Articles | Cases

OSHA watch

Formal proposal to delay electronic reporting date

"This action proposes to extend the initial submission deadline for 2016 Form 300A data to Dec. 1, 2017, to provide the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation and allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, which will not be available until August 1," according to a notice published in the Federal Register. The agency also plans to issue a separate proposal to reconsider, revise or remove other provisions of the agency's electronic record-keeping rule.

Updated heat safety app for outdoor workers

The popular heat safety app has been updated and redesigned. It uses geolocation technology to assess the current heat index and risk level, and also offers projected heat indices throughout the workday. Users receive specific recommendations for staying safe based on those levels. It is available here.

Employers share their tips for keeping workers safe in extreme heat

Stories and tips from employers and safety professionals on keeping workers safe from extreme heat are now posted on the website.

Beryllium rule revision proposed

After releasing a proposed beryllium rule that would modify standards for the construction and shipyard sectors, the agency announced it will not enforce the current standards on these industries without further notice. Published June 27, the proposed rule would maintain the permissible exposure limit for the construction and shipyard industries, but it will revise the application of ancillary provisions such as housekeeping and personal protective equipment included in the January rule for these industries.

The general industry standard is unaffected by the proposal.

No update to Hazard Communication Standard in near future

Speaking at a public meeting on June 20, Maureen Ruskin, deputy director of OSHA's Directorate of Standards and Guidance, said, "We're still working toward updating the Hazard Communication Standard. It is currently on the (regulatory) agenda, but, as you know, this is a new administration and the transition is still ongoing. I can't really update you on timing until I meet with our current leadership."

New resources available to help protect oilfield workers

A new transportation module has been added to the Oil and Gas Well Drilling and Servicing eTool to provide possible solutions to fatigue, distracted driving, weather factors, and other conditions that can make travel to and from work dangerous.

A new hazard alert explains steps that employers must follow to protect workers, along with information that workers can use to help protect themselves from fires and explosions.

New factsheet explains hazards associated with shipyard spray painting

A new factsheet explains how to protect workers from the primary dangers associated with spray-painting marine vessels. These include fires and explosions from flammable paints and coatings, as well as exposures to chemical hazards and toxic substances

New guide for communication tower workers

In collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission, a new best practices guide intended to reduce injuries among communication tower workers has been released. Topics covered in the publication include training; worksite safety practices, auditing and incident investigations; and recordkeeping and communication.

Automotive repair association offers free online battery safety course

The Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair has launched a free, online safety and health-training course for automotive workers who install, activate, or charge Absorbed Glass Mat batteries. Sign up online.

Enforcement notes


Explosive manufacturer fined $293,235

Hollister-based Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Co. was cited for nine workplace safety violations, including three in the willful-serious category and fined $293,235 following a 2016 explosion that seriously injured a worker.

Two employers cited after worker loses life in drainage shaft

Tyler Development Inc. and its sub-contractor, D&D Construction Specialties Inc., were cited and fined for multiple safety and health violations after a worker drown inside a drainage shaft when the companies were building a single-family house in Bel Air. Proposed penalties were $337,700 for D&D Construction and $14,870 for Tyler Development.


Citations vacated in arc flash injury case

An administrative law judge (ALJ) has vacated some of the citations and proposed penalties issued against Miami-based Solares Electrical Services Inc. whose employee was injured by an arc flash. The company contested two items of the citation, which carried penalties of $4,900 each, because it believed it was not at fault and did not want the future burden of repeat violations. The vacated citations included: the employer had actual or constructive knowledge that the employee had begun working on the system without using the appropriate personal protective equipment, the company failed to implement an adequate safety program, and that employee's tools were not insulated.

Wal-Mart penalized for vaccine violation

An ALJ has reclassified a workplace safety violation against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., but affirmed a repeat violation and assessed a $25,000 penalty for failing to ensure its employees exposed to bloodborne pathogens were properly vaccinated at a large warehouse facility in Alachua.

Spooling machine death leads to safety citations

Twelve citations were issued to Milton-based Gulf Cable L.L.C., which is facing $226,431 in proposed fines following the death of a 26-year-old machine operator. The employee was pulled into a re-spool machine and crushed as he attempted to guide electrical wiring cable into the machine.


Worker's death in unprotected trench leads to $714,142 in penalties

A plumbing contractor is facing $714,142 in proposed penalties after a 33-year-old worker died while working in an unprotected trench. Inspectors also found another employee of Blue Springs-based Arrow Plumbing L.L.C. working in a similarly unprotected trench at another job site a month after the employee died in December 2016.


Fifth circuit ruling on 'controlling employer' leads to vacating citation against general employer

An ALJ vacated a willful violation issued against a general contractor, Hensel Phelps, after finding the employer could not be held liable as a "controlling employer." The violation was not in question, but the issue was whether the general contractor could be liable based on the exposure of subcontractor employees under the "controlling employer" enforcement policy.

The company argued and the ALJ agreed that the policy was invalidated and unenforceable per a 1981 decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. In that decision (Melerine v. Avondale Shipyards Inc.) the court stated: "OSHA regulations protect only an employer's own employees."