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OSHA watch

New publications

Employer Rights and Responsibilities explains what happens after an inspection, and defines the types of violations for which an employer may be cited as a result of an inspection.

Workers' Rights describes the rights to which workers are legally entitled to under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Small Entity Compliance Guide for Respiratory Protection Standard provides small businesses with a comprehensive step-by-step guide complete with checklists and commonly asked questions about OSHA's respiratory protection standard.

The Trenching and Excavation Safety Fact Sheet contains information about the dangers of trenching and safety tips. A Quick Card gives helpful images and fast facts in English and Spanish. The accompanying poster, An Unprotected Trench is an Early Grave, can be posted to remind employees of the importance of safety measures while trenching.

Laboratory Safety Guidance is for laboratory managers to help ensure the safety of workers from exposure to chemical, biological and physical hazards.

Seasonal Flu website has been updated and includes information about how to prevent the spread of flu in the workplace.

Aerial lift fall protection letter rescinded

Due to apparent confusion about what fall protection methods are acceptable for aerial lifts, OSHA has rescinded a January 2009 letter that suggested a specific type of lanyard would not comply with OSHA's aerial lift standard if used at lower heights. OSHA has also clarified that employers may meet the fall protection requirements for aerial lifts in one of three ways: use of a body belt anchored to the basket (fall restraint system), use of a body harness with a tether (fall restraint system), or use of a body harness with a lanyard (fall arrest system).

Recent fines and awards

Crown Battery Manufacturing Co. in Ohio faces $97,000 in fines relating to lead hazards

Following an inspection, the company was cited for allowing employees to dry sweep areas where lead is used and processed, overexposing them to lead and lacking engineering controls for lead exposure and for failing to test the under-the-hook lifting device and mark its capacity.

DeMoulas Supermarkets, MA faces $589,200 in fines

DeMoulas Supermarkets Inc., doing business as Market Basket, was cited for 30 alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its stores in Rindge and Concord, N.H. The Tewksbury, Mass., grocery chain, faces a total of $589,200 in proposed fines, primarily for recurring fall and laceration hazards and also for improperly responding to a worker's serious injury.

Locked exits result in $62,300 in proposed penalties for NY supermarket

All exit doors to a Brooklyn supermarket, Mermaid Meat Co., which was doing business as Fine Fare Supermarkets, were locked at night while employees worked inside, which is a violation of workplace regulations. An OSHA inspection found that the night shift supermarket workers were "essentially caged" and did not have a quick means to exit the building.

Two Texas manufacturers face fines of $950,000

After receiving a complaint about the lack of protection from rotating machinery parts and exposure to welding fumes and high noise levels, OSHA conducted an inspection of PJ Trailers Manufacturing Co. Inc. and Delco Trailers Co. Inc. (which is owned by PJ Trailers). They found unguarded machinery, fall hazards, accumulations of potentially hazardous dust and failure to provide eye protection. OSHA had cited both companies previously.