OSHA Confirms Effective Date of Direct Final Rule on Updated Standards

April 07, 2008

The effective date of OSHA’s direct final rule on updated standards based on National Consensus Standards has been confirmed. The rule updates standards such as 29 CFR 1910, Subpart H (Hazardous Materials); 29 CFR 1910, Subpart Q (Welding, Cutting, and Brazing); and 29 CFR 1910, Subpart R (Special Industries). It also removes a reference to American Welding Society Standard A3.0-1969 (Terms and Definitions) and eliminates several references to consensus standards that duplicate or are comparable to other OSHA rules.

Webcast Focuses on Personal Protective Equipment


To help clarify OSHA’s PPE Standard, the National Safety Council (NSC) will host a webcast on April 23, 2008, from 10 to 11 a.m., Central time. Jim Maddux from OSHA’s Directorate of Standards and Guidance will present a 60-minute interactive Web-based seminar that explains the guidelines OSHA published in this regulation.

In addition, Maddux will answer compliance questions on the PPE Standard. 

Preventing Construction Falls Through Telemundo’s Prime-Time Drama

Beginning on April 1, a series of episodes in Telemundo’s prime-time drama “Pecados Ajenos” is highlighting the causes, consequences, and ways to prevent common construction falls. These falls are preventable but are the leading cause of workplace death for construction workers.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are working in partnership with The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), Hollywood, Health and Society, and the Spanish-language network Telemundo to develop and evaluate a new approach to disseminating workplace safety and health information to the Hispanic population. The storyline in part of Telemundo’s hit show “Pecados Ajenos” (on weeknights at 10 p.m.), is intended to raise awareness among Spanish-speaking construction workers, and their friends and families, about the safety risks they face at work and how to prevent them.

The focus of the storyline was determined by a few basic facts:

  • More than 2 million Latinos work in the U.S. construction industry.
  • Every day, four construction workers die on the job, and one of them is Latino.
  • Falls are the most common cause of fatal injuries to construction workers.
  • The consequences of a fall affect not only the worker, but also his family and community.

Construction falls can be prevented. Contractors and foremen can do many things to organize the worksite to be safer for their employees. But workers themselves can also make some inexpensive, simple changes to the way they work that can save their lives.

Ladders are one of the most common pieces of equipment on a construction site. But that doesn’t mean they are safe. Construction workers are injured or killed falling from a height every day. Using ladders more safely is one way to start preventing falls at a construction work site. 

Stonyfield Farm Blueberry Fat-Free Yogurt Recalled Due to Glass Fragments

Stonyfield Farm has announced a voluntary recall of its organic nonfat blueberry yogurt due to glass fragments in the products. Consumer protection officials have said that although the company does not believe the problem is widespread and there have been no reports of injury, it is recalling the products to ensure the safety of its consumers.

Recalled products include 6-ounce Fat-Free Blueberry yogurt with the following dates printed on the bottom of the cup along with the product code: Apr 14 08, Apr 15 08, April 25 08, and Apr 26 08.

Stonyfield advised its distribution network to remove the products from store shelves immediately. The product is sold at natural food stores and major grocery retailers nationwide. Consumers are advised to return opened and unopened containers to their retailers for reimbursement.

Consumers with questions should contact Stonyfield Farm Consumer Relations at 1-800-PRO-COWS, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunglasses Recalled Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

 Consumers should stop using this recalled product immediately.

Approximately 144,000 of the children’s sunglasses have been distributed by StyleMark Inc., of Ormond Beach, Fla. The sunglasses have been available at Payless, Walgreen’s, Academy Sports, and CVS stores nationwide from October 2007 through March 2008 for between $6 and $9.

Surface paint in the orange lettering on the temples of the sunglasses contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. The sunglasses were made in China.

The recalled children’s sunglasses have Main Street Drag characters on the bottom of one lens. The sunglass frames have dark metallic blue or dark metallic red fronts and gray checkered sides. “Main Street Drag” is printed in orange at the temples. Style number DI25K7116 is printed on the left temple. No other styles are included in this recall.

Consumers should take the recalled sunglasses away from children and contact StyleMark for instructions on returning the sunglasses for a free replacement pair. 

Success Story in OSHA Region V

In March, an OSHA inspection team from the Cleveland area office averted a potential hazard at a manufacturing facility when the compliance officer’s carbon monoxide (CO) dosimeter sounded, indicating a high level of CO. The level of CO was at 226 parts per million (ppm).  It was determined that the sources of the CO were the forklifts and semitrucks idling just outside the facility’s doors. The employer immediately evacuated the building and no injuries were reported.

