OSHA State Report on Safety Initiatives

September 04, 2007


The report contains statistics including federal OSHA and state plan inspection counts, staffing levels, budget figures, and some helpful maps highlighting state-run OSHA programs, those with public-sector only programs, and federal OSHA states.

The bulk of the publication consists of reports from the various state plan states on topics that may vary from year to year. Some of the most interesting material can be found in the "State Initiatives" section, where you can read about how states have developed creative policies to address topics of concern to the workforce in their state, in an effort to address some of the leading causes of workplace injury and illness. Also, new this year is the scattering of "case studies" throughout the document, which provide a focused look at particular initiatives.

The collection of grassroots submissions encourages interchange between states, as well as encourages everyone to do work on eliminating workplace injuries.


Boston Felt Co. Faces $134,900 in Fines From OSHA for 66 Alleged Willful Violations

OSHA has issued 66 citations against Boston Felt Co. Inc., of Rochester, N.H., for alleged willful, serious, and other-than-serious violations of health and safety standards. The felt products manufacturer faces $134,900 in proposed fines stemming from OSHA inspections begun in February of this year.

"These citations address a wide cross section of health and safety concerns that are basic to a manufacturing environment," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's area director for New Hampshire. "Failing to correct these conditions exposes employees to the hazards of hearing loss, burns, lacerations, amputation, crushing, fire, explosion, asbestos, being struck by forklifts, or being overcome by toxic or oxygen-deficient atmospheres."

The company was issued one willful citation, with a $56,000 fine, for not ensuring the use of hearing protection by employees exposed to high noise levels. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of OSHA regulations.

Forty-seven serious citations, carrying $74,700 in fines, were issued for incomplete or inadequate training, monitoring, and testing for employees exposed to high noise levels; unguarded moving machine parts; electrical hazards; a sprinkler system not maintained in working order; damaged propane storage tanks located too close to the building; an incomplete emergency response plan; inadequate or incomplete safeguards for employees working in confined spaces; inadequate or incomplete safeguards to prevent the accidental startup of machinery during maintenance; untrained forklift operators; damaged forklifts not removed from service; lack of personal protective equipment; tripping and fall hazards; and inadequate or incomplete safeguards for employees working in areas where asbestos or potentially asbestos-containing materials were present. 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.

The company also was issued 17 other-than-serious citations and fined $4,200 for failing to accurately record occupational injuries and illnesses, inadequate recordkeeping, and other safety and health conditions. Other-than-serious citations address conditions that have a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

OSHA Renews Alliance With the American Shipbuilding Association


"This cooperative alliance clearly illustrates our commitment to reducing shipyard safety and health hazards, while promoting best practices and technical knowledge for the shipbuilding industry," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "At the end of the day, this alliance helps to accomplish one of the major goals of the agency—sending America's working men and women home safe and healthy."

"This alliance agreement with OSHA demonstrates the importance that the American Shipbuilding Association places on the safety and well-being of our workforce. The shipbuilding industry is heavily dependent upon and highly values our skilled workforce," said Cynthia L. Brown, president, American Shipbuilding Association.

"That is why we prioritize this relationship with the federal regulatory agency responsible for helping us to ensure a safe and quality working environment for the men and women who build the safest and most technologically advanced ships in the world."

 In addition, this alliance, together with OSHA and the National Shipbuilding Research Program and Shipbuilders Council of America alliances, worked with the OSHA and American Industrial Hygiene Association alliance to develop the Safety Alert: Deadly Hydrogen Sulfide and Shipyard Sewage. The alert is designed to make both shipyard employers and employees aware of the hazards of sewage systems on both ships and shipyard facilities. It also aims to ensure that these employers and employees understand how to prevent accidents involving hydrogen sulfide gas.

OSHA Renews Alliance With the Laser Institute of America


"Through this cooperative alliance, OSHA and the LIA are focusing on sharing information on laser regulations and standards, the bioeffects that lasers have on the eyes and skin, laser control measures, and laser safety program administration," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "For example, the alliance has produced the Laser Safety Information Bulletin, which was also developed into a podcast by the LIA. This information is beneficial to employers and employees in the medical, industrial, military, research and development, and optical fiber communications industries."

Through the alliance, LIA members are on the editorial boards of four OSHA Safety and Health Topics pages and the LIA distributed OSHA materials at the Pacific International Conference on Application of Lasers and Optics last year.

OSHA Offers New Health Care Compliance Assistance Module

The module is designed to help employers understand OSHA regulations applicable to the healthcare industry, including recordkeeping, reporting, and posting requirements. It also contains information on developing a comprehensive safety and health program and on training employees.

OSHA Introduces Enhanced Compliance Assistance Specialist Directory


This new directory allows users to find their local CAS by directing them to the nearest OSHA area office. Users in states that operate their own OSHA-approved safety and health programs are provided with contact information for their state agency.

