OSHA Announces Targeted Inspection Plan

June 26, 2006


“Our targeted inspection program maximizes the effectiveness of our inspection resources to those workplaces with the highest safety and health hazards,” said OSHA Administrator Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. “This program gives us the opportunity to focus our enforcement efforts where it will have the most benefit for workers and employers.”

Over the past eight years, OSHA has used a site-specific targeting inspection program based on injury and illness data. This year's program (SST-06) stems from the agency's Data Initiative for 2005, which surveyed approximately 80,000 employers to obtain their injury and illness numbers for 2004.

This year's program will initially cover about 4,250 individual worksites on the primary list that reported 12 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer for every 100 full-time workers (known as the DART rate). The primary list will also include sites based on a “Days Away from Work Injury and Illness” (DAFWII) rate of 9 or higher (9 or more cases that involve days away from work per 100 full-time employees). Employers not on the primary list who reported DART rates of between 7.0 and 12.0, or DAFWII rates of between 5.0 and 9.0, will be placed on a secondary list for possible inspection. The national incident DART rate in 2004 for private industry was 2.5, while the national incident DAFWII rate was 1.4.

OSHA will again inspect nursing homes and personal care facilities, but only the highest 50% rated establishments will be included on the primary list. Inspections will focus primarily on ergonomic hazards relating to resident handling; exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials; exposure to tuberculosis; and slips, trips, and falls.

The agency will also randomly select and inspect about 175 workplaces with 75 or more employees across the nation that reported low injury and illness rates for the purpose of reviewing the actual degree of compliance with OSHA requirements. These establishments are selected from those industries with higher than the national DART and DAFWII rates.

Finally, the agency will include on the primary list some establishments that did not respond to the 2005 data survey.


OSHA Identifies 14,000 Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates

In a letter this month to those employers, OSHA explained that the notification was a proactive step to encourage employers to take steps now to reduce those rates and improve the safety and health environment in their workplaces.

“This identification process is meant to raise awareness that injuries and illnesses are high at these facilities,” said OSHA Administrator Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. “Injuries and illnesses are costly to employers in both personal and financial terms. Our goal is to identify workplaces where injury and illness rates are high, and to offer assistance to employers so they can address the hazards and reduce occupational injuries and illnesses.”

Establishments with the nation's high workplace injury and illness rates were identified by OSHA through employer-reported data from a 2005 survey of 80,000 worksites (the survey consisted of data from calendar year 2004). The workplaces identified had 6.0 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer (DART) for every 100 full-time workers. The national average during 2004 was 2.5 DART instances for every 100 workers.

Employers receiving the letters were also given copies of their injury and illness data, along with a list of the most frequently violated OSHA standards for their specific industry. The letter also offered the agency's assistance in helping turn the numbers around, suggesting, among other things, the use of free safety and health consultation services provided by OSHA through the states, state workers' compensation agencies, insurance carriers, or independent safety and health consultants.

The list does not designate those earmarked for any future inspections. An announcement of targeted inspections will be made later this year. Also, the sites listed are establishments in states covered by federal OSHA; the list does not include employers in the 21 states, and Puerto Rico, who operate OSHA-approved state plans covering the private sector.

OSHA's data collection initiative is conducted each year to provide the agency with a clearer picture of those establishments with higher than average injury and illness rates. Information obtained from the survey gives OSHA the opportunity to place inspection resources where they're needed most and also helps the agency plan outreach and compliance assistance programs where they will be most beneficial.


Smith's Aerospace Components Fined $167,500 Following Partial Amputation Accident

A partial hand amputation at a Manchester, Conn., airplane parts manufacturing plant has resulted in fines totaling $167,500 from OSHA.

Smith's Aerospace Components Inc. was cited for seven alleged repeat and five alleged serious violations of safety standards following an inspection by OSHA's Hartford area office that began Feb. 21, when a worker lost a thumb and part of a finger in an unguarded hydraulic press. The inspection found several instances where this press and other machines either lacked guarding to prevent employee contact with moving parts or guarding mechanisms had been bypassed, rendering them ineffective.

“The lack of effective guarding exposes employees to just this type of serious crushing injury,” said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director in Hartford. “This plant has been cited for similar violations in the past, which warrants the citations and fines.”

The alleged repeat violations included failure to provide adequate fall protection, failure to correct defective lifting slings, unguarded grinders and failure to inspect mechanical power presses. The Manchester plant was cited by OSHA for similar hazards in 2004 and 2005. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has already been cited for a similar hazard and that citation has become final.

The alleged serious violations included failure to provide adequate machine guarding, failure to use lockout/tagout procedures and failure to mark the lifting capacity of two portable jacks used to support die press beds. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.


