New Pocket Guide on Construction Safety from OSHA

July 05, 2005

. This quick-reference tool helps identify potential hazards and possible solutions to those hazards for the most frequently cited standards in construction. It also offers safety checklists on personal protection equipment, scaffolding, electricity, floor and wall openings, elevated surfaces, hazard communication, cranes, and forklifts to help avoid hazards that cause injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

Quick Action by OSHA Compliance Officer Averts Trench Accident

 While in transit through Buffalo Grove, Ill., Weil observed the employees working in a trench lacking cave-in protection. He acted swiftly and ensured all four workers immediately exited the trench just before a large section of earth and gravel caved into the trench from the undermined sidewalk area directly above where the work was being conducted.

Baker Hughes-Centrilift and American Equipment Co. Recognized as Members of the STAR Voluntary Protection Program

Baker Hughes-Centrilift, Ardmore, Okla., has earned membership in OSHAÆs ôStarö Voluntary Protection Program. "Baker Hughes has demonstrated excellence in effective safety and health management," said OSHA Regional Administrator John Miles in Dallas. "Their outstanding efforts include maintaining an injury and illness rate 79 percent below the national average for their industry."

The Baker Hughes pump plant facility manufacturers down-hole electrical submersible pump systems for oil field, oil recovery and production operations. Additionally, the plant manufactures the surface equipment used to control the electrical submersible pumping rates. The company employs about 668 salaried and hourly employees.

American Equipment Co. (AMECO) has also earned membership in the prestigious "Star" Voluntary Protection Program. "The company's outstanding efforts include maintaining an injury and illness rate that is 100 percent below the national average for their industry," said Richard Tapio, area director for OSHA's Lubbock area office. "This is the fifth Star VPP site at the Borger refinery, clearly demonstrating excellence in effective safety and health management."

AMECO, a contractor at the ConocoPhillips Refinery and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. in Borger, has maintained a rate for injuries and illnesses below the industry rate for the past three years. The company employs about 19 workers in Borger and provides complete outsourcing of mobile equipment, including rentals, tools and equipment repairs, maintenance and tool distribution and fueling.

$52,000 Proposed Penalty for Failure to Supply Cave-in Protection

Wes Construction's failure to supply cave-in protection for employees working at a Lowell, Mass., jobsite has resulted in $52,000 in OSHA penalties. On April 22, an OSHA inspector observed an employee of Wes Construction installing a concrete pipe in a seven-foot deep excavation in Lowell. The walls of the excavation did not have adequate protection against collapse. OSHA's inspection also found that employees were not trained in trenching safety standards and could not identify hazards associated with work in excavations.

"This employer knew cave-in protection was required but chose not to provide it," said Richard Fazzio, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties. "Walls of an unprotected trench can collapse suddenly and without warning, burying workers before they can react. While no collapse occurred here, the danger was real and present."

OSHA issued one willful citation, with a $49,000 proposed fine, to Wes Construction for failing to supply the required cave-in protection and one serious citation, with a $3,000 proposed fine, for not training the workers.

Improper Storage of Gas Containers and Fall Hazards Leads to $121,000 Penalty

OSHA cited Town & Country Developers of Woodcliff, N.J $121,000 for multiple violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The company was issued citations alleging three willful violations, with a penalty of $99,000, for exposing employees to falls of six feet or more and improperly storing liquefied petroleum gas containers. Citations for serious violations, with a proposed penalty of $14,000, were issued due to the employer's failure to protect employees from falls, allowing foot traffic on dangerous stairs, lack of handrails and allowing temporary heaters too close to combustible materials.

The single repeat citation carries a penalty of $8,000. It was issued for failure to provide fire extinguishers on the site and in areas where combustible gases were stored. OSHA cited Town & Country Developers for a similar violation in the past.

Local Emphasis Program Results in Fines

A Harvey, LA shipyard's alleged failure to protect employees from hazards has resulted in proposed penalties of $45,300 from OSHA. Kody Marine Inc., a tug repair facility that employs about 65 workers, was issued citations alleging 21 serious, two repeat and five other-than-serious safety violations following an inspection that began May 12 as part of OSHA's shipbuilding and repair industry "local emphasis program.ö

"There are more than 90 shipbuilding facilities in Louisiana and OSHA is targeting companies with injury and illness rates greater than the industry average," said Greg Honaker, OSHA area director in Baton Rouge. "OSHA will be looking at excessive noise levels, confined space entry hazards, fall and electrical hazards, exposure to airborne contaminants such as cadmium, nickel, chromium, zinc and iron metal fumes and other violations."

Among the serious violations are failing to: guard machinery, train employees who enter confined spaces, provide safe access to vessels and develop and implement a fire safety plan. Improper storage around electrical equipment, improperly securing a ladder and operating a forklift with a safety defect were also cited as serious.

The repeat citations were issued for allowing hot work without the required testing and certification of the work space by a marine chemist and failing to guard the edges of decks and platforms. Five other-than-serious citations were issued for failing to separate fuel and oxygen cylinders, not covering electrical boxes, failing to perform a personal protective equipment hazard assessment, and no respirator protection and hazardous communication programs.

A New Orleans shipyard's alleged failure to protect employees from hazards has resulted in proposed penalties totaling $65,000 from OSHA. Bollinger Gulf Repair was issued citations alleging 10 serious, two repeat and four other-than- serious violations following an OSHA inspection that began April 13 at the company's New Orleans worksite as part of OSHA's shipbuilding and repair industry "local emphasis program".

The serious violations were issued for failing to: require an employee wear a seat belt while operating a rough terrain forklift; test the atmosphere of an enclosed space before employees enter; guard openings in the hull and on the barge deck; test and certify a crane; keep fire response equipment in a state of readiness; guard machines, and cover a high voltage panel. The repeat citations were issued for failing to guard the edge of a deck, platform or flat and failing to provide safe access to a barge. A repeat violation is defined as a violation that was previously cited where, upon re-inspection, a substantially similar violation is found.

Other-than-serious violations included failing to: affix identification tags on steel slings; provide strain relief on an electrical connection; protect flexible cords and cables from accidental damage, and develop and implement a written fire safety plan.

State Sponsored Medical Impairment Rating Registry in TN

Tennessee workers who suffer on-the-job injuries will be able to access a new state sponsored program. The program will resolve conflicting opinions between the employer/insurance carrier and the employee regarding workersÆ compensation permanent impairment ratings. The Medical Impairment Rating (MIR) Registry was created by the Tennessee legislature in the WorkersÆ Compensation Reform Act of 2004 to enhance and to improve the current independent medical examination process. WorkersÆ compensation attorneys and insurance companies will especially need to become familiar with the program and its rules.

The MIR Registry will be available to any party who disputes the impairment rating of a physician in a workersÆ compensation claim for injuries that occur on or after July 1, 2005. The expense of the evaluation will be borne by the employer. Other potential issues such as causation, apportionment, appropriateness of treatment, work restrictions, and job modifications will not be considered or addressed by this program.

Only Board-certified and departmentally approved MDs and DOs will be assigned to the MIR Registry. One of the requirements of their participation on the Registry is their attendance at a training course dedicated to the proper use of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5th Edition.

MIR physicians will be recognized as experts in the field of impairment evaluation. Opinions issued by physicians on the Registry for cases involving the MIR program will be presumed statutorily accurate and can be overcome only by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.