More on Globally Harmonized Classification and Labeling of Chemicals

September 18, 2006

Last week’s tip gave you a heads-up on OSHA’s intent to issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) on the Globally Harmonized System on the classification and labeling of chemicals (GHS).  The GHS has been adopted by the United Nations, and there is an international goal for as many countries as possible to implement the GHS by 2008. The GHS includes harmonized provisions for classification of chemicals for their health, physical, and environmental effects, as well as for labels on containers and material safety data sheets (MSDSs). Adoption of the GHS by OSHA would require modifications to the agency's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). For example, an order of information would be established for MSDSs. In the advanced notice, OSHA provided further information about the GHS, the benefits of adopting it, and its potential impact on the HCS. OSHA is seeking input from the public on a number of issues related to implementation of the GHS. 

OSHA Adds Fire Protection Module to Shipyard Employment eTool


"This is a crucial addition to a very important resource that helps educate employers and employees on the steps they can take to ensure their safety in the event of a fire while performing shipyard work," said OSHA Administrator Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "The Fire Protection Module builds upon the viable information in the eTool that helps employees identify job-related hazards and learn about possible solutions."

The module focuses on the importance of protecting shipyard employees from fire hazards while conducting ship repair, shipbuilding, shipbreaking, barge cleaning and other activities through implementing an effective fire protection plan. It is important that employees learn to recognize, respond to and provide corrective action during a fire, so the module also offers users access to training information on "fire watch" and "fire response" activities.

The eTool features additional modules describing the common hazards and potential solutions to those hazards associated with ship repair, shipbuilding, shipbreaking and barge cleaning.

 They are highly illustrated and use graphical menus. Some also use expert system modules that enable the user to ask questions and receive reliable advice on how OSHA regulations apply to their work site.

OSHA Fines Chicago Metal Forger $235,000 for Workplace Safety and Health Violations

OSHA has proposed $235,000 in fines against A. Finkl & Sons Company, Chicago, for alleged willful and serious violations of workplace safety and health standards.

OSHA opened an inspection at the specialty metal forgings manufacturer in March after receiving a formal complaint related to an alleged lack of safety inspections and possible oil leaks in forging equipment.

The investigation resulted in citations issued to Finkl alleging three willful and seven serious violations of federal workplace safety and health regulations. The alleged willful violations related hazards associated with lack of guardrails and/or covers for open pits, vats, tanks and similar hazardous openings; failure to perform necessary maintenance on hydraulic forging presses that leaked hydraulic oil; and for safety issues involving powered industrial trucks. The alleged serious violations included fall protection, personal protective equipment issues, electrical hazards, and guarding of moving belts.

OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Violations are categorized as willful where there is either an intentional disregard or plain indifference to employee safety or OSHA regulations.

"When employers shirk their responsibility to keep the workplace free of such hazards, the results can be tragic for workers and their families," said OSHA Area Director Diane Turek, Des Plaines, Ill.

ACCSH Public Meeting Scheduled for October 11-12 in Washington, D.C

The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) will hold a public meeting in Washington, D.C., Oct. 11-12, 2006. ACCSH advises the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health on standards, policies and practices related to the protection of construction workers from worksite hazards.

The committee will meet both days from 8 am to 5 pm in room N-3437 A-C, of the Frances Perkins Department of Labor Building, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20210.

Agenda items include: Standards update on hexavalent chromium, silica, and assigned protection factors; ACCSH consideration of draft proposed rules: Cranes and Derricks, Respirator Qualitative Fit Test Protocol; Committee governance and work group assignments/tasks; OSHA's role in the National Response Plan; and Cooperative Programs update highlighting Voluntary Protection Programs for Construction. Written data, opinions or comments for consideration by the committee may be submitted to Ms. Veneta Chatmon, U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Office of Communications, Room N-3647, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 20210. Twenty copies are needed. Those submissions received prior to the meeting will be included in the record of the meeting.

Anyone wishing to make an oral presentation to the committee on any of the agenda items should notify OSHA at the above address. The request should specify the amount of time desired, the capacity in which the person will appear and a brief outline of the presentation. ACCSH may grant requests to speak, as time permits, at the discretion of the ACCSH chairperson.

Individuals needing special accommodations for the ACCSH meeting should contact Ms. Chatmon by October 2.

OSHA Fines Landscape Support Services $82,500 Following Worker Injury

Landscape Support Services Inc. faces a total of $82,500 in OSHA fines after one of its workers lost his foot in a March 24 accident.

An employee of Landscape Support Services was cleaning the interior of a trailer when his foot became caught in a moving conveyor used to unload material from the truck. OSHA's inspection found that the conveyor had not been shut down and its power source locked out before the employees started cleaning.

