Occupational Safety and Health Accident Reporting Expanded in Alaska

May 30, 2016

On May 17, 2016, Governor Walker signed Senate Bill 148 into law. The legislation brings Alaska’s workplace accident reporting requirements in line with federal standards by requiring notice within 8 hours of an employer becoming aware of an incident involving the loss of an eye or an amputation. The new law has an immediate effective date.

Alaska’s workplace accident reporting requirements now require reporting within 8 hours of an employer becoming aware of the following incidents:

  • A fatality of one or more employees
  • Overnight hospitalization of one or more employees
  • Loss of an eye
  • Amputation of a body part

“This new law will improve workplace safety in Alaska by ensuring timely investigations can be conducted to identify the causes of accidents and how to avoid future occurrences,” said Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas.

Employers may report accidents in person or by telephone to Alaska Occupational Safety and Health offices in Anchorage, Juneau, or Fairbanks or by calling 1-800-770-4940 or 1-800-321-6742 (evenings, weekends and holidays).

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How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS)

OSHA has issued a final rule revising its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, safety data sheet (formerly called “material safety data sheet” or MSDS), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard. Worker training must be updated so that workers can recognize and understand the symbols and pictograms on the new labels as well as the new hazard statements and precautions on safety data sheets.


Cal/OSHA Cites Agricultural Firm After Explosion Kills Worker, Burns Resident and Home

Cal/OSHA has cited Big & Deep Ag Development Company for serious safety violations following an investigation into a November 13, 2015, explosion in Bakersfield that killed a bulldozer operator and destroyed a nearby residence, resulting in injuries to the occupants including serious burns and smoke inhalation.

Big & Deep had been hired to prepare land near Wible Road for planting almond trees, an activity known as “soil ripping.” In this case, the field was being ripped to a depth of 5.5 feet. PG&E had previously placed flags in the ground to identify an underground high-pressure pipeline in the area in response to Big & Deep alerting the utility to the planned dig.

Cal/OSHA’s inspectors found that Big & Deep, also known as Jeff Alexander Farming, had not trained the bulldozer operator on the hazards of underground utilities or warned him about the location of a natural gas pipeline near the area he was working. During soil ripping operations, the bulldozer's attached shank pierced the "high priority" pipeline resulting in ignition of natural gas under pressure.

“Employers are required to train workers to recognize and avoid hazards that could endanger their lives,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Big & Deep Ag Development was aware of the pipeline’s location and failed to protect their employee and nearby residents from the danger.”

Cal/OSHA issued a total of three workplace safety citations to Big & Deep Ag Development Company, with proposed penalties of $40,250. Two of the citations are serious, with one being serious and accident-related. These involved Big & Deep’s failure to train the bulldozer operator, or to correct unsafe workplace conditions. This employer had pierced the same gas line on a different piece of property in October 2014. That incident did not result in any injuries. A third citation, classified as willful, was issued because the permit to conduct this work had expired.

A serious violation is cited when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazardous condition. A willful violation is cited when the employer is aware of the law and violates it nevertheless, or when the employer is aware of the hazardous condition and takes no reasonable steps to address it.

Best Choice Plumbing Worker Fatally Struck by Car Due to Lack of Work Zone


Employed by Best Choice Plumbing, Inc., Robert Harvey died after a vehicle whose driver could not see him hit him as he worked in the middle of the street.OSHA found the company failed to:

  • Develop and implement a traffic control program to address, recognize, evaluate and control traffic hazards.
  • Ensure that a competent person implemented and inspected the traffic control plan.
  • Instruct employees in recognizing, eliminating or controlling hazards in an active roadway.
  • Provide advanced warning to drivers, and other road users that work was underway.
  • Designate flagmen to control traffic on the adjacent shoulder or in a barricaded lane.

"Best Choice Plumbing could have prevented this tragic incident by developing a proper traffic control plan that included signs, cones, barrels and barriers. Drivers, workers on foot and pedestrians must be able to see and understand the proper routes," said Nicholas DeJesse, director of OSHA's Philadelphia area office. "Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers from safety hazards, and will be held accountable when they fail to do so."

OSHA has fined the company $42,960 for the hazards, which has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employee at The Timken Company Loses Part of Finger in Unguarded Machine

 Inspectors from OSHA's Toledo office opened an inspection after the company reported a 42-year-old worker was injured when he was troubleshooting equipment.

