OSHA Interprets “On Site” in Process Safety Management Standard

June 11, 2007

The meaning of "on site in one location" was at issue in a recent case before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Motiva Enterprises, 21 BNA OSHC 1696 (OSHRC No. 02-2160, 2006). In that decision the Review Commission queried whether that language was meant to limit in some way the applicability of the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals  to a highly hazardous-chemical process. In the absence of an authoritative interpretation, the Review Commission decided it could not determine that the cited activities were "on site" and "in one location," and it vacated the citations.


OSHA Cites Kate Corp. $150,000 Following Amputation

OSHA has proposed $150,700 in fines against Kate Corp. of Berea, OH for two willful and 21 serious alleged violations of federal workplace safety standards.

OSHA opened an investigation in December 2006 following the amputation of an assembly employee's thumb and discovered numerous alleged safety violations at the plant where metal stamping, fabricated metal products, and welded assemblies are manufactured.

"Metal stamping and assembly plants are potentially dangerous workplaces," said Rob Medlock, director of OSHA's area office in Cleveland. "Employers must remain committed to keeping the workplace safe and healthful or face close scrutiny by this agency."

OSHA issued citations for two willful violations with proposed penalties of $112,000 for alleged failure to provide point of operation guarding to the side and back sections of 18 mechanical power presses, and for not providing brake monitoring and control reliability for 15 mechanical presses where the operation required operators to do hand-in die feeding.

OSHA also issued citations for 21 serious violations with proposed penalties of $38,700 for a variety of violations. In addition to storing oxygen and acetylene gas cylinders together, issues covered in these citations include failure to fully enclose or guard band saws used to cut metal products; to provide appropriate machine guarding for press brakes, lathe machines, rivet machines, belts and pulleys, a metal shear and a pipe bender; and to provide training, communication, and certification on the energy control program for affected employees.

Kate Corp. is a supplier to a range of businesses dealing with military vehicles, golf carts, commercial lighting, and numerous other products, and employs 60 permanent workers. On three previous occasions, OSHA inspected this company under the name J.B. Medias Mfg. Co. and issued, as a result, 18 serious, one repeat, five other-than-serious and one failure-to-abate violations.

OSHA Cites Steel Erection Companies for Continued Exposure of Employees to Fall Hazards

OSHA has proposed $123,750 in penalties against Fast-J Steel Erectors and Magna Steel Erectors for serious and repeat safety violations committed while constructing a metal building near Gadsden, Ala. Both companies are based in Houston, Tex., and have the same owner.

Under an agency regional emphasis program focused on reducing falls in the construction industry, an OSHA compliance officer initiated an inspection after observing fall hazards at the site.

"These companies placed their employees' lives at risk by allowing unsafe working conditions," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham. "Falls are a leading cause of death in construction and most are preventable if companies follow the proper procedures."

OSHA proposed a $105,750 penalty against Fast-J Steel Erectors for two serious and three repeat safety violations. Serious violations included the company's failure to conduct frequent and regular inspections of the jobsite and their employees' failure to wear protective head gear. The repeat violations included lack of fall protection while on the structure, lack of fall protection while using aerial lifts, and climbing onto and over railings while engaged in steel erection activities. Inspectors cited the company for similar hazards in 2006.

OSHA has determined that Fast-J Steel Erectors falls under its Enhanced Enforcement Program, which targets employers indifferent to their obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970.

Magna Steel Erectors was cited for four serious safety violations with a proposed penalty of $18,000 for using unsafe electrical equipment, a lack of fall protection on aerial lifts, improper installation of a fall protection system and not securing the building's framework before placing construction loads on the steel.

OSHA Cites Two Companies in Connection with November 2006 Explosion in Danvers, Mass.

OSHA has cited C.A.I. Inc. and Arnel Co. for a combined total of 23 alleged serious violations of workplace health and safety standards in connection with the Nov. 22, 2006, explosion that destroyed the companies' Danvers, Mass., manufacturing facilities.

