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DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Steve Hudgik

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with what is happening at OSHA as well as other workplace safety news. Includes a report on the significant OSHA citations announced the previous week. Plus we scan national and local (and world) publications for workplace safety news. This is your source for the latest safety news.


Monday, April 14, 2014

This Week's Safety News

April 14, 2014
Use these links to go directly to each section of this week's safety news:

Safety News Briefs

  • AZ vs. OSHA - The Story Continues

OSHA Significant Citations

  • Precision Custom Coatings LLC Cited For Repeat Violations ($185,400)
  • NY Paper Manufacturer Cited For Violations At Multiple Cites ($298,100)

World Safety News

  • Canada - Workplace Safety Includes The Effects of Offsite Bullying And Harassment
  • Australia - Business Closures and Redundancies Lead to Higher WorkSafe Claims
  • Middle East - The Dangers of Arc Flash

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Safety News Briefs - AZ vs. OSHA - The Story Continues

A regular news feature summarizing workplace safety related news.

We scan newspapers, magazines and the internet for safety news that isn't being reported elsewhere. The following are links to safety-related news and articles that came out during the past week. If you have safety news, or safety tips, send them to: duralabelpro@gmail.com.


Arizona vs. OSHA - Part II

Last week I reported that Arizona-OSHA was not conforming to the Federal OSHA standards for fall protection at construction sites, and risked being taken over by the federal OSHA.  However, the Arizona legislature feels they have standards that are as effective, if not more effective, than the federal standards.

This week the Arizona Daily Star reports that that Arizona legislature has modified the Arizona fall protection standard. However, it still addresses fall protection in a different way than does the federal standard.  The question is, will the federal OSHA agree that the Arizona standard provides protection that is at least as good as the federal standard.  The article reports that:

"Arizona regulations require homebuilders to identify fall hazards on their sites between 6 and 15 feet, write them down, take actions to mitigate against hazards and then train their employees on the safety standards. Kamps said he sees these as superior to the fall protection standards above 6 feet mandated by OSHA."

Read the article here.


Related past posts:
Are Southern Auto Parts Manufacturers Being Targeted?
Bad Choices Lead To Workplace Accidents
Safety News Briefs - Focus On OSHA General Duty Clause

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OSHA Significant Citations - Fall Hazards, Lack of Guarding & LOTO Result In Citations

OSHA defines a significant citation as one with more than $100,000 in proposed fines. An OSHA citation is a claim by OSHA that there has been a safety violation. It does not mean a violation has taken place, nor that the violation is as severe as claimed. The company has 15 days to contest OSHA claims. The following are the citations OSHA announced last week that have total fines of $100,000 or more.

Precision Custom Coatings LLC Cited For Repeat Violations ($185,400)
NY Paper Manufacturer Cited For Violations At Multiple Cites ($298,100)


Willful and Repeat Citations Issued After Machine Operators Suffer Hand Injuries at Fabric Manufacturing Facility

Following two workplace incidents leaving one machine operator's hand crushed and another with a partial hand amputation, OSHA cited Precision Custom Coatings LLC (Totowa, N.J.) for one willful, one repeat and 12 serious safety violations, including failure to provide required machine guarding, at the company's fabric manufacturing facility in Totowa.

OSHA's investigation began in September 2013 in response to a referral from the Totowa Police Department after a machine operator's hand was crushed while moving materials through a roller machine. During the investigation, OSHA was contacted about another incident where an employee suffered a partial hand amputation while performing machine maintenance. Proposed penalties total $185,400.

"With the proper machine guarding in place, this company could have prevented these needless, life-altering injuries," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. "Employers are responsible for eliminating or controlling hazards when the operation of a machine or accidental contact could injure the operator or others. This employer's failure to do so created catastrophic consequences."

The willful violation, with a $70,000 penalty
, reflects the company's failure to use danger tags and proper guards on machinery to warn and protect employees from burn hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The repeat violation, with a $38,500 penalty, was due to a lack of machine guarding to protect operators from hazards created by ingoing nip points and rotating parts. The company was cited for the same violation in December 2011. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Carrying a $76,900 penalty, the serious violations include:
  • Lack of a midrail on an aerial lift work platform.
  • Lack of standard railings on an open-sided platform more than 4 feet above a lower level.
  • Liquefied petroleum gas containers not stored properly.
  • Lack of danger tags to warn of burn hazards on dry can rollers.
  • Inadequate lockout/tagout procedures and training for controlling hazardous energy.
  • Lack of training for employees operating powered industrial trucks.
  • Powered industrial truck left unattended with elevated forks.
  • Lack of guards for rotating shafts and portable grinder.
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.

The citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/PrecisionCustomCoatingLLC_942873_0326_14.pdf.


OSHA cited Burrows Paper Corp., based in Little Falls (NY), for repeat and serious safety violations at two of the company's work sites. Burrows faces $298,100 in proposed fines following inspections by OSHA's Syracuse Area Office.

"The proposed fines reflect both the gravity of the cited hazards and the employer's refusal to use required safeguards," said Chris Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. "Workers could have been injured in falls, electrocuted or suffered other injuries because of the employer's repeated failure to ensure a safe workplace."

The inspections were initiated as part of OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting inspection plan. The inspections were conducted because the company's injury and illness rates exceeded national incident rates for 2009 and 2010. Burrows is a food grade paper and packaging manufacturer that has five paper machines in four mills located in New York and Mississippi. It employs approximately 700 workers.

During the inspection of the company's Mohawk Valley Mill at 489 West Main St., OSHA inspectors found three serious safety violations for stairways that lacked railings; papermaking machines that lacked guarding to prevent employee contact with their moving parts; and an electrical hazard related to the use of electrical equipment not approved for the location. Additionally, inspectors identified six repeat violations for safety hazards related to falls, lack of eyewash stations and additional machine guarding and electrical hazards.

The inspection of the East Mill at 730 E. Mill St. found two serious safety violations for exposure to combustible paper dust, electrical issues and a malfunctioning exit light. Additionally, it identified found four repeat safety violations for machines with insufficient guarding.

A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any of its facilities in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA had previously cited Burrows in 2010 and 2011 for similar hazards at locations in Little Falls and Lyons Falls. 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.


Related Past Posts:
$2,300,000 Fine Announced
OSHA Significant Citations
OSHA Significant Citations - Workers Exposed To Amputation Hazards

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World Safety News - Workplace Safety Includes Offsite Bullying And Harassment

Workplace Safety News Highlights From Around The World


We scan newspapers and magazines around the world for safety news that isn't reported elsewhere.

The following are links to workplace safety-related news and articles that we noticed this past week. If you have international safety news, safety tips, or suggestions send them to: duralabelpro@gmail.com.


Canada - Workplace Safety Now Includes Effects Of Offsite Bullying And Harassment In British Columbia

British Columbia now has legislation governing bullying and harassment of workers.The Red Deer Advocate reports:

"Employers are responsible for bullying and harassment that affects their workers off-site, even if the perpetrator is not an employee; as well as bullying and harassment by visitors to their work place. And employees have an obligation to report such behavior, whether they’re the victim or just a witness."

Read the article here.


Australia - Business Closures and Redundancies Lead to Higher WorkSafe Claims

The Geelog Advisor reports on rising costs for WorkSafe (Australia's worker's comp system) claims.

"GEELONG workplace injury claims have cost more than $250 million over the past five years, with mental health ­afflictions rising 43 per cent, WorkSafe figures reveal. Almost three people are ­injured every day at work, with 5479 injuries recorded by the watchdog from 2009 to February 2014."

Claims for mental disorders jumped nearly 150% with the increase attributed to Geelong’s volatile work climate and a lack of job security.  (Geelong is located near Melbourne).

Read the story here.


Middle East - The Dangers of Arc Flash

Health and Safety Middle East magazine has a comprehensive article about arc flash safety.  The article covers arc flash dangers, test methods, the hierarchy of control, and information on protective garments.

The article concludes by stating:

"When all other control measures to reduce the risk of an arc flash have been investigated/implemented, protective clothing and PPE requirements should be considered. Protective clothing and PPE are required to limit workers’ exposure to incident energy should an arc flash occur. Incident energy causes burns – the major hazard to individuals from an arc flash."

Read the article here.