The employee sustained abrasion injuries and subsequently the amputation to the end of the left ring finger. Investigators determined the moving part was not guarded.

The company employs about 285 workers at the Bucyrus site, which makes bearings for a variety of industries.

"The Timken Company's repeated failure to protect workers from operating machine parts by installing guards is unacceptable," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "Last year, 759 Ohio workers suffered preventable amputation injuries."

Proposed penalties total $70,000.

Joint Employee of Tootsie Roll Subsidiary and MJR Management Lacked Adequate Training, Suffers Amputation

A candy-wrapping machine surgically amputated part of a temporary worker's left index finger at a subsidiary of Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc., of Chicago on January 6, 2016, an incident that his employer might have prevented by meeting federal safety and health standards.

MJR, a Boston staffing company that does business as Snelling Staffing Services, supplied the worker to Cambridge Brands, Inc.'s, production facility at 810 Main St., in Cambridge.

OSHA began an inspection on February 2, 2016, soon after learning of the injury. OSHA's inspection found that:

  • Cambridge Brands failed to guard moving parts of the candy-wrapping machine against unintended contact, exposing workers to possible broken bones, soft tissue damage, and amputation
  • Neither Cambridge Brands nor MJR trained the worker adequately about mechanical and noise hazards and safeguards
  • Cambridge Brands did not certify that it had performed periodic inspections of its energy control procedures to prevent the unintended startup of machinery during servicing and maintenance
  • Cambridge Brands failed to report the amputation to OSHA within 24 hours, as required

"This was a joint employment situation in which MJR supplied and paid the worker and Cambridge Brands, as host employer, supervised and dictated temporary employees' work. "We found that the temporary workers did not receive the same level of training as permanent employees at Cambridge Brands. Adequate and effective training is essential so employees can identify and avoid work-related hazards and injuries."

As a result of its findings, OSHA cited Cambridge Brands for two repeat, three serious and one other than serious violations and MJR Management for two serious violations of workplace safety standards. 

Cambridge Brands faces a total of $46,000 in proposed penalties while MJR Management faces $9,000 in penalties. The citations can be viewed here and here.

"Neither employer informed OSHA of the worker's injury. We remind employers that OSHA's reporting requirements for employers were strengthened beginning in January 2015. 

OSHA Schedules Meeting of National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health

The NACOSH Injury and Illness Prevention Program Work Group will meet June 14 and the full committee will meet June 15.

The tentative agenda for the committee meeting includes: an update on OSHA initiatives from Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels; remarks from Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. John Howard; an update on OSHA's major regulatory activities; and reports from the NACOSH Emergency Response and Preparedness Subcommittee and NACOSH Injury and Illness Prevention Program Work Group.

The work group meeting will address workplace safety and health issues regarding contractors at multi-employer worksites, including workplace protections and best practices as part of injury and illness prevention programs. The work group will also discuss efforts to promote the occupational safety and health profession.

NACOSH will meet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 15, in Surface Transportation Board Hearing Room 120C, Patriots Plaza I, 395 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024. Some committee members may attend by teleconference. The work group will meet from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., June 14 in the same room. Both meetings are open to the public.  The deadline for submitting comments and requests to speak is June 3, 2016.


Gun Shop Fined $194,400 for Lead and Respiratory Violations



"Failing to correct conditions that cause serious health hazards is unacceptable," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "Eliminating exposure where possible, using engineering controls and personal protective equipment such as respirators and protective clothing, as well as properly cleaning lead dust can limit worker exposure and prevent workers from bringing contamination home to their families, especially young children."

OSHA's November 2015 follow-up inspection found that Pro Armament:

  • Overexposed workers to lead
  • Did not monitor workers' exposure to lead
  • Failed to train workers on respiratory and lead hazards
  • Did not provide clean changing rooms or require employees to shower at the end of a work shift to prevent lead contamination
  • Lacked housekeeping procedures to remove lead from surfaces such as cash registers and tables

Pro Armament is a gun range and shop that sells firearms and accessories and also provides instructional classes.

US Chutes Inc. Fined for Repeat Violations


After the company failed to submit verification of the hazards' corrections, OSHA's Hartford Area Office opened a follow-up inspection and, as a result, U.S. Chutes now faces an additional $422,680 in federal penalties for uncorrected, repeat and new workplace safety hazards.

