OSHA is Revising Fit-Testing Procedures for Respirators

January 26, 2009

OSHA has proposed revised fit tests for determining the effectiveness of respiratory protection facemasks.. The rule proposes two revised fit-test procedures under OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard.

. Some tests expose wearers to airborne agents to determine if they can detect them and other tests use a machine to measure how much of a test agent leaks into a respirator. The proposed revisions would allow certain machine-based fit tests to be conducted more quickly and increase the required score for passing them.


NIOSH Extends Public Comment Period on Respiratory Protection Topics Through January 31

The NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) conducted a public meeting on Dec. 2, 2008, to discuss current respirator standards development projects for powered, air-purifying respirators (PAPR); air-fed suits; and open-circuit, self-contained breathing apparatus remaining service-life indicators—known in the Fire Service as end-of-service-life indicators (SCBA EOSTI).

NPPTL is extending the stakeholder comment period for these topics through Jan. 31, 2009.

Information regarding these topics:



DHHS Extends Comment Period on Proposed Rules for Respirator Requirements

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is extending the comment period and will hold public meetings concerning the proposed rule for Quality Assurance Requirements for Respirators that was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 10, 2008 , and for the proposed rule for Approval Tests and Standards for Closed-Circuit Escape Respirators that was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 10, 2008).

The original deadline to submit written comments on the proposed rules was Feb. 9, 2009. This deadline has now been extended until March 11, 2009.

OSHA to Publish Occupational Exposure Limits for Diacetyl and Food Flavorings Containing Diacetyl

The proposal seeks public comments on issues related to occupational exposure to diacetyl and food flavorings containing diacetyl, including the relationship between exposure to diacetyl and the development of adverse health effects; methods to evaluate and monitor exposure; methods to control exposure; employee training; medical observation for adverse health effects related to diacetyl exposure; and related topics.

OSHA will accept public comments on the proposed rule for 90 days. 

OSHA Proposes $119,000 in Penalties Against WDG Construction Inc. for Endangering Employees

OSHA is proposing $119,000 in penalties against WDG Construction Inc. for seven safety violations that exposed their employees to possible injury or death at two of its construction sites in Florida.

OSHA is proposing two willful citations with $99,000 in penalties after inspections conducted in July and August 2008 revealed that the Wesley Chapel, Fla., company violated OSHA standards by failing to provide employees with protection from cave-ins while they worked in trenches. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The agency is proposing a repeat violation with an $8,000 penalty after it found that material excavated from a trench was placed too close to the edge of the excavation, making it possible for the soil to fall back into the trench where employees were working. The company had been cited for a similar violation following a 2007 inspection.

Four serious violations with penalties totaling $12,000 are being proposed for the company’s failure to control water from seeping and accumulating in trenches, not providing proper ladders for employees working in trenches, not training employees to recognize unsafe conditions, and failing to instruct employees in ladder safety.

OSHA Proposes More Than $100,000 in Penalties Against Anderson Construction of Nebraska

OSHA has cited Anderson Construction, a licensed water and sewer pipe installation contractor, for violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and has proposed $111,600 in penalties against the company. The citations have been issued following an investigation in the wake of a trench collapse that injured five workers. The investigation found three alleged willful and six alleged serious violations of the act.

The alleged willful violations stem from the company’s failure to provide a safe means of access to the trench, failure to move the excavated spoil pile from the trench edge, and for failure to provide a cave-in protection system where the trench collapsed on the employees. OSHA issues a willful violation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The alleged serious violations stem from failing to instruct employees about hazards inherent to the work performed and chemicals used at the worksite. The company also failed to address the procedures for and necessity of testing confined space air content. Furthermore, trench shoring equipment and a ladder were used improperly at other locations within the trench. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard that an employer knew or should have known about.

OSHA Proposes $56,700 in Fines for University of Rochester LaserLab Following August Accident

OSHA has cited the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics for nine alleged serious safety violations and proposed $56,700 in fines against the laboratory as a result of an Aug. 6, 2008, accident that seriously injured an employee.

