Company Safety Director Fired after Employer Fined $147,500

March 05, 2007

OSHA has proposed $147,500 in fines against the Mingo Junction facility of Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel Co., Wheeling, W.Va., for alleged willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety standards following the death of an employee in September 2006. 

OSHA opened an investigation after receiving notification that an employee had fallen from an elevated walkway that was not protected with guardrails. Two willful citations with proposed penalties totaling $140,000 were issued, alleging a lack of guardrails on a crane runway and the failure to follow lockout/tagout procedures and to conduct periodic inspections on those procedures.

Two serious citations with proposed penalties of $7,500 were issued, alleging failure to post warning signs and lack of readily accessible disconnecting means for a crane power supply.

"The tragedy of serious injuries and fatalities resulting from falls is made worse by the fact they are entirely preventable," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA area director in Columbus, Ohio. "It should not be difficult to recognize hazards that may lead to falls and to correct them before such tragedies occur."

Since 1976, Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel facilities in Ohio have experienced 16 fatalities, including five resulting from falls. Twelve of the total fatalities have occurred at the Mingo Junction plant.

Contractors Fined $81,800 for Cave-In Hazards

Two Hollis, N.H., contractors face a combined total of $81,800 in fines from OSHA for alleged cave-in hazards at a Nashua construction site.

The citations and fines result from OSHA inspections opened Aug. 23, 2006, when two OSHA inspectors passing by the Badger Street worksite observed employees working in an apparently unprotected trench. OSHA's inspection revealed that employees of Jennings Excavation, which was installing a water line, were working in two unprotected excavations, a 6.5 to 7.4-foot-deep catch basin and an 8.9 to 10-foot-deep building foundation.

Jennings was issued two willful citations, with $55,000 in proposed fines, for allowing employees to work in both unprotected excavations and for not providing a ladder or other safe means of exit from the catch basin. The contractor was also issued three serious citations, with an additional $3,500 in proposed fines, for not supporting an undermined sidewalk, failing to remove or support a power pole, and no warning vests for employees exposed to vehicular traffic.

Ferd Construction, the controlling employer responsible for overall job safety on the project, was issued one willful citation, with a $21,000 proposed fine, for allowing unprotected trenches, and three serious citations, with another $2,300 in fines proposed, for lack of safe exit means from the catch basin and the unsupported sidewalk and power pole.

"An unguarded excavation can crush or kill employees within seconds," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "There's no excuse for failing to use this clear, common sense, and legally required safeguard."


OSHA Forms Safety and Health Partnership with AK Steel

OSHA has formed a three-year safety and health partnership with AK Steel Corp.'s Mansfield plant. AK Steel produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products, as well as carbon and stainless tubular steel products, for automotive, appliance, construction and manufacturing markets.

"This agreement provides an opportunity for the partners to come together and demonstrate that we all benefit when management, labor, and government dedicate themselves to providing a safe and healthful work environment," said Jule Hovi, OSHA area director in Toledo, Ohio. "We are confident the cooperative effort will help us to meet our mutual goal to reduce injuries and illnesses."

The partnership is committed to lowering the injury and illness rates through increased anticipation, identification, evaluation, and control of safety and health hazards in the workplace. OSHA and AK Steel will cooperate to develop site-specific safety programs, focus on increasing employee involvement in the safety and health program, and continuously promote safe practices throughout the life of the agreement.


OSHA Seeks Information from Stakeholders on Ionizing Radiation

OSHA is inviting the public to participate in informal stakeholder meetings on occupational exposure to ionizing radiation. These planned meetings will continue OSHA’s information collection efforts and will add to the information obtained in the request for information published on May 5, 2005.


"These meetings are an exceptional opportunity for us to hear from stakeholders and exchange data, share ideas and varying points of view," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Edwin G. Foulke, Jr.

The first stakeholder meeting will be held March 16, 2007, at the Department of Labor, Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. The meeting will cover the uses of ionizing radiation in the healing arts (including medicine, dentistry, chiropractor service, veterinary service, etc.).

The second stakeholder meeting will be held in conjunction with the American Society for Nondestructive Testing’s Annual Research Symposium in Orlando, Fla., March 26, 2007. All meetings will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will end by 4:30 p.m.

OSHA requests the public be prepared to discuss the following issues regarding occupational exposure to ionizing radiation in their industry/occupation: uses of ionizing radiation, controls utilized to minimize exposure and available exposure data and training.

Those who wish to participate in a stakeholder meeting must notify OSHA by e-mail at, FAX at (202) 693-1678, or by mail to Liset Navas, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N3718, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210 no later than March 9, 2007.

Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc. in Colorado Springs Recognized by OSHA for Excellence in Safety and Health


OSHA has recognized Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc. in Colorado Springs for its outstanding employee safety and health program.

The research and development center was designated a "Star" site in OSHA's prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), during a March 1 ceremony at the plant. A VPP "Star" site meets or exceeds all the safety and health program elements for the programs, far above and beyond minimum OSHA standards.

"VPP Star designation is a testament to the dedication Honeywell has to maintaining employee workplace safety and health excellence," said John Hermanson, OSHA's deputy regional administrator in Denver.

Noteworthy aspects of Honeywell's program include a highly advanced, integrated Web-based management system with safety training programs offered to employees in 11 distinct languages.

"The plant uses technology to efficiently manage its safety and health systems allowing it to develop world-class programs to address complex hazards such as radio-frequency radiation safety," said Brad Baptiste, OSHA's regional VPP manager, who presented a VPP flag and plaque to Honeywell staff at the ceremony.

VPP offers employers a unique opportunity to move beyond traditional safety programs by recognizing participants that successfully incorporate comprehensive safety and health programs into their total management systems. The VPP program is open to deserving employers in any industry.

Requirements for application to VPP, which has more than 1,600 sites in 270 industries nationwide, include a high degree of management support and employee involvement, a high-quality worksite hazard analysis, hazard prevention and control programs, and comprehensive safety and health training for all employees. Each of these elements must be effective and in operation for at least one year before the worksite may apply to join the program. For additional information on VPP contact Baptiste in Denver at (720) 264-6555.

OSHA Renews Alliance with American Biological Safety Association

OSHA has again renewed its 2002 alliance with the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) to continue developing preventive measures that address biological safety issues in the American workplace.

"We are pleased to renew our alliance with ABSA and expect the next two years to be as successful as the first four," said Assistant Secretary for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "ABSA members have provided considerable technical expertise during the development of OSHA Safety and Health Topics pages, which have provided important safety and health information to more than 125,000 people since the original alliance was signed."

"This alliance enables our organizations to collectively enhance American workplace health and safety and assist employers in developing a preventive focus for biological safety issues," said ABSA President Dr. Bob Hawley. "Our organizations collaborate to control and mitigate biological hazards in the workplace, share technical information and best practices, and identify emerging biological safety issues."

Through the alliance, ABSA members sit on the editorial boards of 17 OSHA Safety and Health Topics pages and OSHA staff members have participated in a variety of ABSA events.


Workplace Exacerbation of Asthma a NIOSH Priority


NIOSH is expanding partnerships and research to address emerging concerns about workplace exacerbation of asthma. This includes six articles in peer-reviewed journals, a textbook chapter, and ongoing discussions with partners about a possible international collaborative study and the development of preventive strategies.
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