OSHA has cited Coreslab Structures for operating unsafe forklifts and other safety hazards at the company's Medley, Fla., facility. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $45,000.
"Forklift accidents are preventable; each year, however, powered industrial trucks are involved in thousands of accidents that injure or kill American workers," said Luis Santiago, OSHA's Ft. Lauderdale area director.
OSHA issued nine serious citations to the pre-cast concrete manufacturer, with proposed penalties of $45,000, for: failing to train forklift operators and require them to wear safety belts; allowing employees to operate trucks that needed repair; and allowing employees, other than the operator, to ride on the equipment. Other cited safety violations included allowing employees to ride on cranes, use unsafe cutting tools and operate machinery without safety guards.
The agency also cited, but did not propose penalties for, the lack of required labels on forklifts, poor housekeeping and some unlabeled hazardous chemicals stored at the facility.
OSHA conducted this inspection last August concurrently with the investigation of a worker's death from carbon monoxide poisoning. Alleged violations in that case, for which OSHA cited Coreslab Structures in November, included exposing workers to carbon monoxide above permissible levels and failing to have alarms that warned workers of elevated levels. Proposed penalties totaled $24,000. In December, the company contested the citations.
How to Find Out if a Product has been Recalled
A new federal web site is now available to help you identify unsafe, hazardous or defective products.
Post OSHA Form 300A Now
Beginning Feb. 1, employers must post a summary of the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred last year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced today. Employers are only required to post the Summary (OSHA Form 300A) -- not the OSHA 300 Log -- from Feb.1 to April 30, 2006.
The summary must list the total numbers of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2005 and were logged on the OSHA 300 form. Employment information about annual average number of employees and total hours worked during the calendar year is also required to assist in calculating incidence rates. Companies with no recordable injuries or illnesses in 2005 must post the form with zeros on the total line. All establishment summaries must be certified by a company executive.
The form is to be displayed in a common area wherever notices to employees are usually posted. Employers must make a copy of the summary available to employees who move from worksite to worksite, such as construction workers, and employees who do not report to any fixed establishment on a regular basis.
Employers with ten or fewer employees and employers in certain industry groups are normally exempt from federal OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping and posting requirements. A complete list of exempt industries in the retail, services, finance and real estate sectors is posted on OSHA's Web site.
Exempted employers may still be selected by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics to participate in an annual statistical survey. All employers covered by OSHA need to comply with safety and health standards and must report verbally within eight hours to the nearest OSHA office all accidents that result in one ore more fatalities or in the hospitalization of three or more employees.
New Guidelines to Help Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes
"Motor vehicle crashes are costly to employers and employees," said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jonathan L. Snare. "This new guidance document will show companies how safe-driving practices and safety-conscious behavior can help employees avoid tragedy."
It features a 10-step program outlining what an employer can do to improve traffic safety performance and minimize the risk of motor vehicle crashes. The document includes success stories from employers who have benefited from effective driver safety programs.
The guidelines include a detailed section on the causes of aggressive, distracted, drowsy and impaired driving, and tips for avoiding such behavior on the road. There is also a sample worksheet for calculating the costs of motor vehicle crashes to employers.
To develop the guidance, OSHA joined forces with NHTSA, the federal agency responsible for helping save lives, prevent injuries and reduce traffic-related health care and other economic costs, and NETS, a nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to traffic safety in the workplace.
OSHA Announces New Partnership to Protect Workers on Cornell University Construction Project
Enhanced safety and health for workers constructing the Life Sciences Building at Cornell University is the goal of a new partnership among OSHA, Skanska USA Building Inc. and 14 building and trades unions working on the project.
"Through this joint effort of government, business and labor, we aim to minimize risks to workers, reduce injury and illness rates and improve construction safety and health throughout the project," said Patricia K. Clark, OSHA regional administrator in New York.
The project, scheduled to last through 2007, involves the construction of a five-story, 280,000 square-foot building and a 500-foot tunnel. At its peak, it will utilize 20 subcontractors and employ 1,500 workers in a variety of trades. Skanska is the construction manager.
The partnership's key goals include eliminating accidents and injuries stemming from major construction hazards, as well as overexposure to silica; zero fatalities; an injury and illness rate 25 percent below the industry average; and eliminating cave-in hazards and accidents, along with underground construction and tunneling hazards.
