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Globally Harmonized System (GHS) became effective May 25, 2012

The rule's requirements go into effect in phases and during the phase-in period, employers would be required to be in compliance with either the existing hazard communication standard or the revised standard with GHS, or both. Key dates are:

A helpful article on the 10 important things employers need to know about the final HazCom Rule was published by EHS Today Magazine.

New campaign to help prevent construction falls

The "Safety Pays. Falls Cost." awareness campaign provides information and education materials about working on ladders, scaffolds and roofs, with an emphasis on residential contractors and vulnerable, low-literacy workers.

As part of the campaign, OSHA created a webpage on fall protection standards. NIOSH also maintains a webpage, and the Center for Construction Research and Training, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, highlights fall data on its website.

New web page on protecting nail salon workers from on-the-job hazards

A new OSHA web page provides information and educational resources on protecting nail salon workers from chemical, biological, and other hazards on the job.

New directive on communications with victims' families following a workplace fatality

A new OSHA directive guides OSHA representatives in communicating investigation procedures, timelines and updates with family members following a workplace fatality. Once the investigation is closed, OSHA will explain findings to the family and address any questions. If an employer has been issued citations, OSHA will provide a copy of the citation(s) to the family.

New guide addresses safety for teenagers in workplace

The new guide addresses safety for teenagers in the workplace, including what jobs they may perform, their rights and responsibilities, and how to address health and safety problems at work.

New application materials for variance approval process

To make the process of applying for a variance more transparent and straightforward, OSHA has posted new application forms and checklists to its Variances page. A variance is a regulatory action that permits an employer to deviate from the requirements of an OSHA standard under specified conditions. OSHA may grant a variance to employers who can prove their alternative method, condition, practice, operation, or process provides workers as safe or healthful a workplace as the applicable OSHA standard requires.

Recent fines and awards

Almost one-half million dollars in fines proposed for failure to seek emergency medical treatment for worker who suffered chemical burns - Illinois

A worker at Raani Corp.'s Bedford Park, Ill., manufacturing plant incurred chemical burns and died a few weeks later. The company has been cited with 14 safety violations, including six willful violations for failure to call 911 to seek emergency medical treatment and neglecting to wash the worker in the available safety shower. The worker was transferred to a local occupational health clinic in a co-worker's vehicle more than 30 minutes after the injury.

Proposed penalties total $473,000. Due to the willful nature of some of the violations, OSHA has placed Raani Corp. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.

Lancaster packaging manufacturer cited following worker fatality - Massachusetts

Horn Packaging Corp., which faces a total of $130,300 in proposed fines, was cited for 12 alleged safety violations following the death of a worker at the Lancaster-based packaging manufacturer's facility. The worker was fatally injured, while operating a corrugated box-making machine when he became entangled in an unguarded drive shaft that provides power to the machine.

Bostik to pay $600,000 in fines for safety infractions after explosion - Massachusetts

Bostik, an adhesive manufacturer, will pay $600,000 in fines for numerous safety infractions after an explosion that injured four workers. OSHA initially sought fines in excess of $917,000, after a six-month investigation revealed several violations related to the treatment of hazardous chemicals; however, it reduced the fine, in part to expedite the implementation of improved safety practices.

Uniform and laundry services company faces $186,000 in fines -New Jersey

Wilmington, Mass.-based Unifirst Corp. allegedly committed willful safety and health violations by failing to provide hepatitis B vaccinations and proper training, engineering and work practice controls to minimize workers' exposure to blood-borne pathogens at its West Caldwell, N.J., facility and faces fines of $186,000.

Cheese manufacturer faces $241,000 in fines for repeat and serious violations - New York

Sorrento Lactalis Inc. was cited for 13 alleged repeat and serious violations at its Buffalo production facility, including several deficiencies in the plant's process safety management program.

RiteAid faces $111,100 in penalties for violations - New York

Rite Aid of New York Inc. was cited for alleged repeat and serious safety violations at the retailer's store in Brooklyn, N.Y. Several hazards in the Third Avenue location were found similar to those cited during inspections of Rite Aid stores in Bronx and Rome, N.Y. The recurring violations included shelves and boxes stored that blocked and narrowed an emergency exit route; unsecure piles of boxes subject to collapse; and workers exposed to falls of up to 10 feet with stacking boxes and totes on the unguarded edges of stairs and account for $104,500 of the penalties.

Bazzini Holdings faces fines following worker's arm amputation - Pennsylvania

Bazzini Holdings, which employs about 250 workers at its Allentown site, manufactures fine chocolates and nut products. Following notification of an amputation, OSHA's inspection found three repeat, eight serious and four other-than-serious violations, several related to electrical hazards. Proposed penalties total $56,400.

More than $154,000 in fines proposed for stone veneer company for scaffolding hazards - Pennsylvania

Refton-based Quality Stone Veneer Inc. was cited with eight safety violations, including one willful, for scaffolding hazards found during stone installation activities at a residential construction site in Hegins. OSHA has proposed $154,440 in penalties following an inspection that was initiated after a compliance officer driving by the site observed workers on a scaffold that lacked fall protection measures.

Contracting company faces fines of over $117,000 for cave-in hazards -Rhode Island

Newport-based Raymond J. Cawley Contracting Inc. faces fines totaling $117,740 for allowing cave-in and other hazards while workers were excavating to replace a sewer line.

Whistleblower must be reinstated in trucking company - Tennessee

Brush Creek-based commercial motor carrier, Mark Alvis Inc., owner Mark Alvis and dispatcher Jack Taylor were ordered to reinstate a former employee and pay him more than $180,000 in back pay, interest, and compensatory and punitive damages. 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 him for his refusal to drive while fatigued and ill and violated the hours-of-service requirements outlined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

Workers' death from chemical exposure results in 12 violations and placement in Severe Violator Enforcement Program - Wisconsin

Vivid Image, a manufacturing company specializing in coating production and micro screens, was cited with 12 safety violations - including two willful - after one worker died and another was hospitalized from exposure to the chemical toluene at the Theresa, Wis., manufacturing plant. Proposed penalties are $64,600. Due to the willful nature of some of the violations, OSHA has placed Vivid Image in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.

Lakeview Specialty Hospital faces fines for inadequate workplace violence safeguards - Wisconsin

Following a complaint that a worker had been severely beaten and threatened by a client, OSHA cited Lakeview Specialty Hospital with a serious violation of the agency's "general duty clause" for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause serious injury or death and a second serious violation for lack of a lockout/tagout program. Proposed penalties are $12,000.

Trench collapse and worker's death leads to citations of $137,000 and placement in Severe Violator Enforcement Program - Wisconsin

River Falls-based Gordy's Pump Service was cited with five safety - including two willful - violations as the result of an inspection conducted after a 19-year-old worker died when an unprotected trench collapsed at a Spring Valley job site. Proposed fines for the citations total $137,000. Due to the willful violations, OSHA has placed Gordy's Pump Service in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.

Detailed descriptions of the citations above and other OSHA citations can be found here.