EHS Safety News Stars in “Toxic Hot Seat” on HBO!

Here I am watching this new documentary on HBO last night about the recently changed “Tech 117” Bulletin in California about the use of unnecessary cancer causing “flame retardants” in everything from furniture to child car seats to other household products. I had been following the series that the Chicago Tribune had begun about this issue in 2012. At that time I posted their article and video about the possibility of these flame retardants causing cancer back on May 16th, 2012. (Screen shot below)

EHS Safety News May 6 2012As I was watching it last night I heard one of the great reporters of the story, Patricia Callahan, talking about with the popularity of the Chicago Tribune’s Series, and how the story spread rapidly. They then start showing photos of newspapers and news websites and then all of a sudden the 4th item that slides up in the movie is the screenshot above about a story that I posted on my Blog. Well, I tell you, my chin hit the floor and then I grabbed the remote and said, NAH, that’s not my Safety Blog! I roll it back on the DVR, hit play and sure enough, it was.

I have to tell you that as a safety professional who thought he was making a minimal impact in sharing news with my fellow EHS & Safety peers, I then truly was “struck” with a real “sense of pride” that a film maker thought that much of my Blog post, and its impact on this story, to put the screenshot in their documentary. I felt like a “kid in a candy store” and a “movie star” all at the same time.

I kept reversing it and replaying it thinking that it might not be true, but it was. Right there, on a TV and in theaters, on a movie screen… was my Blog! I started this Blog to keep abreast of all the EHS stories that were of high interest to all of us in the field, and so that I could brand myself in my job search for a new full time job as well. I never expected this!

I must say to the makers of the movie “Toxic Hot Seat”, is “Thank You!” I’d also like to thank the Chicago Tribune, Patricia Callahan and Sam Roe for such a wonderfully researched and time consuming endeavor. That was true journalism at its best.

But the SWEETEST part of all, was when I watched the credits roll by at the end of the film and there I was listed………. “Jack Benton – EHS Safety News America”……….Nothing can beat that, and the fact that I was noticed for my work as well. Again, I thank you all!

The short clip above is not the best video, since I could only obtain my proof, so to speak, by filming the part about the Blog with my iPhone! Thanks again to all involved, I am one PROUD Blog owner!

See the Documentary on HBO and for more information, Please visit the “Toxic Hot Seat” web site and get involved! This is something that affects all of us!

To the folks at HBO……………Can I get a clean copy of the video from  -20 minutes until the end of the movie? 🙂

