OSHA Updates Eye and Face Protection Standards

April 04, 2016

The final rule reflects current national consensus standards, and ensures that workers can use up-to-date eye and face protection.

The rule updates references in OSHA's Eye and Face Protection Standards to recognize the ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, while deleting the outdated 1986 edition of that same national consensus standard. OSHA is also retaining the 2003 and 1989 (R-1998) versions of the ANSI standard already referenced in its standard.

The final rule also updates the construction standard by deleting the 1968 version of the ANSI standard that was referenced and now includes the same three ANSI standards referenced above to ensure consistency among the agency's standards.

The rule becomes effective on April 25, 2016.

How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS)

OSHA has issued a final rule revising its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, safety data sheet (formerly called “material safety data sheet” or MSDS), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard. Worker training must be updated so that workers can recognize and understand the symbols and pictograms on the new labels as well as the new hazard statements and precautions on safety data sheets.

Environmental Resource Center is offering live online training for you to learn how the new rule differs from current requirements, how to implement the changes, and when the changes must be implemented. 

Respirator Buyer Beware

NIOSH has become aware of a counterfeit N95 Respirator on the market.

While the TC number and private label holder (KOSTO) are valid, this unapproved unit can be identified by the misspelling of NIOSH on the front of the respirator.

How can you be sure your respirator is truly NIOSH-approved?

New Exposure Levels for Toluene Diisocyanate and Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate Adopted

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is adopting new and revised Reference Exposure Levels (RELs) for toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) for use in the Air Toxics Hot Spots program. RELs are airborne concentrations of a chemical that are not anticipated to result in adverse non-cancer health effects for specified exposure durations in the general population, including sensitive subpopulations. The adopted RELs cover different types of exposure to TDI and MDI in air: infrequent 1-hour exposures, repeated 8-hour exposures, and continuous long-term exposure.

OEHHA is required to develop guidelines for conducting health risk assessments under the Air Toxics Hot Spots Program (Health and Safety Code Section 44360(b)(2)). In response to this statutory requirement, OEHHA develops RELs for many air pollutants, including TDI and MDI. The TDI and MDI RELs were developed using the most recent “Air Toxics Hot Spots Program Technical Support Document for the Derivation of Noncancer Reference Exposure Levels” (OEHHA, 2008). These chemicals will also be added to the list of Toxic Air Contaminants that may disproportionately impact children, pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 39669.5 (b)(1).

Draft documents for the TDI and MDI RELs were released on July 4, 2014, to solicit public comment and were discussed at public workshops in Sacramento and Diamond Bar, CA during the subsequent 75-day public review period. The documents were revised to reflect public comments, and peer-reviewed by the State’s Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants (SRP) in February 2015, and again in August 2015 before being finalized.

The REL values are as follows:


  • Acute REL (for a 1-hour exposure): 2 µg/m3 (0.3 ppb)
  • 8-Hour REL (for repeated 8-hour exposure): 0.015 ?g/m3 (0.002 ppb)
  • Chronic REL (for long-term exposure): 0.008 ?g/m3 (0.001 ppb)


  • Acute REL (for a 1-hour exposure): 12 ?g/m3 (1.2 ppb)
  • 8-Hour REL (for repeated 8-hour exposure): 0.16 ?g/m3 (0.015 ppb)
  • Chronic REL (for long-term exposure): 0.08 ?g/m3 (0.008 ppb)

Pennsylvania Worker Suffers Fatal Trench Accident

Twenty-one-year-old Jacob Casher was still a "new guy" employed by a Beaver-based plumbing company when he left home for work in September 2015. He probably never imagined that, as he worked to install a sewer line 11-feet underground in Butler, it was to be the last day of his life.

Research shows that a cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as 3,000 lb, the weight of a small automobile. His employer, A Rooter Man of Pittsburgh, LLC, hired him just three weeks before the incident occurred.

The incident occurred at a commercial construction site in Butler.

Federal inspectors found the company exposed multiple employees regularly to cave-in hazards while they worked in unprotected excavations more than 5-feet deep. The agency determined that since the company's owner normally served as the excavator on the job, he was aware of the highly unstable condition of the excavated soil. OSHA found the employer also failed to protect employees from loose rock or soil by not keeping the spoils pile at least 2 feet from the edge of the excavation.

"A Rooter Man of Pittsburgh knowingly took unacceptable risks in an excavation, which led to a tragic and preventable death of a young man with his whole future ahead," said Christopher Robinson, director of OSHA's Pittsburgh Area Office. "Common-sense safety practices would have prevented this trench from turning into a worker's grave."


