WHAT’S AT STAKE
Some people can’t stand a mess, while others leave an evidence trail of poor housekeeping everywhere they go. But in the workplace, bad housekeeping can have consequences that go far beyond creating an image of a sloppily run, unprofessional operation.Read More
The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a standard that comprehensively addresses combustible dust explosion hazards in general industry.
That recommendation and several others have come from a two-year CSB investigation into three fatal dust explosions, including a January 2003 incident that killed six people and injured about 40 others at a West Pharmaceuticals Services plant in Kinston, NC. Investigators found that combustible dust from a plastic raw material had accumulated on hidden surfaces above production areas.
“Combustible dust fires and explosions are devastating, preventable and often fatal tragedies,” says CSB Chair Carolyn Merritt. “While some programs to mitigate dust hazards exist at the state and local levels, they form a patchwork of adapted and adopted voluntary standards that are challenging to enforce. New federal standards are necessary to prevent further loss of life.”
The board says existing voluntary consensus codes from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) should form the basis for a new federal standard.
The CSB has also asked OSHA to require expanded dust warnings under its hazard communication standard, along with providing training to inspectors on recognizing and preventing combustible dust explosions, and implementing a national Special Emphasis Program on combustible dust hazards in general industry.
Finally, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has been asked to modify its standard for hazardous industrial chemicals to require combustible dust warnings on material safety data sheets (MSDSs). The CSB reviewed 140 MSDSs and found that 41 percent of those had no warnings that the powders could explode.
Dust explosions occur when fine particles of combustible material are ignited. Industries at risk for such events include rubber and plastic product manufacturers, chemical manufacturers, metal, lumber and wood product manufacturers, and food product manufacturers.
Take a good look around your workplace for combustible dust hazards and attend to any problem areas before a disaster occurs.
Info to go: Read more about combustible dust hazards at www.labor.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/D991D5E3-C6AE-4D64-A248-E5ED6CCB803E/0/CombDust.pdf
You can click on the link at www.SafeSupervisor.comRead More
The dead people undergoing autopsies at a forensic science laboratory in Arizona might not have been concerned about health and safety conditions there, but state safety inspectors certainly were.
Acting on a complaint, complete with photographs, inspectors launched an investigation at Pima County Forensic Science Center in Tucson, AZ. Among other things, they discovered blood on an X-ray machine and a dirty morgue cooler. More worrisome is the allegation that lab workers were not being protected against exposure to formaldehyde, a suspected carcinogen. Air quality tests showed that formaldehyde levels were triple those allowed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The forensic science center has been fined $29,500. The laboratory reportedly is contesting the fines.Read More
OSHA initiated an inspection at a Sinking Spring, PA, plant under its Site Specific Targeting (SST) program aimed at industries with high injury and illness rates. Thirty-one serious citations and three other-than-serious citations were issued for alleged safety issues involving hazards associated with spray finishing using combustible powder coatings, confined spaces and lockout/tagout procedures. Other alleged violations include failure to provide machine guarding, inadequate housekeeping, electrical hazards, problems with walking and working surfaces and failure to provide exit routes. [Hoffman Industries. Release No. 06-2122-PHI (OSHA 06-178), Dec. 26, 2006].Read More
On the surface, Joe’s and Jenny’s offices look quite similar. Since both are fairly neat, one can actually see the surfaces of their desks. They don’t eat at their desks, so there are no crumbs. They have similar hygiene habits and know what the sink, soap and paper towels are for in their respective staff bathrooms.
But one of their computer workstations has 3.5 times more germs than the other. Is it Joe’s or is it Jenny’s?
Answer: Jenny’s workstation. In fact, most women in any office will win this dubious award. Can you guess why?
There are a few reasons. First, women and hand lotion go together like soup and crackers. Hand lotion traps germs on surfaces. Hand lotion isn’t the first thing most guys reach for, unless they have skin problems. Second, most women wear makeup, which absorbs germs. A third reason is that women tend to spend more time in direct contact with their children than men do. Whatever germs kids have can easily transfer to mom.
Desk drawers in women’s offices also tend to be more germ-ridden than in men’s offices, because women are more likely to store food in desk drawers.
Share this information – along with a box of disinfectant wipes – with your office workers. (Source: A recent study by University of Arizona researchers Sheri Maxwell and Charles Gerba – AKA The Germ Guru. Researchers swabbed the offices of 59 women and 54 men in various locations across the US).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
OSHA inspectors observed employees working without required fall protection at a residential construction site in Norwich, CT. Workers potentially could have fallen from heights as great as 27 feet. The contractor was issued two repeat citations for allowing employees to work without fall protection and using ladders of insufficient size. The company was cited for similar hazards in 2004 and 2005. Other alleged violations cited by OSHA included the use of a defective stepladder, no ladder safety inspections, failure to train workers to recognize fall hazards, electrical deficiencies, insufficient PPE and a lack of hazard communication training. In addition the jobsite was littered with scrap lumber that had nails protruding. Total penalties of $120,500 have been proposed. [New Place Carpentry, Newark, NJ. Release number 07-516-BOS/BOS 2007-106, May 1, 2007].Read More
These penalties were in place after the plant was targeted by OSHA for excessive lost workdays, restricted duty or job transfers caused by occupational injuries or illnesses. An OSHA inspection resulted in the company being cited for 20 alleged repeat and serious safety violations. The inspection found that the plant had not developed and trained employees regarding specific procedures to shut down and lock out the power sources of machinery to prevent their accidental startup during maintenance. The company had been cited for similar hazards at another location in 2004. Alleged serious violations include unguarded machinery, exposed live electrical parts, non-insulated steam pipes and a lack of employee training for safe electrical work practices. Defective forklifts, a lack of fire response training, PPE issues and a buildup of flammable wood dust are among other violations being alleged. [Chick Packaging of New England Inc., Silver Lake, NH. Release Number 07-728-BOS/BOS 2007-138, May 23, 2007].Read More
One employee died and two others received serious injuries in the blaze. According to OSHA, the employer was not enforcing safety rules that could save lives. The company was cited for alleged fall hazards, blocked fire exits, unclean and disorderly passageways, materials blocking the line of site to emergency exits, materials blocking access to electrical equipment, and exposed electrical wiring. OSHA also cited the company for failure to have a written emergency plan prepared or available in case of a fire; placing liquid propane gas tanks in areas that could be struck by vehicles; allowing employees to operate forklifts without formal training and for failure to provide written certification of forklift operators’ training. Proposed penalties total $41,400. [Columbia Recycling Corp., Dalton, GA. Release Number 07-1013-ATL (170), July 10, 2007].