“OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards of 2014”

  

“Safety Meeting Topics for a Better Safety Committee at Your Workplace”

“OSHA’s Position On Online Training”

OSHA believes that computer-based training programs can be used as part of an effective OSH training program. However, there are some stipulations. OSHA’s treats online-based training programs like training videos. These programs alone do not meet all of OSHA’s training requirements, they must provide sufficient hands-on experience and be accompanied by a qualified trainer.

Atlantic Training outlines some of these guidelines

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“Bumble Bee Foods Agrees to $6M Settlement in Worker Oven Death – Management Personnel Charged”

FILE - This Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 file photo shows the Bumble Bee tuna processing plant in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Bumble Bee Foods has agreed to pay $6 million Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, to settle criminal charges in the death of a Los Angeles-area worker who was cooked in an oven with tons of tuna. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

Jose Melena was loading tons of tuna into industrial ovens at Bumble Bee Foods when any worker’s worst nightmare occurred — he got trapped inside and the massive pressure cooker was turned on.

Melena’s grisly death in a 270-degree oven three years ago led to a $6 million agreement by Bumble Bee on Wednesday to settle criminal charges in what Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said was the largest payout in a California workplace-violation death. The sum was four times greater than the maximum fines the company faced.

“This is the worst circumstances of death I have ever, ever witnessed,” said Deputy District Attorney Hoon Chun, who noted that he had tried more than 40 murder cases over two decades. “I think any person would prefer to be — if they had to die some way — would prefer to be shot or stabbed than to be slowly cooked in an oven. “

Melena, 62, perished at the seafood company’s Santa Fe Springs plant after a co-worker mistakenly believed he was in the bathroom and loaded six tons of canned tuna into the oven after he had stepped inside.

The company didn’t have safety procedures that would have required the equipment be turned off with an employee inside or provide an escape route or a spotter to keep watch with a worker in a confined space, Hoon said.

In a rare prosecution of a workplace fatality, Bumble Bee, its plant Operations Director Angel Rodriguez and former safety manager Saul Florez were each charged with three counts of violating Occupational Safety & Health Administration rules that caused a death.

Each party reached a different plea agreement Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Bumble Bee agreed to plead guilty in January 2017 to a misdemeanor of having willfully failed to provide an effective safety program. First, however, it must complete several safety measures that include spending $3 million to upgrade ovens so workers can’t get trapped inside and providing worker training.

Florez, 42, of Whittier was sentenced to three years of probation and will face fines and penalties of about $19,000 after pleading guilty to a single felony count of violating a workplace safety rule that caused a death.

Rodriguez, 63, of Riverside, agreed to plead guilty in 18 months to a misdemeanor and pay about $11,000 after he completes 320 hours of community service and worker safety courses.

The two men had faced up to three years in prison and fines up to $250,000. The company had faced fines up to $1.5 million.

Melena’s family will receive $1.5 million under the settlement. It does not prevent them from also suing the company or receiving workers’ compensation funds, Hoon said.

“Certainly, nothing will bring back our dad, and our mom will not have her husband back, but much can be done to ensure this terrible accident does not happen again,” the family said in a statement.

Melena, 62, had been loading pallets of canned tuna into 35-foot-long ovens at the company’s Santa Fe Springs plant before dawn Oct. 11, 2012.

When a supervisor noticed him missing, an announcement was made on the intercom and employees searched for him in the facility and parking lot, according to a report by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

His body was found two hours later after the pressure cooker was turned off, cooled and opened.

The San Diego-based company is appealing $74,000 in fines by the state’s occupational safety agency for failing to properly assess employee danger.

“We will never forget the unfathomable loss of our colleague Jose Melena and we are committed to ensuring that employee safety remains a top priority at all our facilities,” the company said in a statement.

Workplace violation prosecutions are fairly uncommon — even after deaths. Of 189 fatality investigations opened by the state in 2013, only 29 were referred to prosecutors and charges were only filed in 14 cases that year, according to state records.

 Source: Orange County Register

“How to Write a Good Accident or Incident Report”

Wrong Safety Message

An incident report needs to include all the essential information about the accident or near-miss. The report-writing process begins with fact finding and ends with recommendations for preventing future accidents.

You may use a special incident reporting form, and it might be quite extensive. But writing any incident report involves four basic steps, and those are the focus of today’s post.

1. Find the Facts

To prepare for writing an accident report, you have to gather and record all the facts. For example:

· Date, time, and specific location of incident

· Names, job titles, and department of employees involved and immediate supervisor(s)

· Names and accounts of witnesses

· Events leading up to incident

· Exactly what employee was doing at the moment of the accident

· Environmental conditions (e.g. slippery floor, inadequate lighting, noise, etc.)