Jack Benton –  – EHS Safety News America


OSHA – “What’s New” – November 29, 2013


What’s New – The Last 30 Days

  • November 29 – Federal Register 78: 71666-71667 – Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard
  • November 27 – Statement – Statement by Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels on sentencing in fatal gunpowder plant explosion
  • November 27 – Region 2Lakewood, NJ, merchandise printer cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA for exposing workers to excessive heat, other workplace hazards
  • November 27 – Region 6 – Coastal Plating Co. in Corpus Christi cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA with 15 serious violations after a worker was struck and killed
  • November 26 – Region 5 – Cheney Pulp and Paper Co. cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA after worker fatally injured at Franklin, Ohio, paper mill
  • November 26 – Region 5 – US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Central Ready Mix for 10 violations after worker fatally engulfed in fly-ash silo at Middletown, Ohio, concrete company
  • November 26 – Region 1 – US Labor Department’s OSHA cites fencing manufacturer for repeat and serious workplace safety and health hazards at Marlborough, Mass., plant
  • November 26 – Region 2 – Carneys Point, NJ, nursing home cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA for exposing workers to excessive heat, health workplace hazards
  • November 26 – Region 9 – American Samoa employer faces nearly $108,000 in proposed US Labor Department OSHA fines following workplace fatality
  • November 25 – Region 1 – Crane collapse in Stamford, Conn., results in proposed US Labor Department OSHA fines of $165,200 for Port Chester, NY, marine construction contractor
  • November 25 – Region 5 – Offering safety and health assistance to tornado damaged communities
  • November 25 – Federal Register 78: 70349-70352 – Proposed Revision of Policy for Incorporating New Test Standards Into the List of Appropriate NRTL Program Test Standards
  • November 25 – Federal Register 78: 70329-70349 – Modification to the Scopes of Recognition of Several NRTLs; Final Determination
  • November 25 – Federal Register 78: 70327-70329 – T[Uuml]V S[Uuml]D Product Services GmbH: Request for Renewal of Recognition
  • November 25 – Federal Register 78: 70326-70327 – Rigging Equipment for Material Handling; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget‘s [OMB] Approval of Information Collection [Paperwork] Requirements
  • November 25 – Federal Register 78: 70324-70326 – Thy Hydrostatic Testing Provision of the Portable Fire Extinguishers Standard; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget’s [OMB] Approval of the Information Collection [Paperwork] Requirements
  • November 21 – Region 8 – Missoula, Mont., auto body shop faces US Labor Department OSHA penalties following workplace fire
  • November 21 – Region 2Rockaway, NJ, plastic pipe producer cited for 18 health and safety workplace violations; US Labor Department’s OSHA proposes $51,800 in penalties
  • November 21 – Region 2 – Bronx, NY, employer fails to correct previously cited safety and health hazards, faces additional $108,080 in US Labor Department OSHA fines
  • November 20 – Region 9 – US Department of Labor joins Philippine consulates to promote workplace protections, rights for Filipino workers
  • November 20 – Region 5 – Affordable Roofing and Exteriors cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA for exposing roofing workers to fall hazards on central Illinois job sites
  • November 20 – National Release – US Department of Labor announces rules to update regulations and decrease burden on businesses
  • November 20 – Federal Register 78: 69543-69550 – Record Requirements in the Mechanical Power Presses Standard
  • November 20 – Federal Register 78: 69606-69612 – Record Requirements in the Mechanical Power Presses Standard
  • November 19 – Region 5 – Judge orders North Canton-based Star Air, Akron Reserve Ammunition, owner to pay more than $300,000 to 2 terminated Ohio truck drivers
  • November 19 – Region 5 – US Department of Labor’s OSHA proposes $70,070 fine for PTS Contractors Inc. for cave-in hazards during trenching operations
  • November 19 – Region 6 – Welspun Tubular LLC in Little Rock, Ark., cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA for exposing workers to possible amputation hazards
  • November 19 – Region 2 – US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Tyson Foods, proposes $121,720 in fines for workplace safety hazards at Buffalo, NY, production plant
  • November 19 – Federal Register 78: 69450-69451 – Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Presence Sensing Device Initiation Standard
  • November 19 – Federal Register 78: 69448-69449 – Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Crawler, Locomotive, and Truck Cranes Standard
  • November 18 – Region 5 – US Labor Department’s OSHA provides on-site compliance assistance to protect recovery workers, public during tornado recovery efforts in Illinois
  • November 18 – Region 3 – Upper Darby, Pa., severe violator again cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA for recurring hazards at Philadelphia work site
  • November 18 – Region 3 – Luthersburg, Pa., contractor cited for willful fall hazards at Williamsport, Pa., site; US Labor Department’s OSHA proposes nearly $37,000 in fines
  • November 18 – Region 2 – US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Big Lots Stores Inc., proposes $169,000 in fines for exit access, crushing, struck-by hazards at West Babylon, NY, store
  • November 18 – National Release – Crowd management measures are critical during major sales events; US Labor Department’s OSHA sends reminder to retail associations
  • November 15 – Federal Register 78: 68782-68783 – Public Meeting on the Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Proposed Rule
  • November 15 – Federal Register 78: 68865-68867 – Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH)
  • November 15 – Trade Release – OSHA schedules meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health
  • November 14 – Region 4 – Trinity Yachts cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA for repeat and serious violations; more than $177,000 in fines proposed
