Let’s keep it safe in the kitchen today. Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Advanced Safety & Health.
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Let’s keep it safe in the kitchen today. Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Advanced Safety & Health.
OSHA issued a proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health through improved tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. The announcement follows the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ release of its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, which estimates that three million workers were injured on the job in 2012.
“Three million injuries are three million too many,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “With the changes being proposed in this rule, employers, employees, the government and researchers will have better access to data that will encourage earlier abatement of hazards and result in improved programs to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer’s obligation to transmit these records to OSHA.”
The public will have 90 days, through February 6, 2014, to submit written comments on the proposed rule. A public meeting on the proposed rule will be held on January 9, 2014, in Washington, D.C. A Federal Register notice announcing the public meeting will be published shortly.
The proposed rule was developed following a series of stakeholder meetings in 2010 to help OSHA gather information about electronic submission of establishment-specific injury and illness data. OSHA is proposing to amend its current recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information employers are already required to keep under existing standards, Part 1904. The first proposed new requirement is for establishments with more than 250 employees (and who are already required to keep records) to electronically submit the records on a quarterly basis to OSHA.
OSHA is also proposing that establishments with 20 or more employees, in certain industries with high injury and illness rates, be required to submit electronically only their summary of work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA once a year. Currently, many such firms report this information to OSHA under OSHA’s Data Initiative.
OSHA plans to eventually post the data online, as encouraged by President Obama’s Open Government Initiative. Timely, establishment-specific injury and illness data will help OSHA target its compliance assistance and enforcement resources more effectively by identifying workplaces where workers are at greater risk, and enable employers to compare their injury rates with others in the same industry.
Additional information on the proposed rule can be found at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=24002 and http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/proposed_data_form.html.
US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites two Dallas employers for exposing workers to hazards after two people were struck and killed by a forklift
OSHA has cited Georg Fischer Central Plastics LLC and Nationwide Plastics Inc. for 16 safety and health violations at the plastic manufacturing facility on Joseph Hardin Drive in Dallas, after a worker and a self-employed truck driver were struck and killed by a forklift in June.
“By failing to implement OSHA standards, these employers put its workers at risk. Ultimately, two people paid the price with their lives,” said Stephen Boyd, OSHA’s area director in Dallas. “It’s the employer’s responsibility to find and fix the hazards that expose workers to injuries and illnesses.”
When they were fatally injured, the Georg Fischer employee and the truck driver were caught between a forklift and a flatbed trailer being loaded with plastic pipe. Georg Fischer and Nationwide Plastics occupy the same commercial space.
The 16 serious safety violations for both companies include failing to ensure that the manufacturer-provided safety latch was intact on the hook of the overhead hoist; ensure that buildings or other structures used for storage purposes had load ratings; guard platforms with standard railing; provide a lockout and tagout program to control energy sources; and ensure all workers complete required forklift training. Other safety violations include failing to block wheels of powered industrial trucks parked on inclines; plainly mark the rated loads on each side of the crane; provide tongue guards on bench grinders; and train workers and ensure familiarity with safety-related work practices and lockout or tagout parts of fixed electrical equipment or circuits.
One serious health violation was cited for failing to administer a continuing and effective hearing conservation program. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Proposed penalties total $97,200. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Dallas area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
But not the way you may think. With all the news out there today about cyber security and identity theft, we all have taken precautions with our computers and personal information. However, Advanced Safety & Health recently learned about another danger, because we have been victimized. Our phone system is being hacked. Or at least they are trying to hack it. For the past few months, we have been noticing an increase in our phone bill, especially with regard to our inbound toll-free calls. After some painstaking work on the part of our staff and phone system provider, we discovered multiple attempts by an entity or entities to hack into our phone system. You heard me right – there are phone system hackers out there as well. Basically, they are calling in on our toll free number and then attempting to penetrate the phone system to use our outgoing line to make what could be hundreds, if not thousands, of long distance/overseas calls, thereby leaving us with an astronomical phone bill. Phone system hacking is one of the many forms of cyber-crime that is on the increase. It is also known as “toll fraud” and “call phreaking”.
