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 23, 2013

Safety News Briefs - Senator Calls For OSHA To Be Stopped Dead In Their Tracks

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.

Photo from Frank Schulenburg video.
Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Calls For Refinery Safety Overhaul

Last week the CSB called for a major overhaul of refinery safety as a result of the investigation of the Chevron's Richmond refinery fire.  The San Fransisco Chronicle reports that the CSB is recommending improving the pay of government safety inspectors and switching to a safety system similar to the ALARA approach used in the UK. The article states:

"The regulatory system both in the U.S. and California for petroleum does not effectively prevent major accidents," said Don Holmstrom, head of the board's Western regional office. He said the U.S. is "lagging behind the rest of the world." 

The board touted as an alternative the "safety case" regulatory system used in England, Norway and Australia, a prevention-based model that holds the industry accountable to demonstrate it is driving down the risk of disasters to the lowest level possible.

Read the San Fransisco Chronicle article here.

The day after the CSB announcement the EPA filed a formal notice against Chevron finding 62 violations of federal environmental law.  Inside Bay Area reports that:

"The EPA called Chevron's risk management at the Richmond facility a "pervasive failure" and warned it could pursue criminal charges or fines if the company fails to address the violations" 

Read the article about the EPA here.

US Senator: Must Stop OSHA Dead In Their Tracks

Ohio Ag Net is reporting that a small farm has been fined $132,000 for grain bin safety violations.  However, small farms are exempt from OSHA regulation. The article reports that former USDA Secretary and current U.S. Senator Mike Johanns from Nebraska is taking action to stop OSHA. The article states:

OSHA has a new classification for the farm under the Obama Administration and is cracking down on one Nebraska producer.

"OHSA goes out there and says to the farm that their grain bin operation doesn’t comply,” Johanns said. “The amount of the fine was $132,000 if you can imagine that and we are going to do everything we can to stop OHSA dead in their tracks on this.” Johanns stressed that since 1976 federal law has prohibited OSHA-appropriated funds from being used for rules or regulations that apply to farming operations with 10 or fewer employees. The Nebraska operation in question has just one.

Read the article here.

Charges Against Coal Company And Foreman Are Dismissed

When there is an OSHA or MSHA citation for safety violations it makes the news.  But, we rarely hear about the results.  A citation does not mean guilt, it only means that an OSHA or MSHA inspector thinks they have identified a safety problem.  But the final outcome of the citations typically does not receive much publicity.  Here is one that made the news, as reported in the Times-News:

"A U.S. District Court judge dismissed all criminal charges Tuesday brought by the federal government against a Wise County-based coal mining company and a mine foreman.Judge James P. Jones threw out a total of 13 charges — including 12 felonies and one misdemeanor — that were returned by a federal grand jury earlier this year against Hills Coal Company of Appalachia and foreman David Grigsby."

Read the short article in the Times-News here.

New OSHA Recordkeeping Proposal Includes Corporate-Wide Injury Reporting

Bloomberg BNA is reporting that under OSHA's newly proposed recordkeeping rules companies with multiple worksites, and as few as 50 employees, may need to submit company-wide illness and injury reports.  BNA Bloomberg reports that:

The possible mandate is among the ideas up for discussion Jan. 9 when OSHA holds a public meeting on the agency's proposed revisions to how and when employers must submit their injury and illness reports. The agency is accepting written comments through Feb. 6.

The company-wide idea would require enterprises to collect OSHA Form 300A data from each of their establishments that are required to keep injury and illness records and then submit to OSHA the data for each establishment.

Read the Bloomberg BNA article here.

Arizona State Forestry Department To Contest Hotshot Safety Citations

Two weeks ago I reported on the Arizona State Forestry Division being cited for safety violations and fined $559,000.  Last week they announced that they will contest all of the citations.  The Daily Courier reports that:

State Forestry's notice of contest said the citations and fines "are not supported by substantial evidence, are contrary to law, arbitrary, capricious and constitute an abuse of discretion by the Industrial Commission of Arizona." Forestry officials said in a news release that they want to present more information to the Industrial Commission Hearing Division, but they didn't elaborate on what new information they might have.

Read the story here.

Is the Administration Trying To Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing Through OSHA?

The Institute for Energy Research has published an article looking at the proposed regulation of silica and whether there is valid science behind the proposed rule.  The article raises a number of questions and concludes with the statement that:

"OSHA has a statutory obligation to protect workers. But regulations, particularly those designed to protect human health, should be based on sound science and thorough analysis. OSHA fails on both counts, relying on outdated data and failing to discuss declining silicosis mortality rates. OSHA’s proposed rule not only threatens to undermine hydraulic fracturing operations responsible for America’s domestic energy boom, but it is also a disservice to the workers that OSHA is obligated to protect."

What do you think?  Use the "Post A Comment" link below to share your thoughts.

Read more here.

Related past posts:
Is OSHA's New Use Of The General Duty Clause Legal?
EPA Citation Can Result In An OSHA Fine
CSB Wants Changes At OSHA

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