"U.S. Chutes' ongoing refusal to correct serious conditions that can sicken or injure its employees must stop. Every day it fails to correct hazards, it needlessly places its workers at risk of crushing and amputation injuries, dangerous chemical exposure, eye injuries, electric shock and exposure to a cancer-causing substance," said Warren Simpson, OSHA's area director in Hartford.

The uncorrected hazards encompass the company's continuing failure to:

  • Provide medical evaluations for employees required to wear respirators
  • Provide a certified hazard assessment for each job task
  • Correctly use and install electrical equipment

The recurring hazards included not fit-testing employees' respirators; blocked access to electrical panels; and unsecured compressed gas cylinders. New hazards involve lack of an emergency eyewash station; an eyewash station installed immediately below energized light switches; and inadequate insulation on a power cord.


CVS Faces $88,000 Fine for Blocked Exits at Multiple New York Stores


"Blocked or obstructed exits are dangerous. They can prevent workers from leaving their store swiftly and safely in a fire or other emergency. This is an easily preventable hazard that we encounter all too frequently in retail stores," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's area director in Tarrytown.

In New Rochelle, the exit door in the receiving and stock room at the 16 Weyman Ave. store was blocked by containers of merchandise, boxes, and carts and the exit route was obstructed by boxes and crates stored in aisles; the stock room exit route at the 625 North Ave. store was blocked by boxes and totes filled with merchandise. Between 2010 and 2016, OSHA had cited CVS stores in Brooklyn, Garden City, Ozone Park and Troy, New York, and Bridgeport and Orange, Connecticut, for similar hazards.

"Particularly disturbing is the recurring nature of this hazard. This is not the first time OSHA has cited CVS stores for obstructed exit routes, but it should be the last. CVS needs to take effective action to eliminate and prevent this hazard at all its locations for the safety and well-being of its employees," said Cortez.

Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based CVS Health is the largest pharmacy health care provider in the U.S., with 9,600 pharmacy stores and more than 243,000 employees in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Payton Roofing Fined $53,900 for Exposing Workers to Dangerous Falls, Other Hazards


OSHA cited the company for the same violations in October 2015 at a work site in Plantation, Florida.


Proposed penalties total $53,900.

"Payton Roofing continues to expose its workers to previously cited and easily correctable hazards," said Condell Eastmond, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale. "Falls are a leading cause of death in the construction industry, and OSHA is committed to doing what it can to ensure all workers are protected."

Midwest Grain & Barge Co. Exposed Workers to Grain-Handling Hazards


The inspectors found:

  • Workers were not trained at least annually on safe grain handling procedures
  • Equipment and training were not provided for grain rescue operations
  • Store rooms, service rooms, and passage ways were not kept clean and orderly

“Grain handling can be a hazardous operation. The ever-present risks of suffocation, amputation, being crushed, falling or explosion can dangerous and, in worst cases, deadly. OSHA’s grain-handling standards address the hazards found in grain bins. These common sense safety standards exist to protect workers on the job in this hazardous industry. It’s up to employers to do the right thing and follow them,” said Bill McDonald, OSHA’s area director in St. Louis.

First Missouri Terminals, Inc., is based in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Proposed penalties total $42,000.

Atlas Die LLC Recertified in Safety Achievement Program

Atlas Die LLC, of Elkhart, Indiana, was recertified as an Indiana Safety and Health Recognition Program (INSHARP) site. INSHARP sites are leaders in workplace safety and health and are recognized for their success in proactively protecting Hoosier workers. Atlas Die’s location on Middlebury Street in Elkhart is the only INSHARP site in Elkhart County.

Atlas Die, LLC, in business since 1952, manufactures cutting tools that include steel rule dies, rotary dies, and accessories. The company has 7 locations in the U.S. and employs a total of 174 employees company-wide, 24 located at the Middlebury Street location.

“Employees deserve a safe and healthy work environment. Atlas Die, LLC, reciprocates the dedication of its staff by prioritizing wellbeing and making sure employees go home safe and sound every day,” said Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Rick J. Ruble.

Managers and employees of Atlas Die actively maintain safety and health programs including routine inspections, self-audits, facility-specific hazard training, and a newly implemented behavior based program. The Middlebury Street facility recorded only one injury in 2015 and currently has a Total Recordable Case (TRC) rate of 3.7 for the past three years, which sits below the national industry average.

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