To accomplish these goals, the partners will conduct mandatory safety training for all workers and supervisors, as well as training in OSHA's underground construction standard. Site-specific safety and health programs will be implemented for all contractors. Weekly safety and health inspections will identify and promptly eliminate hazards. There will also be oversight and inspection of all excavations by a competent person, examination of all work areas for potential silica exposure and effective controls to reduce such exposures.
Signing the partnership were representatives of OSHA, Skanska and the following labor unions: Carpenters Local 281, Electricians Local 241, Elevator Constructors Local 62, Laborers Local 589, Masons Local 3 NY, Heat/Frost, Insulator & Asbestos Workers Local 30, Operating Engineers Local 545, Painters Local 178, Plumbers Local 267, Sheet Metal Workers Local 112, Sprinkler Fitters District 34 Local 669, Iron Workers Local 60, Roofers Local 203 and Glaziers Local 677.
Since the inception of OSHA's Strategic Partnership Program in 1998, more than 388 partnerships have been formed, impacting over 13,000 employers and 573,000 employees across the United States. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.
OSHA Joins with New York State Workers' Compensation Board to Reduce Injuries and Illnesses in Empire State Workplaces
Helping New York State employers reduce and prevent their employees' exposure to workplace safety and health hazards is the goal of a new alliance between OSHA and the New York State Workers' Compensation Board (NYSWCB).
"Our mutual goal is to equip the state's employers and workers with the knowledge to identify workplace hazards and prevent occupational injuries and illnesses," said Patricia K. Clark, OSHA's regional administrator. "We will also inform them about the positive impact of safer workplaces on their bottom line."
Under the alliance, the two agencies will work together to develop and deliver training and education programs to NYSWCB constituents that will utilize job hazard analysis, "safety pays" tools and workers' compensation information. They will also share best practices and effective approaches with industry safety and health professionals.
The alliance will encourage NYSWCB constituents to build relationships with OSHA area offices and will encourage their participation in OSHA's cooperative programs, including the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), safety consultation, strategic partnerships and the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). T
he alliance was signed by Clark; Richard A. Bell, NYSWCB executive director, and the following OSHA area directors: Chris Adams (Syracuse); Diana Cortez (Tarrytown); Arthur Dube (Buffalo); Edward Jerome (Albany); Patricia Jones (Long Island); Robert Kulick (Avenel/Staten Island) and Richard Mendelson (Manhattan).
For more information about OSHA alliances in New York, call OSHA's regional office at (212) 337-2351.
Postal Service Facility in Huron Recognized by OSHA for Excellence in Occupational Safety and Health
OSHA recognized the U.S. Postal Service facility in Huron, S.D., for excellence in their employee safety and health program. The mail processing and distribution facility was designated a VPP "Star" site, the highest level of recognition that OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) offer. To qualify, a site must meet all the safety and health program elements for the VPP program, which far exceed minimum OSHA standards.
"The U.S. Postal Service has long been recognized as a world leader in the effective delivery of letters and parcels, but this award illustrates their commitment to world-class leadership in the area of employee safety and health programs," said Gregory J. Baxter, OSHA regional administrator in Denver. Brad Baptiste, OSHA regional VPP manager, presented a VPP flag and plaque to the U.S. Postal Service staff at the ceremony.
According to Baptiste, among the most noteworthy aspects of the site's program are its comprehensive employee training programs, safety captain system, housekeeping and emergency practice drills.
"The plant has an exceptional system in place to involve front-line employees in daily, pre-shift workplace safety inspections along with employees having significant involvement in every aspect of the site safety and health program," Baptiste said.
OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs offer employers a unique opportunity to move beyond traditional safety programs by recognizing workplaces that successfully incorporate comprehensive safety and health programs into their total management systems. The VPP program is open to deserving employers in any industry.
Requirements for application to VPP, which has approximately 1,400 sites in the country, include a high degree of management support and employee involvement, high-quality worksite hazard analysis, prevention and control programs and comprehensive safety and health training for all employees. Each of these elements must be effective, in place and in operation for at least one year before applying to join the program.
The OSHA Standard for Control of Hazardous Energy Sources
The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) at 29 CFR 1910.14 addresses the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment, thereby preventing the release of hazardous energy while employees perform servicing and maintenance activities. The standard outlines measures for controlling hazardous energies-electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, and other energy sources.
In addition, 29 CFR 1910.333 sets forth requirements to protect employees working on electric circuits and equipment. This section requires workers to use safe work practices, including lockout and tagging procedures. These provisions apply when employees are exposed to electrical hazards while working on, near, or with conductors or systems that use electric energy.