More Information Posted on OSHA’s Events Webpage

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Hazards of Employees Who Are Impaired From the Use of Alcohol or Drugs

Potential injuries, illnesses, and fatalities may not always result from workplace equipment and materials. Employees who are impaired from the use of alcohol or drugs threaten the safety and well-being of everyone at their worksite. OSHA understands that a drug-free work environment can improve the safety and health of employees and add value to American businesses.

In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month, OSHA is reminding employers to develop and implement a drug-free workplace program. 

Through these programs and products, OSHA is committed to helping employers promote safe and healthy working conditions.

Howard Fertilizer & Chemical Co. Cited for 23 Safety Violations

OSHA has cited Howard Fertilizer & Chemical Co.’s Groveland, Fla., facility with 23 safety violations and has proposed $236,000 in penalties against the company.

“This company is putting its employees’ lives at risk by failing to correct serious safety hazards and to educate its employees about these hazards,” said Les Grove, OSHA’s area director in Tampa.

OSHA has cited the fertilizer manufacturer with failing to fully abate three hazards that OSHA had identified during a previous inspection. The agency has proposed $138,000 in penalties against the company for not informing and training employees about recognized dangers, not installing standard railings on open-sided catwalks, and exposing employees to confined spaces and electrical hazards.

The company has been cited with 12 repeat violations carrying $72,000 in proposed penalties for failing to provide fall protection, not instituting lockout procedures (to prevent accidental energization start-ups) and machine guards on equipment, and exposing employees to numerous electrical hazards.

Eight serious safety violations have been noted and $26,000 in penalties have been proposed against the company for failing to properly maintain catwalks, roof support beams, and electrical equipment.

OSHA Issues $224,000 Fine After Employee Falls Through Skylight

OSHA has issued eight citations for alleged safety and health violations against Winter’s Architectural Roofing Co., based in Carbon Cliff, Ill., following an investigation after the death of one employee. Proposed penalties total $224,000.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois at Rock Island also charged Stephen Vyncke, a superintendent employed by Winter’s, for allegedly obstructing OSHA’s investigation of the accident. Obstruction of an agency proceeding is a felony offense.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration applauds the U.S. Attorney’s decision to prosecute Vyncke because it sends a strong message that obstructing an OSHA investigation is a serious offense that will not be tolerated,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Edwin G. Foulke Jr.

On Oct. 10, 2007, an employee was killed when he fell 16 feet through a skylight. OSHA issued eight willful citations to the company for its failure to provide fall protection in hoisting areas and on low-sloped roofs; failing to cover skylight openings to prevent falls; and not training employees about fall hazards. Seven of the citations allege per-instance willful violations of three OSHA requirements. A willful violation is defined as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

Prior to this investigation, OSHA inspected Winter’s Architectural Roofing in 2002, resulting in a serious citation for failing to provide fall protection during roofing operations. The company has been in business since 1937.

Head-Start Children and Parents Benefit From EPA Asthma Outreach in Philadelphia

EPA staff gave a presentation to Head Start students and their parents at the Paul L. Dunbar Public Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa., to teach about asthma, its environmental triggers, and to help asthma sufferers lessen the gravity and frequency of their attacks through an asthma management plan.

A special DVD “Arthur goes to the Doctor” navigated the young viewers through a guided tour of Arthur’s lungs, introducing them to the causes and effects of asthma.


FAA Announces Improvements to Inspection Program

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Acting Administrator Robert A. Sturgell has announced the results of a safety audit that revealed 99% airline compliance with Airworthiness Directives (ADs). He also announced internal plans to (1) enable inspectors to raise their concerns quickly and at a higher level, (2) toughen ethical standards for inspectors to prevent conflicts of interest, (3) enhance airline safety by improving the clarity and coordination of directives issued by the FAA to air carriers, (4) require reporting of voluntary disclosures to be made by senior airline officials, and (5) speed up the expansion of our comprehensive aviation safety database.

“We are currently experiencing the safest period in aviation history,” Sturgell stated. “That’s not chance. It’s not a miracle. It’s the result of an entire industry making safety its driving focus. However, we have found ways to increase the accountability of all parties—the FAA included—and strengthen both the reporting role and the regulatory process.”

Each year the FAA issues about 250 Airworthiness Directives (ADs) on more than 83 different airplane and engine models requiring air carriers to correct potentially unsafe conditions. Compliance deadlines range from immediate action before further flight to days, months, or years depending on the severity and complexity of the safety issue. Air carriers are required to fully comply with all of these legally enforceable directives.

