Time to Post Your Annual OSHA Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

February 02, 2009

. The summary must be displayed in a visible area for employee review from February 1 through April 30 each year. The summary is designed to create safety awareness in the workplace for employers and employees so similar injuries can be prevented in the future.

If there is more than one business establishment, a separate log and summary must be posted in each physical location that is expected to be in operation for one year or longer. 

OSHA Announces Informal Public Hearing on Proposed Cranes and Derricks Standards in Construction

The hearing will be held beginning March 17 at 10 a.m., Eastern time, at the Frances Perkins Building, U.S. Department of Labor, in Washington, D.C.


New Deck Barge Safety Guidance Document and Spud Barge Fact Sheet

Slips, trips, and falls, as well as fires and falling overboard are among the major safety topics addressed in two new OSHA online publications designed to protect maritime industry employees.

. Other topics mentioned in the document are machinery and equipment, confined or enclosed spaces, and training.

 The fact sheet also offers safety measures for employers and employees working on barges and towing vessels.

Deck barges and spud barges are flat boats or vessels that carry cargo and are also used in the marine construction industry for work such as pier or bulkhead construction, dredging, bridge construction and maintenance, and marine oil service.

Both the guidance document and the fact sheet identify the connection between proper controls, procedures and training, and they also seek to increase awareness of hazards and identify solutions to prevent injuries and fatalities. The new publications were produced as a result of a 2006 barge-related accident that caused five fatalities.

Health Advisories for Perfluorooctanoic Acid and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate

On Jan. 8, 2009, EPA issued Provisional Health Advisories (PHAs) for the chemicals perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) to respond to an urgent, rapidly evolving situation in Decatur, Ala. EPA developed this health-based guidance using the most recent scientific studies. The values in the PHAs are essentially levels that, when exceeded, suggest the need for discontinuing use of a water source for drinking or cooking.

EPA's PHA value for PFOA is 0.4 ug/L (ppb); the value for PFOS is 0.2ug/L. These values, which are for short-term exposure, were developed to be protective of all populations and life stages. The values could be used elsewhere in cases that require responding to an urgent or rapidly developing situation.

PFOA and PFOS are of concern because they can cause systemic and developmental toxicity in laboratory animals. EPA has not yet developed a level that is acceptable for lifetime exposures with no anticipated adverse health effects. The PHA values are guidance; they are not enforceable and may be revised as new scientific information becomes available.

FAA Welcomes Return of Delta’s Aviation Safety Action Program

On January 28, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accepted an agreement between Delta Air Lines and the Air Line Pilots Association that reinstates participation by Delta pilots in the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP). The FAA is urging US Airways, American Airlines, and their labor unions to resolve their differences and reinstate voluntary reporting programs.

“ASAP has proven to be a valuable tool in helping to spot possible safety problems before they become accidents,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “We hope the other carriers will follow Delta’s lead and realize just how critical voluntary programs are to commercial aviation safety.”

“We are extremely pleased that Delta pilots are once again providing essential safety data,” FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Peggy Gilligan said. “ASAP gives us invaluable insight into the day-to-day activities of people in our aviation system.”

ASAP encourages air carrier and repair station employees to voluntarily report safety information that may be critical to identifying and resolving potential safety issues without fear of punishment.

The programs are based on a safety partnership that includes the FAA, the company, and the employees’ labor organization or an employee representative. To date, more than 70 operators have almost 170 programs covering pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, and dispatchers.

Cascades Boxboard Group Faces $323,000 in OSHA Fines

OSHA has cited Cascades Boxboard GroupConnecticut LLC for 52 alleged serious and repeat violations of safety standards at its Versailles, Conn., paper mill. The company faces $323,000 in proposed fines following a comprehensive OSHA inspection begun in July in response to employee complaints.

The citations address a broad cross section of chemical, electrical, mechanical, fire, and fall hazards as well as crushing hazards posed by the deteriorating condition of the mill building. OSHA's inspection found numerous instances throughout the building of extensive rust, corrosion, and physical damage that compromised its structural stability.

