October 01, 2018
California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has proposed to establish two Proposition 65 Maximum Allowable Dose Levels (MADLs) for exposure to n-hexane by amending Section 25805(b) of Title 27 of the California Code of Regulations. The proposed oral MADL for n-hexane is 28,000 micrograms per day and the proposed inhalation MADL for n-hexane is 20,000 micrograms per day.
By providing these MADLs, this regulatory proposal may encourage businesses to lower the amount of the listed chemical in their products to a level that does not require a warning. This in turn may reduce exposures to n-hexane and reduce resident, worker, and environmental exposures to n-hexane. In addition, some businesses may not be able to afford the expenses of establishing MADLs and therefore may face litigation for a failure to warn or for a prohibited discharge of the listed chemical. Adopting this regulation will save these businesses those expenses and may reduce litigation costs.
Proposition 65 prohibits a person in the course of doing business from knowingly and intentionally exposing any individual to a chemical that has been listed as known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, without first giving clear and reasonable warning to such individual. The Act also prohibits a business from knowingly discharging a listed chemical into water or onto or into land where such chemical passes or probably will pass into any source of drinking water. Warnings are not required and the discharge prohibition does not apply when exposures are insignificant. The MADLs provide guidance for determining when this is the case.
Job Openings at Environmental Resource Center
We’re looking for new team members with hands-on environmental and safety experience. The successful candidate will have at least 4 years’ EHS experience at a manufacturing facility in a position implementing safety and environmental regulations or at a government agency that enforces the regulations. Job functions will include providing consulting services, audits, as well as training program development and presentation. Excellent writing and public speaking skills are required. Frequent air travel. Profit sharing, 401K, and other great benefits.
We also have an opening for an EHS associate. This position requires at least 2 years’ experience in the implementation of EHS regulations together with excellent writing and editing skills.
If you’d like to join a growing company that’s known for its quality, ethics, and expertise, send your resume, a writing sample, and salary requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources to Keep Workers Safe from Trenching-Related Hazards
OSHA has developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from trenching and excavation hazards. OSHA’s goal is to increase awareness of trenching hazards in construction, educate job creators and workers on safe cave-in prevention solutions, and decrease the number of trench collapses. These resources, which continue the goals of the Department’s recently announced Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI), encourage and facilitate compliance evaluations.
Trench-related injuries are preventable when workers are properly trained and the required protections are in place. OSHA is working with industry stakeholders and providing new compliance assistance resources.
- U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta recorded audio public service announcements in English and Spanish that highlight effective ways to stay safe when working around trenches and excavations. A 45-second video, “5 Things You Should Know to Stay Safe,” also highlights well-known and proven safety measures that can eliminate hazards and prevent worker injuries.
- An updated trenching operations QuickCard provides information on protecting workers around trenches, including daily inspections, and trench wall safety.
- OSHA’s revised “Protect Workers in Trenches” poster provides a quick reminder of the three ways to prevent dangerous trench collapses: SLOPE or bench trench walls, SHORE trench walls with supports, or SHIELD trench walls with trench boxes. The poster is available in English and Spanish.
- An updated trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions.
OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program
provides valuable services for job creators that are separate from enforcement. OSHA recently published an analysis
demonstrating how the agency’s On-Site Consultation Program contributes $1.3 billion to the national economy each year. Employers who implement workplace improvements can reduce lost time due to injuries and illnesses, improve employee morale, increase productivity, and lower workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
Debate on Banning Organohalogen Flame Retardants Heats Up
Hundreds of everyday household items, from laptop computers to babies’ high chairs, contain flame retardants to prevent the objects from catching fire. Recently, several groups petitioned a U.S. agency to ban flame retardants known as organohalogens, some of which can migrate out of household items. Others argue against blacklisting an entire class of compounds without further study, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News
(C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.
Organohalogens are a group of chemicals that includes brominated or chlorinated phosphate esters, Senior Correspondent Cheryl Hogue writes. Scientists have linked some of these compounds to health concerns such as endocrine disruption, reproductive problems, cancer and developmental defects. Therefore, several health and environmental groups petitioned the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC) to ban four types of household goods containing organohalogens: children’s products, except car seats; residential furniture; mattresses and mattress pads; and electronics casings. Meanwhile, manufacturers of flame retardants and electronics have argued against lumping all organohalogens, which have different properties and toxicities, together as a class.