We learned through our phone service provider that we simply can’t track back, find, and shutdown these hackers. They are just too smart for the limited capabilities of the phone service provider. Fortunately for us, our internal phone system firewall has held so far. The unfortunate part is these hackers haven’t given us any indication they are going to stop trying any time soon. Therefore, we have been forced to shut down our toll-free number. We regret any inconvenience this may cause, but it has become painfully obvious this is the most prudent thing for us to do at this time.
If your organization maintains a toll-free number for customers, we strongly recommend that you closely monitor its usage, ensure that all phone system-related applications are included as part of your company’s security program, and ensure that your insurance policy provides sufficient protection against the risks of hacking and fraudulent activity. These hackers can run up astronomical phone bills for which you will most likely be liable.
OSHA cites seven Trade Fair Supermarkets in Queens, NY, for laceration, eye, exit hazards; proposes $128,000 in fines
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited seven Trade Fair Supermarkets stores in Queens for 40 violations of workplace safety standards. The local grocery store chain faces $128,000 in proposed fines following inspections that began in March in response to complaints.
“Our inspections found a disturbing and unacceptable pattern of similar hazards in several stores. For the safety and health of its employees, Trade Fair Supermarkets must take effective action to correct these conditions at these and all its stores,” said Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director for Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.
At the seven stores, OSHA found butchers operating band saws with unguarded blades and other workers using cleaning products without protective eye gear, exposing them to lacerations, amputations and eye injuries. Four of the stores compromised swift and safe exiting during a fire or emergency because of locked or blocked exits, obstructed exit access and unilluminated or missing exit signs. These conditions resulted in the issuance of 20 serious violation citations with $122,000 in proposed fines. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
In addition, six stores failed to post the required annual summary of occupational illnesses and injuries. All seven stores lacked a chemical hazard communication program and training, and five stores had electrical hazards. These conditions resulted in citations for 20 other-than-serious violations with $6,000 in fines. 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.
All doing business as Trade Fair Supermarkets, the inspected stores included Kamal Corp., 30-08 30th Ave., Astoria; Loreen Food Corp., 37-11 Ditmar Blvd., Astoria; Nadine Food Corp., 99-10 Astoria Blvd., Corona; 89-02 Food Corp., 89-02 37th Ave., Jackson Heights; Ziad Food Corp., 22-20 36th Ave., Long Island City; Crescent Food Corp., 23-55 Broadway, Long Island City; and Coro Food Corp., 49-11 30th Ave., Woodside.
The citations can be viewed at:
er·go·nom·ics (ûr-g-nmks) n.
1. (used with a sing. verb) The applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. Also called biotechnology, human engineering, human factors engineering. 2. (used with a pl. verb) Design factors, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by minimizing operator fatigue and discomfort: The ergonomics of the new office were felt to be optimal.
When should I consider hiring an Ergonomist?
How will hiring an Ergonomist help my bottom line?
Why should I hire a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE)?
In order for individuals to become a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE), they must have at least seven (7) years of ergonomic working experience, at least a master’s level degree in the field, submit multiple work documents that verify the their ability, and pass a seven-hour exam. This combination of credentials ensures that the ergonomic evaluations will be done methodically, using both science and experience to recommend optimum resolutions.
Steel erection and roofing contractor Marcus Borden has been cited for six safety violations, some involving fall hazards, following the hospitalization of three workers for injuries suffered while performing roof work in Cordova, Alabama. Proposed penalties total $69,200.
In March, a gust of wind during a severe thunderstorm ripped a large piece of metal decking from the workers’ hands. One worker was thrown against the edge of a new metal roof and suffered a left arm amputation while a second worker was thrown across the roof and suffered an injured shoulder. A third worker became wrapped in a sheet of metal, managed to escape, but was carried by the momentum over the roof’s edge and fell 30 feet to the ground. The worker broke both wrists, several ribs, his tailbone, and pelvis.
A willful violation has been cited for failing to provide workers with fall protection while working within 6 feet of an open edge that was 30 feet above the ground.
Four serious violations involve exposing workers to severe weather conditions and struck-by hazards during severe weather conditions; not ensuring use of fall protection when riding an aerial lift basket from the ground to the roof; overloading the aerial lift’s posted weight limit; and not securing metal decking during inclement weather conditions.