The actions in the FAA announcement include:

  • Development of the Safety Issues Reporting System (SIRS) to be implemented by April 30, 2008, which will provide employees an additional mechanism to raise safety concerns if they feel they are not receiving the necessary airing or response from supervisory and management personnel. This is in addition to existing channels, including the Administrator’s Hotline and Safety Hotline.
  • By June 30, the FAA will initiate a rulemaking project to address ethics policies that enhance inspector post-employment restrictions, bringing them in line with or exceeding existing restrictions for other federal employees. Currently, FAA prohibits new inspectors who are hired from an airline from overseeing that airline for a period of two years.
  • The Aviation Safety Organization is working with the manufacturers and air carriers to develop a system to improve the clarity of ADs to ensure effective implementation by the industry.
  • Requiring that reports detailing compliance deviations under the Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program are submitted by senior airline officials, such as the Director of Safety, the Director of Operations, or the Director of Maintenance, to ensure there is awareness and sensitivity at the highest level.
  • Accelerating the expansion of the Aviation Safety and Analysis Sharing Program. With all 117 carriers participating in the Air Transportation and Oversight System (ATOS), the expansion will provide a new blend of data that will afford an additional look at nationwide trends.

Acting Administrator Sturgell also announced the results of a recent audit that found U.S. air carriers are complying with 99% of nearly 2,400 audits of ADs sampled by safety inspectors.

Since 1998, the FAA has used the risk-based Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS) to oversee the nation’s air carriers. Air carriers are responsible for operating at the highest level of safety, and FAA inspectors use their skills and knowledge to monitor and enforce compliance with federal regulations. ATOS takes a proactive approach that goes beyond just ensuring compliance with regulations. The FAA continues to take enforcement action when air carriers do not comply with regulations.

“The results show that our overall program is working and delivering incredibly high levels of compliance and record levels of safety,” Sturgell concluded. “These new action items provide new tracking mechanisms and avenues for communication that will be vital additions to the data-driven system.”

Agreement Announced on Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association have signed an agreement to create an Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP), designed to foster a voluntary, cooperative, non-punitive environment for the open reporting of safety of flight concerns by FAA employees.

Under the ATSAP, all parties will have access to valuable safety information that may not otherwise be obtainable. This information is to be analyzed in order to develop skill enhancement or system corrective action to help solve safety issues.

 “I am gratified that the Air Traffic Controller segment of our workforce will now be able to volunteer information that will help us define conditions or circumstances that could lead to safety issues,” FAA Acting Administrator Robert Sturgell said. “This system, which is in place throughout the industry, lets us know immediately when we have issues. We can dissect them together, find causes, spot trends, and implement solutions.

“Creating an atmosphere where controllers and their managers can identify, report and correct safety issues will go a long way in helping us further improve our safety record,” Sturgell said.

The agreement is for 18 months and will begin at several targeted facilities. If the program is determined to be successful after a comprehensive review and evaluation, both sides intend for it to be a continuing program.

OSHA and Consigli Construction Form Safety and Health Partnership

OSHA has formed a partnership with Consigli Construction Co. Inc. to enhance the safety and health of employees constructing the new Penobscot County Judicial Center in Bangor, Maine.

“This partnership is a strong effort to preempt hazards and reduce injury and illness levels,” said Marthe Kent, OSHA’s regional administrator for New England. “It will emphasize training and a proactive analytical approach that will identify and eliminate potentially hazardous conditions before they hurt employees.”

The project involves the construction of a 900,000-square-foot structure that will incorporate seven courtrooms and a parking garage. Under the partnership, Milford, Mass.-based Consigli, the project’s general contractor, will develop and implement a comprehensive safety and health program that equals or exceeds OSHA guidelines.

The program will include employee involvement; effective employee training, including weekly, documented safety training; participation in OSHA’s 10-hour construction safety course by all site supervisors and employees; and documented safety inspections. Data will be collected to analyze injury and illness trends, including “near miss” incidents, so as to continually improve safety and health and help all contractors develop “zero tolerance” for hazards.

“Everyone on this project will be working toward two goals: constructing an important addition to Maine’s judicial infrastructure and doing the job in the safest, healthiest manner possible,” said William Coffin, OSHA’s area director for Maine.

OSHA’s Strategic Partnership Program is part of U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao’s ongoing efforts to improve the health and safety of employees through cooperative relationships with trade associations, labor organizations, employers, and employees. More than 1.4 million employees and more than 26,000 employers across the United States have participated with OSHA in more than 530 strategic partnerships since the program began in 1998.

