OSHA has announced in the Federal Register that it is accepting public comments on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment. The proposed rule aims to help reduce hazards and provide greater protection for shipyard employees. The agency will be accepting public comments on the proposed rule until March 19, 2008.
"Working in shipyards is one of the most hazardous occupations in the nation," said Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "Shipyard employees perform industrial operations such as abrasive blasting and welding, operate heavy equipment, and often work in confined spaces onboard vessels. This proposed rule would help reduce the hazards these employees face."
The proposal updates and clarifies provisions in the shipyard employment standards (29 CFR Part 1915 Subpart F) that have largely gone unchanged since OSHA adopted them in 1972. OSHA proposes to revise and update existing provisions and to add new provisions, including the control of hazardous energy and motor vehicle safety.
Proposed updates include establishing minimum lighting for certain worksites, accounting for employees at the end of work shifts if they work in confined spaces or alone in isolated spaces, and adding uniform criteria to ensure shipyards have an adequate number of appropriately trained first-aid providers. The proposal also updates sanitation requirements.
Comments must include the agency name and docket number for this rulemaking (Docket No. OSHA-S049-2006-0675).
Fire Safety Organizations Align to Expand Global Reach for Fire and Security Manufacturers
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) announced on December 21 that it has signed a bilateral agreement with Bodycote Warringtonfire, based in Warrington, Cheshire, England, to offer globally expanded fire safety services to manufacturers.
The initial scope of the alliance helps fire and security manufacturers to gain UL Listing, CERTIFIRE certification, and/or certification in support of CE marking. Additionally, each organization will accept the others’ test data and provide for surveillance and follow-up inspections services as needed in connection with the listing or certification of products.
"We are pleased to be able to expand our global capabilities for our fire and security customers, enabling both UL and Bodycote Warringtonfire manufacturer clients more options in testing their products locally," said Chris Hasbrook, vice president and general manager for UL's Fire Safety and Security sector.
"Both UL and Bodycote Warringtonfire share the same strong commitment to responding to the individual needs of our clients," said Tim Cornes, Bodycote Warringtonfire's divisional director. "Entering into this joint agreement we believe will help further drive that goal globally."
The alliance will enable the services and capabilities of either organization to be offered from more local offices and laboratories. It will help the organizations provide more efficient global access through testing, inspection, and certification services.
Initially, the organizations will focus on commonly provided services relating to products such as steelwork protection, fire-resisting doors, fire-resisting glass, fire protection boards, and architectural hardware.
In the future, Bodycote Warringtonfire and Underwriters Laboratories hope to extend this alliance to expand service offerings for all fire safety products.
OSHA Cites Midlands Contracting Inc. for Excavation Hazards Following Fatality
OSHA has cited Midlands Contracting Inc. of Kearney, Neb., for two alleged willful violations of federal health and safety standards following a worker fatality at a Kearney excavation worksite. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $140,000.
OSHA initiated its inspection June 20 after an employee was buried by a collapsed excavation wall at a sewage lift-station installation site. The excavation contracting company performs work primarily on sewer systems.
"Our inspection revealed that there was no shielding, shoring, or benching in use in the excavation where the victim was working," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "Employers must remain committed to keeping the workplace safe at all times."
The cited willful violations address hazards associated with undermined and unsupported adjacent structures, failure to provide adequate cave-in protection, use of an incomplete engineered design for sloping and shielding, and not maintaining a copy of the engineered design at the work location while the sloping and shielding system was being constructed. Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
OSHA Proposes Almost $60,000 in Penalties Against Meat Processor
OSHA has proposed $59,950 in penalties against Henry's Hickory House, a Jacksonville, Fla., meat processor, for violating federal safety and health standards.
"OSHA will act when employers fail to take the steps necessary to protect the safety and health of their employees," said James Borders, director of OSHA's Jacksonville Area Office.
The agency issued four repeat citations and proposed $45,000 in penalties against the company for failing to conduct proper lockout/tagout procedures on production equipment and for failing to maintain OSHA records as required by law. The company was cited for these same violations after a 2005 inspection. Lockout/tagout procedures are intended to prevent machinery from functioning while employees perform maintenance.
