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OSHA announces regulatory agenda for 2015

OSHA has announced its top regulatory priorities for 2015:

Also scheduled is the final rule on confined spaces in construction, which is anticipated in March 2015. In June 2015, OSHA plans on issuing a final rule addressing slip, trip and fall hazards and establishing requirements for personal fall protection systems.

Noteworthy is OSHA's plan to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the end of the year seeking to amend its recordkeeping regulations making the duty to maintain accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses an ongoing obligation. The courts have limited the period of time in which OSHA can issue a recordkeeping citation to six months. OSHA wants to change the time period to the full five years that individual records must be retained.

Relegated to the long-term action list are two longstanding controversial topics, combustible dust standard and updates to the recently amended Hazard Communication Standard. And the I2P2 (Injury and Illness Prevention Program) has also been shelved for an indeterminate period of time.

New publications

Recent fines and awards

Sixteen-year-old dies at construction site - Missouri

A 16-year-old laborer was fatally struck by the swinging cab and boom of a crane being disassembled by Robertson Incorporated Bridge and Grading Division at a construction site in Delta. The investigation found the crane operator was unaware that the teen was directed to stand in an inadequately marked danger zone. The teen also was not provided with required protective headgear. The company was cited for 13 serious safety violations with proposed penalties of $44,730. It also faces violations of child labor laws.

Affordable Exteriors faces $140,000 in penalties for exposing workers to dangerous fall hazards - Nebraska

Four employees of Affordable Exteriors Inc. were routinely exposed to dangerous fall hazards while completing a residential roofing job for homebuilder Hildy Homes in Elkhorn. The company was cited for two willful violations, carrying proposed penalties of $140,000, for failure to provide required fall protection and fall protection training. The Omaha-based company has a lengthy history of violating OSHA standards and has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Automotive manufacturing plant cited for employee's heat-related kidney failure - Nebraska

A dehydrated 53-year-old Eaton Corp. employee suffered acute kidney failure while working in extreme indoor heat at the company's automotive manufacturing plant. The employee, who worked at the facility for 20 years, operated industrial machinery at the Kearney plant when the heat index soared to 101 degrees. The worker later recovered after being hospitalized for more than 24 hours to treat the illness. An inspection found the company failed to protect workers from exposure to excessive heat, which resulted in one serious health violation, with proposed fines of $7,000.

Latino worker dies following exposure to nitrogen in tanker truck - Nebraska

Violations of the confined spaces safety regulations led to the death of a worker at Michael Foods Inc. in Wakefield. The 23-year-old Latino worker was found unresponsive in a tanker truck at the company's Big Red Farms facility. He was conducting sampling of the tank, which contained egg products and nitrogen. The company, known for producing such products as Papetti's, Crystal Farms, AllWhites and Simply Potatoes, was cited for five serious safety violations, including exposing employees to nitrogen hazards with proposed fines totaling $30,900.

Death of Brooklyn, supermarket worker preventable - New York

A 22-year-old employee of Moisha's Kosher Discount Supermarket Inc. in Brooklyn was fatally crushed between a cement wall and a forklift, as employees used an electrical pallet jack to push a broken forklift up a ramp to the supermarket's roof. While doing so, the forklift rolled back down the ramp, and then pinned the worker against the wall. An inspection on the same day as the fatality found that the death was preventable and the supermarket was cited for exit access, fall, and chemical hazards violations, totaling $42,000 in fines.

Doyle & Roth Manufacturing Co. Inc. faces $68,600 in OSHA fines - Pennsylvania

Fall hazards, inadequate machine guarding and failure to implement lockout/tagout procedures were among the 38 workplace safety hazards cited at Doyle & Roth Manufacturing Co. Inc. The New York-based company faces $68,600 in proposed penalties following the inspection, which was initiated as part of the Site-Specific Targeting Program that directs enforcement resources to workplaces with the highest injury and illness rates.

Arvato Digital Services & Parallel Employment Group cited after temporary worker suffers severe electrical shock injuries - Wisconsin

A 24-year-old temporary maintenance employee suffered severe burns from electrical shock while on assignment for Parallel Employment Group of Wisconsin Inc. Working at the Arvato Digital Services LLC distribution center in Pleasant Prairie, the employee came in contact with an energized electrical source and suffered electrical shock, causing severe burns.

Both companies were cited for failure to train employees in electrical safety-related work practices, including wearing electric arc flash and shock protection equipment. Arvato Digital Services was cited for one willful and 10 serious safety violations, carrying proposed penalties of $124,000. The Oak Creek-based staffing agency, Parallel Employment Group, was cited for four serious violations and faces penalties of $26,000.

Worker fatality at concrete plant - Wisconsin

A 39-year-old worker and father of three was crushed to death, while repairing a bin at the Ready Mix Batch Plant owned by Nuvo Construction Co. in Milwaukee. The following day, an employee for a different company, Sonag Ready Mix LLC, completed repairs to a bin sensor at the Ready Mix Batch Plant while exposed to the same hazard. Both companies were cited for failure to turn off the machine on either day before service and maintenance, and each company faces $84,000 in penalties.

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