September 12, 2022
A revised risk determination
finalized by EPA on Tuesday finds that pigment violet 29 (PV29) presents an “unreasonable risk of injury to human health,” particularly when it comes to long-term inhalation exposure to the chemical substance. According to EPA, PV29 is used as an intermediate to create or adjust color of other perylene pigments. Additional applications include incorporation into paints and coatings used in the automobile industry as well as into plastic and rubber products used in automobiles and industrial carpeting. PV29 is also used in merchant ink for commercial printing and in consumer watercolors.
Long-term exposure to PV29 in air can cause lung toxicity effects such as alveolar hyperplasia, EPA notes. The agency describes alveolar hyperplasia as “an adverse increase in the number of cells in the lungs where oxygen transfer occurs.” The risks to workers and others during the manufacture, processing, use, and disposal of PV29 as well as the severity of the health effects associated with long-term exposure to the chemical led EPA to issue a “whole chemical determination” for PV29 rather than making separate risk determinations for individual conditions of use.
The revised risk determination differs from previous risk evaluations of PV29 in that it does not assume that all workers exposed to the chemical substance always or properly wear personal protective equipment. This “reflects EPA’s recognition that unreasonable risk may exist for subpopulations of workers that may be highly exposed” for a number of potential reasons, the agency explains in a press release
. For example, some workers may have increased exposure if they are not covered by OSHA standards or if OSHA has not issued a permissible exposure limit for a chemical substance, which is the case for PV29.
EPA intends to develop a risk management rule for PV29 to protect workers who handle the chemical while on the job.
“[EPA] will strive for consistency with existing OSHA requirements or best industry practices when those measures would address the identified unreasonable risk,” the agency explains. “EPA will propose occupational safety measures in the risk management process that would meet [the Toxic Substances Control Act’s] statutory requirement to eliminate unreasonable risk of injury to health and the environment.”
U.S. Department of Labor, Industry Leaders, Stakeholders Call on Employers, Workers to Combat Surge in Construction Worker Suicides
Construction workers often face some of their industry's most serious dangers – such as falls from elevation, being struck or crushed by equipment or other objects, and electrocution – but recent studies suggest another occupational concern is lurking silently at U.S. worksites: worker suicides.
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a direct connection – available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to a national network of more than 200 local crisis centers.
To assist workers in an industry with one of the nation's highest occupational suicide rates, the OSHA has joined a task force of construction industry partners, unions and educators to raise awareness of the work stresses seen as the causes of depression and the thoughts and acts of suicide among construction workers. In addition to alerting other stakeholders, the task force encourages industry employers to share and discuss available resources with their workers.
Coinciding with Construction Suicide Prevention Week
, the task force is calling on construction industry employers, trade groups and other stakeholders to join OSHA's Suicide Prevention Safety Stand-Down, Sept. 5-9, 2022. This week-long event seeks to raise awareness of unique mental health challenges construction workers face by asking employers to pause work for a moment to share information and resources and urge employees to seek help if needed.
"Construction workers cope with unique causes of stress, such as uncertain seasonal work; remote work and job travel that keeps workers away from home and support systems; long, hard days and completion schedules; and the job-related risks of serious injuries," explained Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker
. "Left unchecked, these stressors can affect mental health severely and lead to anxiety, depression, substance abuse and – in some cases – suicide."
The coronavirus outbreak and pandemic only worsened the problem, researchers found. In August 2020, the CDC reported a considerable one-year increase in symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder in a survey of the U.S. population.
Moved by their concern for a growing problem, a group of industry volunteers joined in 2020 to launch the first Suicide Prevention Week for construction workers. In 2021, more than 68,000 workers in 43 states registered to participate in Construction Suicide Prevention Week, managed by a task force comprised of OSHA, Associated General Contractors, The Builders Association, leading construction companies and labor unions.
"Suicide can be prevented with professional help and assistance," Parker added. "OSHA encourages employers, industry associations, labor organizations and workers to use all available resources to understand the problem and the warning signs of depression before tragedy strikes."