  • November 14 – Region 6 – Raising health and safety awareness in the oil and gas industry is the mission of US Labor Department’s OSHA stand down today in Humble, Texas
  • November 14 – Region 6 – Tomball, Texas, manufacturer cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA for 19 safety violations, workers exposed to various hazards
  • November 14 – Region 3 – Philadelphia demolition contractors cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA for willful and serious safety violations following fatal June building collapse
  • November 14 – Trade Release – OSHA schedules public meeting on proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses
  • November 14 – Federal Register 78: 68501-68502 – Preparations for the 44th Session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UNSCOE TDG) and the 26th Session of the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS)
  • November 14 – Federal Register 78: 68477-68478 – Overhead and Gantry Cranes; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Approval of Information Collection (Paperwork) Requirements
  • November 13 – Region 4 – US Department of Labor orders Gaines Motor Lines Inc. and two officials to reinstate whistleblowers and pay more than $1 million in damages
  • November 13 – Region 4 – Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Coastal Masonry cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA for willful and serious violations following worker fatality
  • November 12 – Region 5 – US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites Selfridge Air National Guard Base for 8 violations including exposing workers to amputation hazards
  • November 12 – Region 2 – US Labor Department reaches settlement agreement with Verizon New York Inc. to increase training, safeguards for field technicians
  • November 12 – Region 7 – US Department of Labor’s OSHA announces new local emphasis program for programmed inspections of industries that use hazardous chemicals
  • November 12 – Region 5 – US Labor Department’s OSHA cites White Cedar Shingles for 9 violations after worker fatally injured at Superior, Wis., manufacturer
  • November 12 – Region 4 – US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites Tennessee contractor following crane collapse on Highway 109 in Gallatin, Tenn.
  • November 8 – Region 4 – Garda Cash Logistics in Georgia cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA for failure-to-abate and serious violations; more than $55,000 in fines proposed
  • November 8 – Region 6 – US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites 2 Dallas employers for exposing workers to hazards after 2 people were struck and killed by a forklift
  • November 8 – Federal Register 78: 67253-67283 – Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses; Proposed Rule
  • November 7 – Federal Register 78: 66962-66964 – Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH)
  • November 7 – Trade Release – OSHA announces meeting of Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health and requests nominations for membership
  • November 7 – National Release – OSHA announces proposed new rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses
  • November 6 – Region 1 – OSHA cites Hampton, NH, manufacturer for 21 serious safety violations
  • November 6 – Federal Register 78: 66642-66643 – Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Signage
  • November 6 – Federal Register 78: 66641-66642 – Incorporation by Reference; Accident Prevention Signs and Tags; Correction
  • November 5 – Region 5 – US Labor Department’s OSHA proposes fines for Strategic Materials because it lacks a respiratory protection program at its East Troy, Wis., recycling plant
  • November 4 – Region 7 – US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites JMA Roofing after worker falls from roof, resulting in a fatality in Omaha, Neb.
  • November 4 – Federal Register 78: 66072-66074 – T[Uuml]V S[Uuml]D America, Inc.: Request for Renewal of Recognition
  • November 4 – Federal Register 78: 65932-65933 – Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Signage
  • November 1 – Region 1 – US Labor Department’s OSHA cites West Hartford, Conn., metal finishing plant for 15 repeat and serious hazards
  • October 31 – Region 5 – US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Quaker City Castings for 9 safety violations at Salem, Ohio, foundry; proposes fines of $45,000
  • October 31 – Region 5 – Northstar Metal Products cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA for multiple violations following April explosion and fire at Glendale Heights, Ill., plant
  • October 31 – Region 3 – US Labor Department’s OSHA cites B R Flowers & Co. Inc. and Tidewater Staffing Inc. after July heat fatality in Norfolk, Va.
  • October 31 – Region 4 – US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites Alabama pallet manufacturer for repeat, serious safety violations; proposes more than $76,000 in fines
  • October 31 – Federal Register 78: 65242-65244 – Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica; Extension of Comment Period; Extension of Period To Submit Notices of Intention To Appear at Public Hearings; Scheduling of Public Hearings
  • October 31 – Federal Register 78: 65385-65386 – Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Requirements for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Training Institute Education Centers Program and Occupational Safety and Health Administration Outreach Training Program
  • October 30 – Region 6 – Crossett, Ark., trucking company cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA for asphyxiation hazards following worker fatality
  • October 30 – Region 10 – US Labor Department seeks more than $300,000 for Idaho whistleblower
  • October 30 – Federal Register 78: 64982-64983 – Aerial Lifts Standard; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Approval of Information Collection (Paperwork) Requirements
  • October 29 – Region 6 – US Department of Labor’s OSHA forms workplace safety and health partnership with WS Bellows Construction Corp. for Phillips 66 project
  • October 29 – Region 5 – Frost Tile and Marble Co. faces $136,400 OSHA penalty for failing to abate previous safety violations at Norton, Ohio, tile manufacturing plant