Improved Access to Pathogen Safety Data for Infectious Disease Preparedness Programs Webinar

In collaboration with Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) is proposing to develop two training tools to empower infection control vigilance and preparedness: 1) a Pathogen Safety Data (PSD) guide and 2) an associated training module titled, “Improved Access to Pathogen Safety Data (PSD) for Infectious Disease Preparedness Programs.”


CSB Public Meeting on Reactive Chemical Hazards in Washington, DC

 They will review open CSB investigations at Delaware City Refining (Delaware), Macondo (Gulf of Mexico), Williams (Louisiana), Tesoro (Martinez, California), Exxon-Mobil (Torrance, California), and DuPont (LaPorte, Texas), as well as CSB studies, recommendations, and other important work. There will be an opportunity for public comment, as well as on any other CSB related issue of concern. The CSB public business meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 20 at 1–3 PM EST in CSB’s Washington, DC offices.

OSHA Cites Russell Stover Candies After Ammonia Release Shuts Plant

No workers were injured in the incident which closed the plant for more than two hours.


One such chemical is anhydrous ammonia, widely used as a refrigerant in industrial facilities. Ammonia can be a health hazard because it is corrosive to the skin, eyes, and lungs. It is a flammable vapor, and can be fatal if inhaled.

“When highly hazardous chemicals are not properly controlled there is a potential for an accidental release at any time which could result in a tragedy,” said Judy Freeman, OSHA’s area director in Wichita. “Employers, such as Russell Stover, who use ammonia and other hazardous chemicals in their production process need to comply with recognized engineering practices, test equipment and train workers on safe operating procedures.” 

Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center Fined $700,000 for Exposing Workers to Lead and Asbestos


 By failing to implement preventative measures such as air sampling, respiratory protection, and dust control, the Wingdale-based company may have put some of these employees at risk for the long-term neurological and respiratory problems caused by unsafe lead and asbestos exposure.

"Workers and their families were exposed to lead and asbestos and their attendant health hazards due to Olivet Management's failure to provide them with basic, required safeguards. This settlement obligates the company to do things correctly this time and take additional steps to ensure safe and healthful working conditions, or face the full original fine of $2.3 million," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

"The terms of the settlement are stringent and comprehensive. They seek to ensure that the company provides the project's employees with safe and healthful working conditions at all times. We are prepared to take appropriate action to escalate penalties should it fail to live up to its commitments," said Jeffrey Rogoff, the regional solicitor of labor in New York.

The settlement requires Dover Greens to:

  • Select and retain a general contractor experienced in a project of this type and magnitude, and as importantly, familiar with lead and asbestos hazards on a construction site, including how to control those and other hazards during the renovation
  • Retain a qualified safety-consulting firm to monitor the project, and have a safety consultant on site when work is being performed
  • Ensure that all contractors and subcontractors are trained and competent to perform their jobs, that their onsite supervisors and foremen have completed the OSHA 30-hour course before beginning work, and that they implement a site-specific health and safety program
  • Ensure that contractors whose employees may come in contact with lead or asbestos have documented training and experience in adhering to OSHA lead and asbestos standards
  • Not oppose workers compensation claims by employees for illnesses resulting from lead or asbestos exposure
  • Provide site workers with notice in English, Spanish, and Korean of their rights to bring claims under the state workers compensation program

The settlement allows Dover Greens to pay $700,000 in fines over a 10-year period. The remaining balance of $1.659 million originally proposed is held in abeyance and becomes payable immediately if the company fails to comply with the specific terms of the settlement. Olivet Management, LLC, changed its name to Dover Greens, LLC, in December 2015.

Woods Fibers Inc. Repeatedly Exposes Workers to Amputation, Fire Hazards

For the sixth time since 2011, federal inspectors found a Wisconsin wood pallet manufacturer failed to comply with safety and health standards, putting its employees in jeopardy of suffering amputation, burns, and other life-threatening injuries.

OSHA inspectors returned to Wood Fibers, Inc., in Niagara in October 2015 after the company failed to provide documentation that they corrected hazards found earlier. The agency found workers still exposed to the same dangers. OSHA also found similar violations in 2011, 2012, and 2014.

 Proposed penalties total $152,460.

"Each day, Wood Fibers exposes workers to dangerous hazards that can cause debilitating illness and devastating injuries," said Robert Bonack, OSHA's area director in Appleton. "The company needs to take immediate action to fix these hazards and demonstrate its commitment to protecting employees on the job."