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
is a federally funded project designed to improve crisis services and advance suicide prevention for U.S. residents. Supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the 998 lifeline is a national network of more than 200 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices.
Biden-Harris Administration Releases Agenda to Reduce Emissions Across America's Industrial Sector
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released its “Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap
”—a comprehensive report identifying four key pathways to reduce industrial emissions in American manufacturing. The roadmap emphasizes the urgency of dramatically cutting carbon emissions and pollution from the industrial sector, and presents a staged research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) agenda for industry and government. DOE also announced a $104 million funding opportunity to advance industrial decarbonization technologies. These announcements build on the historic boost to American manufacturing through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law ($62 billion) and the Inflation Reduction Act ($10 billion for clean energy manufacturing tax credits and $5.8 billion for industrial facilities), while protecting fenceline communities with new monitoring and screening near industrial facilities.
Secretary Granholm and White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy announced the roadmap recently during a roundtable
at DOE with a diversity of industry leaders and stakeholders from government and academia.
The industrial sector is among the most difficult to decarbonize. In 2021, the industrial sector accounted for one third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions—more than the annual emissions of 631 million gasoline-fueled passenger vehicles. DOE’s Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap focuses on five energy-intensive sectors where industrial decarbonization efforts can have the greatest impact. The roadmap outlines a multidimensional plan with four pathways to reduce emissions across these critical sectors. These key sectors—iron and steel; cement and concrete; food and beverage; chemical manufacturing; and petroleum refining— account for over 50% of the energy-related CO2 emissions in the industrial sector. The four pathways include:
- Energy efficiency: The most cost-effective option for near-term reductions of greenhouse gas emission includes smart manufacturing and advanced data analytics to increase energy productivity in manufacturing processes.
- Industrial electrification: Leveraging advancements in low-carbon electricity from both grid and onsite renewable generation sources will be critical to decarbonization efforts. Examples include electrification of process heat using induction or heat pumps.
- Low carbon fuels, feedstocks, and energy sources (LCFFES): LCFFES efforts involve substituting low-and no-carbon fuel and feedstocks, including using green hydrogen, biofuels, and bio feedstocks.
- Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS): CCUS decarbonization efforts include permanent geologic storage as well as developing processes to use captured CO2 to manufacture new materials. Energy efficiency: The most cost-effective option for near-term reductions of greenhouse gas emission includes smart manufacturing and advanced data analytics to increase energy productivity in manufacturing processes.
The roadmap also provides recommendations for RD&D investment opportunities and near- and long-term actions industry and the government can take to achieve deep decarbonization, including:
- Advance early-stage RD&D: Further applied science necessary for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
- Invest in multiple process strategies: Continue parallel pathways of electrification, efficiency, low carbon fuels, CCUS, and alternative approaches.
- Scale through demonstrations: Support demonstration testbeds to accelerate and de-risk deployment.
- Address process heating: Most industrial emissions come from fuel combustion for heat.
- Integrate solutions: Focus on systems impact of carbon reduction technologies on the supply chain.
- Conduct modeling/systems analyses: Expand the use of lifecycles and techno-economic analyses.
The “Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization FOA” incorporates the topics and recommendations identified in the roadmap, applying the four industrial decarbonization pathways to energy-intensive industries where decarbonization technologies could have the greatest impact. Learn more about the topic areas here
about the “Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap.”
CSB Publishes Guidance on Reporting of Accidental Releases
The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has published guidance intended to facilitate compliance with an agency rule that requires owners and operators of fixed facilities to notify CSB within eight hours of an accidental release. The guidance clarifies that the goal of the accidental release reporting rule is to help the agency decide when to initiate investigations and that the information CSB requires in these reports should already be known or should be readily available to owners and operators. The guidance also states that submitting the required information should take no longer than ten minutes.
