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OSHA watch

Initiative focuses on identifying employers who are not properly training temporary workers

A spike in reports of temporary workers suffering fatal injuries on the job has spurred a new initiative to protect them. The initiative, which includes enforcement, outreach and training, was announced through a memorandum. It directs field inspectors to assess whether employers who use temporary workers are complying with their responsibilities to protect those workers. OSHA defines "temporary workers" as those working under a host employer or staffing agency employment structure.

Two new NEPs on horizon

OSHA is developing two additional health National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) that will go into effect this year: Nursing and Residential Care Facilities and Isocyanates. NEPs, target high-hazard industries whose workers face increased risks of severe illnesses or severe injuries.

The NEP for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities addresses specific hazards found in this industry such as blood borne pathogens, tuberculosis, workplace violence, patient lifting, and slips, trips and falls. The Isocyanates NEP combines the efforts of enforcement and outreach to raise the awareness of employers, workers, and safety and health professionals about serious health conditions such as occupational asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and dermatitis.

Union officials can now accompany OSHA inspectors at non-union worksites

In a change that has angered some employers, union officials or community organizers will be allowed on "walkaround" OSHA inspections at non-union workplaces, under a new interpretation of regulations by the agency. The revision comes in response to a letter from Steve Sallman, Health and Safety Specialist for the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union.

Federal crane standard does not preempt New York City regulations

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has upheld a lower court ruling that found the OSH Act and OSHA's crane standard do not preempt New York City's ordinances that regulate the operation of cranes. The ruling sided against an appeal by the Steel Institute of New York, a trade group representing construction contractors. The industry claimed that federal regulations trump city regulations, and industry shouldn't be subject to two sets of competing rules designed for the same purpose. The court disagreed, concluding that while OSHA regulations protect workers, the primary purpose and effect of the city regulations are to protect public safety.

New Web page explains health risks from occupational exposure to chromium

OSHA's new Chromium Safety and Health Topics Page provides resources to educate employers and workers about the health risks of various forms of chromium.

New publications: Ladder Safety, Maritime Safety, Spanish versions of Emergency Preparedness and Industry Digest

Ladder Safety -

Safe Use of Extension Ladders

Safe Use of Job-made Wooden Ladders

Safe Use of Stepladder

Maritme Safety QuickCards are now available - Safe Operation of Semi-tractors in Maritime Terminals" and Safely Operating and Working Around Cargo Handling Equipment in Marine Terminals

Emergency Preparedness in Spanish

General Industry Digest in Spanish

Recent fines and awards

Bumble Bee tuna worker cooked to death in oven; Cal/OSHA issues fines - California

The death of a worker who died in an industrial pressure cooker has resulted in fines of $73,995 for Bumble Bee Tuna Company. Fines related to failing to perform appropriate inspections, posting of signs regarding the confined space created by the ovens and other infractions relating to permit-required confined space program elements as mandated by law.

Roofing company exposure of workers to fall and other hazards leads to more than $200,000 in proposed penalties - Florida

Longwood-based Collis Roofing Inc. was cited with three willful and one serious safety violation for exposing workers to fall and other hazards while they were performing roofing work at three residential sites in Jacksonville, Oviedo and Palm Harbor. As part of OSHA's local emphasis program, two inspections were initiated after OSHA inspectors observed employees without fall protection. Proposed penalties total $213,300.

Wood framing contractor faces $290,000 in fines - New Hampshire

Twin Pines Construction Inc. was cited for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards relating to fall exposure at its Durham work site. The wood-framing contractor, based in Everett, Mass., faces a total of $290,700 in proposed fines.

Medical lab cited for inadequate worker safeguards against blood borne pathogen hazards - New York

Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings, headquartered in Burlington, N.C., was cited for alleged repeat and serious health violations following a November 2012 complaint inspection of its Schenectady location. The violations related to adequate and timely training and the company faces $58,000 in fines.

Wood shavings manufacturer faces $233,870 in fines - New York

RWS Manufacturing Inc. was cited for a total of 28 alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its Queensbury manufacturing plant. The company, which makes wood shavings for animal bedding, faces a total of $233,870 in proposed fines for combustible dust, confined space, chemical, mechanical, and electrical hazards.

Excavating company faces nearly $179,000 for exposing workers to trenching hazards and company placed in Severe Violator Enforcement Program - Pennsylvania

Lumadue Excavating LLC of West Decatur was cited for 12 safety violations involving trenching hazards. OSHA initiated two inspections under a special emphasis program on trenching and excavation when inspectors found unprotected trenches at two different work sites. Proposed penalties total $178,860.

The company was also placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program because it continues to take unnecessary safety risks by not utilizing the safeguards needed to protect workers from trenching hazards.

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