OSHA Partnership to Safeguard Workers at Construction Project

Reduced hazards and enhanced worker safety during the Capitol Commons construction project in Concord, N.H., are the goals of a new safety and health partnership signed by OSHA, Cobb Hill/Pro Con Construction Joint Venture LLC and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services’ Consultation Program.

Cobb Hill/Pro Con Construction Joint Venture is construction manager for the mixed-use project, which includes an eight-story office and retail building and a five-level parking garage at 11 South Main St. and 75 Storr St. in Concord. The project will include 20 specialty contractors employing about 65 trade employees.

“Objectives with this partnership include improved safety and health programs, a higher level of employee safety and health training and the elimination of hazards to prevent worker injuries,” said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA’s New Hampshire area director.

Central to the partnership will be the development and implementation of a comprehensive worksite safety and health program that will equal OSHA’s safety and health program guidelines and include employee involvement and training to avoid site-specific hazards. Construction site supervisors will receive training equivalent to OSHA’s 10-hour construction safety course to assist them in recognizing and promptly correcting workplace hazards.

Project goals include a 5% annual reduction of injuries, illnesses and fatalities with an emphasis on fall, trenching, electrical, struck-by and caught in-between hazards; decreased worker compensation costs; and shared knowledge of best practices. The partnership was signed June 19 by Ohar; Richard Lambert and Jerry Kingwell, principals for Cobb Hill/Pro Con Joint Venture, LLC; and Stephen Beyer, consultation project manager, N.H. Department of Environmental Services.


Excavation Hazards Bring Fines Totaling $66,150 for Contractor

A Taunton, Mass., contractor's alleged failure to protect employees from trenching and excavation hazards has resulted in proposed penalties of $66,150 following an OSHA investigation.

G Lopes Construction Inc. was cited for one alleged willful and one alleged serious violation of safety standards following an inspection by OSHA's Braintree area office on March 23. An OSHA inspector passing by the jobsite on Main Street in Weymouth observed an employee working on a water main inside a 6-foot-8-inch deep trench that lacked protection against a collapse of its sidewalls.

“Workers must be safeguarded from cave-ins while working in excavations 5 feet or deeper,” said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for southeastern Mass. “A sudden collapse can stun and bury workers beneath tons of soil without the opportunity to escape. Fortunately, no one was injured in this case.”

G Lopes Construction was issued one willful citation for failing to provide adequate protection from cave-ins. Additionally, one serious citation was issued for placing excavated spoils within 2 feet of the edge of the trench.

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.


Fatality Investigation Results in OSHA Fines Totaling $81,600

A Monroe, La., industrial tank and vessel fabrication company's alleged failure to protect employees from hazards that led to a worker's death, and its inadequate maintenance of injury and illness records, have resulted in proposed penalties totaling $81,600 from OSHA.

James Machine Works Inc. was cited for the alleged violations following a fatality investigation that began Dec. 28, 2005, at a plant in Plaquemine, La. Employees were constructing a new floor within an above-ground storage tank when a worker was hit by a skid steer. The company employs approximately 170 workers.

Two alleged willful violations were issued for failing to record employee injury and illnesses on the OSHA 300 logs and for not verifying the accuracy of the logs. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

“Accurate worker injury and illness records are vital to identify injury trends and hazards,” said Greg Honaker, OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge. “Targeting these trends and providing employee training improves worker safety as well as employee morale.”

One alleged serious violation was issued for lack of equipment operator training. A serious violation is one that could cause death or serious physical harm to employees and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

Three other-than-serious violations were issued for failing to complete the OSHA 301 logs (first report of injury), not removing damaged synthetic slings from service, and not providing substantially insulated connections for joining welding cables together. An other-than-serious violation is a condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety or health of the employees.


OSHA Signs Alliance with National Maritime Safety Association

OSHA has formed a new alliance with the National Maritime Safety Association (NMSA) to foster safer and more healthful workplaces for employees in the marine cargo handling industry. Edwin G. Foulke Jr., assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, and Mark Baker, NMSA president, signed the two-year alliance during the NMSA Annual Meeting in Charleston, S.C.

Through the OSHA and NMSA alliance, the organizations will collaborate to provide NMSA members and others in the marine cargo handling industry with information, guidance and access to training resources that will help them protect employees' health and safety. The alliance will particularly focus on intermodal container lashing issues and marine terminal traffic safety.

“This alliance is another fine example of our commitment to finding cooperative ways to improve health and safety for all employees,” said Foulke. “Our joint effort with NMSA will concentrate on ways to identify hazards and keep employees safe on the job.”