The employee was servicing a pressurized diagnostic device for the OMEGA laser known as the Light Pipe when it exploded. OSHA’s inspection found deficiencies regarding the design, installation, and operator training for the Light Pipe and the compressed gas system of which it was a part. OSHA has cited the lab for failing to safeguard employees against recognized explosion hazards associated with assembly, disassembly, pressurizing, evacuating, and monitoring activities for the Light Pipe.

“While this machinery is singular, the underlying safety concerns are basic and vital,” said Arthur Dube, OSHA’s area director in Buffalo. “Effective steps must be taken and maintained to eliminate any conditions that could contribute to a recurrence of this unfortunate and grave accident. One element of this could be an effective safety and health management system through which employees and management work together to evaluate, identify, and eliminate workplace hazards.”

Specifically, the laboratory has been cited for failing to keep the Light Pipe gas tight or provide it with a pressure-relief device to prevent an instantaneous uncontrolled gas leak; failing to have the compressed gas system designed by a competent person; an improper gas pressure regulating device; housing the compressed gas cylinder in a place where it was exposed to damage; improper installation of the platform plate from which the Light Pipe was attached; having unqualified persons work on the compressed gas system; lack of eye, face, and hand protection; and not evaluating the work area for hazards.

OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

A.P. Dailey Custom Laminating Inc. Issued 34 Serious Citations and $44,500 in OSHA Fines Following Amputation

OSHA has cited A.P. Dailey Custom Laminating Inc. of Windham, N.H., for 34 alleged serious violations of workplace safety and health standards. The manufacturer of custom kitchen cabinets and countertops faces a total of $44,500 in proposed fines following OSHA inspections prompted by an Aug. 1, 2008, accident in which a company employee lost two fingers while operating an unguarded saw.

“These citations highlight a cross-section of mechanical, chemical, electrical, health, and fire hazards that need to be addressed promptly, completely, and effectively,” said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA’s area director for New Hampshire. “Failure to correct these conditions exposes employees to the dangers of fire, explosion, laceration, crushing, eye injuries, and hazardous substances.”

In connection with the accident, OSHA found that the saw used by the employee, as well as other saws in the workplace, lacked guarding to prevent employee contact with their blades. The inspection also identified deficiencies in required safeguards for employees who responded to and cleaned up blood after the accident, including lack of an exposure control plan to eliminate or minimize employees’ exposure to bloodborne pathogens, lack of employee training, not offering the Hepatitis B vaccine to exposed employees, and failure to disinfect surfaces contaminated with blood.

OSHA also cited the company for hazards related to the design, construction, and location of its dust collection system; unguarded machinery; not training employees in the operation of fork trucks and in fire extinguisher use; lack of eye, face, and hand protection; unapproved electrical installations in areas with flammable or combustible materials and liquids; lack of a written respiratory protection program and deficiencies in respirator selection, use, storage, maintenance, and training; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; and no exposure determination, protective clothing, eyewash, and hazard information for employees working with methylene chloride.

FDA Updates Information on Recall of Products Containing Peanut Butter Contaminated with Salmonella

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is continuing to monitor and update the status of the peanut butter recall that has been issued for peanut butter and peanut paste produced by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). The most recent information from FDA is that a combination of epidemiological analysis and laboratory testing by state officials in Minnesota and Connecticut, the FDA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have enabled FDA to confirm that the sources of the outbreak of illnesses caused by Salmonella Typhimurium are peanut butter and peanut paste produced by PCA at its Blakely, Ga., processing plant.

Peanut butter is sold by PCA in bulk containers ranging in size from 5 to 1,700 pounds. The peanut paste is sold in sizes ranging from 35-pound containers to product sold by the tanker container. Neither of these products is sold directly to consumers.

Through its investigation, however, FDA has determined that PCA distributed potentially contaminated product to more than 70 consignee firms, for use as an ingredient in hundreds of different products, such as cookies, crackers, cereal, candy, and ice cream. Companies all over the country that received product from PCA have issued voluntary recalls of their products.  Identification of products subject to recall is continuing, and this list is updated frequently.

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