OSHA Launches Alliance With Roofing, Heating, and Metal Contractors Association

OSHA and the Roofing, Heating & Metal Contractors Association have joined resources to promote workplace safety and health for employees in the local roofing industry. The Roofing, Heating & Metal Contractors Association represents approximately 20 small roofing contractors working throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan region. Through the alliance, OSHA will work with the association to exchange information on the best safety and health practices in the roofing industry.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to reach out to small business owners with guidance on fundamental safety and health issues that may arise during their routine work activity,” OSHA Philadelphia Area Office Director Albert D’Imperio said. “Fall hazards remain the leading cause of fatal accidents and injuries in the construction industry. With a focus on education and training, this alliance will allow us to work closely with employers to reduce employee exposure to falls, as well as address other recognized roofing hazards.”

OSHA’s Philadelphia Area Office, which has jurisdiction over Philadelphia, Delaware, and Chester counties, is participating in the alliance. The office may be reached at 215-597-4955. This agreement establishes one of more than 470 alliances with OSHA nationwide.

Warehouse and Distribution Center Safety Is Focus of Alliance Between OSHA and Tampa Area Safety Council

OSHA has formed a new alliance with the Tampa Area Safety Council to reduce employee injuries at warehousing and distribution centers in Central Florida.

“Working together, we can help employers and employees recognize and reduce safety and health hazards at warehouses and distribution centers,” said Les Grove, OSHA’s area director in Tampa. “Proper storage and correct maintenance and operation of material handling equipment are essential in preventing ‘struck-by’ injuries to warehousing employees.”

The term “struck by” refers to injuries that occur when employees are hit sharply by moving objects or equipment.

A key goal of the alliance is the development and increased availability of effective safety and health training, including new educational materials focused on struck-by prevention, emergency planning, fleet safety, and safety and health management systems.

Through the alliance, a steering committee of safety and health community leaders will be established to develop mentoring tools and outreach products for small businesses in the warehousing and distribution industries. Particular attention will be paid to hard-to-reach employees, including those who do not speak English.

Companies and groups interested in learning more about OSHA’s activities to improve employee safety and health in Central Florida may contact OSHA’s area office in Tampa at 813-626-1177.

OSHA Forms Alliance With Central Ohio Golf Course Superintendents Association

OSHA and the Central Ohio Golf Course Superintendents Association (COGCSA) have formed an alliance to provide a safer and more healthful working environment for employees and reduce injuries and illnesses at the 150 golf courses the COGCSA represents throughout central Ohio.

“This agreement provides an opportunity for OSHA and the association to come together and demonstrate that we all benefit when management, labor, and government dedicate themselves to providing a safe and healthy work environment,” said Debora Zubaty, OSHA’s area director in Columbus. “We all want every employee to go home healthy and uninjured at the end of the day.”

OSHA and the COGCSA will work to continually improve workplace environment, particularly in reducing and preventing hazards related to mower and golf cart rollovers, chemical exposure, and electrical and other hazards. The alliance specifically will target Hispanic and teen employees within the industry.

The COGCSA is a professional, nonprofit organization founded by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Its mission is to provide members a network of opportunities to share experiences about the maintenance and upkeep of golf courses and contribute to the game of golf. The association currently has 200 members representing more than 2,000 employees.

Capital City Wellness Project Launched

About 35,000 employees of state and local government and businesses who work in downtown Topeka, Kan., will have the opportunity to participate in a new initiative to promote physical activity and improved nutrition.

The Capital City Wellness Project, launched April 4, will promote physical activity and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables through monthly themed walks, fun activities on Topeka’s Capitol lawn, and cooking events at the Wednesday Farmers’ market. The project will focus on topics such as reducing stress through physical activity; how to select, store, and prepare a variety of fruits and vegetables; and more.

The project is funded by the Sunflower Foundation, led by delegates from approximately 35 downtown Topeka organizations, and coordinated by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) as part of the Governor’s Healthy Kansas Initiative.

Agency and business leaders took the first walk on Friday to demonstrate their support of employees who wish to make physical activity during breaks a part of their daily routine.

“Personal wellness involves eating right and participating in physical activity,” stated Jennifer Church, Nutrition and Physical Activity Coordinator with the KDHE Office of Health Promotion. “In general, people should be active for at least 30 minutes and consume a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.”

According to the 2006 Kansas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, more than 60% of Kansans are overweight or obese, 51% do not participate in the recommended amount of physical activity, and 80% do not consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Exercise and eating the proper amounts of fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and many types of cancer.


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