
- Failing to provide baseline and annual audiogram testing for employees exposed to noise
Proposed penalties total $110,310.
“Great Southern Peanut continues to ignore its responsibility to protect workers from hazards that could potentially result in serious injury or death,” said Kimberly Austin acting director of OSHA’s Savannah Area Office. “Employers should not wait for an OSHA inspection to identify hazards; they must be proactive in identifying and removing hazards.”
OSHA is considering placing Great Southern Peanut, LLC, in its Severe Violators Enforcement Program. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.
Pilgrim’s Pride Fined $78,175 for Medical Mismanagement, Fall, Machine Guarding, and Other Safety, Health Hazards
OSHA issued citations to Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., in Live Oak, Florida, on July 25 for 14 serious and eight other-than-serious safety and health violations. This inspection fell under OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Programs for Poultry Processing Facilities.
The employer received serious violations for the following hazards:
- Failing to make timely medical referrals for workplace injuries
- Not ensuring workers followed energy-control procedures to prevent unexpected machine start ups while cleaning equipment
- Not ensuring portable ladders were used properly
- Exposing employees to amputation hazards due to unguarded machine parts and equipment
- Exposing workers to fall hazards up to 12 feet
- Not ensuring employees use the proper hearing protection
The other violations include not providing employee training concerning the hazards associated with using chemicals and failing to record on OSHA 300 log that 16 workers suffered hearing loss during 2015.
Proposed penalties total $78,175.
“Referring an employee for medical attention in a timely manner is critical in order to prevent musculoskeletal disorders or further injury,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville. “Having employees visit a first-aid room for ‘in-house treatment’ over a course of weeks or months without a referral to a physician can lead to additional long-lasting injuries for employees. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure workers are protected from workplace injuries.”
Workers at Scapa North America LLC Exposed to Widespread Electrical, Fire, and Chemical Hazards
The Hartford Area Office of OSHA began an inspection of Scapa North America, LLC, an adhesive tape manufacturer in Windsor, Connecticut, on January 14, 2016, after employees complained of serious electrical hazards.
OSHA found that the company required untrained, unqualified employees to troubleshoot, reset, and repair electrical controls and circuits with exposed, live parts without enclosures or guards to prevent contact. Other electrical hazards included:
- Not enclosing or guarding exposed energized electrical equipment
- Failing to shield employees from exposed live fuses properly
- Using flexible electrical cords rather than required fixed wiring to power equipment
- Placing metal-framed table and chairs near energized electrical equipment
- Failing to ensure the use of electrical equipment in accordance with its listed or labeled restrictions
- Not ensuring the suitable use of shop-modified electrical equipment
Additional hazards identified during the inspection included:
- Improper storage of flammable liquids and rags
- Not supplying non-sparking tools for employees working near flammable adhesives and solvents
- Inadequate face, eye and hand protection for employees working with vehicle batteries and not assessing the need for such protection
- Failing to inspect chain alloy slings periodically
- Not providing employees with annual respirator fit-testing
These conditions led OSHA to cite Scapa North America for 17 serious violations of workplace safety standards. Proposed penalties total $78,000.
“The breadth and number of hazards identified during our inspections are of concern. Left uncorrected, they expose employees to potential injuries or worse from electric shock, fire, deficient respirator safeguards and chemical burns, among other hazards. Prompt, effective and ongoing corrective action by Scapa North America is necessary,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford.
Cleveland Granite & Marble Fined $63,360 for Exposing Workers to Noise and Respiratory Hazards
A federal workplace safety and health inspection found an Ohio stone fabricator again exposed to workers the risks of hearing loss and respiratory damage, the same dangers found at the facility in 2012.
OSHA issued two willful, three repeated, and two serious violations to Cleveland Granite & Marble on July 27, after agency officials inspected the facility in February 2016 and discovered the hazards. The company faces $63,360 in penalties.
“OSHA has again found Cleveland Granite & Marble permitting an environment that exposes employees to potentially deafening noise and debilitating respiratory hazards, as well as dangerous machine hazards found more recently,” said Howard Eberts, area director of OSHA’s Cleveland office. “Occupational noise exposure can lead to permanent hearing loss and silica dust produced in stonework is a known respiratory hazard that can cause cancer, obstructive pulmonary disease and other health complications. The company needs to re-evaluate its safety and health programs and ensure workers are provided the training and equipment necessary to protect them from injury and illness on the job.”
