OSHA Issues Final Rule on Electrical Installation Standard

February 19, 2007


"These are the first changes to the electrical installation requirements in 25 years, so it is important the standard reflects the most current practices and technologies in the industry," said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "The revised standard strengthens employee protections and adds consistency between OSHA's requirements and many state and local building codes, which have adopted updated National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and National Electrical Code provisions."

Changes to OSHA's general industry electrical installation standard focus on safety in the design and installation of electric equipment in the workplace. The updated standard includes a new alternative method for classifying and installing equipment in Class I hazardous locations; new requirements for ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs); and new provisions on wiring for carnivals and similar installations.

The final rule updates the general industry electrical installation requirements to the 2000 edition of the NFPA 70E, which was used as the foundation of the revised standard. The final rule also replaces the reference to the 1971 National Electrical Code in the mandatory appendix to the powered platform standard with a reference to OSHA's electrical installation standard.

OSHA Releases New "It's The Law" Poster

 The OSHA poster, also known as the OSHA notice of employee rights, is required to be displayed in every workplace in America. The current edition of the OSHA poster is still valid; employers are not required to replace their existing poster with the new version. The poster informs employers and employees of their rights and responsibilities for a safe and healthful workplace.

Using plain language, the poster depicts a variety of employees in various settings—from the medical field to the construction industry—and succinctly explains how employees may confidentially file a complaint, report an emergency, or seek OSHA advice.

"The new OSHA poster provides employees with the information they need to protect themselves if there are unsafe or unhealthful conditions in the workplace," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "Presenting clear descriptions of employee rights is an important step, but the new poster also reminds employers of their two most basic responsibilities—furnishing a place of employment free from recognized hazards and complying with OSHA's hazard-specific health and safety standards."

. The poster also may be obtained from any OSHA regional or area office, or by writing to the OSHA Publications Office, Room N3101, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C 20210, or by calling 202-693-1888.

OSHA Fines Demolition Contractor $135,900 for Alleged Safety Violations After Two Workers Killed

OSHA has issued citations to a Covina, Calif.-based contractor for alleged failure to protect employees from falling objects, which contributed to the death of two employees at a Dallas, Texas, demolition site in August. Proposed penalties total $135,900.

OSHA cited Cleveland Wrecking Co., a demolition company that employs 355 people, for two alleged willful and three alleged serious violations following an Aug. 14, 2006, incident that killed two employees at a job site on Commerce Street in Dallas. Following the demolition of the19th floor, a loader that was being used to remove debris dislodged bricks and concrete from the exterior wall. The bricks and concrete materials fell to the ground and struck the two employees, who were working in the immediate area.

"The employer knew prior to the start of demolition that protection from falling objects and materials was critical but failed to take necessary measures to protect employees," said Kathryn Delaney, OSHA area director in Dallas. "There were several opportunities, prior to the fatalities, for the employer to implement planned safety measures that could have prevented this tragedy."

The alleged willful violations were failure to protect employees from falling objects and not using an enclosed chute for dropping materials to points lying outside the building’s exterior walls. A willful violation is defined as an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

Alleged serious violations were deficiencies in guardrails systems, unguarded floor holes, and failure to use curbs or stop-logs to prevent mechanical equipment from running over the edge of floor openings. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

The general contracting firm, Hensel Phelps Construction Co., also had employees working at the job site exposed to the same hazard associated with the fatal accident and received a citation for an alleged serious violation for failing to protect employees from falling objects. The citation carries a proposed penalty of $2,500.

Cleveland Wrecking Co. and Hensel Phelps Construction Co. have 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Dallas, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety and health can contact OSHA's Dallas area office at (214) 320-2400. A toll-free hotline may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-800-321-6742.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health.

OSHA Fines Bollinger Gretna $104,000 for Alleged Safety and Health Violations

OSHA has cited Bollinger Gretna LLC in Gretna, La., for allegedly failing to protect employees from hazardous working conditions and proposed penalties totaling $104,000. The inspection was part of OSHA's local emphasis programs targeting shipyards.

OSHA issued citations to Bollinger Gretna, alleging two serious, two repeat, and two other-than-serious violations following an investigation that began August 22 at the company's Harvey shipyard worksite. With its home office in Lockport, La., Bollinger builds and repairs barges at the shipyard and employs about 264 workers.

The company also operates 14 other facilities in southern Louisiana and one in Texas.

"The penalties imposed are an indication to the employer that disregard for employee protection is unacceptable," said Greg Honaker, OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge. "It is fortunate that no one was injured."

Serious citations were issued for failing to elevate hose and electrical conductors over or under walkways or working surfaces and failing to store oil and oil materials in closed fire-resistant containers. A serious violation is one that could cause death or serious physical harm to employees and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

Alleged repeat violations include failing to guard a press brake and shear, and failing to conduct annual confined/enclosed rescue drills. Repeat violations are issued when an employer has previously been cited for the same or a substantially similar violation that has become a final order.

Two other-than-serious citations were issued for failing to maintain a respirator in sanitary condition and failure to maintain a written fire-watch policy.

OSHA Renews Alliance With the Shipbuilders Council of America

OSHA has renewed its 2003 alliance with the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) to continue working to protect employees' health and safety, particularly in reducing and preventing exposure to shipyard safety and health hazards, including ergonomics.

"The positive relationship that OSHA and the SCA have developed over the first four years of the alliance has led to the development of many programs," said Assistant Secretary for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "The SCA is using its collective expertise to help advance a culture of injury and illness prevention, while sharing best practices and technical knowledge and promoting safe and healthful working conditions for shipyard employees."

"SCA welcomes the opportunity to renew the OSHA and SCA alliance. Since 2003, the Alliance Program has given our members the tools necessary to promote workplace safety and health initiatives, keeping our workers safe and shipyards competitive," said SCA Chairman Donald T. "Boysie" Bollinger. "The alliance's focus on compliance assistance has enabled SCA and OSHA to jointly develop an impressive collection of industry tools, including the Shipyard Employment eTool. OSHA representatives also are an integral part of SCA's biannual Safety Seminar. Together, SCA and OSHA have accomplished great things and we look forward to another successful two years."

Through the alliance, OSHA staff members and representatives from the SCA have spoken at a number of SCA's maritime-related safety seminars about safety and health issues, including fire protection and hexavalent chromium. OSHA and the SCA, together with the American Shipbuilders Association and the National Shipbuilders Research Program Alliances, provided input to OSHA during the development of the agency's Shipyard Employment eTool's Shipbuilding, Shipbreaking, Barge Cleaning, and Fire Protection modules.

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