To gain clarity on this issue, CPSC is turning to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine for advice. A newly formed flame retardants committee will help the agency determine whether to consider all organohalogens as a single class, or whether they should be broken into subclasses for regulation. In addition, CSPC is establishing a Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel of outside scientific experts to review the scientific data on organohalogen toxicity and exposure. The conclusions reached by these groups could have broad regulatory repercussions, Hogue writes.
OSHA Regional Emphasis Program Focused on Reducing Employee Exposure to Ammonium
OSHA has launched a new program to address hazards from exposure to fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN) and agricultural anhydrous ammonium. The Regional Emphasis Program (REP) will be effective in the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Workers employed in the fertilizer storage, mixing/blending, and distribution industry can face hazards that can lead to serious injury, illness and death, including fire and explosions, as well as exposure to toxic gases and hazardous chemicals.
“This program is an enforcement tool to emphasize the obligations under existing OSHA standards,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille in Kansas City, Missouri. “The 90-day outreach period is an opportunity for employers to proactively seek compliance assistance to ensure they are adequately protecting workers.”
The program begins October 1, 2018, with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach to encourage employers to bring their facilities into compliance with OSHA standards. During this period, OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations, and fatalities. Enforcement activities will begin after the outreach period and run through September 30, 2019, unless extended.
“The goal is to improve worker safety and reduce the potential for catastrophic incidents,” said Eric Harbin, OSHA’s Acting Regional Administrator in Dallas. “At the end of the day, we want to ensure workers go home safely to their families.”
OSHA offers compliance assistance
to all employers at no charge. Each state has an On-Site Consultation Program
, a free and confidential program to help small- and medium-sized employers learn about potential hazards at their workplace and improve safety and health programs.
Railcar Maintenance Company for Repeatedly Exposing Employees to Fire and Explosion Hazards
OSHA has cited GBW Railcar Services—a railcar repair, refurbishment, and maintenance company—for repeated and serious safety and health violations at its facility in Hockley, Texas. The company faces $265,147 in proposed penalties.
OSHA inspected the facility in response to a complaint, and cited the company for failing to protect workers from combustible dust, confined space, and respiratory hazards. Two contractors suffered fatal injuries, and another sustained serious injuries in a combustible dust explosion at this facility in 2012. The repeated violations cited in the current inspection are based on hazardous conditions identified in the 2012 investigation.
“This employer failed to monitor their facility to ensure workplace health and safety procedures were adequate and effective,” said OSHA Houston Area Office Director Joann J. Figueroa. “When combustible dust is not properly controlled, the results can be devastating.”
Meat Packer after Employee Injury
OSHA has cited JBS Green Bay Inc.
for machine guarding violations that led to an employee suffering serious injuries after becoming caught in an unguarded machine. OSHA cited the company—based in Green Bay, Wisconsin—for one willful and 10 serious violations, and faces proposed penalties of $221,726, which includes the maximum penalty for the willful violation.
OSHA’s safety investigation determined that the company failed to install adequate safety guards, and exposed workers to fall and lockout/tagout hazards. Inspectors opened a concurrent health inspection after a review of the company’s safety and health logs determined that employees had been exposed to an ammonia release. The company was cited for having an inadequate process safety management program.
Pretzel Manufacturer Fined $206,019 after Amputation
OSHA inspectors determined that the worker was cleaning a machine when it activated. OSHA cited the company for willfully failing to conduct periodic inspections of its energy control procedures used to de-energize equipment when cleaning; and failing to implement lockout/tagout procedures to prevent unintentional machine startup, and train employees on lockout/tagout procedures and hazards.
“The employer’s failure to correct previously identified violations and follow basic safety standards resulted in this preventable incident,” said Paula Dixon-Roderick, OSHA Area Director in Marlton, New Jersey. “Employers are legally required to implement appropriate procedures and provide training to protect employees.”
Cites Metal Forging Company, Proposes $225,046 in Penalties
OSHA has cited Vforge Inc.
—based in Lakewood, Colorado—for machine safety hazards after an employee suffered fatal injuries while working on a forging machine. The company faces proposed penalties of $225,046.
OSHA cited Vforge Inc. for two willful and two serious safety violations for failing to develop lockout/tagout
procedures, provide adequate machine guarding, and train employees in a language they understand. OSHA has placed Vforge Inc. in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“Employers are legally required to implement appropriate procedures and provide training to protect their employees’ safety,” said OSHA Englewood Area Office Director David Nelson. “This tragedy could have been prevented if safety measures were in place to prevent machinery from starting while being serviced.”
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