OSHA’s follow-up inspection found the employer:
- Exposed workers to noise levels above the action level
- Did not train workers about noise hazards or evaluate them annually for occupational exposure to noise. Inspectors found the company had not provided hearing tests or training since 2013
- Allowed employees to change saw blades without using procedures to prevent unintentional operation of machinery exposing them to amputation hazards
- Failed to install proper machine guards on a bridge saw used to cut granite
- Allowed multiple violations of respiratory protection standards, such as not providing fit testing and establishing procedures for respirator use
- Failed to train employees the use of fire extinguishers
In March 2016, OSHA announced a final rule to improve protections for workers exposed to respirable silica dust. The rule will curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease in America’s workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. About 2.3 million men and women face exposure to respirable crystalline silica in their workplaces, including two million construction workers who drill and cut silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone, and 300,000 workers in operations such as brick manufacturing, foundries and hydraulic fracturing. Most employers can limit harmful dust exposure by using equipment that is widely available—generally using water to keep dust from getting into the air or a ventilation system to capture dust where it is created.
New Alliance Fined over $60,000 for Grain, Noise, and Fall Hazards at Nebraska Site
OSHA’s Omaha Area Office cited New Alliance of Bridgeport, Nebraska, for 16 serious and one other-than-serious safety and health violations. The citations are the result of February and March 2016 investigations initiated under OSHA’s Local Emphasis Program for Grain Handling hazards.
The inspection found:
- Workers exposed to fall hazards up to 15 feet while accessing the tops of rail cars and from ladderway openings and platforms lacking guardrails and open-sided work platforms
- Employees exposed to grain dust explosion hazards. The employer failed to implement housekeeping procedures to prevent grain dust accumulation in priority and non-priority areas.
- Lack of confined space entry procedures for grain bins including testing the atmosphere, issuing permits, monitoring workers, and training
- Equipment was not powered down or locked out to prevent unintentional operation prior to workers entering grain bins
- Workers were not trained at least annually on safe grain-handling procedures
- Equipment and training were not provided for grain rescue operations
- Personal protective equipment needs were not evaluated
- Lack of an occupational noise monitoring program including audiometric testing, noise monitoring, and fitting and correct use of hearing protection.
“OSHA grain handling standards address the numerous serious and life threatening hazards found in grain bins including grain dust explosions, engulfment and entrapment from flowing grain, falls and amputation hazards,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in Omaha. “OSHA’s safety standards protect workers on the job in this hazardous industry.”
Proposed penalties total $61,600.
OSHA, Wage and Hour Division Enter Alliance with NYS Workers’ Compensation Board to Better Protect Workers
The Memorandum of Understanding establishes a collaborative alliance relationship among OSHA, the Wage and Hour Division and the WCB to communicate more efficiently and effectively, and cooperate on areas of common interest. It will also promote New York employers’ compliance with the laws administered by each agency. Elements of the agreement include cross training of agencies’ staffs, providing employers and employees with compliance assistance information, conducting joint investigations, and sharing information where appropriate.
OSHA administers and enforces the Occupational Safety and Health Act and a multitude of whistleblower statutes and regulations to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working people. The division administers and enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, prevailing wage and other laws ensuring proper wages and working conditions for employees. The board administers and enforces state workers’ compensation laws to ensure the proper delivery of benefits to those who are injured or ill and promotes compliance with the law. The alliance is for an initial three-year term.
“Our agencies share a common purpose of helping ensure proper working conditions and benefits for workers in New York. Working together and sharing resources to achieve that common purpose makes sense,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Robert Kulick.
“We look forward to working with our partners. Our combined efforts will enhance our own resources and ensure increased compliance by employers throughout the state,” said Wage and Hour District Director Jay I. Rosenblum.
OSHA, US Forest Service Sign Alliance to Promote Workplace Safety and Health
The OSHA’s Regional Office in Seattle and the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Region have signed an alliance to share information, guidance and access to safety and health resources related to the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers. The alliance’s goal is to help improve the safety in the workplace by enhancing USFS’ safety training programs for supervisors, safety committee members and safety personnel. The training curriculum will enhance field and firefighter hazard recognition, and develop personnel protective equipment selection expertise for both OSHA and Forest Service employees. The alliance is for a two-year term.
“OSHA’s alliance with the U.S. Forest Service sets in motion a great partnership that will help ensure the safety and health of workers in the great forests of the Pacific Northwest,” said Galen Blanton, OSHA’s acting regional administrator in Seattle. “We welcome and applaud the Forest Service’s commitment to preventing its workers from suffering injuries and illnesses.”
Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith and community-based organizations, and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. For information about forming an alliance or partnership, contact OSHA’s regional alliance coordinator Patricia Navarro-Quick at 206-757-6700.
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