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OSHA watch

New rule proposed requiring employers to submit electronic records

The new proposal would require that establishments with more than 250 employees, which are already required to keep records, to electronically submit the records on a quarterly basis to OSHA. The agency is also proposing that establishments with 20 or more employees, in certain industries with high injury and illness rates, electronically submit their summary of work-related injuries and illnesses once a year. The records would be available for posting online and public viewing. The comment period ends February 4, 2014.

Local emphasis program in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri

OSHA is launching a local emphasis program in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri for programmed health inspections of industries known to use hazardous chemicals that have reported the release of such chemicals to the Environmental Protection Agency. These chemicals include ammonia; hydrochloric and sulfuric acids; hydrogen fluoride; N-hexane; styrene and various metal compounds. Industries selected for inspection are based on data from EPA's list of industry establishments that have released chemical quantities of 100,000 pounds or greater.

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Recent fines and awards

Whistleblower complaint filed against paper company - Idaho

Alleging that Clearwater Paper Corp. fired an employee in 2010 in retaliation for filing a safety complaint, OSHA is seeking more than $300,000 in damages.

Roofing company faces $70,000 in proposed penalties - Nebraska

Ghaleb N. Suleiman, who operates JMA Roofing, has been cited for one repeat and one other-than-serious safety violation following the death of a worker at an Omaha job site. The worker fell to the ground while replacing the rubber membrane on the roof, known as ethylene propylene diene monomer, often used for water resistance.

Manufacturer faces $115,000 in fines for serious safety violations including arc flash hazards - New Hampshire

Foss Manufacturing Co. LLC was cited for 21 serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Hampton, N.H. plant. The nonwoven textiles manufacturer faces $115,000 in fines following an inspection in response to a worker's complaint.

Failure to correct previous violations results in fines of over $100,000 - New York

Ferdo Refrigeration Equipment Inc., a Bronx, N.Y., company that refurbishes commercial refrigerators, faces an additional $108,080 in fines chiefly for not correcting specific workplace safety and health hazards cited during previous inspections at the workplace located at 429 Devoe Ave. Employees continued to be exposed to fire, explosion, falls and chemical hazards and being unable to exit the workplace swiftly in an emergency.

Demolition contractors cited for egregious, willful safety violations following fatal June building collapse- Pennsylvania

Two Philadelphia contractors, Griffin Campbell, doing business as Campbell Construction, and Sean Benschop, doing business as S&R Contracting, are facing nearly $400,000 in fines following a building collapse that killed six people and injured 14 in Philadelphia, Pa. Campbell and Benschop were contracted to demolish a four-story building adjacent to a Salvation Army Thrift Store. OSHA found that the contractors had illegally removed critical structural supports for the exterior wall of the four-story building and failed to provide workers proper fall protection equipment.

Plastering & Stucco Company, a severe violator, again cited for recurring hazards at work site - Pennsylvania

McGee Plastering & Stucco Inc. was cited for four safety violations, including two willful, found during bricklaying operations on new residential homes at a Philadelphia site. An imminent danger complaint prompted OSHA's investigation, resulting in $89,760 in proposed fines.

Contractor cited following crane collapse on Highway 109 - Tennessee

Mountain States Contractors LLC was cited for willful, serious and other-than-serious safety violations after a crane collapsed in May during the replacement of the Highway 109 bridge over the Cumberland River. Penalties total $60,900.

Former president of chemical company sentenced for federal occupational safety and health crimes - Texas

The former president of Port Arthur Chemical and Environmental Services LLC was sentenced to serve 12 months in federal prison and ordered to pay fines in the amount of $5,000 for occupational safety crimes that resulted in the death of an employee.

Worker fatality leads to fines of $156,240 for White Cedar Shingles and placement in SVEP program - Wisconsin

White Cedar Shingles Inc. has been cited for nine safety violations after a worker was fatally injured while servicing machinery that had not been locked out to prevent unexpected startup. Due to the nature and severity of violations, the company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.

Cave-in hazards during trenching operations place excavation contractor in Severe Violator Enforcement Program - Wisconsin

PTS Contractors Inc., a Green Bay-based excavation contractor, was cited for four repeat and two serious safety violations carrying proposed penalties of $70,070. The inspection was in response to a complaint alleging cave-in hazards at a job site in Wautoma, where workers were installing storm manholes and connecting utilities in a trench approximately 8 feet deep.

Sinclair Refinery cited for $707,000 in proposed fines for 22 violations- Wyoming

The OSHA division within the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (DWS) cited the Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company with $707,000 in fines for 22 violations found at the company's Sinclair, Wyoming refinery operation. The violations are the result of an inspection, which stemmed from an employee complaint and several gas releases that Sinclair voluntarily reported to DWS OSHA.

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