Four serious safety violations were uncovered, including the lack of lockout/tagout procedures specific to each piece of machinery, not providing machine guarding, not correcting electrical hazards, and failing to repair a broken eyewash station. Proposed penalties totaled $10,950 for these violations.
Eight other-than-serious violations also were found, including three recordkeeping violations, resulting in $4,000 in proposed penalties.
Cave-In Hazard in Boston's Back Bay Leads to OSHA Citations for Contractor
An unprotected excavation in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood has resulted in OSHA proposing a total of $27,000 in fines against a Walpole, Mass., contractor for a total of five alleged willful and serious violations of excavation safety standards.
Employees of Atlantic Drain Service Co. Inc. were performing sewer repair work for the Four Seasons Hotel at the corner of Boylston and Charles Streets when OSHA began its inspection on July 25, after receiving reports of employees working in an unprotected excavation.
OSHA found Atlantic employees working in a 12-feet-deep, straight-cut trench that lacked any protection against a cave-in of its sidewalls. Such protection is required whenever employees enter an excavation five feet or more in depth.
"The walls of an unprotected trench can collapse in an instant and bury employees beneath tons of soil and debris before they have a chance to react or escape," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director in Braintree. "While it's fortunate that no cave-in occurred this time, the possibility of death or serious injury was real and present."
The company was issued one willful citation, carrying a proposed fine of $21,000, for the lack of cave-in protection. A willful violation is one committed with plain indifference to, or intentional disregard for, employee safety and health.
The inspection also resulted in four serious citations and an additional $6,000 in proposed fines for other trenching-related hazards. These included undermined and unsupported sidewalk sections adjacent to the trench, no hardhats for employees in the trench, a lack of employee training to recognize trenching hazards, and no inspection by a competent person who could have identified and corrected these hazards. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
OSHA Proposes More Than $100,000 in Fines Against Contractor for Fall Hazards
A Fall River, Mass., contracting company with a history of not providing required fall protection for its employees faces $109,000 in proposed fines from OSHA for fall hazards at a Newport, R.I., residential construction site.
Miranda Construction Co. Inc. was cited for seven alleged willful, repeat, and serious violations of safety standards on a worksite at 304 Broadway following an OSHA inspection begun June 19, 2007, in response to a report of employees working in unsafe conditions.
"The sizable fines proposed in this case reflect the fact that this employer has been cited repeatedly in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for not providing this basic, common-sense, and legally required safeguard," said Patrick Griffin, OSHA's area director in Providence.
OSHA's inspection found employees exposed to falls of up to 12 feet from an unguarded roof, and up to 27 feet from an unguarded and unsecured pump jack scaffold, and an unsecured ladder. According to Griffin, falls are the leading cause of death in construction work. The inspection also determined that the scaffold's supporting poles were not properly secured and plumbed and that employees working beneath the scaffold lacked protective headgear.
"There's no excuse for not protecting employees against the number-one killer in construction work," said Griffin. "Employees at this and other jobsites who lack required fall protection are just one step away from death or disabling injuries."
OSHA has cited Miranda Construction for a total of 17 fall and scaffolding violations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts since 1995. Most recently, it was cited in 2005 and 2006 for fall hazards at worksites in Cranston and Newport, R.I., and in 2003 and 2005 at worksites in New Bedford and North Dartmouth, Mass.
New Members Added to OSHA's Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health
"We are fortunate to have some of the brightest construction industry professionals to assist us in our mission of improving the working conditions of employees in the construction industry," said Secretary Chao. "The expertise these committee members bring will help make our mission a reality."
ACCSH was originally established under the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act to advise the Secretary of Labor on policy matters and the formulation of construction standards and regulations. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health also consults with ACCSH when OSHA recommends standards for construction activities. Members of the advisory committee are selected based on their occupational safety and health knowledge, experience, and affiliation with the construction industry.
To ensure continuity, each ACCSH member, with some exceptions, serves a two-year term. Generally, the committee meets two to four times per year.
