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OSHA watch

Guidance issued on removal from Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP)

OSHA published criteria for removing employers from the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). An employer may be removed from the SVEP after a period of three years from the date of final disposition of the SVEP inspection citation items. Final disposition may occur through failure to contest, settlement agreement, Review Commission final order, or court of appeals decision. Employers must have abated all SVEP-related hazards affirmed as violations, paid all final penalties, abided by and completed all settlement provisions, and not received any additional serious citations related to the hazards identified in the SVEP inspection at the initial establishment or at any related establishments.

Direct final rule applies Cranes and Derricks Standard to demolition, underground construction

A new direct final rule will extend the 2010 Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard to underground construction and demolition work.

According to OSHA, the move will streamline the agency's standards by eliminating the separate cranes and derricks standard currently used for underground and demolition work. The final rule is scheduled to go into effect Nov. 15 unless OSHA receives "significant adverse comment" by Sept. 17.

Stepped up fall hazard enforcement in Southeast

Construction employers in the Southeast will begin seeing more unannounced inspections from OSHA as the agency focuses on fall hazards in the region. Falls are one of the leading causes of employee deaths in the Southeast.

Beginning Aug. 20, OSHA will identify and target for inspection worksites in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi that may be exposing workers to fall hazards.

New directive addresses marine cargo handling

OSHA has issued a revised directive providing enforcement guidance for inspections in longshoring and marine terminals.

Changes include:

OSHA issues tips on protecting workers from mercury in fluorescent bulbs

To help protect workers from mercury exposure from compact fluorescent light bulbs containing a small amount of mercury that can be hazardous to workers who handle, dispose of and recycle the bulbs, OSHA issued a fact sheet and Quick Card outlining precautions for workplaces where CFLs are intentionally broken. Depending on the duration and level of exposure, OSHA said mercury can lead to nervous system disorders and kidney problems, and harm unborn children.

Company successfully challenges repeat violation classification

Loretto Management Corporation (LMC) oversaw a number of nonprofits that operated nursing homes in upstate New York; all used the Loretto name. OSHA had previously issued citations to two Loretto facilities, so some of the citations issued to Loretto-Oswego were categorized as repeat and the company appealed. A US circuit court ruled Loretto-Oswego personnel were primarily responsible for safety matters at their own facility and thus the violations should not be categorized as repeat.

Recent fines and awards

Trucking firm ordered to reinstate whistle-blower, pay $315,000 - Arizona

M3 Transport L.L.C./SLT Expressway Inc., and its successors in interest, Lyons Capital L.L.C. and Glendale, Ariz.-based Roadmaster Group has been ordered to reinstate a whistle-blower truck driver who refused to drive an explosive-filled truck with a co-driver who smoked and pay $315,000 in back wages and damages.

Norfolk Southern Railway Co. ordered to pay more than $932,000 for violations of Federal Railroad Safety Act whistleblower provisions - Illinois

OSHA found reasonable cause to believe that employees' reporting of their workplace injuries led to internal investigations and, ultimately, dismissals from the company. The company has been ordered to pay two whistleblowers $932,070.46 in damages, including $387,813.75 in punitive damages and attorney's fees.

Monro Muffler Brake reaches agreement to protect workers against hydraulic lift hazards at multiple company locations - Massachusetts

Monro Muffler Brake Inc., which operates a chain of more than 800 stores that provide automotive repair and tire services throughout the eastern United States, has reached an enterprise-wide settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor in which it will institute procedures to protect its workers against being crushed or struck by automotive hydraulic lifts.

Heavy equipment operator, Barletta Heavy Division faces $91,000 in proposed fines - Massachusetts

Barletta Heavy Division Inc. faces proposed fines of $91,000 following a March incident in which one of its cranes struck an overhead power line, injuring a worker while working on the Hine Bridge replacement project in Amesbury.

Tyson Foods cited for willful and serious violations after worker fatality - Nebraska

Tyson Foods Inc. was cited for seven safety violations after an inspection at the company's Dakota City beef processing facility, where a mechanic was fatally injured on March 14.

Franklin Non-Ferrous Foundry faces nearly $186,000 in fines - New Hampshire

Cited 62 times for violations of OSHA's lead standard since 1998, Franklin Non-Ferrous Foundry faces $185,900 in additional fines. The citations are the result of an inspection in January to verify abatement of hazards cited by OSHA in 2009.

Heat fatality results in OSHA citation for two employers - New Jersey

Waste Management of Trenton and Labor Ready Northeast Inc. were cited for one serious violation each of OSHA's general duty clause following a heat-related fatality in June. The violation involved failing to ensure that workers performing trash collection during high heat conditions consumed adequate amounts of fluids and to train workers on how to recognize and respond to the signs of heat stress. Each company faces a proposed fine of $7,000 - the maximum penalty permitted for a serious violation.

Food processing company cited for unsafe conditions, faces $54,500 in penalties - New York

Utica food processing company Delorio Foods Inc. has been cited with 14 alleged serious violations at the company's Bleecker Street manufacturing facility for exposing workers to unsafe working conditions. The inspection found that working area floors were not kept free from slippery conditions and the exit route from a storage area was obstructed by a pallet of food and a trash can.

Die manufacturer, Danco Precision, cited for serious workplace hazards and faces proposed penalties of $55,500 - Pennsylvania

OSHA's March investigation, initiated as part of the agency's Site-Specific Targeting Program for industries with high injury and illness rates, found 14 safety violations resulting in $55,500 in proposed penalties.

MVP Kosher Foods LLC cited for exposing workers to safety and health hazards; proposed fines total $140,000 - Pennsylvania

MVP Kosher Foods LLC was cited for 21 safety and health - including two repeat - violations at its Birdsboro facility. OSHA has proposed $140,000 in penalties following a February inspection initiated in response to a complaint alleging the hazards.

Philadelphia dishwasher manufacturer penalized $67,450 for workplace hazards - Pennsylvania

Insinger Machine Co. was cited for exposing workers to serious safety and health hazards at the company's Philadelphia facility. OSHA's February investigation was initiated as part of the agency's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which focuses on workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses.

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