Previous What’s New Entries

OSHA Publishes Direct Final Rule on Standards Update to Rules on Signage

Clarion Safety Systems, a longstanding leader in advancing best practices in visual safety communication, announced today that its efforts to promote the use of industry best practices related to safety signs, colors and tags to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has resulted in the agency issuing a Direct Final Rule (DFR) on a proposed update to its regulations on signage. If no significant adverse public comments on the DFR are received by July 15, 2013, the agency’s next step will be to confirm the effective date of the rule.

Clarion’s CEO, Geoffrey Peckham, who also serves as chair of the ANSI Z535 Committee for Safety Signs and Colors and chair and delegation head for ANSI to the ISO standards pertaining to safety signs, has championed this update to OSHA’s standards to better align with the latest advances in safety sign technology. Over the last four years, together with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, Peckham has lobbied OSHA to recognize that the American National Standards Institute’s ANSI Z535 series of standards for safety colors, signs and tags provide an equal or greater level of safety as compared to the 1967-68 USASI Z53 and Z35 standards that are presently referenced in OSHA’s regulations.

“At Clarion, workers’ lives and livelihoods matter. In our view, OSHA’s proposed update marks a significant step towards advancing workplace safety with effective signage,” says Deb Patterson, President of Clarion Safety Systems. “Our comprehensive knowledge of the latest standards coupled with our practical experience applying them across industries brings our clients best practice products. We know that there’s a better way to warn than what’s present in most workplaces around the country. It’s why we have been such strong advocates of OSHA’s adoption of the ANSI Z535 standards; safety signage, when done well, reduces risk and protects people.”

According to OSHA, the goal of the safety sign rulemaking update is to improve workplace safety and health by allowing employers to use the latest consensus safety sign standards (ANSI Z535) in order to take advantage of the safety communication benefits that the newer standards represent. When compared to the older 1967-1968 standards, the ANSI Z535 standards are considered the state-of-the-art because they have the following characteristics:

  • Provide critical information viewers need in order to make safe decisions, such as the nature of the hazard, the consequence of interaction with the hazard, and how to avoid the hazard
  • Are supported by human factors research on effective warnings and by modern risk assessment methodologies for accurately communicating hazard severity
  • Have the ability to use multiple language panels and graphical symbol panels to communicate safety to non-English speaking workers
  • Meet current legal criteria for “adequate warnings” as defined by the past thirty years of U.S. case law

Most employers currently use signs that comply with the older 1967-1968 standards. Because OSHA aimed to avoid creating an economic burden to employers, the older 1967-1968 standards will continue to be referenced in OSHA’s regulations. However, the corresponding ANSI Z535-2011 reference will be placed next to the older reference. For instance, whenever the OSHA standards reference the 1968 USASI Z35.1 Standard for Accident Prevention Signs, the 2011 ANSI Z535.2 Standard for Environmental and Facility Safety Signs will also be referenced. In effect, this will allow employers to use safety signs that comply with either the old or the new standards.

Prior to this rule change, employers using the newer ANSI Z535 standards for their signage would run the risk of being cited for violating OSHA standards. The outcome of this violation would not result in a fine due to the fact that the ANSI Z535 standards are the current version of the document that was used as the basis for OSHA’s safety sign regulations. Called a “de minimus situation,” this provision provides little incentive for employers to adopt the latest industry best practices with regards to safety signs, colors and tags. The new rule that incorporates ANSI Z535 safety sign, color and tag references into OSHA standards eliminates this problem, allowing employers to use the ANSI Z535 standards without the possibility of a citation.