Related past posts:
Businesses Must Address Domestic Violence
World Safety News - Companies Change Attitude On Safety
Companies Change Attitudes On Safety

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Last Week's Safety News

April 7, 2014
Use these links to go directly to each section of last week's safety news:

OSHA Significant Citations

  • Olivet Management Faces Fines For Asbestos ($2,300,000)

Safety News Briefs - Are Southern Auto Parts Plants Being Targeted Unjustly?

  • Are Auto Plants In The South Being Singled Out By OSHA? 
  • Final Rule For Revised Standards For Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Issued 
  • Ten Outdoor Safety Tips For Spring 
  • Will OSHA Take Over Arizona-OSHA? 
  • How To Avoid OSHA Problems When Disciplining an Injured Employee

World Safety News - Businesses Must Address Domestic Violence

  • New Zealand - Businesses Must Address Domestic Violence

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Monday, April 07, 2014

OSHA Significant Citations - $2.3 Million Fine For Abestos Violations

OSHA defines a significant citation as one with more than $100,000 in proposed fines. An OSHA citation is a claim by OSHA that there has been a safety violation. It does not mean a violation has taken place, nor that the violation is as severe as claimed. The company has 15 days to contest OSHA claims. The following are the citations OSHA announced last week that have total fines of $100,000 or more.

Olivet Management Faces Fines For Asbestos ($2,300,000)


Company cited for knowingly exposing workers to asbestos and lead during the renovation of former Harlem Valley (NY) Psychiatric Center

Olivet Management LLC, a real estate development and management company that owns the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in the Wingdale section of Dover Plains, N.Y., faces a total of $2,359,000 in proposed OSHA fines. The company has been cited for exposing its employees, as well as employees for 13 contractors, to asbestos and lead hazards during cleanup operations in preparation for a tour of the site by potential investors.

An inspection by OSHA’s Albany Area Office conducted in response to a complaint began October 23, 2013. The inspection found that Olivet employees and contractors were exposed to asbestos and lead while performing renovation and cleanup activities. The work, which was directed and overseen by Olivet supervisors, included removing:
  • asbestos- and lead-contaminated debris
  • asbestos-containing floor tiles and insulation
  • lead-containing paint from walls, windows, door frames and other painted surfaces.
OSHA determined that Olivet knowingly failed to take basic safety precautions. The company neither informed their own employees nor the contractors about the presence of asbestos and lead, despite knowing that both hazards existed. As a result, Olivet did not:
  • train employees in the hazards of asbestos and lead and the need and nature of required safeguards;
  • monitor workers’ exposure levels; 
  • provide appropriate respiratory protection; 
  • post notices, warning signs and labels to alert workers and contractors to the presence of asbestos and lead;
  • provide clean changing and decontamination areas for workers, many of whom wore their contaminated clothing home to households with small children.
As a result of these conditions, Olivet was cited for 45 willful violations, with $2,352,000 in proposed fines. Twenty-four of the willful citations address instance-by-instance exposure of workers to asbestos and lead hazards.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Olivet was also issued one serious citation, with a $7,000 fine, for failing to inform waste haulers of the presence of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials, meaning asbestos from the site may have been disposed of improperly at an unknown location. 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.

The citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/OlivetManagementLLC945519.pdf.

Renovation and cleanup activities can generate airborne concentrations of asbestos and lead. Workers can be exposed to both through inhalation or ingestion. Exposure to asbestos can cause disabling or fatal diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and gastrointestinal cancer. While lead exposure can cause damage to the nervous system, kidneys, blood forming organs, and reproductive system. Detailed information on asbestos and lead hazards and safeguards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/index.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/index.html respectively.

In January of this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration ordered Olivet to stop all work that could disturb asbestos at the facility. EPA’s investigation is ongoing.

Due to the willful violations found at the site, Olivet has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities or job sites.


Related Past Posts:
OSHA Significant Citations
OSHA Significant Citations - Workers Exposed To Amputation Hazards
No OSHA Significant Citations Announced Last Week

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Safety News Briefs - Are Southern Auto Parts Plants Being Targeted Unjustly?

A regular news feature summarizing workplace safety related news.

We scan newspapers, magazines and the internet for safety news that isn't being reported elsewhere. The following are links to safety-related news and articles that came out during the past week. If you have safety news, or safety tips, send them to: duralabelpro@gmail.com.


Are Auto Plants In The South Being Singled Out By OSHA?