The newly appointed members are:
Representatives of Employer Interests
Thomas R. Shanahan, assistant executive director, National Association of Roofing Contractors
Daniel D. Zarletti, vice president/chief risk officer, Kenny Construction Company
Representative of the Public
Elizabeth Arioto, Elizabeth Arioto Safety and Health Consulting Services
The reappointed members are:
Representatives of Employee Interests
Thomas L. Kavicky, safety director/assistant to the president, Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters
Frank L. Migliaccio, Jr., executive director of safety and health, International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers
Representatives of State Safety and Health Agencies
Kevin D. Beauregard, assistant deputy commissioner, assistant director, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, North Carolina Department of Labor
Steven D. Hawkins, assistant administrator, Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The continuing members are:
Representatives of Employer Interests
Daniel J. Murphy, vice president of construction services, Zurich North America
Linwood O. Smith, vice president of risk management and safety, T.A. Loving Company
Michael J. Thibodeaux, consultant, National Association of Home Builders
Representatives of Employee Interests
Dale David Haggerty, director, National Construction Agreements, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers
Robert Krul, director of safety and health, United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers
Emmett M. Russell, director, Department of Safety and Health, International Union of Operating Engineers
Representative of the Public
Thomas A. Broderick, executive director, Construction Safety Council and Chicagoland Construction Safety Council
Designee of the Secretary of Health and Human Services
Matt Gillen, senior scientist and construction program coordinator, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
OSHA Signs Alliance With Habitat for Humanity—Greater Columbus to Keep Builders Safe
Reducing and preventing injuries among Habitat for Humanity's volunteer home builders are the goals of an alliance between OSHA and Habitat for Humanity—Greater Columbus.
"Working together to share best practices and to develop and implement safety and health training to these dedicated people is an easy call," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus. "If we can provide them with the knowledge and ability to anticipate, identify, and eliminate work-related hazards, we can go a long way toward eliminating job-related injuries."
Habitat for Humanity—Greater Columbus was established in 1987 as an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International and since then has built more than 193 houses throughout greater Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio. There are plans for the construction of 18 homes in 2008.
E.J. Thomas, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity—Greater Columbus, said, "The joint signing of this agreement formalizes our commitment to ensure that safety remains paramount throughout all phases of the construction of Habitat homes for our partner families."
OSHA currently has more than 450 alliances throughout the nation with organizations committed to fostering safety and health in the workplace.
Marathon Petroleum Co. LLC Takes Corrective Action After OSHA Inspection
OSHA and Marathon Petroleum Co. LLC have agreed on a settlement after the agency's safety inspection revealed multiple violations of federal workplace safety standards at the company's Canton, Ohio, refinery.
Marathon has agreed to pay $321,500 in fines and already has taken corrective action to eliminate unsafe working conditions.
OSHA found during the inspection that the company needed to ensure that process piping is protected from external corrosion; piping, pressure-relief devices, and pump motors comply with good engineering practices; proper evaluations address hazards of increased throughput; operating procedures reflect activities for cooling process equipment; and operating procedures address emergency operating conditions.
Marathon also agreed to address equipment deficiencies related to pressure-relief devices, toxic and flammable gas/vapor detectors, and building pressurization equipment; hazards associated with facility siting in the process hazard analysis; and human factors in the process of hazard analysis.
"Injuries and fatalities from incidents at refineries are preventable," said Rob Medlock, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "We are pleased that Marathon is taking quick corrective action to ensure a safe working environment. The company has committed to long-term improvements in its safety and health management systems, which we hope will place the company among the best in the industry."
Marathon Petroleum Co. LLC, a fuels plant and petroleum products and asphalt producer, employs 320 people at the Canton facility and 27,700 people companywide. OSHA has inspected the Canton facility 11 times and issued 46 citations for Occupational Safety and Health Act violations since 1974. The most recent inspection was initiated in June 2007 as part of OSHA's National Emphasis Program for petroleum refineries, which mandates that the agency inspect every refinery nationwide.