Between 1980 and 2005, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board identified 281 combustible dust incidents that led to the deaths of 119 workers, injured 718 and extensively damaged numerous industrial facilities.


Anheuser-Busch of New Jersey Agrees to Enhance Safety for Workers

 Hazards included untrained forklift operators, obstructed exit routes, damaged storage racks and inadequate chemical hazard communication training. The company contested its citations on December 23, 2015.

The department and Anheuser-Busch Sales of New Jersey have reached a settlement in which the company will implement and maintain enhanced safety measures for employees at its distributorships in Jersey City at 101 Linden Avenue E and in Bronx, New York at 550 Food Center Drive.

These enhancements require Anheuser-Busch to:

  • Establish safety and health committees made up of management, employees, unions and individuals responsible for safety at the distributorships
  • Make management responsible for implementing the committees’ recommended changes
  • Make the committees’ findings, recommendations and analyses available to OSHA upon request
  • Ensure the adequate training of all leased, temporary, and/or subcontractors’ employees
  • Consent to interim monitoring inspections by OSHA

As part of the settlement, Anheuser-Busch has already corrected the cited hazards at its Jersey City location and paid a fine of $150,000.

“This settlement commits Anheuser-Busch to making safety a priority for workers at its New Jersey and New York distributorships,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. “Successfully implemented, this agreement will result in safer working conditions for numerous workers at multiple company locations.”

“Proactively addressing conditions at more than the cited location makes sense and pays dividends for workers and employers alike. This course of action can reduce hazards and injuries and increase a company’s productivity,” said Jeffrey Rogoff, regional solicitor for the department in New York.

The original investigation was conducted by OSHA’s Parsippany Area Office. The department’s regional Office of the Solicitor in New York negotiated the settlement for OSHA.

Pilgrim's Pride Corporation Allows Dangerous Amounts of Ammonia to Endanger Workers

Federal inspectors found that the nation's largest chicken producer failed to use proper safety procedures that allowed a release of 79 lb of anhydrous ammonia and endangered workers at its Waco facility on September 28, 2015. Anhydrous ammonia is a dangerous chemical that can be fatal when inhaled and cause serious burns to the skin.

The company, which does business as Pilgrim's, faces penalties of $122,500.

"Anhydrous ammonia can have devastating and lethal effects," said Jack Rector, OSHA's area director in Fort Worth. "Had Pilgrim's had the right processes in place, this ammonia release may have been prevented. We will continue to monitor the company's progress as they make much-needed improvements to equipment, procedures and training to keep their workers safe."

The company's process hazard analysis failed to address issues in the plant. This analysis identifies potential hazards associated with the processing of highly hazardous chemicals. Inspectors also found the company's inspections and equipment testing were not completed as scheduled or documented as required. The agency cited Pilgrim's for the same or similar violations at its plants in in Nacogdoches in February 2015 and in De Queen, Arkansas, in July 2013.


Houston Garden Center Fined $117,000 for Multiple Safety Violations

Inspectors from OSHA’s Houston North Area Office initiated an inspection of a Houston Garden Center location after receiving a complaint about an unreported hospitalization in December 2015. They determined an employee fell from a container hoisted aloft by a forklift. 

The serious violations included failing to:

  • Protect employees from fall hazards with elevated platforms and scaffolding
  • Provide personal protective equipment
  • Train employees on the use of powered industrial trucks
  • Protect employees from electrical hazards
  • Label containers containing chemicals with names and types of hazards
  • Provide employees with adequate sanitation, such as soap and toilet paper

The repeat violations included failing to:

  • Provide an accessible eye-wash station
  • Implement a hazard communication program, maintain safety data sheets, and failing to provide hazard communication training

OSHA cited Quality Christmas Tree for the same or similar violations after an inspection at its Spring, Texas, facility in February 2015.

Houston Garden Center was also cited for failing to report an employee’s in-patient hospitalization within 24 hours.

Proposed penalties total $117,000.

“A dangerous fall that hospitalized an employee - which the employer failed to report as required - led us to inspect this Houston Garden Center location,” said Joann Figueroa, OSHA’s area director in the Houston North office. “In addition to conditions related to the fall, we found more than a dozen serious violations, including a lack of basic sanitation for employees who had no toilet paper and soap to wash their hands. Only one pair of safety glasses existed for the whole worksite and we found electrical and chemical hazards. There is no excuse for all these violations, and the employer must correct them.”