Oregon OSHA—Adopted Changes Division 2/S, General Industry/Electrical

Oregon OSHA adopted the Federal OSHA changes as they appear in the Feb. 14, 2007, Federal Register, into Division 2/S, Electrical. The changes focus on safety in the design and installation of electrical equipment in the workplace. The changes provide the first update since 1981 for the design and installation requirements that were drawn heavily from the 2000 edition of the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace (NFPA 70E), and the 2002 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC).

In addition to the Federal OSHA changes, Oregon OSHA repealed OAR 437-002-0321, 437- 002-0322, 437-002-0323, and 437-002-0324, as well as adopted a new rule OAR 437-002-0047, which is identical in language to the recently amended OAR 437-003-0047 “Working Near Overhead High Voltage Lines and Equipment,” in Division 3/K, Construction/Electrical, that restricts all unqualified employees from coming within 10 feet of overhead high voltage power lines. With these aforementioned changes and to avoid redundancy within this subdivision, OR-OSHA repealed 29 CFR 1910.333(c)(3) introductory text and 1910.333(c)(3)(i).

OR-OSHA also repealed OAR 437-002-0325 because of redundant language within Division 2 General Industry and rules administered by the Oregon Public Utility Commission relating to underground utility locates. The agency will place a note directing the reader to use the national telephone number 811, Call Before You Dig.

OSHA to Hold Hearing on Proposal to Drop ANSI PPE Standard


OSHA has proposed to update its standards requiring that certain types of personal protective equipment (PPE) meet specifically identified ANSI standards. OSHA proposed deleting the references to the ANSI standards from the regulatory text, replacing them with a requirement to use PPE constructed in accordance with good design standards and adding criteria for determining what constitutes a good design standard within the meaning of the proposed standard. The proposed rule also included a non-mandatory appendix listing those national consensus standards that OSHA has determined meets the criteria of a good design standard.

ISEA has objected to OSHA's proposal because they believe that modifying the PPE design standards in this way would eliminate baseline performance requirements for PPE, potentially reducing employee protection, and making compliance more difficult for employers. The 3M Company, ANSI, and ASTM International also requested an informal public hearing.

The hearing will convene at 9 a.m. on Dec. 4, 2007.

New Version of TOXMAP Released



The new version includes:

  • More search options: Users can now search TOXMAP by Chemical Abstracts Service/Registry Number (CAS/RN), Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) facility name/ID, release medium, release year ranges, release amount, Superfund (NPL) site name/ID, and Hazard Ranking System (HRS) score.
  • Geographic regions: Users can create their own geographic region or select a predefined region from a menu. Setting a geographic region limits search results to those inside the specified region. Regions can be saved for future access.
  • Regional TRI summary tables: Users can view summary (aggregate) TRI release amounts for their geographic region.
  • Updated and expanded glossary and FAQs.


Safety and Health Conference in Chicago This Month

The conference features more than 45 sessions focusing on workplace safety and health, environmental safety, and emergency preparedness, just to name a few. OSHA's Columbus, Ohio, Area Office Director Deborah J. Zubaty is one of the keynote speakers at this event, which is also being sponsored by local chapters of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, the On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program, NIU, and the National Safety Education Center. For more information, call 815-753-6902.


Pandemic Flu Preparedness Focus of NSC Webcast


The National Safety Council (NSC) will host a webcast on September 10 from 2 to 3 p.m., Eastern time, focused on the need for businesses and the healthcare industry to prepare for a pandemic. Featured speakers include OSHA's Directorate of Standards and Guidance Deputy Director Amanda Edens and Office of Occupational Medicine Director Dr. Don Wright. 

OSHA Renews Alliance With the NSSF and SAAMI

OSHA has renewed its alliance with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI). Through the alliance, OSHA, the NSSF, and SAAMI are focused on providing member and nonmember shooting ranges with free training resources to help enhance their employee safety programs, including methods and procedures to minimize airborne pollutants and noise exposure.

The first two alliances, signed in 2002 and renewed in 2005, were between OSHA, the National Association of Shooting Ranges (a subsidiary of the NSSF), and SAAMI. The scope of the alliance will broaden with the NSSF signing this renewal.

"OSHA remains committed to working cooperatively with the NSSF and SAAMI to ensure a safe and healthful workplace for the firearm and ammunition industry," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "This alliance will provide more than 9,000 shooting ranges in the United States with valuable knowledge about effective ways to further protect the men and women who work in the shooting range industry."

As a result of this collaborative alliance, OSHA, the NSSF and SAAMI have produced several safety tools for shooting range workers and operators, including a manual published by the NSSF in September 2005 entitled, "Lead Management and OSHA Compliance for Indoor Shooting Ranges."

