Workers who perform frequent and heavy lifting are at risk for back injuries and abdominal straining that can cause hernias. Arm, shoulder, neck and wrist pain is also a risk if materials are lifted improperly.Read More
call, also called a near miss, is an incident that might have resulted in injury, death or property damage, but did not. Often, people who have experienced a close call think about the incident as a lucky break, dust themselves off and get back to work without a second thought.Read More
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says it will soon begin a multi-year study examining the potential health effects experienced by workers involved in the cleanup of the Gulf oil spill—the largest in US history.
The NIH says it will spend $10 million and an additional $10 million has been pledged by BP. The NIH will have full autonomy on how the BP money is spent, with input from external scientific experts in environmental health.
“It was clear to us that we need to begin immediately studying the health of the workers most directly involved in responding to this crisis,” says NIH Director Francis Collins.
The study will focus on workers’ exposure to oil and dispersant products and potential health consequences, including respiratory, neurobehavioral, carcinogenic and immunological conditions. It will also look into mental health concerns and oil spill related stressors such as job loss, family disruption and financial uncertainties.
“Clean up workers are likely to be the most heavily exposed of all population groups in the Gulf Coast region,” says Dale Sandler, chief of the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and lead researcher on the study.
“We plan to enroll workers with varying levels of exposure. For example, we hope to recruit workers involved in oil burning, skimming and booming, equipment decontamination, wildlife cleanup and those with lower exposure, such as shoreline clean-up workers,” he adds.
People who completed worker safety training but did not have the opportunity to do any clean-up work, will also be compared to their counterparts who went on to conduct clean-up work.
“What we learn from this study may help us prepare for future incidents that put clean-up workers at risk,” says Sandler.Read More
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule addressing the use of cranes and derricks in construction, which updates nearly 40-year-old standards.
OSHA says stakeholders from the construction industry recognized the need to update the safety requirements, methods and practices for cranes and derricks and to incorporate technological advances in order to better protect people workers on and around cranes and derricks.
“The significant number of fatalities associated with the use of cranes in construction led the Labor Department to undertake this rulemaking,” says Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. “After years of extensive research, consultation and negotiation with industry experts, this long overdue rule will address the leading causes of fatalities related to cranes and derricks, including electrocution, boom collapse and overturning.”
OSHA head Dr. David Michaels says the rule addresses critically important provisions for crane operator certification and crane inspection, setup and disassembly, adding, “Compliance with the rule will prevent needless worker injuries and deaths and provide protection for the public and property owners.”
The new rule, replacing one dating to 1971, is designed to preventing the leading causes of fatalities, including electrocution and crushed by/struck by hazards during assembly, disassembly, collapse and overturn.
It also sets requirements for ground conditions and crane operator assessment, along with addressing tower crane hazards and the use of synthetic slings for assembly/disassembly work. The final rule clarifies the scope of the regulation by providing both a functional description and a list of examples for the equipment that is covered.
Info to go: To view the OSHA crane and derrick regulation text, click on the Info to Go safety links at www.SafeSupervisor.comRead More
If you have trouble with workers not wearing required personal protective equipment, you’re far from alone.
A survey conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional found that 98 percent of the 132 safety professionals who attended the American Society of Safety Engineers’ 2010 conference and expo had observed workers who weren’t wearing PPE when they should have been doing so.
And 30 percent of the respondents said they had observed PPE non-compliance on numerous occasions. Most of the safety professionals who were polled said PPE non-compliance was their top workplace safety issue.
The problem seems to be getting worse. A 2008 Kimberly-Clark poll found that 89 percent of safety professionals had observed workers working without PPE. The figures for 2007 and 2006 were 87 percent and 85 percent respectively.
Gina Tsiropoulos, manufacturing segment marketing manager for Kimberly-Clark, called the growing trend alarming, saying that it was a serious threat to worker health and safety.