“OSHA’s commitment to uphold the advances that have taken place in safety sign technology is a step forward in improving safety, reducing compliance uncertainty, and better protecting workers of all backgrounds,” says Peckham. “This is an opportunity for organizations to elevate visual safety communication in their workplaces. Safety and risk-conscious companies understand that, when it comes to zero harm and accident prevention, your workers, your company and your industry will be best served by utilizing the advances in warnings technology established in the ANSI Z535 standards. Industry leaders who already have a strong culture can now utilize signage that reflects their values in their facilities – and be in compliance with OSHA.”

To help safety advocates to learn more about the ANSI standards, as part of its comprehensive library of short, educational videos designed to promote a better understanding of current best practices in product safety labeling and facility sign systems, Clarion has produced a video titled, “ANSI Standards in Safety Signs and Labels.” The video is available through the Clarion website’s video library as well as through the company’s YouTube channel.

Clarion specializes in bringing companies up-to-date with the latest warnings technology and produces a product line of best practice, standards-compliant facility safety sign systems. Additional information is available by contacting the company or visiting

Clarion Safety Systems, LLC, is the leading designer and manufacturer of visual safety solutions that help customers in more than 180 industries worldwide to make their products and premises safer. Clarion offers a full range of standard and custom products including machinery safety labels, environmental and facility safety signs, pipe and valve identification markings, lockout/tagout products, and safety-grade photoluminescent egress path-marking escape systems. Founded in 1990, the company continues to play a leading role in the development and writing of international and national standards for safety signs, labels, and markings. Clarion is headquartered at 190 Old Milford Road in Milford, PA, 18337, and online at

Clarion CEO Geoffrey Peckham’s ongoing leadership efforts in bolstering adoption by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Updated American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) Standards leads to direct final rule on Consensus Standard Update on Signage, Marking Important Advancement in Workplace Safety.

New Flame Retardent Rule Curbs Toxic Chemicals In Furniture

Video Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune®

California’s change may help end use of fire retardants nationwide

For decades, U.S. manufacturers have filled upholstered furniture with pounds of toxic chemicals to comply with a flammability standard set by a single state, California.

The obscure rule, known as Technical Bulletin 117, brought flame retardants into homes across the country. American babies came to be born with the highest recorded average concentrations of the chemicals among any infants in the world.

But on Thursday, California threw out the 38-year-old rule and approved a new one that furniture manufacturers can meet without using flame retardants.

The updated rule does not ban the chemicals. However, manufacturers have said they expect to stop adding them to furniture foam, holding out hope that consumers soon can start shopping for couches and other upholstered furniture free of flame retardants linked to cancer, developmental problems, reduced IQ and impaired fertility.

California Gov. Jerry Brown moved to scrap the old rule after a Tribune investigative series documented how the chemical and tobacco industries waged a deceptive campaign to promote the use of flame retardants, even though government and independent research shows the chemicals do not provide meaningful protection from furniture fires.

The new standard, to be phased in during 12 months beginning Jan. 1, requires upholstery fabric to resist a smoldering cigarette— the biggest cause of furniture fires. It is modeled in part after a voluntary standard adopted by the furniture industry and a national smolder standard proposed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has found that specially designed furniture fabric is far more effective at preventing fires than adding flame retardants to the foam underneath.

Brown’s support proved to be crucial in a long campaign by scientists and public health advocates to get toxic flame retardants out of furniture. The changes also apply to baby products, some of which have been made with flame retardants despite little evidence they pose a fire hazard.

“There’s going to be less flame retardants in furniture, in dust and in us,” said Arlene Blum, a University of California at Berkeley chemist who has drawn attention to health risks posed by the toxic compounds. “It’s great for everyone’s health.”

Tonya Blood, chief of the state agency in charge of enforcing the rule, said she is confident the changes will have a significant impact.

“Many manufacturers have stated that they will be removing flame retardants from their furniture,” she said Thursday after Brown announced approval of the new standards.

A top official for the American Home Furnishings Alliance, an industry trade group, has said most companies can comply within a month after the changes take effect, though compliance isn’t mandatory until Jan. 1, 2015. Retailers will be allowed to sell inventories of products that could still contain flame retardants.

Bob Luedeka, executive director of the Polyurethane Foam Association, said the furniture foam industry will be able to meet the new standard quickly.

He predicted consumers will start seeing furniture made without flame retardants in stores in about six months and does not expect any change in retail prices.