OSHA has announced they are targeting auto parts manufacturer's in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia that manufacture car parts.The Clarion Ledger is raising questions concerning whether these states are being targeted because they are right-to-work states. The article reports that:

"Rep Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, said she is unaware of any pattern of accidents that would justify the extra inspections. Singling out a specific industry in three states, Roby said, is suspicious. All three states, like most of the South, have right-to-work laws preventing employees from being compelled to join a union."

Read the article here.

As the week went on this issue came into the news again when Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, testifying before a Congressional hearing, used incorrect data to support OSHA's targeting of southern auto parts manufacturers. The Washington Examiner reports that during the hearing Secretay Perez claimed Alabama's injury rate was 50% above the national average, and this was the reason for the targeting. However, the actual numbers from the BLS (which is part of the Labor Department) actually shows Alabama's rate to be below the national average.

Read the Washington Examiner article here.


Final Rule For Revised Standards For Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Issued

Last week OSHA announced that it would be issuing a final rule to improve workplace safety and health for workers performing electric power generation, transmission and distribution work.

OSHA is revising the 40-year-old construction standard for electric power line work to make it more consistent with the corresponding general industry standard and is also making some revisions to the construction and general industry requirements.

The updated standards for general industry and construction include new or revised provisions for host and contract employers to share safety-related information with each other and with employees, as well as for improved fall protection for employees working from aerial lifts and on overhead line structures. In addition, the standards adopted revised approach-distance requirements to better ensure that unprotected workers do not get dangerously close to energized lines and equipment. The final rule also adds new requirements to protect workers from electric arcs.

General industry and construction standards for electrical protective equipment are also revised under the final rule. The new standard for electrical protective equipment applies to all construction work and replaces the existing construction standard, which was based on out-of-date information, with a set of performance-oriented requirements consistent with the latest revisions of the relevant consensus standards. The new standards address the safe use and care of electrical protective equipment, including new requirements that equipment made of materials other than rubber provide adequate protection from electrical hazards.

Additional information on the final rule is available at http://www.osha.gov/dsg/power_generation/. The final rule becomes effective 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. OSHA adopted delayed compliance deadlines for certain requirements.

An article in Occupational Health and Safety provides and overview of the final rule (click here).


Ten Outdoor Safety Tips For Spring

With the arrival of spring it is time for spring clean up of landscaping around your facility.

An article in Safety BLR provides reminders for working safe outdoors.  One of the reminders points out that even when you hire a contractor to trim the bushes and clean up the leaves, OSHA can still hold you accountable for accidents and injuries.  That's why you should take into consideration a contractor's safety record, and whether or not they have an established safety training program.

Hiring a landscaping contractor who does not put an emphasis on safety and turn out to be very expensive.

Read the article here.


Will OSHA Take Over Arizona-OSHA?

Arizona has implemented a fall protection standard for construction that requires fall protection at heights of 15 feet or greater. The OSHA standard requires fall protection at heights of six feet or greater.  Because of this difference OSHA may take over the Arizona safety program.

The Washington Times reports that:

"An OSHA spokeswoman confirmed that it would be likely the federal agency would takeover not just residential projects but all construction oversight in Arizona. She says that pending legislation in the Arizona Legislature that would modify the 2012 law still does not meet requirements. She also said the agency would rather work with the state to correct the issue than to take over state operations."

Read the article here.


How To Avoid OSHA Problem When Disciplining an Injured Employee

Should an employee be injured as the result of violating a safety rule, disciplining that employee foe violating the safety rule can bring trouble from OSHA.n article on the Managing OSHA blog states that:

"Disciplining employees for violating safety and health rules is a critical component of any good safety and health program. OSHA's recent policy on employee discipline for violating safety and health rules undercuts the use of such discipline and encourages employees to consider possible claims for retaliation. This policy states that employers should only enforce “legitimate safety and health rules" and sets forth a series of possible claims for employees challenging the discipline to consider. The claims provided include: (1) whether the discipline was proportional to the infraction, (2) whether it was consistently applied to other employees and (3) whether it was based on a vague rule."

Read the complete blog post here.


Related past posts:
Bad Choices Lead To Workplace Accidents
Safety News Briefs - Focus On OSHA General Duty Clause
Safety News Briefs - Bad Choices Lead To Workplace Accidents

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