“Whether this is a result of economic conditions, a flawed approach to safety programs, younger workers who are more inclined to take greater risks or some other reason, it’s essential that workers wear PPE when it is required,” she says. “PPE protects workers against injury, but it will not work if workers fail to use it and use it properly.”
Forty-two percent of the safety professionals surveyed said that failure to use eye protection was their most commonly observed PPE infraction. The second most common type of non-compliance was lack of hearing PPE.
The top five reasons safety professionals are given by workers who aren’t wearing PPE are:
1. It is uncomfortable.
2. It makes the worker too warm.
3. PPE isn’t available near the work task.
4. It doesn’t fit properly.
5. It looks unattractive.
Asked what solutions they have tried or intended to try to improve PPE compliance, the safety professionals’ top response was “improving existing education and training programs.”
Other potential solutions to the problem included:
Topping the respondents’ wish list was the development of PPE that automatically adjusts to fit different body types, hands, heads and faces. Next was PPE with customizable style and design options, so that workers could select PPE based on their own individual tastes and safety requirements. Third on the wish list was PPE containing integrated climate control features, providing cooling or warmth as needed.Read More
Masonry Contractor Issued $61,600 in Proposed Fines after worker falls 30 feet. A worker fell while climbing a scaffold at a jobsite in Brookline, MA. OSHA investigated and cited the company for willful failure to provide a ladder or other safe means of accessing a scaffold’s upper levels and failure to supply workers with fall protection while working on the scaffold. Serious citations were also issued for failure to fully plank a scaffold and for locating a scaffold less than 18 inches away from energized, non-insulated power lines. [Misdea Enterprises LLC, Weymouth, MA, May 26, 2010].
Seafood Plant Issued $214,500 in Proposed Fines for alleged willful and serious violations. OSHA conducted an inspection and issued willful citations alleging failure to properly inspect and test an anhydrous ammonia piping system used for freezing and for failure to correct previously identified deficiencies. OSHA alleges the system was corroded and encased in ice. Nine serious violations also cited include alleged failure to label and identify piping systems, remove frost and ice accumulations from piping, properly locate relief valves, ensure that the main ammonia shutoff valve was accessible, ensure that an exit door opened to the outside, conduct compliance audits, inspect and test the mechanical integrity of process equipment, provide workers with hand protection and make process safety information available. One repeat citation was also issued for not properly calibrating equipment used to inspect and test compressors and cryolators. [High Liner Foods Inc., Portsmouth, NH, June 1, 2010].
Ford Cited for not Repairing or Removing Damaged Overhead Cranes at Buffalo Stamping Plant. A willful citation was issued after OSHA conducted an inspection in response to a complaint from workers. OSHA says it found five instances where overhead cranes used to lift and set dies or lift coils of steel were allowed to remain in service after defects were identified in earlier inspections. The defects included worn brake drums, loose or sheared coupling bolts and worn or damaged gears. A proposed fine of $70,000 has been issued. [Ford Motor Co. Buffalo Stamping Plant, Hamburg, NY, June 22, 2010].
Proposed Fines of More Than $357,000 Issued against a pharmaceutical manufacturer. OSHA conducted an inspection and issued six willful citations for issues that allege excessive worker exposure to methylene chloride, failure to have effective controls and work practices to reduce those exposure levels, failure to supply workers with appropriate respirators and failure to provide all required monitoring, medical surveillance and information about methylene chloride. Exposure to methylene chloride has been linked to increased risk for cancer, heart problems, central nervous system and liver problems and skin or eye irritation. Three serious citations were also issued for alleged failure to determine each employee’s exposure to methylene chloride, failure to develop and inspect hazardous energy control procedures for all equipment and failure to inform employees of the existence, location and availability of exposure and monitoring records. [UCB Manufacturing Inc., Rochester, NY, June 18, 2010].
Manufacturer Cited for Allegedly Exposing Workers to Chemical Hazards facing $88,500 in proposed fines. OSHA initiated an inspection on Nov. 24, 2009, in response to a complaint about a chlorine release at the facility. The company has been cited for alleged deficiencies in its process safety management system, including failure to establish and implement written procedures required to manage any changes to technology, facilities, equipment and procedures that can potentially impact a chemical process. [Infineum USA L.P., Linden, NJ, June 1, 2010].