Since 1975, California has required the foam cushions in upholstered furniture to withstand a candle like flame for 12 seconds, a standard manufacturers met nationwide by adding flame retardants.

As scientists increasingly raised alarms about health risks posed by flame retardants, the chemical industry thwarted multiple attempts by California lawmakers and health advocates to change the flammability rule through legislation.

When lawmakers considered eliminating the candle test, the chemical industry’s star witness, burn surgeon David Heimbach, testified about babies who burned to death in fires started by candles. But the Tribune series showed that the babies he described didn’t exist.

The newspaper also documented that the group sponsoring Heimbach — the Citizens for Fire Safety Institute — was a front group for the three largest manufacturers of flame retardants. The industry has since shut down that group.

An arm of the American Chemistry Council, the chief trade group for the chemical industry, said the changes to California’s flammability standard pose a safety risk.

“Families in California should have serious concerns that state officials are lowering fire standards and removing an important layer of fire protection that has benefited Californians for more than 35 years,” Steve Risotto, spokesman for the North American Flame Retardant Alliance, said in a statement. The new rule “sacrifices fire safety,” he said, “with no public health gain.”

The Tribune series, “Playing With Fire,” documented how the chemical industry has repeatedly misled the public with flawed data and questionable claims about the effectiveness of flame retardants. The lead author of one government study cited by the industry told the newspaper his findings have been grossly distorted and that the amount of flame retardants used in household furniture doesn’t work.

Meanwhile, testing by Duke University chemist Heather Stapleton suggests the most commonly used flame retardant in upholstered furniture and baby products is chlorinated tris — a chemical the industry voluntarily removed from children’s pajamas in the late 1970s after scientists found that it could mutate DNA.

Furniture made under the new California rule will feature a label stating that it complies with Technical Bulletin 117-2013. But advocates advised consumers to hold retailers accountable when shopping for new furniture.

“While many manufacturers may elect to remove the chemicals, others may elect to leave them in due to concerns about liability,” said Judy Levin of the Center for Environmental Health, a nonprofit group that has found flame retardants in baby products and crib mattresses. “So consumers will definitely have to be diligent and ask specific questions.”

Source: L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune


Contractor Killed 6 in Fatal Building Collapse In Philadelphia: DA


The first murder charges have been handed down in a deadly building collapse that took the lives of six people, injured 13 and resulted in an overhaul of demolition practices in the city of Philadelphia.

Griffin T. Campbell, 49, of Philadelphia, faces six counts of third degree murder, six counts of involuntary manslaughter and 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person, according to District Attorney Seth Williams.

“It would appear, bluntly, the motive was greed,” Williams said.

Campbell is accused of ignoring safety advice, right up to the eve of the collapse.

It was the morning of June 5, 2013, when a 4-story, free-standing brick wall came crashing down on top of the Salvation Army Thrift Store on the corner of 22nd and Market Streets. Shoppers and workers inside were buried in the debris — including one woman, for 13 hours.

The grand jury investigation, according to Williams, “places Campbell at the center of culpability.” Williams said that instead of opting for the safest way to dismantle the building, Campbell opted for the most profitable way, which included salvaging some of the dismantled parts.

Williams said numerous demolition and construction experts testified before the grand jury, explaining that there was one appropriate way to take the building down.

“The building should have been taken down hand by hand, piece by piece, brick by brick,” Williams said.

Instead of taking the building apart from the outside, Campbell removed key structural parts of the building from inside first, using heavy machinery, according to Williams.

“He therefore chose to maximize his profits by first deciding to remove the joists, which were valuable for his resale.” That left the walls without support, Williams said.


On the night before the collapse, Plato Marinakos, an architect and the project’s expeditor, allegedly warned Campbell that the unbraced wall could collapse at any time. According to Williams, Campbell promised that night to have the part of the wall that towered above thrift store taken down, brick-by-brick. The work was started, but never finished. On the morning of the collapse, about an hour before the walls crumbled, Campbell called Marinakos and tole him the freestanding part of the wall had been safely taken.