"There is no excuse for employees to work in such conditions," said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "The hazardous conditions must be addressed promptly, effectively, and completely to protect the safety and health of these workers. Failure to pay proper and timely attention to safety and health requirements, including building maintenance, can result in considerable human and financial costs down the line."

Specific conditions identified during the inspection included unguarded machinery; unguarded floor openings; damaged ladders; lack of fall protection; uninspected or inadequately maintained fire extinguishers; corroded wire lifting slings; lack of personal protective equipment; and deficiencies involving respirators, fork trucks, propane tanks, electrical safety, hazardous energy control, hazard communication, and work in confined spaces. These conditions resulted in the issuance of 49 serious citations with $200,500 in proposed fines. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

Four repeat citations, with $122,500 in fines, have been issued for conditions similar to those cited in a 2007 OSHA inspection. These included 86 instances of unguarded moving machine parts; open-sided platforms unguarded or inadequately guarded against falls; stairs lacking railings; and several locations where floors were not maintained in dry conditions.

Certified Painting Co. Fined $225,000 for Willful Violations

OSHA has proposed a total of $225,000 in fines against Certified Painting Co. Inc. for an alleged eight willful and nine serious violations of federal workplace safety standards.

OSHA's investigation, opened in July 2008, cited Certified Painting Co. Inc. for failure to have proper carbon-monoxide monitoring devices; failure to provide and ensure workers were using personal protective clothing; failure to provide required hygiene facilities and ensure workers conducted required hygiene practices after possible exposure to lead or other hazardous materials; and failure to provide U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets and failure to have a lifesaving skiff immediately available at locations where employees were working over or adjacent to water.

The company also has been cited for failure to provide proper fall protection and equipment for employees working on scaffolding; failure to maintain a safety and health program; failure to provide a required training program prior to employees being exposed to lead; and failure to conduct regular inspections of the jobsite by a competent person.

Certified Painting Co. Inc. performs industrial painting on bridges and other construction projects throughout the state of Illinois. The company has been inspected by OSHA 16 times and has been cited for safety and health violations more than 100 times since 1976.

Best Plastering Contractors Fined $106,200 for Potential Fall Violations

OSHA is proposing $106,200 in penalties against El Paso-based Best Plastering Contractors for allegedly exposing employees to potential fall hazards. OSHA has issued citations alleging four willful and three serious violations following an investigation that began July 11, 2008, when agency inspectors witnessed employees working on a scaffold without using fall protection equipment at an El Paso, Texas, worksite.

"The fines reflect the company's failure to follow OSHA requirements and their indifference toward providing their employees with a safe workplace environment," said Dean McDaniel, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "It is fortunate that no one was seriously injured."

The willful citations are for failing:

  • To fully plank working levels of the scaffold
  • To set up the scaffold on adequate foundation
  • To supply workers with a ladder or other safe access to the scaffold working levels
  • To provide guardrails for employees working on upper levels of the scaffold.


A willful violation is one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. The serious violations included failing to provide training for employees who used Portland cement, a chemical which can cause skin burns; to properly brace the scaffold; and to repair or replace damaged scaffold components. A serious violation exists when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

Fall Hazards at Connecticut Worksite Lead to Nearly $62,000 in OSHA Fines for Domack Roofing

OSHA has cited Domack Roofing LLC of Stratford, Conn., for alleged willful, serious, and repeat violations of safety standards at a New Haven, Conn., worksite. The roofing contactor faces $61,800 in proposed fines following an OSHA inspection prompted by an employee complaint.

OSHA found that Domack employees were exposed to falls from 40 to 60 feet while working without fall protection on the third floor and the roof of a building. Additional fall hazards were posed by the lack of stair rails and guardrails on the stairways and landings used to access the building's upper floors, the use of a ladder that did not extend three feet beyond its landing surface, and lack of employee training. Employees also were exposed to possible electric shock or burns from a temporary lighting lamp that was not guarded against accidental contact.

"Falls are the number one killer in construction work," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "A lack of fall protection and training leaves employees just a slip or a misstep away from a deadly or disabling plunge."

