DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

OSHA Slaps Two More Organizations with Major Fines for Safety Hazards

OSHA proposes $287,000 in fines against US Postal Service in Bluefield, W.Va., for exposing workers to electrical hazards

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. – OSHA has cited the U.S. Postal Service for workplace safety violations found at a mail processing facility located at 3010 East Cumberland Road in Bluefield. Proposed penalties total $287,000.

"These citations and sizable fines reflect the Postal Service's failure to ensure that the proper safety practices were being used by employees working with live electrical parts, leaving them vulnerable to multiple hazards," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "The Postal Service knew that proper and effective training was needed for the safety of its workers but did not provide it."

OSHA initiated an inspection in May in response to a complaint alleging the hazards. Inspectors cited the Postal Service with four willful violations carrying a penalty of $280,000 and one serious violation with a penalty of $7,000.

The willful violations cite the facility's failure to label electrical cabinets, properly train employees, use safety-related work practices when exposed to energized electrical parts and provide proper electrical protective equipment. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The serious citation was issued for allowing an unauthorized employee to perform inspections. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

The Postal Service has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Charleston Area Office in West Virginia, which can be reached at 304-347-5937. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed an enterprise-wide complaint against the U.S. Postal Service for electrical safety violations. The complaint asks the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to order the Postal Service to correct electrical violations at all its facilities nationwide. This complaint marks the first time OSHA has sought enterprise-wide relief as a remedy.

OSHA fines Macon, Ga., plating company more than $300,000 for exposing workers to hazardous chemicals

MACON, Ga. — OSHA is proposing $300,400 in penalties against Aerospace/Defense Coatings of Georgia Inc. in Macon for 19 health violations.

OSHA began its inspection in May after receiving a complaint concerning personal protective equipment and the handling, storing and disposing of chemicals. Inspections were conducted at all three Aerospace/Defense Coatings of Georgia plants and followed up on violations from 2005 and 2008.

The company is being cited with four alleged willful violations with a proposed penalty of $224,000. The violations are associated with respirator protection, chromium (VI) overexposure, personal protective equipment and failing to perform periodic monitoring of chromium (VI) exposure. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The citations also include eight alleged repeat violations with a proposed penalty of $50,400. The violations are related to hazardous waste, emergency response, written programs, personal protective equipment for acids, failing to provide employee information and training, and respirator training and storage. A repeat violation is issued 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.

Also, there are seven alleged serious violations with a proposed penalty of $26,000. The violations include failing to train employees to respond to hazardous waste emergencies, failing to post the results of chromium (VI) levels that were above the permissible exposure limit in an accessible location, failing to establish a regulated area where employees' exposure to airborne concentrations was in excess of the permissible exposure limit, failing to provide a change area to prevent cross-contamination, failing to ensure surfaces contaminated with chemicals were cleaned, failing to institute a medical surveillance program, and not providing information and training for employees exposed to chromium (VI). A serious citation is issued 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 employer had ample information alerting him to the hazards posed by hexavalent chromium, yet allowed his employees to continue to be exposed," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "OSHA will not tolerate this type of inaction."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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posted by Daniel E
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