Articles | Cases

OSHA watch

OSHA releases Fall 2011 regulatory agenda

At the end of January 2012, OSHA finally released its Fall 2011 regulatory agenda, which is an overview of what OSHA plans to accomplish in the next few months.

The highlights include:

Notably missing from active rulemaking are Combustible Dust Standard and Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) Column on Recordkeeping Forms.

OSHA extends penalty reductions for residential fall protection violations

An OSHA enforcement policy allowing penalty reductions and greater abatement time for violations of residential construction fall protection requirements has been extended until Sept. 15. This is intended to help residential construction employers comply with a directive, issued Dec. 16, 2010, that requires them to follow fall protection rules unless they can prove conventional methods are not feasible and they have a written plan for specific alternatives.

OSHA releases respirator-training videos

OSHA released 17 short videos for workers on the proper use of respirators. The videos provide information to general industry and construction workers, and cover topics such as respirator types, fit-testing, training requirements, and maintenance and care of respirators. Nine of the videos are in English and eight are in Spanish.

Recent fines and awards

Two contractors fined over $100,000 - Connecticut

A New London contractor, G.A. Denison & Sons Inc. has been cited for 14 alleged willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards at an Old Lyme work site and faces a total of $110,000 in proposed fines. Many of the citations relate to exposure to fall hazards.

Contractor Penney Construction Co. LLC in Hartford, faces fines of $169,000 chiefly for exposing its workers to cave-in hazards while repairing a sewer line in a 10-foot-deep trench on Park Street. OSHA has placed Penney Construction in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.

Lumber Company faces 22 violations and fines over $100,000 - Mississippi

Franklin Lumber Co. in Bude was cited for 22 safety violations, many related to combustible dust. OSHA initiated its inspection as part of the agency's national emphasis program to reduce employees' exposure to combustible dust hazards. Proposed penalties total $103,356.

Contractor fined almost $60,000 for endangering workers - New Hampshire

Monster Contracting LLC was cited for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards at a residential construction site located in Manchester. The Candia-based framing contractor faces a total of $59,200 in proposed fines related to fall protection, a lack of eye protection for employees working with nail guns, power tools and staplers, damaged and misused ladders, among others.

Lockout Tagout violations lead to workers death and fines of $73,300 - New York

Following the death of an employee, an OSHA inspection found that the company had not developed and used procedures to lock out the baler's power source and also did not provide workers with the required training on those procedures. Metalico Rochester Inc. has been cited for for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace totaling $73,300.

Fall leads to fines against Manhattan contractor - New York

Navillus Contracting Tile Inc. was cited for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards at a work site located in Brooklyn, following a incident in which an employee fell 80 feet to a lower level from the top of a 118-foot-high scaffold. Citations relate to scaffolding violations resulting in citations for six serious violations, with $36,000 in proposed fines.

Whistleblower must be reinstated and paid back wages at commercial printing plant - North Carolina

OSHA ordered Rowan Business Forms to reinstate a former truck driver employed by the Salisbury-based commercial printing company, who was fired after reporting safety concerns about the brakes in his truck and to pay the former worker more than $83,000 in back wages, interest, and compensatory and punitive damages.

Hershey's subcontractors fined $288,000 - Pennsylvania

OSHA found nine workplace violations at a candy repackaging and distribution facility owned by The Hershey Co. and operated by Exel Inc., the site of protests last summer by foreign student workers. After inspections that were prompted by a complaint by the National Guestworker Alliance on the students' behalf, Exel faces proposed penalties of $283,000 and SHS Staffing Solutions, which helped place the students, faces a $5,000 penalty.

Six of the violations lodged against Exel, of Westerville, Ohio, were willful, for not recording injuries and illnesses over a four-year period and not taking required steps to protect workers' hearing.

Biodiesel manufacturer cited for violating process safety management procedures - Wisconsin

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited biodiesel manufacturer Sanimax Inc. for 13 safety violations at its De Forest facility. After receiving a complaint, OSHA opened an inspection focused on the agency's process safety management standard for facilities that use hazardous chemicals. Proposed fines total $76,500.

Jennie-O Turkey store cited after amputation and faces fines of over $300,000 - Wisconsin

Jennie-O Turkey Store Inc. was cited for 11 safety violations at its Barron facility after a worker's arm was amputated below the shoulder while the individual was conducting cleaning activities in a confined space. Willful violations related to confined space regulations and serious violations related to emergency procedures, training and fall protection among others. Based on the violations, OSHA has proposed $318,000 in fines.

Brass foundry cited for failing to protect workers from dust exposure - Wisconsin

Fall River Foundry was cited with 10 safety violations, including three repeat violations for failing to protect workers from metal dust exposure at its brass foundry in Fall River. Proposed fines total $57,600.

OSHA opened an investigation, under the agency's National Emphasis Program for Primary Metal Industries, which focuses on identifying, reducing and eliminating worker exposures to harmful chemical and physical hazards in establishments producing metal products.