Partial Building Collapse Brings Citations to Brooklyn contractor. During the installation of precast concrete stairs on the third floor of a six-story residential building under construction, a collapse of several planks and stairs occurred. OSHA says it found that the structural steel I-beam supporting the planks and stairs had not been bolted in and welded as required to provide stability. Furthermore, employees who removed damaged concrete planks from the stairwell were exposed to falls of 40 feet because of a lack of fall protection. Two willful citations were issued. Also, workers had not been trained to recognize fall hazards and in the correct use of fall protection equipment, defective rigging equipment had not been removed from service and the jobsite lacked a program for frequent and regular inspections to identify hazards. Three serious citations were therefore issued. Proposed fines total $125,800. [New York Plank Services LLC, Brooklyn, NY, June 1, 2010].
US Postal Service Issued Almost $500,000 in Fines for alleged electrical hazards at two facilities. OSHA says it inspected the Network Distribution Center (NDC) and the Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC), both in Philadelphia, and found inadequately trained workers performing work without proper personal protective equipment while being exposed to live electrical parts. Four willful citations carrying proposed penalties totaling $280,000 were issued to the NDC and three willful citations and one serious citation carrying $210,000 in proposed fines were issued to the P&DC. [US Postal Service, Philadelphia, PA, June 8, 2010.]
Company Cited for Willful and Serious Safety and Health Violations issued $200,900 in proposed fines. OSHA opened an inspection after receiving a complaint in December 2009. Scuba Clean Inc. has been cited with three willful safety violations for alleged hazards associated with divers not being trained, divers not being accompanied by another diver with continuous visual contact and using air hoses not rated for diving. The company also has been cited for 16 serious safety and health violations, most of them related to “hookah,” a method of diving that uses a surface air supply to deliver air rather than a scuba tank. The employer failed to provide equipment needed to safely perform “hookah” dive operations, to secure compressed air cylinders, and to develop and maintain a written chemical hazard communication program. Violations also include alleged deficiencies relating to the storage of chlorine with other flammable and combustible liquids. [Scuba Clean Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, June 10, 2010].
Massive Fine Issued to Company for Alleged Willful Failure to Protect Workers from toxic vapor exposures. OSHA opened an investigation after two workers died and two others were severely burned in an explosion and fire at a shipbuilding company. The incident occurred in the inner bottom void of a tugboat under construction. The company was cited for 17 willful and 11 serious violations. The willful citations allege failure to inspect and test a confined space prior to entry, failure to prevent entry into confined spaces where concentrations of flammable vapors exceed prescribed limits, and failure to use explosion-proof lighting in a hazardous location. Serious violations issued allege a lack of machine guarding, allowing the use of defective electrical equipment, failure to use approved containers for disposing of flammable liquids, no rescue service for a confined space entry, failure to properly ventilate a confined space and missing or incomplete guardrails. Proposed penalties total $1,322,000. [VT Halter Marine Inc., Escatawpa, MS, May 19, 2010}.
Road Construction Company Cited by OSHA for alleged willful safety violation. OSHA says the company violated OSHA standards when it posted a reduced speed limit sign for a lane closure, yet failed to remove or cover the existing speed limit sign on Interstate 75. As a result, OSHA says company workers were placed in danger. The company was issued $63,000 in proposed fines. [The De Moya Group Inc., Miami, FL, May 24, 2010].
US Postal Service Issued $77,500 in Proposed Fines for alleged electrical and lockout hazards. An OSHA inspection conducted in response to employee complaints resulted in a willful citation for allowing workers to perform tests and work on live electrical equipment without adequate PPE and without safety-related work practices and warning signs. Two serious citations allege failure to adequately lock out machines’ power sources to prevent unexpected startup during servicing and for inadequate insulation on electrical cables. [US Postal Service’s Mail Processing Facility in Portland, OR, June 21, 2010].