The collapse happened at 10:41 a.m. Four minutes later, Campbell began repeatedly calling Marinakos. According to the grand jury presentment:

…Campbell called Marinakos and told him that the building collapsed and he should get to the site right away. As Marinakos traveled to the store, Campbell continued to “frantically” call Marinakos and plead for him to get to the site. Eventually, Marinakos got to the site and found Campbell in the chaos. Marinakos asked Campbell how this happened and Campbell admitted to him “he didn’t take the wall down” and stated “I’m sorry.”

Construction accident attorney, Robert Mongeluzzi, who is defending the majority of survivors and victims’ families who have filed civil suits, said he was looking forward to the continued work of the grand jury to see if anyone higher up the chain of command would be indicted.

“The information we’ve discovered and the emails we’ve uncovered have proven that this accident occurred because of decisions made over days and weeks and not just on the job site,” Mongeluzzi said. He also questioned whether Marinakos, the expeditor, could have done more.

“If I was at a job site and there was a wall that I knew could potentially collapse onto the building next door, the first thing I would have done is pick up the phone and call 911, the police department and OSHA,” Mongeluzzi said.

Campbell did not talk when he turned himself in this afternoon, but his attorney, William Hobson said the collapse was a horrible, tragic accident, but that his client did nothing wrong.

“We will vigorously defend all these allegations and charges,” Hobson said, lashing out at the DA. “It was no accident that the Monday before Thanksgiving that the District Attorney decided to indict our client.

“I hope that Campbell’s arrest will give victims and their families some sense of relief, although I know their pain will never go away,” Williams said.

Campbell is the second person charged in the fatal collapse. During the first week of the investigation, prosecutors charged Sean Benschop, an excavator hired by Campbell, with six counts of involuntary manslaughter and 13 counts of reckless endangerment for his alleged role in the collapse.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed nearly $400,000 in penalties and issued construction safety citations to Campbell and Benschop.

In the wake of the collapse, the city’s Department of Licenses & Inspections issued new guidelines for demolitions taking place inside the city.

A special City Council investigative committee also issued 71 reform recommendations ranging from changes in demolition paperwork to altering the Philadelphia Code to giving the Philadelphia Fire Department more power to stop bad demolitions.

The parents of Anne Bryan, one of the victims who died in the collapse, pushed for the creation of a blue-ribbon commission to investigate L&I. Bryan, 24, was shopping with her best friend Mary Lea Simpson inside the store the morning of the collapse. Both died.

“We are hopeful this is only the beginning of the Grand Jury’s work and that eventually all those that were responsible for the death of our daughter and the other victims are held criminally responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”

OSHA Citations Document :

Source: NBC 10 Philadelphia®


William Shatner & State Farm® present “Eat, Fry, Love,” a Turkey Fryer Fire Cautionary Tale

Finally, a Thanksgiving safety video that takes viewers where they’ve never gone before — William Shatner’s backyard.

In an ad for the insurance company State Farm entitled “Eat, Fry, Love,” the actor and talk show host shares his love for fried turkey by teaching how to do it safely.

In a dramatic reenactment, Shatner sits at his table. longing for a ‘moister, tastier turkey.”


Shatner then purchases a turkey fryer, complete with instruction tome, thermometer and “dingle-dangle.” But his arrogance and longing for deep-fried bird lands him in hot water — well, oil.

“In my hunger,” the star despairs, “I ignored safety. I spat in the face of science.”

Transfixed by the thought of eating the crispy bird, he drops the bird into the pot of boiling oil.

The wrath of oil:  Shatner foolishly drops the bird into the pot of boiling oil. (State Farm/)

In a dazzle of special effects that nearly rival the first season of Star Trek, Shatner becomes engulfed in flames and must put himelf out.

Heartbroken, but somehow, not covered in third degree burns, Shatner throws away his beloved turkey fryer.

“I loved you,” he cries out. “But you only brought me pain.”

In the end, he learns a healthy respect for the dangerous combination of oil, turkey and metal.

“William Shatner loves deep-fried turkey, but over many Thanksgivings and Christmases he’s made mistakes, burned himself, and nearly burned down his house,” the insurance company said. “Bill shows us how dangerous turkey fryers can be.”