“While many companies already have been complying with the rule and submitting their required reports, this guidance should help resolve any uncertainties about the reporting requirement,” said CSB Interim Executive Steve Owens. “If someone is unsure about what to do, they should report, rather than risk violating the rule.”
The accidental release reporting rule (PDF
) was published in the Federal Register
on Feb. 5, 2020. It includes a clause that allows owners and operators to update their reports within 30 days following an incident if information was accidentally left off the initial report or if a mistake was made during its submission. Any accidental release that results in a fatality, serious injury, or substantial property damage is covered by the rule. Facilities that fail to report an incident face possible enforcement actions by EPA.
The guidance includes an FAQ that addresses specific questions about the rule. Stakeholders can download the guidance as a PDF
from the CSB website.
Since the accidental release reporting rule went into effect, CSB has been notified of 162 incidents. Twenty-five of these incidents resulted in at least one fatality, 92 in serious injuries, and 68 in substantial property damage. The agency released a list of these incidents in July. This list, along with additional information about the rule, including an accidental release reporting form, is available from the CSB website
TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $206,003
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality recently approved penalties totaling $157,668 against 13 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations.
Agreed orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: one agriculture, one air quality, one Edwards Aquifer, one multi-media, one municipal solid waste, one petroleum storage tank, one public water system, and two water quality.
Default orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: one multi-media, one municipal solid waste, one petroleum storage tank, and one public water system.
In addition, on Aug. 30, the executive director approved penalties totaling $48,335 against 22 entities.
Two Men Indicted for Discharging Industrial Waste into Jackson Sewer System
Two Rankin County men appeared in federal court recently on felony charges of illegally discharging industrial waste into the Jackson Sewer System, conspiracy, and making false statements, announced U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Charles Carfagno with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division’s Southeast Area Branch.
A nine-count federal indictment was unsealed in Jackson on September 2, 2022, charging Thomas W. Douglas, Jr., 61, and John S. Welch, Sr., 64, with carrying out a scheme whereby industrial waste from their company, Gulf Coast Commodities, was discharged illegally into the Jackson Sewer System.
The case is set for trial on November 7, 2022, in U.S. District Court in Jackson. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on Count 1 of the indictment, three years in prison on each of Counts 2-6 of the indictment, and five years in prison on each of Counts 7-8 as to Douglas and Count 9 as to Welch.
The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Former PWSA Supervisor Sentenced for Clean Water Act Violation
A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to one year probation on his conviction of conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced recently.
United States District Judge William S. Stickman, IV imposed the sentence on James Paprocki, age 52. According to information presented to the court, Paprocki was a supervisor at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s Aspinwall Drinking Water Production Plant. At various times between 2010 and 2017, Paprocki and another plant supervisor, Glenn Lijewski, illegally discharged clarifier sludge, a byproduct that is produced when raw water is converted into potable water, into the Allegheny River. Under the terms of an environmental permit, the sludge had to pumped to ALCOSAN’s waste treatment plant. Lijewski and Paprocki also submitted reports containing false estimates about the amount sludge that was actually being sent to the waste treatment plant.
Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Stickman stated that while Paprocki’s conduct was serious, it was the only time Paprocki had been in trouble with the law.
“This sentencing completes the federal criminal investigation of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and two of its former managers for knowingly violating discharge permit limits and for false statements,” said Jennifer Lynch, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. “The prosecution has brought about much needed structural, funding, and cultural change at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, especially concerning the Aspinwall plant.”
Assistant United States Attorney Michael Leo Ivory prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
United States Attorney Chung commended the EPA, Criminal Investigation Division for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of James Paprocki.
Ohio Auto Parts Manufacturer Cited for 10 Federal Safety Violations
A Clayton company was cited for exposing workers to fires and failing to train them on initial stage fire identification and use of fire extinguishers after federal safety investigators received a referral from a local fire department that responded to 13 fires at the auto parts manufacturer in a two-year period.