Crystal Manufacturer Issued $510,000 in Proposed Fines after truck driver dies in blast. OSHA has cited NDK Crystals Inc. for egregious willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety standards following an explosion at the company’s crystal manufacturing building. The incident claimed the life of a truck driver parked at a nearby service station. OSHA says the employer knowingly operated high pressure vessels even after being warned of the potential for a catastrophic failure due to material design and fabrication defects. Seven willful citations were issued for alleged safety problems with seven individual high-pressure vessels. The serious citations allege failure to evaluate the building for a catastrophic event, failure to have an emergency evacuation program, failure to implement a hazard communication program and for a lack of PPE assessment and training certification. [NDK Crystals Inc., Belvedere, IL, May 27, 2010].
Foundry Issued $201,500 in Proposed Penalties for allegedly exposing workers to hazards. OSHA opened an investigation after a worker sustained a crushing injury requiring a lower arm amputation. OSHA cited the company for 25 serious and three repeat safety violations, including failure to provide adequate PPE to employees, failure to provide proper eye protection to employees working with a sulfur dioxide tank, a lack of emergency escape respirators, a lack of proper guarding on power band saws, blocked exit doors, failure to provide safety latches on crane hooks and failure to provide fall protection. Serious citations were also issued for the company’s alleged failure to provide proper respiratory protection and engineering controls for dust containing silica, failure to ensure workers used proper hearing protection and a lack of proper labeling on hazardous material storage containers. [Elyria Foundry Co. LLC, Elyria, OH, May 20, 2010].
Texas Shipbuilding Company Cited for alleged serious and repeat violations. OSHA opened an investigation on April 27, 2010 and found structural deficiencies on a crawler crane and electrical hazards throughout the shipyard. Nineteen serious citations were issued for alleged hazards including failure to provide workers with fall protection, guards on grinders, covers over open manholes in decks and fire extinguishers in areas where flammable paints and solvents were being used. A repeat violation for failure to provide employees operating crawler cranes with load rating charts was also cited. Total penalties of $59,300 are being proposed. [Sneed Shipbuilding Inc., Channelview, TX, June 22, 2010].
Beef Company Cited for Process Safety Management Shortcomings issued $130,000 in proposed penalties. OSHA alleges 20 alleged serious violations and one alleged repeat violation. Serious violations primarily stem from hazardous deficiencies in the company’s process safety management of its ammonia refrigeration system. Violations allege a lack of worker participation and training of system operators, inadequate process hazard analyses of hazardous consequences and system controls and inadequate refrigeration system emergency procedures to respond to a catastrophic ammonia release. Other alleged serious violations include inadequate refrigeration system emergency procedures to respond to a catastrophic release and evacuate all plant workers and inadequate mechanical integrity throughout the refrigeration system to prevent equipment malfunctions. The repeat violation stems from a failure to provide machine guarding to protect employees from amputation hazards created by rotating and moving parts of a saw. In addition, machine guarding was not adequate for dumpers or packing machines .[Creekstone Farms Premium Beef LLC, Arkansas City, KS, June 17, 2010].
Alfalfa Company Cited for Willful and Serious Violations following inspection. OSHA has issued $293,000 in proposed fines after citing seven alleged willful, 16 alleged serious violations and three alleged other-than-serious violations. The willful violations allege the company’s failure to provide fall protection on open-sided platforms, operation of augers while employees worked within the grain bin, failure to test the atmosphere prior to grain bin entry, instructing employees to walk down the grain, lack of a retrieval system for grain bin entries, lack of an attendant during bin entry operations and fugitive grain dust that exceeded one-eighth inch depth. Serious violations allege deficient guardrail systems, unapproved powered industrial truck modifications, a lack of inspections on mechanical and safety control equipment, energized electrical wiring left exposed, in disrepair or inappropriately used, a lack of/or deficient machine guarding and failure to label hazardous chemical containers. [Loup Valley Alfalfa Inc., Burwell, NE, June 15, 2010].Read More
OSHA has introduced a new training component called “Introduction to OSHA” which emphasizes workers’ rights and supports the goal of strengthening the voice of workers.
