OSHA Quick Takes – November 2009

In This Issue

OSHA issues largest fine in its history to BP Products North America

BP Products North America’s failure to correct potential hazards faced by workers at its Texas City, Texas, refinery has resulted in a proposed penalty of more than $87 million. The fine is the largest ever accessed by OSHA, surpassing the $21 million fine levied against BP in 2005 for safety violations at the same plant that resulted in a massive explosion killing 15 people and injuring 170 others. To learn more, visit OSHA’s Web page on BP.

Acting Assistant Secretary Barab testifies before Congress on state plan state OSH programs

Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jordan Barab testified Oct. 29 before a Congressional committee about the shortcomings found during the agency’s evaluation of Nevada OSHA’s safety program. These findings convinced Barab that federal OSHA must make significant changes in its oversight of state plans. OSHA will conduct formal studies of every state that administers its own occupational safety and health program. The agency will look for where it needs to revise monitoring efforts and how to achieve better performance and consistency throughout all the state plans. Read the news release for additional information.

OSHA addresses need for combustible dust standard

OSHA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking Oct. 21 as an initial step in developing a standard to address combustible dust hazards. See the Oct. 21 Federal Register for more information.

Agency releases Nevada OSHA state plan performance report

Failure to issue appropriate willful and repeat citations, poorly trained inspectors, and lack of follow-up to determine whether hazards were abated were among the serious concerns addressed in a report issued by federal OSHA on the Nevada OSHA’s state plan. Read the news release and report for details.

OSHA tracks worker fatalities and catastrophes

OSHA has posted weekly summaries of worker fatalities and catastrophes reported by OSHA area offices and state plan states. Visit the Directorate of Enforcement Programs’ Worker Fatality Reports Web page for more details.

Grain handling operators reminded of mandatory safety measures to protect workers

After a recent increase in the number of workers killed while performing grain handling operations, OSHA is reminding employers and workers of available resources and OSHA standards that identify hazards and offer solutions to prevent fatalities. The Grain Handling Facilities standard and Grain Handling and Agricultural Operations Safety and Health Topics Web pages address industry hazards and ways to avoid them.

Interpretation letter states high-visibility garments are required for road construction workers

High-visibility warning garments are required safety attire for highway and road construction workers according to an interpretation letter issued by OSHA. Read the letter for additional information.

OSHA addresses workplace violence and fatigue at international work, stress and health conference

The dangers to workers of violence and fatigue are among the topics OSHA presenters will address at the Eighth International Conference on Occupational Stress and Health Nov. 5-8, 2009, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Visit the conference’s Web site for details.

OTI Education Center expands training in response to new Nevada law

According to a new Nevada state law effective Jan. 1, 2010, construction workers and managers will be required to take OSHA 10- and 30-hour courses. The College of Southern Nevada, an OSHA Training Institute Education Center, will offer OSHA 10- and 30-hour courses, as well as OSHA #500 Construction Trainer courses, monthly throughout 2010 in Las Vegas and Reno, Nev. These courses can also be customized and taught at employers’ worksites. For course offerings or to learn more about customized training opportunities, visit the OTI Education Center’s Web site or call 877-651-OSHA.

Labor and management collaboration leads to improved workplace safety and health

OSHA’s Philadelphia Regional Office, Torcon Inc. and the Building Trades of Philadelphia formed an OSHA strategic partnership in December 2008 to promote workplace safety and health during the construction of Philadelphia’s 55,000 square foot Samuels and Son Seafood processing facility. Twelve employers participated in the partnership covering more than 250 workers.

OSHA to showcase national office exhibit in Philadelphia and New Orleans

OSHA will provide an exhibit with informative materials for attendees at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition in Philadelphia, Nov. 7-11. OSHA’s exhibit will also be featured at the Brownfields 2009 Conference Nov. 16-18 in New Orleans.

Events page features training course on identifying combustible dust hazards

OSHA has posted more occupational safety- and health-related conference information to the events Web page. Search for activities in your area.

QuickTips on slips, trips and falls

We often take walking from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ for granted while on the job, but a routine situation can change quickly and dramatically because of slips, trips and falls. OSHA is aware of that fact and has an assortment of information from standards and rules to training programs to help reduce the hazards that cause these incidents. Walking/Working Surfaces is a Safety and Health Topics Web page that focuses on standards, hazards and controls, and provides a launching point for even more information. Employers and workers may also want to visit OSHA’s Web page on Teen Worker Safety in Restaurants featuring a section on slips, trips and falls.

Department of Labor news and job openings

For more Department of Labor news, see DOL’s electronic newsletter. Are you interested in a career with DOL? The department has job opportunities throughout the country such as an opening in OSHA for an occupational safety and health investigator.

Editor: Elaine Fraser, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999
For more information on occupational safety and health, visit OSHA’s Web site.
Visit OSHA’s “QuickTakes” page to view previous issues.

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