OSHA found the polyethylene material Hematite heats to create molten plastic for automotive parts catches fire in the ovens. The material is easily ignited, even by static, and difficult to suppress or put out when a fire occurs. Between June 2020 and June 2022, Hematite had 13 fires at its facility. Employees used portable fire extinguishers until they extinguished fires or until the fire sprinkler system activated.
"Our inspectors found Hematite's management preferred that workers combat fires with extinguishers, lessening repair costs and production time, rather than allowing sprinklers to activate. This practice endangered workers," explained OSHA Area Director Ken Montgomery in Cincinnati. "The company must immediately review its emergency action plans and the process for storing and handling flammable materials. Incorporating training and protective measures will help minimize fires and protect workers on the job."
With corporate headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and automotive headquarters in Troy, Michigan, Woodbridge employs more than 7,500 workers in over 50 locations across 10 countries. The company provides material technologies for applications in automotive, commercial, recreational, packaging, health care and building products.
Illinois Trucking Repair Company Cited for Exposing Workers to Confined Space Hazards After Worker Fatally Injured Inspecting Trailer
AB & R Repair of Lemont faces $326K in OSHA penalties 48-year-old worker entered a tanker-trailer in Lemont to inspect it as part of an annual U.S. Department of Transportation requirement and was overcome from exposure to bleach and chlorine gas. The worker was found unconscious in the tanker-trailer, he later died of his injuries.
An investigation by OSHA determined his employer, B & R Repair, Inc. of Lemont, failed to identify and evaluate atmospheric hazards in the confined space, train workers on the confined space program, and ensure employees filled out a confined-space permit before entry into a confined space. OSHA also found the employer failed to equip the worker rescuing the unconscious employee with a retrieval system, implement its own procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services, and numerous other violations of its permit-required confined space regulations. The company was also cited for failing to provide fall protection to an employee working on top of tanker trailers and provide training on fall hazards, respirators and hazard communication.
In total, OSHA cited two willful and 10 serious violations and proposed penalties of $326,306.
“In recent years, OSHA investigated instances in which workers suffered tragic injuries because employers failed to follow appropriate procedures for ensuring healthy atmospheric conditions inside a confined space and use of adequate respiratory protection before allowing workers to enter tanks,” explained OSHA Area Director Jacob Scott in Naperville. “The company must immediately review its confined space procedures, emergency action plans and provide additional training to protect workers on the job.”
The Chicago regional office established a Regional Emphasis Program in 2021 to reduce the risks tank cleaning workers face. The program focuses on employers in industries typically engaged in tank cleaning activities, including trucking, rail and road transportation, remediation services, material recovery and waste management services.
B & R Repair is an American truck and trailer repair company that provides services to all makes and models of tractors, tankers, trailers, trucks, buses and various cargo transport units. In addition to the main facility in Lemont, the company has service locations in Lansing and Wampum, Pennsylvania.
OSHA has specific guidance on permit required confined spaces.
NIOSH: Approved Respirators Cannot Be Altered to Improve Fit
Concerns regarding statements in the user instructions for several filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) manufactured by NIOSH approval holders prompted the agency to publish a notice
stressing that agency-approved respirators cannot be altered to improve fit. According to the notice, NIOSH has identified some statements instructing users to modify FFRs—for example, by tying knots in the headbands to create a tighter fit. The agency cautions users that, in limited instances, some FFRs with instructions containing similar statements were distributed when NIOSH failed to identify the concern before issuing approvals. NIOSH says that it is notifying approval holders to correct their user instructions as issues are identified.
NIOSH’s notice reminds those who are required to use respiratory protection in occupational settings that if a user cannot achieve a proper fit, the respirator configuration should not be modified in any way. Instead, another product should be selected for use, the agency says.
“All NIOSH-approved respirators and their components should not be modified,” the notice stresses. “Modifications will result in those respirators no longer meeting NIOSH approval requirements and may lead to a reduction or loss of expected protection for the user.”
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