New OSHA Administrator Nominated

November 06, 2017

The Trump Administration has nominated Scott A. Mugno Assistant for the position of Secretary of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health.  The position, which requires Senate approval, was last held by Dr. David Michaels, who left the position in January of this year.

Mr. Mugno is currently the Vice President for Safety, Sustainability, and Vehicle Maintenance at FedEx Ground in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was previously the Managing Director for FedEx Express Corporate Safety, Health and Fire Protection in Memphis, Tennessee. 

His responsibilities in both those positions included developing, promoting, and facilitating the safety and health program and culture. Mr. Mugno was twice awarded FedEx’s highest honor, the FedEx Five Star Award, for his safety leadership at FedEx Express. Prior to FedEx, Mr. Mugno was a Division Counsel at Westinghouse Electric Corporation’s Waste Isolation Division and Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for the Eastern Region U.S. Army Military Traffic Management Command. He also held other legal positions in the U.S. Army JAG Corps at the 24th Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia and in small private-practice law firms before joining the U.S. Army JAG Corps. Mr. Mugno is a graduate of Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas and St. John’s University, Jamaica, New York. 

Protecting First Responders from Opioids

The primary goal of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is to develop an effective set of recommendations for the President to combat the opioid crisis and drug addiction in our nation. As part of this, the Commission recommended that the White House develop a national outreach plan for the Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders. They recommend that Federal agencies should partner with Governors and state fusion centers to develop and standardize data collection, analytics, and information-sharing related to first responder opioid-intoxication incidents. Further information is available on page 58 of the report.

Worker Safety During Fire Cleanup

Cal/OSHA has posted materials that provide guidance for employers and workers on working safely during fire cleanup.

Hazards remain after fires have been extinguished and cleanup begins. Employers performing cleanup and other work in areas damaged or destroyed by fire are required to identify and evaluate these hazards, correct any unsafe or unhealthy conditions and provide training to employees.

Potential hazards in fire cleanup areas include but are not limited to the following:

  • Fire from heat sources such as smoldering wood or debris coming into contact with flammable material. Fire extinguishers should be provided at every cleanup job.
  • Electricity from reenergized power lines and electrical equipment after an outage. Precautions must be taken when generators are used at worksites and if water has been near electrical circuits or equipment.
  • Flammable gases from pipes and tanks. Employers must make sure pipes and tanks are properly shut off if they are potentially damaged or leaking.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning from gasoline or diesel-powered pumps, generators, and pressure washers. This equipment may be used for fire cleanup but is prohibited indoors in most situations.
  • Unstable structures from fire damage. Buildings or structures can collapse without warning—assume they are unstable until examined and certified safe for work by a qualified person.
  • Demolition or dismantling damaged structures exposes workers to unexpected collapse, falling objects, and hazardous materials. Before commencing work, employers must review and address all demolition safety requirements.
  • Sharp or flying objects from handling, cutting or breaking up debris. Employers must provide and ensure employees wear appropriate eye, hand and foot protection.
  • Confined space hazards include toxic exposure, asphyxiation, electrocution, and unguarded moving machinery. Employers must evaluate worksites to determine if there are confined spaces and review all safety requirements for working in confined spaces.
  • Ash, soot, and dust can cause irritation and damage to workers’ lungs if inhaled. When exposure would probably cause injury or illness, employers must provide NIOSH-certified respirators designated as N-95 or greater.
  • Asbestos in damaged structures poses serious health hazards to employees. Safety regulations are available on Cal/OSHA’s Asbestos Information page.
  • Stored chemicals in potentially damaged or dislodged tanks, drums, pipes, and equipment pose hazards to workers. Only workers with the required skills, training, and personal protective and emergency equipment are allowed to clean up hazardous spills.
  • Heat illness is a hazard for outdoor workers. Employers must provide potable drinking water free of charge, rest breaks and access to shade to prevent heat illness. More detail is available on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention page.


Custom Nonwoven Faces $220,544 in Penalties for Willfully Exposing Workers to Hazards

OSHA cited Custom Nonwoven, Inc., a subsidiary of Korea Synthetic Fiber, for willfully exposing its workers to multiple hazards. The New Albany-based company faces penalties of $220,544.

OSHA inspectors issued citations on October 25, 2017, after it found the company exposed workers to unguarded machines; electrocution and burns from exposed electrical wires and control cabinets; and falls from walkways that were not equipped with guardrails. The company was cited for two willful, seven serious, and five other-than-serious violations.

“The hazards this company was cited for are preventable,” said OSHA Acting Area Director Courtney Bohannon, in Jackson. “Following basic safety requirements can be the difference between workers returning home safely or suffering a severe injury or worse.”

Alta Construction Fined $106,000 for Unsafe Trench Practices

OSHA has cited Alta Construction, Inc., for one willful and two serious violations after failing to follow safe trenching practices. OSHA proposed $106,000 in fines.

In May, OSHA inspected the company’s jobsite after receiving two complaints of unsafe trenching operations. Inspectors found employees inside a 7-feet deep trench without cave-in protection.

“Fortunately no one was injured, but it is imperative that companies use protective systems in trenches to keep their workers safe,” said OSHA Area Director David Kearns, in Boise.

U.S. Department of Labor Signs Alliance with Robotic Industries Association and NIOSH to Improve Worker Protections in Emerging Tech Industry

OSHA recently established a two-year alliance with the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to improve awareness of occupational hazards from traditional industrial robots and emerging robot technologies.

The alliance will promote best practices for controlling exposures to mechanical, electrical, and other hazards involving human interaction with robotic systems, including potential areas for additional NIOSH research. The alliance will help develop educational resources—such as fact sheets and a website—on using robotics system safety practices and safety and health programs.

"More than 1.5 million industrial robots are operating in factories worldwide, and another 1 million are expected to be installed by 2019," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. "As robotic applications continue to expand, recognizing the safety and health needs of workers who operate and service these systems is vital."

Founded in 1974, RIA is the only trade group serving the U.S. robotics industry, currently the fourth largest market for industrial robots worldwide. Member companies include robot manufacturers, users, system integrators, component suppliers, research groups, and consulting firms.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses, and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to help develop compliance assistance tools and resources, and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities.

Wildfire Reform Passed by the House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation designed to help prevent future wildfires following a string of devastating fires in the West. The legislation would make it easier for officials to prepare federal forests for potential fires by easing environmental regulations governing forest management activities like controlled burns and clearing away brush that acts as wildfire fuel. The legislation looks to provide more funding for wildfire relief operations by establishing a wildfire-specific account within the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Recommended Practice for Onshore Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Emergency Preparedness and Response 

The American Petroleum Institute (API) issued a recommended practice outlining the fundamental elements of an effective emergency response program management system. The guide, titled Recommended Practice (RP) 1174, Onshore Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Emergency Preparedness and Response, has three main areas of emphasis including, 1) increased focus on training and planned exercise; 2) improved communications and clearly defined roles during an incident; and 3) regular evaluations of operations to identify and address risks.

Safety News Links 

OSHA Developments – More Good News for Employers

Electrician Dies After Accident at Site of New Milwaukee Bucks Arena Downtown

Worker Injured in Accident at Belltown-Area Construction Site

Worker Pinned by Trailer at Chicago-Area UPS Facility

Worker Injured in Surrey After Contacting Electrical Lines

Worker Injured at Hyannis Water Treatment Facility

The Latest from OSHA on Silica in Construction Enforcement

Massachusetts House Passes Bill to Extend OSHA Protections to Public Employees

Birmingham City Worker Killed While Cutting Grass

Excavation Company Director Jailed After Worker Killed in 2015 Trench Collapse