Formed in 1961, NSSF is the trade association for the shooting, hunting, and firearms industry. It has more than 3,600 members that include manufacturers, distributors, retailers, sportsmen's organizations, and publishers.

SAAMI, founded in 1926, is an association of the manufacturers of sporting firearms, ammunition, and components that helps coordinate technical data and promotes safe and responsible firearms use.


OSHA Announces Workplace Health Violations Against American Airlines at O'Hare International Airport

One month after OSHA announced multiple safety violations at the same worksite, the agency has proposed another $227,500 in fines against Dallas-based American Airlines Inc. in Chicago, Ill., for alleged multiple willful, serious, repeat, and other-than-serious violations of federal workplace health standards.

As was the case July 25 when OSHA announced $231,000 in proposed penalties for workplace safety violations, the agency selected American Airlines for a health inspection after reviewing the company's occupational injury and illness data. At O'Hare International Airport, OSHA officials inspected the airline's ramp services, cargo building, automotive shops, ticket and gate services, tower, two hangars, and baggage room.

OSHA has issued one willful violation with a $70,000 proposed penalty alleging that a lack of warning signs or labels on previously identified asbestos-containing materials could result in employee exposure to that hazardous substance.

Proposed penalties totaling $119,000 have been issued for 28 alleged serious violations in a variety of areas, including hearing conservation, confined space entry, respirator issues, and failing to inform employees of the presence of hazardous chemicals and labeling of many of those chemicals.

Two repeat violations related to rescue and emergency service procedures for confined space and respirator issues carry a proposed penalty of $37,500. One other-than-serious alleged violation proposes a $1,000 penalty for failure to maintain Hepatitis B declination forms.

OSHA announced last month 1 willful, 15 serious, and 6 repeat violations following a safety inspection of the American Airlines operation at O'Hare International Airport. That set of citations has not yet been resolved.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Serious violations are those that could cause death or serious physical harm to employees and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard. A repeat violation is issued when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a substantially similar violation that has become a final order. Other-than-serious violations are issued when a violation has a direct relationship to job safety and health but is not serious.

"It is the duty of all employers to keep the workplace free of hazards that may damage the long-term health of people they employ," said Diane Turek, director of OSHA's Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines, Ill. "Exposure to dangerous substances, or failure to warn employees about potential exposure, can lead to tragedy for employees and their families."

Since 2004, OSHA has inspected American Airlines 66 times at locations nationwide, with 37 inspections resulting in citations. The O'Hare worksite has been inspected 10 times since 2000, with 5 inspections resulting in citations.

OSHA Renews Alliance With the Society of the Plastics Industry

The alliance will continue to provide SPI members and other stakeholders in the plastics industry with important information, guidance, and access to resources to promote a safe and healthful workplace.

"This cooperative alliance continues to ensure that America's working men and women in the plastics industry have the necessary knowledge to reduce injury and illness in the workplace," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "I am pleased that this strategic partnership continues to build upon our successes and strives to protect employees' health and safety."

"Our relationship with OSHA is essential as SPI works to provide our member companies and their employees with the tools and guidance they need to create the safest and healthiest work environment possible in their plants and manufacturing facilities," said SPI President Bill Carteaux. "SPI appreciates all of the agency's efforts in working with us on training, education, and communication projects aimed at identifying hazards and reducing injuries."

Other products of this alliance include the Plastics Machinery section of OSHA's Machine Guarding eTool and the continued development of an OSHA 10-Hour Outreach Training Program for the Plastics Processing Industry.

Founded in 1937, SPI is a trade association representing the plastics industry supply chain in the United States, including processors, machinery and equipment manufacturers, and raw materials suppliers.

Storm Recovery Workers Urged to Seek Safety and Health Advice From OSHA Website

OSHA officials are advising storm recovery and clean-up workers about how to identify and reduce the risk of exposure to hazards and physical dangers that they may encounter during recovery operations.

"Our main message is that everyone involved in clean-up efforts needs to be aware of the dangers and take appropriate precautions in dealing with the multiple health and safety hazards they may face," advised Michael G. Connors, administrator of OSHA's Midwest Region. "Whether employed in clean-up operations or repairing the damage to one's own property, individuals may face health challenges such as exposure to toxic water and mold and dangers such as fall hazards, unstable structures, deadly electrical hazards, and others."



Prevent Scaffolding Accidents

Scaffolding accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths at American workplaces. In fact, scaffolding is the single most frequently OSHA-cited construction safety standard. No employee should use or assemble a scaffold without a complete understanding of how to do so safely. OSHA recommends that employees:

  • Before using a scaffold, test its durability using at least four times the amount of weight it is intended to support
  • Equip all open sides of a scaffold with protective guardrails
  • Keep scaffolds at least 10 feet away from electric power lines
  • Inspect the rigging on suspension scaffolds frequently—OSHA requirements call for an inspection at least once per work shift




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