The citations address alleged violations of OSHA standards governing the storage, transfer and use of flammable liquids and, in C.A.I.'s case, the safe management of processes utilizing more than 10,000 pounds of flammable liquids. Failure to comply with these standards exposes employees to fire and explosion hazards.

OSHA cited both companies for failing to have flammable liquid storage tanks vent to outside the building, inadequate ventilation in areas where flammable liquids were mixed, and failing to limit the spread of flammable vapors. The companies also were cited for storing and transferring flammable liquids in the production area, use of unapproved forklifts in flammable areas, and fire doors that were routinely closed and not properly reset in the open position.

C.A.I., which manufactured solvent-based printing inks, was cited for improper transfer of flammable liquids, and for not ensuring that all piping and connections to storage tanks were able to prevent leaks during fires. In addition, the company was cited for not meeting requirements of OSHA's Process Safety Management standard, including not developing a hazard analysis for mixing processes, not training and involving employees in process safety management, not certifying that its operating processes were current and accurate, and lack of procedures to manage changes to the process.

Arnel, which manufactured solvent-based stains and coatings, was cited for an emergency exit route that passed through a high-hazard area, improper disposal of flammable cleaning rags, unlabeled underground storage tanks, and failure to develop a safety and health program to minimize fire and explosion risks for employees working with large amounts of flammable liquids.

As a result of these conditions, C.A.I. Inc. was issued 13 serious citations, with $18,000 in proposed fines, while Arnel Co. was issued 10 serious citations with $14,100 in proposed fines.

OSHA Renews Alliance with National Association of Home Builders

. The alliance will continue to address safety and health issues including fall, electrical, struck-by, and other safety hazards.

"OSHA and NAHB have done a great job helping the residential construction industry to protect employees through seminars, publications, and workgroups," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "More than 800,000 industry professionals have been reached through OSHA's Residential Construction Industry Safety and Health Topics page, NAHB events and the OSHA and NAHB Web sites."

"NAHB is proud to be renewing the successful NAHB-OSHA alliance as part of our commitment to improving construction safety in the home building industry," said Sandy Dunn, first vice president of NAHB and a home builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va. "The safety training materials and seminars that have been produced through this alliance, such as the NAHB-OSHA Jobsite Safety Handbook, have already made a positive impact on employee safety."

Through the alliance, NAHB members and staff sit on the editorial board of the Residential Construction Safety and Health Topics page which is a product of this alliance. In addition, OSHA and NAHB representatives have participated in numerous events such as the International Builders' Show in 2004 and 2007, the 2005 and 2006 National Safety Council Congress & Expo, and the 2004 NAHB State and Local Government Affairs Conference.

OSHA Renews Alliance with American Association of Occupational Health Nurses

. The alliance provides AAOHN members and others, including large and small businesses, with information and guidance about workplace hazard preparedness and security issues, such as workplace violence, musculoskeletal disorders, bloodborne pathogens and personal protective equipment. This alliance was originally signed in 2003 and renewed in 2005.

"AAOHN is pleased to renew this alliance which gives us an opportunity to work together with OSHA on training and education, outreach, and communication, and promotion of the national dialogue on workplace safety and health," said AAOHN President Richard Kowalski. "We are committed to working together with OSHA to promote safe work environments that prevent employee illness and injuries."

Through the alliance, OSHA and AAOHN representatives sit on the editorial boards of six of the agency's Safety and Health Topics Web pages such as bloodborne pathogens and needlestick prevention, medical screening and surveillance, occupational health professionals, and tuberculosis. AAOHN also supported and promoted the 2007 North American Occupational Safety and Health Week and OSHA's 2007 Teen Summer Job Safety campaign. OSHA representatives participated in the AAOHN Symposium and Expo in 2006 and 2007.

OSHA Proposes To Update Personal Protective Equipment Standards

. These proposed revisions are a continuation of OSHA's effort to update references to specific consensus and industry standards located throughout the agency's standards. OSHA is accepting comments until July 16. See the Federal Register notice for complete instructions on submitting comments.

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