July 12, 2002

OSHA plans to withdraw its direct final rule for an updated construction industry standard for the types of traffic control signs, signals, and barricades that must be used at roadway worksites.

On April 15, 2002, OSHA proposed to amend the standard through the direct final rule approach because most employers have been required by the Federal Highway Administration to comply with Revision 3 in lieu of the 1971 MUTCD since 1996. The amended rule would have required employers in the construction industry to comply with either the Millennium Edition or Revision 3 of the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), in place of the 1971 MUTCD.

As part of the direct final rule approach, OSHA also published a proposed rule in the same Federal Register notice. The Agency stated that if significant adverse comments were received, they would withdraw the direct final rule.

OSHA has determined that two of the eight comments received will be treated as significant adverse comments. The agency will address comments on the direct final and proposed rules in a new final rule, which the agency expects to issue shortly. OSHA will not institute a second comment period.

The notice of withdrawal takes effect upon publication in the Federal Register, scheduled for July 15, 2002.


In the wake of the recent central Texas flooding, OSHA is providing information about safety precautions designed to protect workers during the clean-up process.

"Now that the floodwaters are receding, renovation and repair are taking place," said John Miles, OSHA regional administrator in Dallas. "By taking the necessary precautions now on how to safely dispose of damaged items or clean up hazardous chemicals, needless injuries or illnesses can be averted."

OSHA has developed fact sheets available on the following safety procedures:

  • How to Protect Yourself When Cleaning Up After the Flood
  • How to Protect Yourself from Safety and Health Hazards During Clean-up Operations
  • How to Clean Up the Mold
  • How to Protect Yourself from Asbestos Hazards
  • How to Protect Yourself From Fungal Diseases

This information is available from OSHA's Austin area office by calling 512-916-5783. 


The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) announced the selection of former Assistant Secretary of Labor Charles N. Jeffress as Chief Operating Officer, the agency's senior civil service official, ending a two-and-a-half year period of interim administration.

Mr. Jeffress served as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health from 1997 to 2001. Named Business Week's "Regulator of the Year" in 2001, Mr. Jeffress oversaw the first major amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health Act and established several award-winning new programs while at OSHA, including an agency-wide performance management system.

"We are delighted that Mr. Jeffress has decided to join our management team," said Board Member Dr. Gerald Poje, CSB's interim executive. "He brings a wealth of pertinent knowledge and experience and is one of the most widely respected leaders throughout the safety community. With his selection and the pending nominations of a new Chairperson and Board Member, the CSB will be well positioned to tackle new challenges."

Prior to serving in the U.S. Labor Department, Mr. Jeffress was Director of North Carolina OSHA. He has been credited with improving the standing of the agency following a disastrous workplace fire in the state.


A worker's death in unguarded machinery, inadequate safeguards for the workers who responded to the accident, and other safety and health hazards have resulted in $67,500 in fines against a New Britain, Conn., plumbing parts manufacturer.

Connecticut Stamping and Bending, Inc. has been cited by OSHA for 28 alleged serious and seven other than serious violations following the April 24 death of a worker whose head was caught in an injection molding machine.

"The inspection found that this machine and several others lacked adequate safeguards to prevent workers from coming in contact with their moving parts," said Thomas Guilmartin, OSHA's Hartford Area Director.

Workers who responded to the accident and cleaned up after it were exposed to the hazards of bloodborne pathogens due to the employer's failure to supply them with appropriate personal protective equipment, offer them post-exposure medical evaluations and the Hepatitis B vaccine. Guilmartin noted that such protective measures are required for employees, such as first aid responders, whose duties involve exposure to blood.

OSHA's inspection also uncovered numerous other instances of unguarded machinery, electrical safety hazards, deficiencies in confined space entry, unlabeled containers of acids and other hazardous chemicals, fall hazards, defective hoisting equipment, damaged storage racks, an uneven stairway, improper exit signage and a missing flash arrestor/backflow preventer on gas/air piping. A total of $63,500 in fines is proposed for the serious citations.

A $4,000 fine is proposed for the employer's failure to notify OSHA of the worker's death within eight hours. Additional other-than-serious citations cover deficiencies involving personal protective equipment training and assessment, noise monitoring, compressed air receivers, a table saw, and a drill press.

A serious violation is defined as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


For failing to protect employees from fall hazards on scaffolds, OSHA has cited Limon Masonry Inc., in Pharr, Texas, with eight alleged safety violations and penalties totaling $50,500.

Six alleged serious and two alleged repeat safety violations were found during an OSHA inspection that began Jan. 30. Limon Masonry Inc., a masonry contractor, employs about 12 workers.

The alleged serious violations include failing to protect employees on scaffolds from overhead hazards; failing to protect employees in hoisting areas from fall hazards; failing to guard against open floor holes and protruding steel and failing to provide respirators to control harmful dust from concrete saws.

The company was also cited with alleged repeat violations for failing to protect employees on scaffolds from fall hazards and failing to train employees who work on scaffolds from potential hazards.

A repeat violation is one in which the employer has been cited during the past three years for substantial similar infractions of the law.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the area director, or to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.