Shatner wants viewers and fried turkey fans to find him on twitter: #ShatnerFryersClub.

“I want to know you plan to keep yourself, your family and me safe from turkey fryer fires,” he pleads.

Shatner may be deadly serious about fire safety but according to the Consumerist, he’s an excellent chef.

“Our tipster at State Farm tells us that Bill was wonderful to work with, and actually fried a turkey for the crew so they could try it for the first time,” their tipster said.

The video offers tips for those who plan to fry their birds this Thanksgiving:

1.  Avoid spillover: Don’t overfill the pot.

2. Turn off flame when lowering the turkey into the oil.

3. Fry outside, away from the house.

4. Thaw the turkey before frying.

5. Keep a greast-fire approved fire extinguisher nearby.


Please Help the “2nd Annual “No One Fights Alone” Dempsey’s Toy Drive” #ToyDrive #KidsWithCancer #Illinois


Dempsey Toy DriveClick on photo to enlarge for contact information!

Please help the “2nd Annual Dempsey’s & Friends Toy Drive!” Please read the flyer (Click on photo!) and help a child with cancer have a great Christmas! These kids fight everyday, lets show them that we are fighting with them. NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE! Join the Facebook Group to learn more information:

The young man in the picture above is the Son of a good friend of many, who is fighting leukemia. I grew up with his Dad and had the pleasure to work with him in public safety in my hometown of Riverdale, Illinois.

Please help by donating whatever you can. By doing so, we can help these kids of all ages have not only a great Christmas, but something to take their mind off of their cancer and their chemotherapy treatments, if for JUST One Minute! Please Help And Donate!!

Thank You!

Jack Benton

Safety App of the Day “LiftRight℠ from EMC Insurance Companies”


This free app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices makes it easier than ever to use the NIOSH Lifting Equation to analyze the safety of lifting tasks. Just enter your lift data and let LiftRight perform the calculations for you.


  • Illustrated measurement guide helps you measure accurately
  • Calculates multipliers, recommended weight limit (RWL) and
    lifting index (LI)
  • Provides recommendations to help you improve the safety of the lift
  • Saves completed lifts to revisit later
  • Includes option to attach notes or photos for more complete lift information
  • Allows measurements to be entered in English units or metric units

LiftRight Application Apple Badge Android app on Google Play

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Mouthing Off About Safety

Once again, another thought-provoking and interesting post by Phil La Duke.

Phil La Duke's Blog


By Phil La Duke

There’s a lot of talk about safety.  Safety talks, reflections on safety, safety reviews, safety observations, LinkedIn discussions, forums, blogs and…well the list goes on and on.  There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of talk about safety, but does talking about safety change anything?

In 2011, Harold D. Stolovitch published the book, Telling Aint Training a book that I confess to having not read—no judgment here, I read voraciously but just haven’t gotten around to reading this particular book. Why mention a book I haven’t read? Simple: the title intrigues me (apparently not enough to shell out $17.50 for the book, or even enough to drive the approximately one mile to the public library and at least ask about checking out a copy, but that’s neither here nor there.) I’ve known for years that people, at least adults, don’t learn from having things told…

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The Dangers of Working at Heights

New data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) show you don’t have to fall very far for the fall to be deadly. In 2011, CFOI began collecting information on the height of fatal falls. In construction, almost half of the fatal falls (48.8 percent) were from 20 feet or less, 14 percent were from ten feet or less and some were even less than six feet. Only 21.8 percent of victims fell from more than 30 feet.

As might be expected, fatal falls from scaffolds and roofs tend to be higher (33 and 39 percent, respectively, were from over 25 feet) while fatal ladder falls tend to be lower (only 12 percent over 25 feet; 27 percent from ten feet or less).

Why are falls, even from six to ten feet so dangerous? The data show that the largest percentage of the fatalities are from head injuries (over 37 percent), most often, probably, from falling backwards off a ladder, roof or scaffold.

Falls are a major problem in construction and, specifically, for Laborers. In 2011, 62 laborers died from falls, about a quarter of all construction workers who fell to their deaths. For more information about fall prevention, go to the national falls campaign website:

The Truth About Fall Fatalities and Injuries [Infographic]

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