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OSHA watch

Outreach campaign aimed at reducing MSDs among health care workers

A campaign to raise awareness about the hazards likely to cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) among health care workers responsible for patient care has been launched in Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. These disorders include sprains, strains, soft tissue and back injuries.

As part of the campaign, OSHA is providing 2,500 employers, unions and associations in the health care industry with information about methods used to control hazards, such as lifting excessive weight during patient transfers and handling. OSHA is also providing information about how employers can include a zero-lift program, which minimizes direct patient lifting by using specialized lifting equipment and transfer tools.

Detailed information on safe patient handling can be found at

New National Emphasis Program targets occupational exposure to Isocyanates

OSHA develops National Emphasis Programs (NEP) to focus outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards in an industry for a three-year period. Through this NEP, OSHA will focus on workplaces in general, construction and maritime industries that use isocyanate compounds. Isocyanates are chemicals that can cause occupational asthma, irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat, and cancer.

Enforcement memorandum targets means of exits

OSHA recently issued an enforcement memorandum directing inspectors to scrutinize whether employers provide and maintain adequate means of exit i.e., unlocked, unobstructed, and clearly marked exit doors and exit routes and doors that comply with 29 C.F.R. 1910 Subpart E - Means of Egress (specifically, the various requirements of 1910.36). While relevant to all employers, retailers, hospitality entities and other employers with multiple establishments should be particularly vigilant. Although initial fines for egress-related violations are typically only $2,000 or less, OSHA now treats related workplaces within a corporate family as one workplace for purposes of Repeat violations, which carry penalties up to $70,000 per violation.

New nail gun safety web page and ePub

OSHA's new Nail Gun Safety Web page offers resources to help reduce injuries related to nail guns. The page includes links to regulations, training and compliance assistance materials, including the joint OSHA/NIOSH Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors. The guide, also available as an e-publication in English and Spanish, can be downloaded to smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, as well as on desktop and laptop computers.

Recent fines and awards

Trucking Company and owner to reinstate and pay worker fired after refusing to drive excess hours in violation of safety regulations - Massachusetts

Brillo Motor Transportation Inc., a commercial motor carrier located in Massachusetts, and its owner were ordered to reinstate a former employee and pay him $96,864 in back wages and interest, $9,669 in compensatory damages and $25,000 in punitive damages because they terminated him in retaliation for his refusal to drive hours in excess of those allowed under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulation.

Farmers Cooperative Co. cited after worker dies when struck by truck at grain handling facility - Nebraska

Farmers Cooperative Co. was cited for nine serious safety violations after a worker was fatally injured in January. A truck that was backing into a loading position at the Talmage grain handling facility struck the worker. The inspection was expanded to include hazards associated with grain handling activities. Proposed fines total $22,800.

University of Rochester hospital and DGA Builders LLC face more than $53,000 in fines - New York

The University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital and DGA Builders LLC, both of Rochester, were cited for 14 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards, chiefly involving asbestos. The companies face a combined total of $53,200 in proposed fines, following inspections begun in response to a complaint.

Ford Motor Co. cited for 8 serious safety and health violations - New York

Ford Motor Co. has been cited for eight serious violations of OSHA's asbestos and respiratory protection standards at the company's Lakeshore Road plant in Buffalo. Ford faces a total of $41,800 in proposed fines.

Drugstore chain cited for exit access and fire safety hazards - New York

Duane Reade Inc. was cited for exit access and fire safety hazards at its 598 Broadway store in lower Manhattan. Similar conditions were cited during a 2008 OSHA inspection of the drugstore chain's 24 E. 14th St. store. As a result of the recurring hazards, OSHA has issued the company three repeat citations, with a total of $71,500 in proposed fines.

Foundry faces more than $96,000 in fines for safety and health hazards - Pennsylvania

Domestic Casting Co. was cited for four alleged repeat and 19 serious safety and health violations found at the company's gray and ductile foundry in Shippensburg. OSHA's January investigation was initiated in response to a complaint and as part of the agency's Regional Emphasis Program for Noise Hazards and National Emphasis Program on Crystalline Silica. Proposed penalties total $96,250.

Hospital fined for failing to protect workers from patient assaults - Pennsylvania

Armstrong Center for Medicine & Health Inc., doing business as Armstrong County Memorial Hospital in Kittanning, was cited with two violations following a complaint alleging that workers were suffering injuries from patient assaults in the hospital's behavioral health unit. The hospital was also cited for one other-than-serious violation, which carries a $1,000 penalty, for failing to record a work-related injury on the OSHA 300 Log.

The citations for the serious and other-than-serious violations carry $8,000 in proposed penalties.

Frozen food production plant faces fines of $150,000 - Wisconsin

Echo Lake Foods Inc. was cited with 27 safety violations carrying fines of $150,000. Multiple violations of OSHA's process safety management standards for facilities that use highly hazardous chemicals were found at the company's Burlington and Franksville frozen food production plants.

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