OSHA Cancels First Aid Guidelines

July 02, 2007

 According to the notice, the guidance is out of date and will expire on June 25, 2008. 

$43,000 Penalty for Repeat Safety and Health Violations

OSHA has cited Williamsport Steel Container Co. Inc. of Williamsport, Pa., for alleged safety and health violations and is proposing $43,000 in penalties. The company, which has 38 employees, manufactures steel drums used for the storage of flammable, combustible, and corrosive liquids or hazardous waste.

OSHA initiated its investigation on March 6 as a follow-up to a previous inspection. The company was issued three repeat violations for machine guarding hazards, and improper storage of flammable and combustible liquids, with a total proposed penalty of $28,000; and three serious violations for machine guarding, emergency egress, and electrical hazards, with a total proposed penalty of $15,000.

"Left uncorrected, these conditions will expose employees to numerous hazards including electrocution, amputations, burns, and exposure to hazardous substances, among a variety of other injuries and illnesses," said Andrew Hedesh, OSHA's area director in Wilkes-Barre, whose office conducted the inspection. "It is imperative for this employer to correct these violations before a tragedy occurs."

OSHA’s Advice for Working in Summer Heat

Every summer, thousands of Americans are hospitalized for heat-related illnesses. Many of these cases are employees who work outdoors where heat stress is potentially dangerous. OSHA is reminding all employers and employees nationwide about its safety and health resources, especially those offering best practices for working in hot weather.

"Every outdoor jobsite faces hazards posed by the sun and heat," said OSHA's Assistant Secretary of Labor Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "We are encouraging employers and employees to take advantage of our published resources that offer sound advice to recognize and prevent heat stress and other heat-related illnesses."

The two most serious forms of heat related illnesses are heat exhaustion (primarily from dehydration) and the more severe heat stroke, which could be fatal. Symptoms include headaches, weakness, nausea, and dizziness. Recognizing those warning signs and taking quick action can help prevent a fatality.

 The document also features information for teenagers working at summer jobs to learn more about safety and health.

Available in English and Spanish, this laminated card is free to employers for distribution to their employees. It is a quick reference tool on heat-related illnesses, including warning signs, symptoms and early treatment.

Protecting Yourself in the Sun is a pocket card that explains how to perform self-examinations that may detect early stages of skin cancer. 


State Health Officials Provide Fireworks Safety Tips to Prevent Injuries

State health officials in Colorado are providing safety tips for individuals who plan to light fireworks this Fourth of July. Although colorful and exciting to watch, fireworks can be extremely dangerous if improperly handled. They can cause serious burns and eye injuries, including blindness or loss of limbs, and property damage due to fires.

Therese Pilonetti, a program manager with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Consumer Protection Division, said, “It is not uncommon to hear of someone’s roof catching fire, or trees and bushes around the house being ignited because someone improperly handled fireworks.”

Pilonetti recommended that families attend one of the many professional fireworks displays being held in the Denver metropolitan area and throughout the state instead of having their own displays. However, individuals who do plan to purchase and ignite legal, permissible fireworks were advised to take the following precautions:

  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions on fireworks labels.
  • Discuss the safe handling of fireworks with children several times before the holiday.
  • Supervise older children constantly while they are using fireworks.
  • Never allow young children to set off fireworks. Young children will often become very excited around fireworks causing them to mishandle or drop the fireworks.
  • Purchase only those fireworks that are legal to light in the area and that are in sound condition. Inspect fireworks for signs of powder leaking, age, or moisture exposure.
  • Check with your local police or fire department to determine local fireworks ordinances and permissible uses of consumer fireworks.
  • Never ignite fireworks in glass or metal containers. Flying glass and metal can cause serious injuries to onlookers.
  • Make certain other people are out of range before lighting fireworks, and never point them or throw them at another person.
  • Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from houses, dry leaves and flammable materials.
  • Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Keep a bucket of water handy in case of a malfunction or fire.


Pilonetti said that even though state law prohibits the purchase or sale of illegal fireworks, fire inspectors have been able in past years to confiscate these fireworks being sold at locations throughout Colorado. The most common illegal fireworks sold in the state are pop bottle rockets and firecrackers.

CSB Finds Oxygen Generators Contributed to Rapid Spread of Fire at EQ NC Hazardous Waste TSD

The action follows a CSB investigative finding that the devices most likely contributed to the rapid spread of a fire at the EQ Industrial Services (EQ) hazardous waste facility in Apex, NC on the night of October 5, 2006. The fire resulted in the evacuation of thousands of residents of Apex, located about 16 miles southwest of Raleigh, and destroyed the EQ facility's hazardous waste building.