Worker Hospitalized for Inhalation of Vinegar Fumes

Even vinegar can be hazardous under certain circumstances.

An employee at the Rob Salamida Co., food manufacturing plant in Johnson City was instructed to enter and clean the insides of a 3,000-gallon tank containing vinegar on September 28, 2015. Once inside, he was overcome by acetic acid vapors created by the vinegar in the tank. He was rescued but was hospitalized for five days.

An OSHA inspection found that the plant lacked numerous safeguards required to protect employees whose work require them to enter confined spaces, such as the vinegar tank.

“This incident, and the resulting severe injuries to this worker, should never have happened,” said Christopher Adams, OSHA’s Syracuse area director. “Workers who enter confined spaces risk being overcome, sometimes fatally, by toxic and oxygen-deficient atmospheres.  That was not the case at the Salamida plant.”

Specific confined space hazards included the company’s failure to:

  • Evaluate the workplace to identify confined spaces, including three, 3,000-gallon vinegar tanks
  • Identify confined space hazards inside the tank such as oxygen deficiency and acetic acid vapors
  • Develop and implement procedures and practices to verify and maintain safe entry conditions
  • Provide air monitoring, ventilation, and rescue equipment for employees entering confined spaces
  • Ensure that monitoring was conducted by trained employees
  • Train employees on confined space hazards
  • Develop and maintain confined space rescue procedures
  • Post warning signs for confined spaces

Other hazards found during OSHA’s inspection included:

  • No procedures, training, or devices to lock out machines’ power sources to protect against their unintended startup
  • Inadequate respiratory protection
  • Not properly training employees to operate forklifts
  • Lack of emergency eyewashes and splash goggles for employees working with caustic chemicals
  • No chemical hazard communication program and training for employees
  • Unguarded fan blades, unlabeled electric circuit breakers


Winter Woods Inc. Exposes Employees to Hazardous Chemicals

A Wisconsin wood d?cor and floral supplier exposed workers to toxic levels of chemicals in adhesives and paints because, federal inspectors determined, the workplace lacked adequate engineering controls needed to reduce harmful vapors.


 Excessive toluene and xylene exposure can cause headache, weakness, confusion, and muscle fatigue, as well as damage to the liver and kidneys.

OSHA has proposed penalties of $70,000.

"Exposing employees to two hazardous chemicals at levels exceeding permissible exposure jeopardizes workers' safety and health," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire. "Employers working with hazardous materials must determine the dangers that chemicals present before exposing employees to them. The employer must ensure engineering controls, work practices and personal protective equipment requirements are in place and in use to minimize exposure to toxins and protect their workers."

Investigators found Winter Woods failed to:

  • Implement engineering controls to prevent employee from over exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Identify and evaluate respiratory hazards
  • Complete employee medical evaluations and fit workers for respirators
  • Properly store chemicals

Eastern Wire Products Inc. Employee Suffers Amputation from Unguarded Machine


OSHA began an investigation after learning an Eastern Wire employee suffered a workplace injury that required hospitalization. On January 5, 2016, the 37-year-old machine operator was attempting to remove a piece of jammed wire when the machine caught his finger. The tip of the worker’s right index finger was amputated. 

 The employer was previously cited for this same violation in 2011 at this facility.


“Our inspection found numerous machine guarding and electrical hazards that expose workers to serious injury or death,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in the Jacksonville Office. “Eastern Wire cannot wait for another incident to happen or an OSHA inspection, to address the safety hazards that exist at this facility.”

Proposed penalties total $41,504.

Purina Feed Mill Workers Exposed to Falls, Grain Dust, and Machine Hazards

OSHA's Wichita Area Office cited Land O Lakes Purina Feed, LLC, for three serious, one repeat serious, and one repeat other than serious violations.

The inspection found:

  •  The employer failed to implement housekeeping procedures to prevent grain dust accumulation in priority and non-priority areas. In some areas, more than five inches of dust had accumulated.

"Falls are one of the leading causes of death in the workplace," said Judy Freeman, OSHA's area director in Wichita. 

Proposed penalties total $40,200.

Landfried Paving Inc. Exposes Workers to Dangerous Trench Cave-in Hazards


On October 1, 2015, OSHA opened an inspection after the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection notified the agency of hazardous conditions at the construction site of a new parking garage, where the company was installing drainage catch basins. OSHA investigators found Landfried exposed workers to the risk of a cave-in for four days while they installed drainage catch basins. 

Proposed penalties total $18,800.