An other-than-serious violation relates to the employer failing to notify OSHA about the workers being admitted to the hospital due to a work-related incident.
“Marcus Borden did not provide fall protection, even after an employee request and after indicating prior to roofing work that it would protect workers from fall hazards,” said Ramona Morris, OSHA’s area director in Birmingham. “Employers are responsible for providing workers with proper protection to perform jobs safely.”
Employees repeatedly exposed to unchecked fall hazards
Twin Pines Construction Inc. of Everett, Massachusetts, has once again been cited by OSHA for willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at work sites in Plymouth and Reading, Massachusetts. The wood framing contractor faces a combined total of $336,200 in proposed fines following inspections begun in March.
The Plymouth inspection was initiated after a worker suffered broken ribs and leg injuries when an unbraced wooden roof truss system collapsed around him at a worksite. Another inspection was opened the same day after OSHA received a complaint about possible safety hazards at a Reading job site.
At the Plymouth worksite, OSHA found that the trusses were not adequately braced during their installation, exposing employees to being struck by them. The workers were also exposed to falls of up to 12 feet during the installation of the trusses. Inspectors identified an impalement hazard from uncovered anchor bolts and additional fall and struck-by hazards from a misused ladder and uninspected and untagged rigging. These conditions resulted in OSHA issuing Twin Pines two willful, two repeat and four serious citations with $196,200 in proposed fines. The repeat violations stem from similar hazards cited by OSHA in 2009 and 2011 at jobsites in Walpole, Massachusetts and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
OSHA found employees at the Reading worksite working without fall protection while framing exterior walls, making final deck attachments, constructing leading edges and receiving construction building materials. This lack of fall protection exposed them to falls of from 10 to 20 feet. As a result, OSHA issued two willful citations, with $140,000 in fines, to Twin Pines.
“The large penalties proposed in these cases reflect the gravity and recurring nature of these hazards, and demonstrate this employer’s knowing, active and ongoing disregard for its workers’ safety,” said Marthe Kent, OSHA’s New England regional administrator. “Falls remain the number one killer in construction work. Employers who deliberately and repeatedly fail to supply and ensure the use of effective fall protection safeguards are repeatedly gambling with their workers’ lives.”
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/TwinPines896909_09062013.pdf and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Twin_Pines_Construction_Inc_896591_09-05-13.pdf.
Twin Pines Construction Inc. has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA’s SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.
OSHA announces that the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Respirable Silica has been published in the Federal Register
Last week, OSHA announced that the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Respirable Crystalline Silica has been published in the Federal Register. OSHA invites and strongly encourages the public to participate in the process of developing a final rule through written comments and participation in public hearings.
The public will have until December 11, 2013, to submit written comments on the proposed rule. Hearings are scheduled to begin on March 4, 2014 at the Department of Labor’s Frances Perkins Building in Washington, DC. Members of the public who wish to participate in public hearings must submit a notice of intention to appear by November 12, 2013.
Additional information on the proposed rule, including five fact sheets, and procedures for submitting written comments and participating in public hearings is available at http://www.osha.gov/silica/index.html.
Exposure to airborne silica dust occurs in operations involving cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block and other stone products and in operations using sand products, such as in glass manufacturing, foundries and sand blasting. OSHA estimates that the proposed rule will save nearly 700 lives per year and prevent 1,600 new cases of silicosis annually, once the full effects of the rule are realized.
The proposed rulemaking includes two separate standards – one for general industry and maritime employment, and one for construction. OSHA believes these standards are based on extensive review of scientific and technical evidence, consideration of current industry consensus standards, and outreach by OSHA to stakeholders, including public stakeholder meetings, conferences, and meetings with employer and employee organizations.
In a statement by Dr. David Michaels – Assistant Secretary of Labor, he states “This proposal is long overdue. OSHA’s current standards for protecting workers from silica exposure are dangerously out-of-date and do not adequately protect worker health. The current standards are more than 40 years old, and they are based on research from the 1960′s and even earlier. They do not reflect the most recent scientific evidence.”