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OSHA watch

Final rule on recordkeeping requirements mean changes for employers beginning January 1, 2015

A new rule tightening fatality, injury and illness reporting requirements and updating the list of exempt and non-exempt industries affects all employers. See featured article, New OSHA injury reporting rules go into effect January 1, 2015 for details.

Preliminary list of top ten violations for FY 2014 little changed from FY 2013

The same ten standards as last year represent the top ten violations, with some standards moving up or down. The biggest change was lockout/tagout that moved from number 8 to number 5 on the list.

The preliminary figures as of August 11 are:

  1. Fall protection (1926.501) - 6,143 violations
  2. Hazard communication (1910.1200) - 5,161
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451) - 4,029
  4. Respiratory protection (1910.134) - 3,223
  5. Lockout/tagout (1910.147) - 2,704
  6. Powered industrial trucks (1910.178) - 2,662
  7. Electrical, wiring methods (1910.305) - 2,490
  8. Ladders (1926.1053) - 2,448
  9. Machine guarding (1910.212) - 2,200
  10. Electrical, general requirements (1910.303) - 2,056

The finalized data will be published in December.

Final rule delays compliance date for crane operator certification

The certification requirements for crane operators will be delayed for three years according to a final rule published Sept. 25.

Under the Cranes and Derricks in Construction final rule published four years ago, construction site crane operators were required to meet one of four qualification or certification options and employers were required to ensure competent crane operation by Nov. 10, 2014. In response to concerns that certification was insufficient to determine competency, the compliance date for both operators and employers is extended to Nov. 10, 2017.

New educational resources: Protection from heat, electrocution, pandemic illnesses, Ebola webpage

Protecting Workers from the Effects of Heat Fact Sheet has been updated with revised information for employers on measures they should take to prevent worker illnesses and death caused by heat stress.

Electrocution: Work Safely with Ladders Near Power Lines, is a new training video for employers, and Electrocution: Work Safely with Cranes Near Power Lines, is an updated video on preventing electrocutions while operating cranes. The videos, which are available in English and Spanish, show how quickly contact with overhead power lines can result in the electrocution of a worker. They also show what employers can do to ensure the work is done more safely.

There is also a new fact sheet for employers on Protecting Workers during a Pandemic.

A new Ebola Web page provides guidance for protecting workers from exposure to the Ebola virus. The new resource covers hazard identification and characterization, medical information, applicable standards, and recommendations for prevention and control of exposures to Ebola.

Required Job Safety and Health: It's the Law! poster now in seven languages

The free Job Safety and Health: It's the Law! poster is now available online in Chinese Korean and Nepali as well as English, Spanish, Polish and Portuguese (PDFs*). All covered employers are required to predominantly display the poster in their workplaces where workers can see it. For more information about the poster and how to get copies in the various languages, visit OSHA's workplace poster Web page.

Recent fines and awards

Roofing contractor willfully exposed workers to deadly fall hazards and faces nearly $300,000 in penalties - Connecticut

Gleason Roofing Co. deliberately and repeatedly failed to use legally required fall protection for its employees at two New Britain work sites and exposed workers to potentially fatal falls was the finding of inspections initiated in response to a complaint. The Enfield roofing contractor faces four willful and two serious violations of safety standards and $294,000 in fines.

Utility company faces fines of $168,000 for violations related to two fatalities - Massachusetts

An OSHA inspection concluded that the deaths of two workers in a crane tip over could have been prevented with proper training and operation in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. MA Bay Electrical Corp. was cited with two willful and four serious violations and faces fines of $168,000.

Ironworks cited for inadequate workplace safeguards that led to death of two firefighters and endangered employees - Massachusetts

Guiseppe Falcone and Daniele Falcone, doing business as D & J Ironworks, failed to follow safety precautions, which fire officials indicated led to a fire that cost the lives of two Boston fire fighters in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. The Malden-based welding company failed to properly train employees and did not implement common sense safeguards, allowing employees to install railings using arc-welding equipment during high wind conditions. The company was cited for ten serious violations and faces $58,000 in fines.

Farmers Cooperative cited for fatal fall - Nebraska

Following the death of a 73-year-old worker who sustained fatal injuries from falling while loading a tanker truck, Farmers Cooperative has been cited for one repeat and two serious safety violations at its McCool Junction fertilizer plant. Proposed fines total $84,000.

Sand and Gravel company cited after fatal incident - Nebraska

Two workers were injured, one fatally, after being struck-by an excavator bucket while installing stormwater drainage in a trench. Van Kirk Sand and Gravel, which operates as Van Kirk Brothers Contracting, was cited for two serious safety violations and faces fines of $14,000.

Confined spaces violations lead to fines of $133,900 for Watco Investments LLC - Nebraska

A worker at Watco Investments LLC reported suffering from respiratory inflammation after performing welding work inside a rail car in Omaha. The company, was cited for three repeat and three serious safety violations, many involving confined space safety regulations. Proposed fines are $133,900.

Willful and repeat violations result in fines of over $235,000 for severe violator, JC Stucco and Stone Inc. - Pennsylvania

Masonry contractor JC Stucco and Stone Inc. was cited for three willful and three repeat safety violations, following an inspection initiated in response to a referral by the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections due to an imminent threat to worker health and safety at the site. The investigation found workers were exposed to fall hazards while applying stucco to the exterior of a residential construction site. The company, which was placed in the Severe Violator Program in 2011, faces proposed penalties of $235,700.

Unguarded machine leads to worker's thumb amputation at polycoated paper manufacturing facility - Wisconsin

After an unguarded laminating machine crushed a worker's hand and partially amputated his thumb, Loparex LLC, a manufacturer of polycoated and silicone-coated papers and films, was cited for one willful safety violation. The inspection was initiated based on information about the injury at the Hammond facility. Proposed penalties total $70,000.

Liquid chlorine handling procedures leads to serious violations citations at Beck Aluminum - Wisconsin

Procedures for handling liquid chlorine, a highly hazardous chemical, at Beck Aluminum Alloys Ltd., were lacking and the company, which recycles aluminum and produces alloys used in various applications, will pay a penalty of $32,890 for 10 serious safety violations. The violations were cited under the Process Safety Management Standards, which contain specific requirements for managing dangerous chemicals in the workplace.

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