New Emphasis Programs Target Cranes and Hexavalent Chromium

September 22, 2008

 Safety inspections will occur in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and at New Mexico worksites under federal OSHA jurisdiction. The REP was established as an enforcement initiative for the inspection of cranes, with the goal of preventing serious and fatal injuries to employees working on or around them. Regional and local emphasis programs are intended to address hazards or industries that pose particular risks to employees within an OSHA regional or area office jurisdiction.

Fleetpride Faces $108,000 in Fines for Repeat Violations

OSHA has cited FleetPride Inc. for alleged repeat, serious, and other-than-serious violations of health and safety standards following an inspection at its North Haven, Conn., distribution facility.

The distributor of heavy-duty truck and trailer parts faces a total of $108,000 in proposed fines following an inspection conducted under OSHA's Site Specific Targeting program, which focuses inspections on workplaces reporting higher than average injury and illness rates. The citations and fines address deficiencies involving respirators and other personal protective equipment, fall protection, electrical safety, exit access, powered industrial trucks, hazard communication, and recordkeeping.

"The sizable fines proposed here reflect the recurring nature of several hazards for which the company previously had been cited," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "It is imperative that this employer take prompt, effective, and lasting action to address these issues and prevent them from happening again."

Specifically, FleetPride was issued five repeat citations, with $92,500 in fines, for elevated work areas not guarded against fall hazards; untrained forklift operators; storing a forklift in front of a marked exit; exposed wiring in a heater and an electrical junction box; and not providing hazard communication training to new employees. OSHA had cited Fleet Pride in 2006 and 2007 for substantially similar hazards in North Haven and/or at the company's Willowbrook, Ill., location.

Five serious citations, with $12,500 in fines, were issued for lack of a respiratory protection program, information, and medical evaluations for employees who wear respirators; lack of personal protective equipment; uncertified personal protective equipment hazard assessment and training; and not protecting energized fluorescent light fixtures against damage. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Finally, three other-than-serious citations, with $3,000 in fines, were issued for incomplete, incorrect, or uncertified injury and illness logs, and for not posting the OSHA 300A injury and illness summary. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have an immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.

OSHA to Hold Hearings on PPE Proposal and Employee Training Requirements

The hearing will be held at the U.S. Department of Labor's Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Ave. N.W., Conference Room C-5320 No. 6, in Washington, D.C.

OSHA encourages all interested members of the public to participate. 

The proposed revisions are to implement OSHA's longstanding position that its PPE and training standards impose a separate compliance duty to each employee covered by the PPE or training requirements. An employer who violates one of these provisions commits a separate violation for each employee who is not trained or does not receive the proper PPE.

In this proposal, OSHA seeks to amend its PPE and training standards to clarify the nature of the employer's obligation to each employee and to conform with the language that the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has approved as the basis for per-employee citations. More information about the proposal may be found in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published in the August 19 edition of the Federal Register (73 FR 48335).

Members of the public with questions about the hearing may contact Veneta Chatmon at 202-693-1999.

OSHA Cites Cortec for Safety Violations at Aerosol Filling Plant

OSHA has proposed $424,000 in fines against Cortec Corp.'s aerosol and liquid container filling plant in Spooner, Wis., following a March 2008 explosion that caused serious injuries to two employees.

OSHA has issued six willful citations, alleging violations of federal safety standards with proposed penalties totaling $378,000. Specifically, the federal workplace safety agency charged that Cortec failed to develop and implement a process safety management system to handle the flammable liquid propellants it maintained at the site and utilized for aerosol can production.

"If adequately developed and implemented, each cited process safety management deficiency would have led to an action resulting in the avoidance of this explosion," said Mark Hysell, director of OSHA's area office in Eau Claire, Wis. "This kind of indifference to proven approaches to safe handling of flammable materials will not be tolerated."

OSHA also has issued 10 serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $46,000, alleging deficiencies with employee training, personal protective equipment, forklifts, respiratory protection, electrical hazards, storage of flammable and combustible materials, and safe equipment de-energization practices.

Cortec Corp. maintains a total of four facilities located in both Wisconsin and Minnesota, which federal or state OSHA agencies have inspected on eight occasions since 1997. Citations at the four facilities have addressed electrical hazards, machine guarding, lockout/tagout deficiencies, storage and handling of combustible and flammable liquids, and other violations of workplace safety regulations.

How Did OSHA Rule: Are These OSHA Recordable Incidents?

  1. An employee who performs office clerical work injures her knee in a work-related accident. She has out-patient surgery one month after the knee injury and is released by her doctor with the only restriction being: "May work at home." The company sets up a computer and forwards her business phone to the employee's house so she can work while recovering from surgery. The employee works from home, but does not work the full 8 hours during the work day. The employee was able to perform all of her routine job functions from home during this time.
  2. An employee arrives at work and parks his car in the company parking lot. As the employee is getting out of his car, he inadvertently slams the car door on his finger, and the injury requires "medical treatment."
  3. An employee suffers a knee injury as a result of a work-related fall March 15. The employee is seen by a physician and is diagnosed with a contusion and treated with "first aid." On April 15, the employee retires from her job for reasons wholly unrelated to the injury. On June 15, the employee is continuing to have knee pain from the March 15 fall. The employee undergoes surgery (medical treatment) on July 15 to treat the March 15 work-related knee injury.
  4. In calculating the "total hours worked by all employees" for purposes of completing the OSHA Form 300A Establishment Information, should additional hours be added to correspond to the number of restricted work activity days or days away from work that are estimated and added to the Log on the terminated employee's case? Failure to add additional hours that correspond to the estimated days would seem to artificially increase the rates and result in inflated rate totals.


OSHA Proposes More Than $41,000 in Penalties for Safety Violations Against Beeline Store

OSHA is proposing $41,650 in penalties against Ganapatibapa Inc. for one willful and two serious safety violations found at its Ozark, Ala., Beeline Store.

The willful violation, which carries a proposed penalty of $38,500, stems from the company's failure to provide a standard guardrail or its equivalent on an open-sided platform four feet or more above the ground. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

Ganapatibapa Inc. had been told about this violation in December 2007. After announcing that it would no longer utilize the platform, the company resumed its practice of requiring employees to use the platform to change gas pricing signs without modifying the structure to conform to OSHA safety regulations. Instead, the company supplied employees with a full-body safety harness but did not instruct them on its use.

"OSHA will not tolerate the practice of employers agreeing to correct safety hazards and then failing to make the required changes," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's acting area director in Mobile.

Ganapatibapa Inc. is also being cited for two serious violations with $3,150 in proposed penalties for exceeding the weight duty limit of a portable ladder and failing to provide appropriate training to employees.