Three Massachusetts Companies Receive OSHA Fines

January 03, 2005

OSHA recently cited three Massachusetts companies cooperating in the construction of a New Hampshire ballpark for alleged health and safety violations.

Payton Construction of Boston and Scire Construction Corp. of Woburn, MA, were cited for failing to provide sufficient safeguards for workers exposed to hazardous substances at the baseball stadium excavation site for the Singer Park baseball stadium project in Manchester, NH.

A third company, Barnes Building & Management Group Inc. of Woburn, MA, was cited for not offering adequate fall protection for workers installing steel decking in a separate incident at the stadium under construction along the Merrimack River.

Utility workers dug into the ground within an area of buried debris from the former anthrax-infected Arms Textile Mill last June. The companies face $20,950 in combined fines.

Scire, an excavation subcontractor, received four serious violations and fined $3,750 for allowing employees to eat, drink, and smoke in hazardous waste areas. It also failed to develop a site-specific health and safety plan, supervisors and employees failed to receive sufficient training, and employees moving contaminated soil were not monitored for exposure.

OSHA cited Payton, the general contractor, for three serious violations and levied fines of $5,200 and citing several similar items. These included the absence of a site-specific health and safety plan, insufficient training, and not monitoring workers.

Barnes was fined $12,000 for one repeat citation. It had received a previous OSHA citation in October 2003 and May 2002 for the lack of fall protection at job sites in Brockton, MA. Executives with both Payton and Barnes indicated that they would contest the citations within the limit of 15 business days.

OSHA defines a serious violation as a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or physical harm can result to an employee. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has previously been cited for a substantially similar hazard and that citation has become final.

OSHA and American Red Cross Form Alliance for Workplace Safety

The alliance is designed to reduce and prevent some of the most common workplace injuries and illnesses. The Red Cross and OSHA will provide business and industry with resources to focus on reducing and preventing exposure to falls, amputations, ergonomic injuries, chemical, electrical, and other physical hazards.

The Red Cross will work with OSHA to develop training and education programs on work-related safety issues. The alliance calls for OSHA and the Red Cross to share information regarding best practices or effective approaches for dealing with work-related hazards, and disseminate results through publications, training programs, workshops, seminars, or lectures. Both organizations will speak and exhibit at conferences and local meetings in central Illinois.

Honeywell International Teams With OSHA to Promote Workplace Safety

OSHA and Honeywell International have formed a new partnership with the goal of providing better workplace safety. OSHAÆs Strategic Partnerships for Worker Safety and Health is part of an ongoing effort to improve the health and safety of workers through cooperative relationships with trade associations, labor organizations and employers.

Located in El Paso, TX, Honeywell's Security & Custom Electronics Division is the world's largest manufacturer of electronic security systems. The El Paso facility is the headquarters for customer configuration, product service and distribution, employing a workforce that is 98 percent Hispanic.

Partnerships enable organizations committed to workplace safety and health to work cooperatively with OSHA. This partnership will be consistent with the agency's long-range efforts to develop a business-government approach to safety and health management and will be the stepping-stone in Honeywell's overall goal of achieving OSHA VPP status. Since its Strategic Partnership Program began in 1998, OSHA has formed more than 300 partnerships, affecting over 13,000 employers and 573,000 employees nationwide.

Pro-Tec Receives Top Honors From OSHA for Voluntary Worker Protection

An Ohio metal coating firm has received the highest honor for voluntary worker protection programs from OSHA. Pro-Tec Coating Company of Leipsic, OH, is the first company in the metal coating and allied services industrial classification to achieve "Star" status in OSHA's prestigious Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP).

The Star VPP award recognizes businesses with outstanding management systems and programs for preventing occupational injuries and illnesses. OSHA praised Pro-Tec for providing excellent technology, resources and training for all of its 230 employees.

Approximately 1,200 companies nationwide have earned membership in the Voluntary Protection Programs. Representing more than 200 industries, they have achieved average injury rates more than 50 percent lower than other companies in their industry. Pro-Tec Coating's injury and illness rates are 80 percent below the workplace average for metal coating and allied services firms.

OSHA to Issue Final Rule on Standards Improvement Process

OSHA will publish a final rule in the Jan. 5, 2005, Federal Register on the second phase of its standards improvement project. The project addresses inconsistent, duplicative or outdated provisions in OSHA's safety and health standards for general industry, maritime and construction.

"These changes will reduce the regulatory burdens on employers while maintaining the safety and health protections afforded to employees," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "These burdens produce no safety and health value and once eliminated will reduce annual costs by more than $6.8 million. That's a winning combination for us all."

The final rule revises or eliminates medical provisions in older standards that were once considered accepted practice, but have since been deemed obsolete or unnecessary in current medical practice. For example, annual rather than semi-annual medical examinations will now be required for long-term employees exposed to inorganic arsenic, coke oven emissions, and vinyl chloride.

In addition, the final rule eliminates reporting requirements that have failed to benefit employee health. For example, employers will no longer have to notify OSHA of all workplace releases for certain specified carcinogens. In addition, while employers are still required to establish regulated work areas for vinyl chloride, inorganic arsenic, acrylonitrile, and for the 13 known occupational carcinogens, they will no longer be required to notify OSHA each time they do so.

The final rule updates chemical exposure provisions by making them consistent in terms of the frequency of monitoring and the manner of employee notification of monitoring results.