WHAT’S AT STAKE
Laser products are used in many workplaces. Trainers use laser pointers to refer to information on screens; construction workers use lasers as line guides and as levelers; and in manufacturing lasers are used for c
utting and measuring. The laser beam is a powerful tool and, depending on its power, can cause permanent damage to anyone who doesn’t heed the safety precautions.Read More
Every day across the United States, about 2,000 workers experience job-related eye injuries, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About one-third of these injuries require treatment in hospital emergency rooms and one in 20 results in lost work time.
According to the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), eye injuries most commonly occur in the manufacturing, construction and trade industries, where workers are at risk for projectiles and chemicals entering their eyes.
“Workers in the health care industry at hospitals, labs and health clinics are also at risk of contracting infectious diseases through the eye’s mucous membranes as a result of direct exposure,” notes ASSE. “Ensuring that employees have the proper eye protection for the job they are performing is key to helping reduce the risk of injury in hazardous situations.”
Not only is eye protection important, it must be the correct type for the job being performed and must fit properly.
According to the Vision Council, approximately 90 percent of eye injuries are preventable. Nearly three out of every five workers who experience eye injuries were either wearing the wrong type of eye protection or no eye protection at all.
Info to go: To view or download a copy of The Vision Council’s Eye Safety At-a-Glance: Protecting Your Vision in Workplace issue brief, click on the Info to Go safety links at www.SafeSupervisor.comRead More
OSHA launched a comprehensive investigation after a company that manufactures pharmaceutical tablets and syrups did not adequately address a complaint relating to alleged employee exposure to air contaminants. It was also alleged that workers were covered in dust while performing work in the manufacturing area and when leaving the work area. Willful violations alleged by OSHA pertain to fall hazards, recordkeeping deficiencies, a lack of PPE, a lack of forklift training, inadequate machine guarding, improper electrical receptacles used in wet or damp locations and a lack of chemical hazard information training. Alleged serious violations include employee exposure to hazardous levels of methscopolamine nitrate (MSN), an inadequate respiratory protection program, a lack of eye/face protection, housekeeping and sanitation deficiencies, unguarded rotating shafts, confined space hazards, lockout/tagout hazards, unguarded live electrical parts, a lack of electrical cord strain relief and no chemical hygiene plan. [Provident Pharmaceuticals LLC, Colorado Springs, CO. Release Number OSHA 07-263-DEN].Read More
Carrying Proposed Penalties of $273,000 OSHA cited a North Collins, NY, manufacturer for 39 alleged violations of health and safety standards, along with failure to correct a hazard cited in a previous OSHA inspection. A spill of 250 gallons of hydrochloric acid forced the evacuation of the plant and a school on Sept. 6, 2006. The company was issued three willful citations carrying $148,500 in proposed penalties, for failing to provide medical evaluations, fit testing and respirator use training. Several repeat violations were cited regarding alleged lack of hand protection, lack of eyewash facilities, lack of hazard communication training, lack of hazardous energy control procedures and training, and electrical hazards. Dozens of serious violations were also cited. They included blocked aisles, obstructed exits, unsecured materials and equipment, problems with powered industrial trucks, machine guarding issues, compressed gas storage concerns and additional electrical hazards. [Crescent Marketing Inc., doing business as Crescent Manufacturing, North Collins, NY. Release number 07-333-NEW/BOS 2007-055, March 7, 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
A residential complex that failed to protect its workers against asbestos hazards has been issued four willful citations. These citations allege failure to provide workers with required safeguards, failure to monitor employees’ exposure levels, failure to inform them of the presence, location and quantities of asbestos, and failure to institute a training program and label asbestos-containing material. Employees were routinely required to enter crawlspaces known or presumed to contain asbestos material. An OSHA inspection was undertaken in November 2006 in response to a complaint. The complex was also issued five serious citations alleging failure to provide appropriate hand, face and eye protection, absence of a hazard communication program, failure to properly label and dispose of asbestos-contaminated materials, a lack of quick-drenching eyewashes and respirator safety deficiencies. [Parkway Village Equities Corp., Queens, NY. Release Number 07-529-NEWA/BOS 2007-107].Read More
Repeatedly ignoring government orders to attend to health and safety matters has proven expensive for the manager of a Toronto-area fitness club. General Manager Dave Elfassy has been fined $25,000, plus a 25 percent victim fine surcharge, for failing to comply with Ontario Ministry of Labour health and safety standards.