· Circumstances (including tasks, equipment, tools, materials, PPE, etc.)

· Specific injuries (including part(s) of body injured and nature and extent of injuries)

· Type of treatment for injuries

· Damage to equipment, materials, etc.

2. Determine the Sequence

Based on the facts, you should be able to determine the sequence of events. In your report, describe this sequence in detail, including:

· Events leading up to the incident. Was the employee walking, running, bending over, squatting, climbing, lifting operating machinery, pushing a broom, turning a valve, using a tool, handling hazardous materials, etc.?

· Events involved in the incident. Was the employee struck by an object or caught in/on/between objects? Did the worker fall on the same level or from a height? Did the employee inhale hazardous vapors or get splashed with a hazardous chemical?

· Events immediately following the incident. What did the employee do: Grab a knee? Start limping? Hold his/her arm? Complain about back pain? Put a hand over a bleeding wound? Also describe how other co-workers responded. Did they call for help, administer first aid, shut down equipment, move the victim, etc.?

The incident should be described on the report in sufficient detail that any reader can clearly picture what happened. You might consider creating a diagram to show, in a simple and visually effective manner, the sequence of events related to the incident and include this in your incident report. You might also wish to include photos of the accident scene, which may help readers follow the sequence of events.

3. Analyze

Your report should include an in-depth analysis of the causes of the accident. Causes include:

· Primary cause (e.g., a spill on the floor that caused a slip and fall)

· Secondary causes (e.g., employee not wearing appropriate work shoes or carrying a stack of material that blocked vision)

· Other contributing factors (e.g., burned out light bulb in the area).

4. Recommend

Recommendations for corrective action might include immediate corrective action as well as long-term corrective actions such as:

· Employee training on safe work practices

· Preventive maintenance activities that keep equipment in good operating condition

· Evaluation of job procedures with a recommendation for changes

· Conducting a job hazard analysis to evaluate the task for any other hazards and then train employees on these hazards

· Engineering changes that make the task safer or administrative changes that might include changing the way the task is performed

“How Would a Court Rate Your Training Programs?”

OSHA Top 10 Cited in 2014

 

OSHA Top 10 Violations Cited In 2014

Your training programs make the difference between safe workers and injured workers. They can also protect you from liability. Here’s a case in point.
Brendan” worked for a chemical company for 30 years before he was injured. A mechanic, Brendan was hurt when he and another employee tried to replace three broken drive belts on a blending blower. Three fingers on Brendan’s right hand were injured when they were pinched between the drive belt and a pulley.The incident occurred after the two workers had cut the electrical power to the blower. But they had failed to eliminate the reverse airflow to the equipment. Although the pulley continued to rotate, neither Brendan nor his co-worker shut off the air valve to the blower or asked a supervisor for help. Instead they inserted an aluminum broom handle into the machine to stop the pulley from rotating.

Shortly after Brendan started working on the blower, the broom handle broke, the pulley began to move, and his hand was pulled into the blower.

During the previous 12 years, Brendan had received training on the company’s lockout rules 10 times. The most recent training had taken place 1 month before the injury, when he successfully completed a multiple choice test on those safety rules after the training session.

Employer Opposes WC Claim

When Brendan filed for workers’ compensation benefits, the company opposed the claim, saying the employee had caused his own injury because he did not follow safety rules with which he was thoroughly familiar after years of training.

The administrative law judge agreed and reduced the workers’ comp award by more than a third. Under Missouri law, workers’ comp awards can be reduced 25 to 50 percent if:

  • A worker fails to obey a reasonable safety rule of which he or she had knowledge
  • The employer made a reasonable effort to cause the employee to obey the rule

The employee appealed the ruling to the Missouri Court of Appeals.

What the Court Said

The appeals court rejected the employee’s challenge to the reduction in benefits, saying:

“[S]ubstantial evidence in the record supports the Commission’s determination that [the employer] made reasonable efforts to cause employee compliance with its lockout rules. [The employer] distributed written safety materials and conducted regular safety training seminars educating employees concerning the rules, and warning them that ‘[d]isciplinary action will be taken if employees fail to follow necessary guidelines…up to and including termination.’

“Training records revealed that [Brendan] received almost annual training on these rules…and successfully completed a written test to confirm his understanding of those rules.

“This supports the Commission’s conclusion that [the employer’s] lockout rules were not simply ‘on the books,’ and ‘dusted off’…. [E]mployees were actively and repeatedly trained on these rules, and they were warned of discipline up to and including termination if they failed to comply.”

Although this case deals specifically with Missouri state law, it serves as a good reminder to all employers about the need to train workers on safety rules and to document both their completion of training courses and their understanding of the material covered.

Source: BLR

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