"The conveyor should not have been operating while employees worked inside the trailer," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "The requirements that the conveyor be shut down and its power source locked out are designed to prevent just this type of accident, serious injury or worse."

OSHA issued to Landscape Support Services two willful citations carrying $75,000 in fines for failing to shut down the conveyor and for not having lockout hardware available. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

The company was also issued six serious citations with $7,500 in proposed penalties for lack of specific lockout/tagout procedures, lack of employee training and annual lockout/tagout audits, failure to train employees to operate powered industrial trucks safely, failure to evaluate and identify confined spaces and post warnings, and having fall hazards of more than 8 feet from unguarded work areas.

OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

School-Bus Company Faces $95,000 in OSHA Fines Following Boston Fatality

OSHA has proposed a total of $95,000 in fines against First Student Inc., a Cincinnati-based school-bus service, following a fatality and an injury at two of its Boston facilities.

The fatality occurred March 9 at the company's Freeport Street bus yard when a mechanic was overcome by carbon monoxide produced by a gasoline-powered jump-starter used to start buses. On April 18, a mechanic at the firm's Hyde Park garage was injured when a 10-ton air jack used to lift buses struck him while he cleared a jammed safety chain.

OSHA's inspection found that workers at the Freeport Street location were exposed to high carbon monoxide levels when the jump-starter was in use. The company failed to identify and evaluate this carbon monoxide hazard and did not install adequate ventilation or other controls to reduce carbon monoxide levels. Employees were not trained about carbon monoxide hazards and protective measures.

At Hyde Park, OSHA found that the air jack had been modified with the addition of the safety chains, which jammed, preventing the jack from moving. This exposed workers to the hazard of being struck or crushed by the jack. The jack had not been adequately de-energized to protect employees attempting to clear a jam, specific energy control procedures had not been developed and implemented for employees servicing buses and air jacks, and employees had not been adequately trained in those procedures. Finally, annual inspections that could have identified these defects had not been conducted.

As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited First Student Inc. for one alleged willful violation and eight alleged serious violations of workplace safety and health standards. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"These accidents show, in the starkest terms, what can happen when all safety and health standards are not met," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and Southeastern Massachusetts. "It's vital that all necessary safeguards be in place and in use at all company locations to prevent deaths and accidents."

Columbus Steel Castings Faces $257,500 Penalty for Serious and Repeat Safety Violations

Columbus Steel Castings Co. has received citations for two repeat and 59 serious violations of federal workplace safety and health standards, resulting in a $257,500 OSHA penalty,

OSHA personnel opened an investigation at the steel casting and manufacturing facility in March based on injury and illness data reported by the business and following receipt of complaints and two accidents earlier this year. As a result, OSHA found that Columbus Steel Castings had failed to correct hazards involving missing or inadequate standard guardrails and inadequate guarding of vertical belts that posed a risk to workers. In each case, OSHA issued repeat violations based on an October 2003 investigation that found the same or similar hazards, which were cited and certified as corrected by the company.

The 59 serious citations issued by OSHA covered a variety of hazards including confined spaces, lockout/tagout issues, problems with overhead cranes and forklifts, electrical hazards, inadequate machine guarding, and the improper storage of oxygen and fuel gas cylinders.

"Strong enforcement is a key part of OSHA's effort to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus. "It should be clear that we will not tolerate indifference to the welfare and safety of working men and women."

The Columbus facility has been inspected four times since 2003, including a fatality investigation that year.

Emergency Preparedness Conference Scheduled Next Month

The event, Second Annual Emergency Preparedness Conference: Disaster Readiness on the Home Front, will take place Oct. 19-20 in Washington. Participants will hear about personal experiences, and discuss best practices and lessons learned from natural disasters. Other agenda topics include avian flu, strengthening patient safety and security, employee communication and training, collaboration with local emergency management authorities, surge capacity management, evacuation procedures, and the psychosocial aspects of emergencies. Early registration is encouraged. To register by telephone, or for more information, please call 877-223-6866.

Safety and Health Conference Slated for Chicago

 The conference features more than 45 sessions on construction safety, ergonomics, environmental safety, machine guarding, recordkeeping, bioterrorism, effective safety management and training techniques, among others.  Teresa Harrison, OSHA's Atlanta deputy regional administrator, will deliver a keynote address; exhibitors will also be on hand. For more information, contact Jim Smith at 708-450-3270, Eugene Satrun at 815-521-7739, or

OSHA Appoints New Director for Philadelphia Area Office

Al D'Imperio, former assistant Philadelphia area director, was recently named as the city's area director. 

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