Articles | Cases

OSHA watch

Updated webpage and resources for construction demolition industry

Recent deaths at demolition sites has prompted the update of the webpage,, which includes hazard assessments, injury and illness mitigation measures, and information on applicable standards surrounding the construction demolition industry.

Failure to conduct an engineering survey, which includes determining whether an unplanned collapse of the building or adjacent structures would injure nearby workers, was the most commonly cited construction demolition standard from 2009 to 2013.

Safety tips for using tripod orchard ladders

Employers of fruit pickers and landscapers have new resources - in both English and Spanish - to help keep workers safe on and near tripod orchard ladders. A fact sheet and QuickCard detail the types of hazards ladders pose - including slip, fall, collapsing and struck-by hazards - and list the precautions employers should take to prevent worker injuries.

Asbestos resource now offered in Spanish

A Spanish-language version of the fact sheet on the dangers of asbestos is now available.

New directive to keep communication tower workers safe

A 2002 directive has been updated covering inspection of hoist systems used to move workers to and from workstations on communication towers.

The directive outlines the proper use of hoist and other fall-arrest systems and includes detailed information on how to hoist people safely. The updated policy covers any work on a communication tower - including both maintenance and new construction - that involves the use of a hoist to lift workers from one elevated workstation to another. There is also a new webpage targeting the issues surrounding communication-tower work.

Memo on temporary worker safety

Regional administrators have received a memo about the Temporary Worker Initiative. Released July 15, the memo reminds field staff that both the host employer and staffing agency are responsible for protecting the safety and health of a temporary worker. Compliance officers should review any written contract between the staffing agency and host employer and determine if it addresses responsibilities for employee safety and health.

'Buy Quiet' initiative aims to prevent worker hearing loss

NIOSH has released new web resources to highlight a program that encourages organizations to buy or rent quieter machinery and tools to help comply with OSHA noise regulations and reduce work-related noise-induced hearing loss. The materials - which include a video, posters and links to partner websites - illustrate the agency's Buy Quiet initiative, explain how to establish a Buy Quiet program in the workplace and provide additional resources for finding quieter tools and machinery.

Enforcement program to prevent injuries and fatalities in North Dakota's high-hazard industries launched

Since January 2012, 34 North Dakota workers in the oil and gas and construction industries have died because of work-related injuries, accounting for 87 percent of all North Dakota fatalities investigated by OSHA. An enforcement emphasis program was launched to address continued concerns about worker safety in these North Dakota industries that temporarily brings in additional investigators from throughout the United States to increase field presence in North Dakota.

Recent fines and awards

Contractor exposed employees to electrocution hazards from power lines and faces over $70,000 in fines - Massachusetts

Employees of P. Gioioso & Sons Inc. were exposed to possible electrocution from working close to energized power lines at a Cambridge work site where required safeguards were not used. An inspection found that employees used a trench rod and a fiberglass pole with a metal end to lift overhead power lines, so that workers could move excavating equipment under the lines and onto the work site. The Hyde Park contractor faces $70,290 in proposed fines.

Employees of A Fast Blast exposed to lead, silica, and respirator hazards - Massachusetts

Workers performing abrasive blasting during the renovation of an Easthampton mill were overexposed to lead and silica and faced other health hazards due to their employer's failure to supply basic, legally required safeguards. As a result, Maher Industries, doing business as A Fast Blast, was cited for 17 serious violations of workplace health standards.

The Naugatuck, Connecticut-based abrasive blasting contractor faces $47,600 in proposed fines, following an inspection conducted in response to a complaint.

Dollar Tree Stores fined $177,800 for exposing employee to serious safety hazards - Massachusetts

Employees at the Dollar Tree Stores Inc. location in Boston's Roslindale neighborhood repeatedly faced the dangers of blocked exits and hazardous conditions in the store's stockroom. Dollar Tree Stores, which has been cited in other areas nationally, faces a total of $177,800 in proposed fines following a complaint inspection.

Omaha feed company cited for fatalities and injuries - Nebraska

An investigation found that overloading nine storage bins on the building's roof level caused the structural collapse of International Nutrition Inc.'s Omaha-facility. The collapse at the livestock feed supplement manufacturer caused the death of two workers and injuries to nine others. Proposed penalties are $120,560 and the company was placed the company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Midwest Farmers Cooperative cited for serious violations after truck driver dies from exposure to ammonia vapor cloud - Nebraska

Following the death of a truck driver at Midwest Farmers Cooperative's grain handling facility in Tecumseh, the company was cited for 12 serious safety violations. The driver, who was not provided a respirator or personal protective clothing, was overcome by anhydrous ammonia vapors while transferring the liquid from a semi truck to bulk storage tanks and died at the hospital from complications related to the ammonia inhalation. Three other workers were injured. Proposed penalties are $62,101.

False abatement documentation has $816,500 price tag for Formed Fiber Technologies - Ohio

After providing false documentation and making false representations claiming that previously cited hazards related to hydraulic presses had been corrected, Formed Fiber Technologies LLC has been issued 14 safety citations, including willful and repeat citations, as well as a notice of failure to abate with proposed fines totaling $816,500. The inspection was initiated as a follow-up inspection pursuant to its Severe Violators Enforcement Program.

Aluminum extruder cited for failing to protect workers against chemical, noise and fall hazards - New York

Workers at Keymark Corp.'s aluminum extruding plant in Fonda were exposed to the hazardous substance chromium, high noise levels and falls of up to 17 feet due to the employer's failure to provide and ensure proper safeguards. The company faces $53,000 in fines following inspections prompted by a complaint.

McKees Rocks Industrial Enterprises Company agrees to pay employee $100,000 in monetary damages - Pennsylvania

The case involved a lawsuit alleging the illegal termination of a general laborer. The worker raised safety concerns at the company's McKees Rocks work site, which serves as both an industrial park and a terminal facility, resulting in an inspection. Following the inspection, the employee was initially reassigned duties and later terminated from his position. In the retaliation settlement, the company agreed to pay the employee $100,000 in monetary damages.

Worker exposure to amputation hazards, excessive noise leads to serious, willful violations cited against lumber company - Wisconsin

A complaint investigation found workers at Buchman Lumber Co. LLC were exposed to excessive noise and amputation hazards at the Springbrook, Wis., lumber plant. The company was cited for 17 violations, proposed penalties are $145,200, and the company was placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

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