Approximately 13,000 employers have been notified that injury and illness rates at their worksites are higher than average.
Establishments with the nation's highest lost workday injury and illness rates were identified by OSHA through employer-reported data from a 2001 survey of 80,000 worksites (the survey consisted of data from calendar year 2000). The workplaces identified had eight or more injuries or illnesses resulting in lost workdays or restricted activity for every 100 full-time workers; the national average is three instances for the same number of workers.
"This identification process is a proactive tool to raise awareness that injuries and illnesses are high at these facilities," OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw said. "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 businesses so that they address the hazards and reduce occupational injuries and illnesses."
Henshaw sent letters to all employers identified in the survey, and provided copies of their injury and illness data, along with a list of the most frequently violated OSHA standard for their specific industry. While he expressed concern about the high rates, Henshaw also offered the agency's assistance in helping turn the numbers around. Assistance could come from OSHA's on-site consultation program designed to address safety and health issues, the state's workers' compensation agencies, insurance carriers, safety and health consultants, or other internal or external resources which can focus on hazard identification and control. The list does not designate those earmarked for any future inspections. An announcement of targeted inspections will be made later this year. Also, the 13,000 sites are establishments in states covered by federal OSHA. The list does not include employers in the 24 states and two territories that operate their own federally-approved state OSHA programs.
OSHA'S MOST CITED VIOLATIONS FOR FY 2001
In Fiscal Year 2001 (October 1, 2000 through September 30, 2001), OSHA cited violations of the following standards most often:
- Written hazard communication program (1910.1200(e)(1))
- Machine guarding to be provided (types) (1910.212(a)(1))
- First aid - corrosives - eye wash facilities (1910.151(c))
- Machine guarding - point of operation (1910.212(a)(1))
- Hazardous chemicals - info and training (1910.1200(h))
- Training on new chemical hazards (1910.1200(h)(1))
- Material safety data sheets available (1910.1200(g)(1))
- Compulsory lockout-tagout program (1910.147(c)(4)(1))
- Protect open-sided floors, runways, etc. (1910.23(c)(1))
- Documenting energy control procedures (1910.147(c)(4)(1))
- Conductors must be protected (1910.305(b)(1))
- Abrasive wheel adjustment (1910.215(b)(9))
OSHA UNVEILS NEW WEBPAGE FOR SPANISH-SPEAKING EMPLOYERS AND WORKERS
A new Spanish web page will help OSHA reach out to non-English speaking employers and workers, Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced.
"Job safety and health depends on employees and employers knowing what they must do to ensure workplace protections," said Chao. "That starts with understanding vital, basic information about preventing injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Through our new Spanish page, millions more employers and workers in this country will have access to information they can use to make their workplaces safer."
The web page initially focuses on several areas: an overview of OSHA and its mission; how to file complaints electronically in Spanish; worker and employer rights and responsibilities; and a list of resources for employers and workers. The new page features highlights from the agency's extensive website and offers one-stop service for Spanish-speaking employers and employees. Additional information will be added in months to come.
"One of our top priorities is expanded outreach and education," Chao said. "More than 10 million Americans speak little or no English, and one in five Americans does not speak English at home. Too many of these workers, especially Spanish-speaking workers, have experienced on-the-job injuries, illnesses and fatalities."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2000 the fatality rate for Hispanic employees climbed by more than 11 percent, while deaths for all other groups declined. OSHA is concerned about the safety of Spanish-speaking workers and has established an ongoing effort to reach across language barriers to employers and workers to reduce injuries, illnesses and deaths on the job
NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL OFFERS FIRST AID AND CPR ONLINE
The National Safety Council (NSC) announced it is the first national organization offering First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training via the Internet to help employers, employees, families and health professionals respond to emergencies at work, at home and on the road.
Seven courses and course combinations are currently offered: Basic First Aid and CPR, First Aid Standard, Adult CPR, First Aid and CPR Standard, Adult and Pediatric CPR, Professional Rescuer CPR and Automated External Defibrillation. The Basic First Aid and CPR course, designed for families and individuals not requiring certification, is priced at $14.95. The price of the other courses and course combinations is $24.95 - $32.95 each, with group discounts available. Health professionals and others can earn certification by completing hands-on skills training/testing sessions at one of the National Safety Council's 4,000 training centers in the United States.
Future online courses and course combinations include Bloodborne Pathogens and Adult CPR and AED.
MSHA ISSUES NEW RULES ON DPM EXPOSURE
The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a final rule addressing miners' exposure to diesel particulate matter (DPM) in underground metal and nonmetal mining operations. Two new provisions published today clarify and amend requirements addressed in the comprehensive rule governing exposure to DPM at metal and nonmetal mines, issued in January 2001.
The final rule specifies what evidence a miner needs to determine tagging of diesel equipment for prompt examination. The rule clarifies the term "evidence" to mean visible smoke or odor that is unusual for the equipment under normal operating procedures, or obvious or visible defects in the exhaust emissions control system or in the diesel engine. The rule also clarifies "prompt" to mean before the end of the next shift during which a qualified mechanic is scheduled to work.
The final rule also clarifies that mine operators can transfer diesel engines or equipment from the inventory of one underground mine to another underground mine operated by the same mine operator.
DPM is a microscopic-size particle found in diesel exhaust. Underground miners are exposed to far higher concentrations of this substance that any other group of workers. Overexposure to high concentrations of DPM results in a variety of serious health problems, including diseases such as lung cancer, heart failure and other cardiopulmonary problems.
WORKER'S DEATH IN EXPLOSION LEADS TO OSHA FINES FOR IOWA AND WISCONSIN FIRMS
A company's failure to ensure the safe handling of binary explosives that resulted in the death of a worker at the J. P. Madgett Power Generation Station in Alma, Wis., has led to citations by OSHA. The proposed penalties total $227,850.
OSHA issued citations to two companies that alleged willful, serious, and other-than-serious safety and health violations after the fatal explosion last August. Philip Services/North Central Inc., based in Camanche, Iowa, was issued proposed penalties of $133,350 and Dairyland Power Cooperative in Alma was issued proposed penalties of $94,500.
Philip Services/North Central Inc., under contract with Dairyland Power Cooperative, was responsible for cleaning the inside of the boiler through the use of explosives, grit, or hydro blasting. The fatal explosion occurred when a binary explosive charge was detonated while in the possession of a Philip Services/North Central Inc. employee.
"This tragedy could have been prevented if safety requirements had been followed," said Charles Burin, OSHA area director in Eau Claire, Wis. "A failure to take adequate precautions before detonating explosives was a significant factor in this fatal explosion."
OSHA issued a willful citation to Philip Services/North Central Inc. for failing to follow safety procedures for blasting operations. The alleged serious citations were related to safety requirements for the use of explosives, lack of a site-specific respiratory protection program, hazardous work in confined spaces, inadequate emergency rescue services, inadequate procedures for group lockout/tagout, and bloodborne pathogen requirements.
OSHA issued a willful citation to Dairyland Power Cooperative for failing to follow safety requirements for work in permit-required confined spaces. The alleged serious violations related to safety requirements for lockout/tagout, periodic inspections, rescue procedures, bloodborne pathogens, hazard communication training, and insufficient updates on a chemical hygiene plan.
The companies have 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to contest the citations and proposed penalties with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission or to request an informal conference with the area director.