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.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Safety News Briefs - CSB Wants OSHA To Make Changes

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.

OSHA Seeks Warrant To Enter Workplace

In October Insituform Technologies LLC refused to allow OSHA inspectors access on the grounds that it is not subject to inspection under OSHA's regulations.  Insituform then filed in court seeking an injunction that would prevent OSHA from obtaining a warrant to enter the facility.  The Times-Tribune now reports that:

"Reacting to an employee complaint about alleged dangerous conditions, the U.S. attorney's office is asking a federal judge to issue a warrant letting a federal agency inspect an Olyphant manufacturing facility that stores a highly flammable liquid."

"The court action, filed Wednesday, seeks to force Insituform Technologies LLC of 919 Stanton Road to allow inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to inspect the facility for alleged safety violations related to the storage of 102T resin, a flammable substance the firm uses in the production of pipe liners."

Read the story here.

Undocumented Workers Are Eligible For Workers' Comp Benefits

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that undocumented workers are eligible for worker's comp.  The issue came up when a worker in Iowa was injured on the job. She was later found to be an undocumented worker and lost her job.  However, the court ruled that her illegal status in the U.S. does not override worker's compensation and the worker's comp benefits must continue.

The story in The Gazette states:

"The case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that an undocumented worker is within the state’s meaning of an employee, that an employment contract with an undocumented worker does not inherently have an illegal purpose, and it is void as illegal merely because the contract is with an undocumented worker." 

Read the full article here.

Drilling For Oil In The Gulf -- Government To Improve Safety

When it comes to drilling for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has defined its mission as going beyond oversight -- they intend to develop ways to help prevent spills. An article in Daily Finance talks about this:

"Newly appointed BSEE director Brian Salerno wants to do more than just conduct routine inspections at drill rigs in the Gulf of Mexico in hopes that they will reduce the amount of incidents. One major reason this is happening is because even after the Macondo spill in 2010, we have still seen some major rig failures. Earlier this year, a rig owned by Hercules Offshore and operated by private company Walter Oil & Gas suffered an explosion. Luckily, the rig was drilling for natural gas, so the environmental damage was not nearly as great had it been producing oil."

Read what Brian Salerno plans to do.

Chemical Safety Board Issues Statement On Improvements OSHA Needs To Make

As reported in Fire Engineering, the Chemical Safety Board has identified a number of areas in which they feel OSHA and the EPA need to make changes to standards. The CSB points out that some of the changes were recommended a decade ago and still have not been acted on.  For example the CSB has called for:
  • Revisions in the standards covering the management of reactive chemical hazards.
  • Revisions to the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard which would address the exemption for atmospheric storage tanks.
  • Amend the PSM standard so that organizational changes should trigger Management of Change (MOC) analyses.
Get the details in Fire Engineering magazine.

MSHA Issues Fourth POV Notice Under Revised Rule

MSHA states that the Fork Creek No. 1 Mine failed to report 239 days of lost-time injuries

MSHA announced last week that Coal River Mining LLC's Fork Creek No. 1 Mine in Lincoln County, WV, has been put on notice of a pattern of violations of mandatory health or safety standards under Section 104(e) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. An MSHA audit revealed that the mine operator failed to report miner injuries equivalent to 239 days of lost time during the review period.

MSHA cited 158 significant and substantial violations at Fork Creek No. 1 from Sept. 1, 2012, through Aug. 31, 2013, including 14 for roof and rib hazards, 21 for ventilation hazards and 21 for explosion hazards. The mine's S&S issuance rate was 8.83 per 100 inspection hours during the review period, compared to a rate of 3.62 for all underground coal mines during the same period. During the review period, the mine ranked fifth in the nation (tying with one other operation) in elevated citations and withdrawal orders with 24 issuances.

On Oct. 24, 2013, MSHA issued the first three POV notices under its revised rule that went into effect in March of this year. The Fork Creek No. 1 Mine, along with several other operations, was undergoing an audit of its injury records at the same time.

Under the Mine Act, MSHA identifies mines exhibiting a pattern of significant and substantial violations and authorized to issue POV notices to mine operators that, through this pattern, demonstrate a disregard for the health and safety of miners. A POV notice, one of the agency's toughest enforcement actions, is reserved for the mines that pose the greatest risk to the safety of miners. An S&S violation is one that is reasonably likely to result in a reasonably serious injury or illness. The Mine Act requires mines that receive an S&S violation during any inspection within 90 days of a POV notice be issued a withdrawal order for that violation and for all subsequent S&S violations — removing miners from affected areas and abating the violation until an inspection of the entire mine finds no S&S violations.

Five Common Arc Flash Safety Program Mistakes

This list of five common arc flash safety program mistakes comes from ISHN magazine.  The article also explains what each of these means and why each one is a safety mistake:

  1. Starting in the middle
  2. Failure to develop company electrical safety policies and procedures.
  3. Failure to plan for arc flash follow-up
  4. Failure to update the arc flash hazard assessment
  5. Failure to provide annual refresher training
Read the details in ISHN magazine.

Related past posts:
General Duty Clause Used To Protect Workers From Chemical Hazards
Court Denies OSHA's Request For Enterprise Wide Relief
OSHA Proposes Changes To Reporting Requirements

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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