"Landfried Paving exposed its employees to dangerous excavation hazards that could have been deadly in a cave-in. Without the proper protection, a trench can quickly become a grave for workers," said Theresa A. Naim, director of OSHA's Erie Area Office. "OSHA will not tolerate when an employer's fails to ensure the safety and health of its employees."

OSHA Will Hold Meeting of the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee

 The Outreach and Training Work Groups will meet April 25 and the full committee will meet April 26.

The agenda will include remarks from Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, MaryAnn Garrahan, director of the Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Programs, and representatives from federal agencies with whistleblower programs; presentation from railroad industry whistleblowers; and public comments.

Meetings will convene at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20210. Both work group meetings will be held from 3–5 p.m. EST on April 25. The Outreach Work Group will meet in Room C-5320; the Training Work Group will meet in Room C-5521. The committee will meet from 9–4 p.m. EST, April 26 in Room N-4437 A-C. Meetings are open to the public. Comments, requests to speak and requests for special accommodations must be submitted by April 12, 2016.



OSHA Schedules Special Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health

 The meeting will be held April 25–26, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

The agenda includes remarks from Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels, drafting the construction version of the SHPM Guidelines, and a public comment period.

ACCSH will meet from 1–5 p.m., Monday, April 25 and from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Tuesday, April 26. Both meetings will be held in Room N-3437 A-C, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20210.

Comments and requests to speak are due by April 15, 2016.


OSHA, The Builders' Association Renew 'Build Safe Partnership Program'

The initiative also places emphasis on training workers to recognize amputation and machine hazards at contractor-associated fabrication shops. 

The partnership will require all employers, contractors, and sub-contractors to implement written safety and health programs, conduct training, job site inspections, and involve workers in weekly site safety meetings. In addition, OSHA will review these programs at least annually to track and compare information on injury and illness rates, share best practices and review goals. The Builders Association will designate participating employers as "Build Safe Partnership Program" participants.

Originally signed September 11, 2001, the partnership was last renewed on March 14, 2013. The new agreement was signed on March 24, and remains in effect for five years.

"We at OSHA are very pleased to renew our partnership with The Builders Association. Efforts like these improve workplace safety by fostering education and training for better teamwork and hazard prevention on the job site," said Marcia Drumm, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City. "Together, we can help the association's members to make worker safety a priority."

"History often repeats itself unless we learn from it," said The Builders Association President Don Greenwell. "By taking advantage of the Build Safe Partnership Program, our members can demonstrate that they 'walk the walk' when it comes to safety training and using a strategic approach to avoiding injury and the loss of lives."


OSHA Renews Partnership with National Electrical Contractors Association Central Ohio Chapter and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers


The National Electrical Contractors Association Central Ohio Chapter, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Unions 683 and 1105 and OSHA established a partnership to improve electrical worker safety. The partnership will emphasize electrical safe work practices, training, enforcement policies, and sharing of best practices among contractors.

Participating employers vow to maintain Days, Away, Restricted or Transfer (DART) and the Total Cases Incident Rate (TCIR) injury and illness rates below Bureau of Labor Statistics data for electrical contractors.  Participants will meet quarterly for training, sharing of best practices and evaluation.

"We're excited about continuing this partnership with the NECA/IBEW after over ten years of success, because we know efforts like these improve workplace safety by fostering education, training teamwork and prevention on the job site," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus.

OSHA Strategic Partnerships are unique agreements designed to encourage, assist, and recognize partner efforts to eliminate serious hazards and enhance workplace safety and health practices. OSHA Strategic Partnerships establish specific goals, strategies, and performance measures to improve worker safety and health.

OSHA, Shipbuilding Group Form Alliance to Protect Workers in Shipyard Employment

The Shipbuilding Group is comprised of the National Shipbuilding Research Program and the Shipbuilders Council of America.

During the two year agreement, OSHA and the Shipbuilding Group will develop training and identify best practices that promote safety and health in shipbuilding and repair. The alliance will also support OSHA’s prevention of falls campaign, including the delivery of safety stand-down events at shipyards.

“Our alliance with the Shipbuilding Group will allow us to share safety and health information with workers in the shipbuilding industry, particularly those most vulnerable to workplace hazards,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “Through this partnership, we look forward to providing workers with the resources necessary to stay safe and healthy on the job.”

The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA inspections or any other enforcement benefits.

International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Seeks Interns

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is seeking several bright and energetic undergraduate or graduate students for the Summer of 2016.  The internship runs from June 6 through August 21, 2016. Compensation is $15 per hour.

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