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OSHA watch

Comment period on proposed reporting rule extended

Last month, we wrote about OSHA's controversial proposed new Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting rule that has many employers concerned. OSHA announced that it would extend the comment period for this proposed rule by 30 days to March 8, 2014 in response to a request from the National Association of Home Builders ("NAHB"). NAHB made the request because the rulemaking overlaps with the proposed crystalline silica rulemaking and it needed more time to disseminate the relevant information to its members and coordinate responses.

Comments may be submitted electronically at, the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail or facsimile.

New web resource for hospital workers

A Web resource to help hospitals prevent worker injuries, assess workplace safety needs, enhance safe patient handling programs and implement safety and health management systems is now available. The materials include fact books, self-assessments and best practice guides.

New and updated resources

OSHA has updated its guide to the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Injuries in Poultry Processing, that is now also available as a smart phone-friendly e-publication. There is also a new Safety and Health Information Bulletin, Operating Hazards of Baler Discharge-Door Locks that provides guidance on how to inspect for and prevent the kind of failure that killed a worker earlier this year when the door locking mechanism on a hydraulic paper compactor/baler failed.

Senators urge OSHA to stop "unlawful regulation of family farms"

Led by Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns, 43 senators have signed a letter asking OSHA to cease all enforcement actions against small farms that use grains bins for storage, and is asking the agency to issue updated guidance "correcting this misinterpretation of the law." The misinterpretation refers to a 2011 memo in which OSHA asserts that on-farm grain storage and handling is not part of farm operations - and therefore not exempt from OSHA oversight. Small farming operations are those with 10 or fewer employees.

Recent fines and awards

Chemical hazards violations lead to fines of over $55,000 for StanChem, Inc. - Connecticut

StanChem Inc. was cited for 13 serious violations of workplace safety standards at its East Berlin, Conn., manufacturing plant. The manufacturer of specialty coatings and polymers faces a total of $55,300 in proposed fines related to deficiencies in the plant's process safety management program.

Fatal injury at feed and farm supplier leads to fine of $91,000 - Missouri

MFA Inc. was cited for 13 serious safety violations after a worker was fatally injured at the Aurora-based milling plant. The worker landed on a first floor concrete area after falling about 40 feet from a man lift used to transport materials in the facility. Proposed fines are $91,000.

Trucking company found to have violated anti-retaliation protection provided whistleblowers and ordered to pay more than $100,000 - Missouri, New York

An OSHA investigation found that New Prime Inc. retaliated against a truck driver by blacklisting him in the commercial transport industry after he sought medical attention for a work-related injury. The Springfield, Mo.-based motor carrier was ordered to pay the former employee $100,994.24 in back wages and damages and take other corrective action.

Terrell's Potato Chip Co. Inc. faces $115,500 fines for new, recurring safety hazards - New York

Terrell's Potato Chip Co. Inc. was cited for 23 violations of workplace safety standards at its manufacturing plant in Syracuse. The potato chip manufacturer faces $115,500 in fines following an inspection as part of OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting program. The sizable fines were the result of new and reoccurring hazards, with OSHA noting, "... an employer also must take effective steps to ensure that hazards, once corrected, don't reappear."

Teen retailer, Forever 21, faces fines of $236,500 for repeat workplace safety violations - New York, New Jersey

Fashion retail chain Forever 21 was cited for exposing employees to safety hazards at its stores in Paramus, N.J., and Manhattan, following inspections triggered by complaints alleging violations. Proposed penalties are $236,500. Obstructed exits, uncovered fluorescent lights, excessive clutter, improper storage and an inaccessible fire extinguisher were among the violations, many of which were classified as repeat.

Roofing company cited for exposing workers to fall hazards after fatal accident - Pennsylvania

Jenkintown-based James J. McCullagh Roofing Inc. was cited for 10 alleged safety violations-including three willful-following an investigation of a fatal accident when a worker fell 45 feet from a roof while performing roofing repairs on a church in Philadelphia. The company received $71,600 in penalties.

Pure Power Technologies cited after worker burned by electrical arc flash - Wisconsin

Pure Power Technologies LLC was cited for one willful and seven serious safety violations after a worker was severely burned by an electrical arc flash. The maintenance supervisor was injured while servicing a 480-volt circuit breaker without proper electrical protective equipment at the company's Waukesha iron foundry. OSHA has proposed penalties of $119,000.

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