The course is required content in every OSHA 10 and 30-hour Outreach Training Program class. Affecting hundreds of thousands of workers who complete Outreach Training Program classes each year, Introduction to OSHA advises workers of their rights regarding:
“For too long workers have avoided making claims of unsafe work conditions out of fear of losing their jobs,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. “We are confident that this new training will embolden workers to speak up when they find work practices that endanger their lives and the lives of their co-workers.”
During the 10- and 30-hour outreach training program classes, OSHA trainers will cover topics on whistleblower rights and filing a complaint, and will provide samples of a weekly fatality and catastrophe report, material data safety sheet and the OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Trainers can obtain test and answer sheets from their authorizing training organization.
The OSHA Outreach Training Program is a voluntary program that seeks to teach workers about their rights and how to identify, reduce, avoid and prevent job-related hazards. The program includes 10- and 30-hour courses in construction, general or maritime industry safety and health hazard recognition and prevention taught through a network of OSHA-authorized trainers. During the past three years, nearly two million students have received training through this program.Read More
OSHA has recently begun distributing thousands of safety guides and fact sheets to workers involved in the cleanup of that giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. These materials, available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, supplement training that OSHA requires before workers can be hired to engage in the cleanup.
“I’ve directed OSHA to work closely with BP to ensure training of cleanup employees is prompt, thorough and efficient and conducted in languages that the workers understand,” says Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. “I have also directed OSHA to prepare and distribute supplementary materials in several languages so that cleanup workers can easily access the information they need to protect themselves and stay safe on the job.”
Workers who will only engage in general beach cleanup, such as removing trash and clean debris, must first take a one-to-two-hour training course, while workers who will come into contact with “weathered oil” and “tar balls” on the shoreline or in marine operations must first take a four-hour course.Read More
Nova Scotia students will soon know more about how to prevent workplace injuries, thanks to new curriculum based on a successful pilot project.
The program was piloted on 330 Grade 9 students this past academic year and it is being expanded to cover all Nova Scotia students in that grade during the 2010-11 academic year.
The departments of Education and Labour and Workforce Development and the Workers’ Compensation Board developed the eight hours of in-class instruction, which is part of the compulsory Healthy Living 9 course.
“My students now recognize a safety hazard when they see it, and they understand the consequences of saying nothing,” says John Helle, who teaches at Malcolm Munroe Junior High School.Read More
A loading dock worker was loading drywall onto a flatbed truck when a forklift being operated by a co-worker surged forward, fatally pinning him against the truck.
At another workplace, a textile plant supervisor was operating a forklift truck when another forklift fell from a loading dock, causing the supervisor’s forklift to flip over. He was crushed under the roll cage and died.
And elsewhere, a warehouse worker died after he was crushed between a reversing semi-trailer and a loading dock. Investigators believe that he was likely paying more attention to the contents of the trailer than to where he was standing.
Hazards Abound at Loading Docks
Loading docks are busy places where machine operators and truck drivers must perform a delicate dance around workers on foot.
Along with being congested, loading docks may also be poorly lit, slippery, cramped, crowded with debris, riddled with blind spots and crisscrossed with ramps, stairways and uneven surfaces.
Some of the hazards include:
Training is Vital
If you haven’t been trained in loading dock safety, you probably won’t be aware of all the hazards and you will be vulnerable to injury. However, having undergone training won’t prevent an injury if you let your mind wander and lose track of your surroundings. In the busy atmosphere of a loading dock you literally could be one step away from disaster.
And even if you know where you are, others may not. You need to be wearing reflective clothing to keep yourself highly visible.
How to Stay Safe on a Loading Dock
These tips can help keep you safe on a loading dock:
Loading docks are busy places. Workers need to be trained on how they can protect themselves. They also need to stay focused on what’s going on around them at all times.Read More