Elfassy was found guilty, as a supervisor, of obstructing a Ministry of Labour inspector by advising he would not answer any questions and telling the inspector to leave. He was also found guilty of a second obstruction charge for calling mall security in an attempt to have the inspector removed.
Other charges for which the manager was convicted included providing false information regarding the number of employees and failing to comply with a stop work order.
The club itself, Premier Fitness Clubs (Yorkdale) Inc., has been fined $50,000, plus a 25 percent victim fine surcharge, after pleading guilty to:
The court also placed the club on probation for two years and ordered it to establish a JHSC and to provide the names of committee members, along with committee meeting minutes and copies of the committee’s monthly inspection reports.
The Ministry of Labour inspected the club several times during a six-month period and issued dozens of orders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The orders pertained to violations involving personal protective equipment, hazardous chemicals labeling and a requirement for a workplace JHSC.Read More
Three years after dozens of Oregon teachers suffered eye injuries from ultraviolet radiation exposure to a leaking metal halide light, the state has become the first in the country to mandate the use of bulbs that self-extinguish should they begin leaking.
Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed the bill into law in June. A metal halide bulb in a school gymnasium in a Portland suburb began leaking UV radiation after it was struck by a volleyball. No one was aware of the damage until several dozen teachers attending a training session went to local hospitals complaining of burning in their eyes and skin, along with extreme light sensitivity.
Several teachers continued to have problems for many months and were forced to wear sunglasses indoors. They campaigned the Oregon government to ban the regular metal halide bulbs in schools – instead calling for the installation of more expensive bulbs that extinguish themselves within minutes of starting to leak.
The bulbs, which produce a brilliant white light, are frequently used in big box stores, auditoriums and gymnasiums. The ban does not apply to school stadiums and outdoor athletic fields. Several other states, including Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri and South Dakota, are looking at imposing similar bans.
If they are used in your workplace, non-extinguishing bulbs should be examined and any damaged fixtures should be replaced immediately.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers this additional advice:
OSHA began an inspection under its Site-Specific Targeting Program Jan. 9, 2007. The program targets the nation’s most hazardous workplaces based on high numbers of injuries and illnesses. The willful violation alleges failure to provide procedures for emergency shutdown and startup following an emergency shutdown of the process system. Alleged repeat violations include unsafe stacking of material, unguarded moving parts of machinery and equipment, unguarded revolving drum ends, exposed and energized electrical wiring, failure to provide a distinctive alarm for an ammonia release, failure to provide quick drench/eyewash stations in needed areas, unlabeled hazardous chemicals, and failure to provide effective hazard communication training. The numerous serious hazards include unsafe walking surfaces, a lack of exhaust duct grease filters and inspections, obstructed exit, inadequately illuminated exit routes, forklift hazards, process safety management issues and many others. [Tyson Foods, Noel, MO. Release Number 07-1023-KAN, July 12, 2007].Read More
OSHA is proposing total penalties of $155,000 against a company after conducting an inspection. Four repeat safety violations being alleged include letting employees perform work for which they were not properly trained, failure to guard machinery, failure to properly label machine disconnects and failure to allow sanitation employees to access lockouts for equipment they were servicing. Serious health and safety violations for which the company was cited include alleged fall hazards, use of damaged electrical cords, no emergency eyewash and shower stations for employees handling corrosive materials, incorrect respirator use, allowing employees to be exposed to particulates above allowable levels, and failure to conduct annual audiograms. [Kings Delight, Braselton, GA. Release Number 07-863-ATL (174), July 18, 2007].Read More