OSHA and NMSA will provide expertise in developing information on the recognition and prevention of workplace hazards and on ways of communicating such information (e.g., print and electronic media, electronic assistance tools, and OSHA's and NMSA's Web sites) to employers and employees in the industry.

The alliance also calls for NMSA to share information with OSHA personnel, as well as industry safety and health professionals, about NMSA's best practices and to publicize results through outreach by NMSA and through OSHA- or NMSA-developed materials, training programs, workshops, seminars and lectures. In addition, the alliance's members will promote the national dialogue on workplace safety and health by participating in forums, roundtable discussions and stakeholder meetings to forge innovative solutions to hazards in the marine cargo industry.

NMSA is a national trade association that represents and advises the U.S. private sector marine cargo handling industry on safety and health issues.


OSHA, American Pyrotechnics Association Renew Alliance

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke Jr. signed a two-year renewal of the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) alliance that will continue to promote a safer and more healthy work environment for employees in the pyrotechnics industry.

 Originally signed on June 9, 2004, the OSHA and APA alliance focuses on reducing and preventing accidents involving the manufacturing, transportation, storage, sale and handling of commercial display fireworks and consumer fireworks and the use of commercial display fireworks.

“With July 4th right around the corner, it reminds us of the dangers employees face while working with these explosive products and the terrible occupational costs that can occur with their mishandling,” Foulke said. “It is crucial that we maintain our collaborative efforts to assure industry employees' health and safety. We're delighted to go on with tapping into APA's know-how, and we look forward to strengthening our relationship.”

Added APA Executive Director Julie L. Heckman: “Our alliance has proven to be most valuable to members of the fireworks industry. The alliance program demonstrates the positive and effective progress that can be made to improve safety and education when government and industry work together. APA is proud to renew the alliance and continue the good work we've set out to accomplish with OSHA.”

OSHA and APA will continue to develop training and education programs on the safe and proper use of commercial display fireworks products. Both organizations will also continue to develop and disseminate compliance assistance information at conferences and events, and through print and electronic media, including using OSHA's and APA's Web sites. 

Founded in 1948, APA is a national nonprofit trade association representing the fireworks industry. With more than 240 member companies, APA supports and promotes safety standards for all aspects of fireworks.


OSHA Renews Partnership to Protect Electrical Workers in Ohio

OSHA has renewed its partnership for two more years with the Central Ohio Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association Inc. (NECA) and Local Unions 683 and 1105 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The agreement is designed to enhance workplace safety and health protection for electrical workers in Ohio.

“This is an opportunity for OSHA to continue to provide training and technical support to help contractors develop safety and health systems,” said Michael Connors, OSHA's regional administrator in Chicago. “Our goal is to have every employee go home healthy and uninjured at the end of the day.”

The partnership is committed to lowering injury and illness rates through increased workplace health and safety training, and renewing attention to issues surrounding the safety of workers. In an agreement signed in Columbus, OSHA, NECA and IBEW have pledged continued cooperation in developing site-specific safety programs, training new workers in workplace safety and health, and continuously promoting safe practices throughout the life of the agreement.

Project Management Services Fined for Noise, Lead, Cadmium, and Respirator Violations

OSHA has reached a settlement with Project Management Services Co., Girard, Ohio, resolving citations issued to the company in connection with an industrial clean-up operation in Chicago.

In accordance with the agreement, Project Management Services paid $90,000 in penalties and has provided evidence that all alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards have been corrected. Further, the company has agreed to comply with OSHA standards in the future.

“We are pleased with the positive efforts this company has taken to ensure the safety and health of their employees,” said OSHA's Area Director Gary Anderson in Calumet City. “Project Management Services has worked very hard to correct the deficiencies found during our investigation.”

OSHA issued citations following an inspection in November at a foundry on East 114th Street where Project Management Services had contracted to clean up lead and cadmium contaminated dust. The investigation found that the company was violating OSHA standards relating to noise, respirator use, cadmium and lead.


Cal-OSHA Issues Heat Stress Rules for Outdoor Workers

“With temperatures in California summers often reaching triple digits, it’s imperative that we protect those who work outdoors,” said Len Welsh, acting chief of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, also known as Cal-OSHA. In a prepared statement, Welsh said that “prevention is the best defense against heat-related illnesses.”

The new regulations, which are awaiting approval by the Office of Administrative Law, will require employers to provide all outdoor workers with sufficient potable drinking water and access to shade. The rules also require that all employees be trained on preventing and recognizing heat illness.


Corrections to Hexavalant Chromium Rule

OSHA is correcting errors in the final rule addressing occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium that appeared in the Federal Register on February 28, 2006. 



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