Chemical oxygen generators are used in commercial aircraft to supply supplemental oxygen to passengers in drop-down masks should the cabin depressurize. They are similar to the ones that started a fire in the cargo compartment aboard a ValuJet airplane that crashed in 1996 in Florida. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation report of that accident stated that expired but fully functioning chemical oxygen generators should be expended before being transported.

The devices that contributed to the EQ fire were past their projected service life but remained fully charged and hazardous. They originated at an aircraft maintenance facility in Mobile, Alabama, that did not expend the contents prior to transport. In addition, shipping documents did not identify them as unspent chemical oxygen generators as required by Department of Transportation regulations.

CSB Safety Advisories are issued during the course of investigations that develop information the Board believes should be communicated rapidly to prevent recurrence of accidents.

At a news conference held in Raleigh, CSB board member William B. Wark said, "We issued this advisory to alert aircraft maintenance and hazardous waste facility personnel to the hazards associated with transporting and storing expired but unspent aircraft oxygen generators. These can be very dangerous and if mishandled can cause fires, property damage, and personal injury."

Lead Investigator Robert Hall, P.E., said, "Our investigation found that the unspent oxygen generators were stored in the area where the fire is believed to have originated. The generators can be activated by heat, which results in the release of oxygen, further accelerating and intensifying the fire. When firefighters first arrived, the fire was small. But it quickly spread to an adjacent bay."

The CSB earlier apprised the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the NTSB of the CSB investigative finding in this case.

Chemical oxygen generators in passenger aircraft have a limited useful life and must be periodically replaced. Even after their expiration dates, they remain potentially hazardous materials. In this case, the CSB found, an aircraft maintenance facility in Mobile, Alabama, sent the chemical oxygen generators to a hazardous waste facility in Birmingham, Alabama, without activating and expending the contents as recommended by the NTSB. The receiving hazardous waste facility misidentified the oxygen generators as general oxidizer waste on shipping documents they prepared for aircraft maintenance facility.

Urgent recommendations are issued when in the view of the CSB Board Members, there is an "imminent hazard."

The CSB recommended the aircraft maintenance company revise or develop procedures to ensure the generators are expended before shipping, revise as necessary procedures for assuring hazardous waste is correctly described on shipping manifests, and that the company communicate to all of its waste brokers and waste facilities that the incorrect shipping name and code was or might have been used for unspent oxygen generators shipped from its facility.

The CSB investigation continues with a final report planned to be released by the end of the year.

Board member Wark said, "I want to emphasize that we are continuing to look at the operations at EQ, as well as the national regulations that govern the hazardous waste facilities. We are looking at fire protection practices; we note that there was no automatic fire detection or suppression system to extinguish the blaze after it started; we also note the lack of firewalls to separate hazardous materials from one another. And, there are issues concerning the lack of information available to emergency responders during this incident. We believe that even with the oxygen generators fueling the blaze, had the facility been equipped with automated fire detection and extinguishing systems, this accident may have been avoided."

At the news conference, Investigator Hall played an edited version of a 1997 NTSB ValuJet investigation fire test involving unspent chemical oxygen generators. The generators contain sodium chlorate, which produces oxygen once activated by a small explosive contained in the device. Heat is also a byproduct of the exothermic reaction, and the outside temperature of the generator can reach up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The reaction also may be initiated by heat from other sources. The test video dramatically shows how quickly a fire results and spreads once the oxygen generator contents begin reacting.


The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems. The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA.

OSHA's Hurricane Response and Recovery Resources Available for Storm Season

This summer and fall, hurricane relief employees stand to benefit from OSHA products offering tips on safe and healthful work practices following a storm. 

"In the aftermath of a destructive storm, hazards related to cleanup and recovery efforts can result in injury or death," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "Our publications offer the best advice for employers and employees on protecting themselves from hazards as they work to restore storm-ravaged communities."

. Below are some of the items featured.

  • QuickCards are concise, easy-to-read laminated cards offering information on dozens of different employee hazards or hazardous situations.  Many of OSHA's QuickCards are available in Spanish, with some offered in Vietnamese as well.
  • Fact Sheets offer a comprehensive overview of safety precautions for various hazards and help explain OSHA's regulations applicable to them. 
  • Safety and Health Information Bulletins (SHIBs) inform employers and employees of occupational safety and health issues concerning hazard recognition, evaluation, and control in the workplace and at emergency response sites. 
  •  The eMatrix offers users access to general recommendations, provides sampling and monitoring data, and outlines employer and employee responsibilities for conducting response and recovery operations after a disaster. It also features 29 operation-specific activity sheets that help employers reduce the risk of hazard exposure during various cleanup tasks.


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