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OSHA watch

OSHA launches webpage to help protect workers during winter storms

The webpage provides guidance on how employers and workers involved in cleanup and recovery operations can recognize snow storm-related hazards and the necessary steps that employers must take to keep workers safe while working in these conditions. The page includes guidance for workers clearing heavy snow in front of workplaces and from rooftops, workers encountering downed power lines or traveling on icy roads, and utility workers restoring power after winter storms.

OSHA improves employers' access to required poster- It's the Law

OSHA has revised its webpage, to make it easier to use. Employers are required to display this poster prominently in their workplace, but do not have to replace previous versions of the poster.

OSHA continues to cite beauty salons and manufacturers for formaldehyde exposure from hair smoothing products

OSHA has launched a webpage providing information to salon owners and workers when exposed to formaldehyde.

OSHA updates chemical facility NEP

OSHA has issued a new National Emphasis Program for chemical facilities. The NEP, which replaces OSHA's 2009 pilot program for facilities covered by the Process Safety Management Standard (1919.119), applies to all OSHA regions and State Plan states. Changes between the two programs include a reduction in program requirements, as well as the number of facility categories and programmed inspections. OSHA also must verify that companies being inspected have abated any previous PSM violations.

OSHA releases new tire charts

OSHA has updated tire-servicing materials to address current hazards in the industry and help workers safely perform maintenance on large vehicle tires. The revised charts which address the Servicing Multi-Piece and Single Piece Rim Wheels Standard (1910.177), are available in a portable manual or as three poster-sized charts. They include an updated list of current and obsolete components, and the "Demounting and Mounting Procedures for Truck/Bus Tires" chart has been expanded into two charts to individually deal with tubeless and tube-type tires.

Recent fines and awards

Metal fabrication plant faces $175,500 in fines - Massachusetts

An inspection triggered by an accident that caused serious eye and facial injuries to a worker of Spincraft in North Billerica led to a total of 32 serious violations. These included improper machine guarding, obstructed exit access, improper propane storage, failure to inspect cranes on a frequent and regular basis, failure to inspect crane running ropes and test crane upper limit switches, a lack of hazard communication training and numerous electrical hazards, as well as unguarded ladder way openings, floor holes, and open-sided floors and platforms.

Construction companies face fines for safety violations - New Jersey

OSHA proposes $65,340 in fines for Illescas Brothers Construction Inc. of Paterson, charged with exposing workers to 12 safety violations, including repeat fall protection and scaffolding violations, while performing masonry work on the exterior of a new home in Fort Lee.

In Roselle, A-Absolute Construction Inc. faces $158,400 in penalties for 10 violations at a Parsippany worksite, including three willful violations relating to prevention of trench collapses (committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health).

Manufacturing employers face penalties - Georgia

Milac Manufacturing Inc., a Moultrie chrome products preparer, is charged with eight safety violations with total proposed penalties of $110,220. Following up on a 2010 inspection after the company failed to confirm that previously cited violations had been corrected, OSHA issued violations including failure to cover a gap in the concrete floor above a tank that contained wastewater and chromic and sulfuric acid solutions; exposing workers to trip, slip, and burn hazards as well as amputation hazards; allowing workers who refill a propane tank to perform their duties without wearing rubber gloves to prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals; failure to require employees to wear face protection while refilling a forklift's propane tank; failure to have a fire extinguisher located at or near a 500-gallon liquid propane gas storage tank; and storing two oxygen cylinders in the same area as a propane tank.

In Morganton, Dacorp Inc., a sewing plant, has received OSHA citations for 17 safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $46,900. Sixteen serious violations include an insufficient number of exit routes, an obstructed exit route and exits not properly marked; a number of potential fire hazards stemming from damaged electrical equipment; electrical hazards that exposed employees to shock dangers; failure to train employees in the proper use of powered industrial trucks; and failure to provide employees with effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work areas.

Whistleblower suits

OSHA ordered Knoxville-based Heartland Transportation Inc. to reinstate a former employee and pay the individual $62,090 in compensatory and punitive damages plus more than two years of back wages, interest, benefits and reasonable attorney's fees. The order follows OSHA's determination that the company violated the employee's rights under the whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act by terminating the employee for complaining about defective vehicles.

OSHA also has sued Whole Foods Market Group Inc. to reinstate a former employee with full back wages and benefits after the company allegedly fired the worker for voicing and reporting workplace health concerns regarding a raw sewage spillage at its store in Miami Beach.