Specifically, OSHA issued Domack two willful citations, with $56,000 in fines, for the lack of fall protection; four serious citations, with $3,800 in fines, for the training, ladder, and lamp hazards; and one repeat citation, with a $2,000 fine, for failing to train the third floor balcony employee to recognize fall hazards. OSHA cited the company in December 2007 for similar hazards at a Bridgeport worksite.

Domack Roofing has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to meet with OSHA or to contest them to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office.

European Parliament Takes Action to Ban Dichloromethane in Paint Strippers

The chemical compound Dichloromethane (DCM) in paint strippers will soon be banned in Europe for consumers and many professionals, after the adoption of a legislative report by the European Parliament.

DCM is a colorless chemical compound and is classified as a carcinogen. According to the Commission, between 1989 and 2007, 18 fatalities (9 for industrial use, 8 for professional use, and 1 for consumer use) and 56 non-fatal injuries were reported in the European Union (EU).

Various alternatives to DCM-based paint strippers are already available on the market:

  • Physical/mechanical stripping
  • Pyrolitic/thermal stripping
  • Chemical stripping involving chemicals other than DCM

Alternative chemical paint strippers are the most widely used of these alternative methods. A number of European countries have already put in place national measures to ban or substitute DCM (i.e., Austria, Denmark, Sweden) or are in the process of doing so (i.e., Germany).

OSHA Europe Reports on Occupational Skin Diseases

Skin diseases are among the most important emerging risks—related not only to the extensive use of chemicals, but also to exposure to biological and physical risk factors.

Skin diseases are the second most common work-related health problem in Europe. They represent more than 7% of all occupational illnesses and are one of the most important emerging risks related to the exposure to chemical, physical, and biological risk factors. The fact that there is no scientific method to measure the level of the body’s exposures to risks—via dermal contact and their physiological consequences—increases the importance of recognizing risk factors and developing methods of assessing the level of exposure and controlling it.

This report gives an overview of dermal exposures and skin diseases, contains the principal policies and practices in the EU-25, and concludes with challenges and recommendations.

OSHA Europe Report on Workplace Exposure to Vibration

Although vibration has long been recognized as a risk, its importance has increased since the application of OSHA EU’s Vibration Directive rule (2002/44/EC), which became effective on July 6, 2005.

 The report brings together the opinions of European experts to produce an overview of the challenges facing the occupational safety and health community regarding the management of occupational vibration risks. The situation in six European Union (EU) Member States—Belgium, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, and Poland—is examined, and research information is presented covering all the European Member States.

The vibration directive (2002/44/EC) introduced minimum protection requirements for workers when exposed to risks arising from vibration. In practice, various approaches can be selected to deal with these risks, and it is possible to implement effective solutions. However, while technical solutions to reduce vibration are relatively well known, they are underused by machine and tool manufacturers as well as by operators. Key factors that may contribute to the success of a prevention program include an integrated step-by-step approach, effective guidance, implementation of a purchasing policy, collaboration with manufacturers, information, and raising the overall level of awareness of the potential hazards.

The report consists of the following chapters:

  1. Main sources of vibration and extent of workers’ exposure
  2. Principal groups at risk
  3. Implementation of the directive
  4. Evaluation of vibration risks at the workplace
  5. Application of the directive in practice
  6. Management of vibration risks at the workplace
  7. Support for employers
  8. Prevention measures
  9. Research perspectives

Report on Protecting Workers in Hotels, Restaurants, and Catering Now Available from EU OSHA

The HORECA industry employs more than 7.8 million people, so it is of great importance to manage the risks and prevent the causes of accidents and ill health in this employment sector.

The HORECA sector covers a wide range of different businesses including hotels, pubs and restaurants, contract caterers in various industrial and commercial premises, fast-food takeaways, cafes, and bistros. It plays an important role as a job creator in the service sector and in the economy as a whole in many EU Member States.

The goal of the report is to make information relating to occupational safety and health in HORECA available and to provide an overview of good practices at both the policy and workplace level.

Safety News Links