Location is everything, particularly when one is speaking about access to a fire extinguisher during an emergency. This device is well out of reach for all but the tallest people.Read More
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have arrested two men allegedly involved in a plot to derail a passenger train on the busy Via Rail line linking New York City and Toronto.Read More
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Most people expect to be able to leave work at the end of a shift, but what if that isn’t possible because of an emergency? What if a tornado, mudslide, flood, earthquake, forest fire or other natural disaster cut
off access to your workplace for a couple of days?
If you don’t carry more than a toothbrush in your desk or locker, you aren’t prepared for what could be a very uncomfortable wait for rescue.Read More
OSHA inspectors cite a company for 42 alleged serious safety and health hazards including blocked exit routes, deficiencies in an emergency response plan and lack of procedures, training and equipment to lock out power sources of machines before performing maintenance. Other alleged violations include unguarded moving machine parts, unsafe operation of forklifts, electrical hazards, lack of PPE, problems with chemical hazard communication and failure to provide medical exams and surveillance. [Penny Curtiss Baking Co., Syracuse, NY. Release No. 07-47-NEW/BOS 2007-011, Jan. 18, 2007].Read More
Thirty-year-old permissible exposure limits for substances aren’t sitting well with the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), which has put a call for PEL (permissible exposure limit) updating at the top of its public policy issues for 2007-2008.
The association says OSHA’s PELs are one of the most basic tools needed to protect workers. These consensus-based limits indicate how long a person can be exposed to a particular substance without experiencing harmful effects. While science in this area has matured considerably since the 1970s, PELs have not been updated.
The AIHA says it is continuing to work with OSHA and others to reach a consensus on the best way to update the PELs.
Another major policy issue for the association is the need to improve the accuracy of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) and to improve hazard communication for employers and employees. The AIHA supports adoption of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
Nanotechnology, the science of developing and manufacturing electronic and other devices at the molecular level, is a third area of concern for the AIHA. It says that the occupational health and safety issues surrounding nanotechnology are not fully understood and much research is needed.
Here are some other important issues for the AIHA:
OSHA issued willful, serious and repeat violations for alleged safety infractions found during an inspection triggered by a worker fatality. A US Forest Service (USFS) employee fell 225 feet while performing maintenance at the USFS Awke Mountain telecommunications site near Yakutat, AK, in late August 2006. The willful citation alleges failure by the employer to provide adequate shelter or protection from the elements leading to employees attempting emergency egress (departure) down treacherous mountain terrain. The serious citation states that employees were exposed to environmental and fall hazards due to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for inclement weather conditions. It also alleges that workers were not training in emergency equipment and preparedness for emergency egress situations. The repeat citation states that the forest service failed to inspect workplace operations on an annual basis or more often for work areas with high-risk operations. USFS was also cited for failure to maintain a log or summary of work-related injuries and illnesses for an establishment that had been in operation for more than one year. There is no proposed penalty in this case because OSHA cannot issue fines to other federal agencies. However, the problems revealed during the inspection must be fixed. [Release Number 07-118-SEA (07-09), Jan. 25, 2007].Read More
It’s been a quarter century since the Ocean Ranger offshore oil rig capsized in huge waves in the North Atlantic, with the loss of all of its 84 workers. Although the tragedy may seem a lifetime ago to many, the safety messages it carries are as valid as ever today.
Struck by a rogue wave more than 80 feet (25 meters) tall on Feb. 15, 1982, the state-of-the-art oil rig, thought to be unsinkable, ultimately failed to live up to that belief. Water crashed through a glass porthole, shorting out an electrical panel’s ballast control and pump switches. Hours later when the power was switched back on, the wrong ballast switches were thrown, which sealed the Ocean Ranger’s fate.
Lifeboats on board the rig were badly damaged in the storm and those who jumped into the raging, freezing water didn’t stand a chance of being rescued before hypothermia killed them.
A two-year investigation found several shortcomings that brought the massive rig down in the Hibernia Oilfield 196 miles (315 kilometers) southeast of St. John’s, NL:
Canada’s worst offshore drilling disaster did bring about some positive improvements in safety, including a requirement that every rig have a rescue vessel with trained crew on standby. Crews must also have access to survival suits and life rafts.Read More
OSHA conducted an inspection under its Site Specific Targeting Program, aimed at workplaces with higher-than-average injury/illness rates, and found several problems. Alleged violations include unguarded or inadequately guarded moving machine parts and power tools; improper storage of compressed gas cylinders; a lack of an emergency action plan and training and a lack of lockout/tagout procedures and training. Other alleged problems include failure to assess the workplace for hazards requiring the use of PPE; inadequate hazard communication; defects involving cranes, slings and powered industrial trucks; electrical hazards; an obstructed aisle and failure to maintain work areas in a clean, orderly, sanitary and dry condition. Penalties totaling $42,500 have been proposed. [Insulpane of Connecticut Inc., Hamden, CT. Release Number 07-320-BOS/BOS 2007-052, March 5, 2007].Read More
An OSHA inspection has alleged several hazards for which the company had previously been cited at other locations, including fall hazards, lack of eye and face protection for employees filling batteries, blocked access to emergency eyewash stations, no training in fire extinguisher use and forklift operations, failure to inspect forklifts for defects and failure to remove defective forklifts from service. Serious violations cited allege the lack of an emergency response plan, improper distribution of fire extinguishers, improperly installed electrical wiring and allowing pigeon waste to accumulate on the terminal floor and other surfaces. [Central Transport Inc., Warren MI. Release Number 07-515-BOS/BOS 2007-084, April 12, 2007].Read More
An OSHA investigation of a 2006 gas explosion that killed three workers has resulted in two Milwaukee companies being cited for serious safety violations. Industrial gear manufacturer Rexnord Industries is facing alleged violations including inadequate employee and emergency response training, failure to protect underground liquid propane piping against corrosion, and failure to conduct a site analysis to identify hazardous conditions and minimize employee exposure to explosion hazards. J.M. Brennan Inc. has been cited for three alleged serious safety violations pertaining to improper installation of underground liquid propane piping, and training and emergency response deficiencies. Rexnord Industries is facing penalties totaling $56,000, while J.M. Brennan Inc. is facing $16,800 in proposed fines. [Rexnord Industries and J.M. Brennan Inc., both of Milwaukee, WI. Release Number 07-643-CHI, May 7, 2007].Read More