October 7, 2015 By Jack Benton in Accident Case Studies, Dept. of Labor, EHS, Infographic, Ladder Safety, News, OSHA Fall Protection, OSHA Headlines, OSHA Inspection, OSHA News, OSHA Regulations, OSHA Training, OSHA Violations, Recordable Injuries, Safety, Safety Education, Safety Management, Tool Box Talks, Training, Trips & Falls, Walking, Workplace Safety Tags: OSHA, OSHA News, Safety
|10 Tips to Implementing a Lockout/Tagout Program
Your LOTO program must address the hazards that workers face when they place any part of their body near a machine’s point of operation, power transmission apparatus, pinch points, or other moving parts during maintenance and servicing activities. If the machine is not properly shut down and secured, it could unexpectedly start up, release stored energy, move, or cycle, causing crushing injuries, amputations, or even fatal injuries. A well-designed LOTO program can prevent these injuries.
This paper gives you 10 tips for ensuring that your LOTO program is well-designed and effective, and that it avoids some of the more common failure points found in LOTO programs.
Beginning on January 1, new requirements for reporting serious work-related injuries and illnesses will take effect. Are you prepared? This BLR infographic shows how to determine whether an injury must be reported to OSHA under the revised rule.
OSHA’s New Injury Reporting Rule Explained by Safety.BLR.com
KTRK TV Report
Reporter: Demond Fernandez
A construction worker who was using a crane to lift a large cement wall was killed after that crane collapsed. It happened at the old Garden Ridge on I-45 near The Woodlands which was destroyed by an arsonist last October.
Crews worked all afternoon to lift the large crane from its side. The operator had been trapped in the machine’s cab for several hours.
It’s a disturbing image of a crane toppled over that had a group of worried spectators watching and waiting several hours for help at a construction site near The Woodlands.
Sgt. Joe Smart with the Conroe Police Department said, “It looks like it pinned the cab where the operator sits under the weight of the crane.”
Emergency workers who rushed to the scene couldn’t immediately rescue the crane operator, who has been identified as Luis Ruiz. Police say the man was among a group of contractors on this site rebuilding the Garden Ridge that burned down last year.
Deena Nicholson of The Woodlands said, “It’s really, really sad. It just seems like help is taking so long.”
Eyewitnesses told police something just went wrong.
“It looks like he was lifting one of these concrete walls to begin construction of this building, and I’m told it was the first wall of the new building,” said Sgt. Smart.
The crane operator was trapped inside the cab for nearly five hours before help finally arrived. Police say they were waiting for large trucks and heavy equipment to lift the machine. As for the crane operator, sadly investigators say this accident appears to be tragic.
Family members tell me the operator’s been in construction for about 40 years. They call him a devoted husband and father.
OSHA Investigators were headed to the scene to investigate.
- Fact Sheets
- Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Final Rule. Significant changes, requirements, and benefits for the new rule.
- Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Assembly and Disassembly, Subpart CC (132 KB PDF, 2 pages)
- Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Operator Qualification and Certification, Subpart CC (132 KB PDF, 2 pages)
- Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Signal Person Qualification, Subpart CC (42 KB PDF, 1 page)
- Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Qualified Rigger, Subpart CC (45 KB PDF, 1 page)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Small Entity Compliance Guide
- Cranes and Derricks in Construction – Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Final Rule (OSHA 3433 – 2011) (English: 402 KB PDF, 90 pages)
- Federal Register. The Office of the Federal Register published the final rule on August 9, 2010. The effective date of the final rule is 90 days after the date of publication.
- Regulatory Text Only. OSHA. View the new construction standards for cranes and derricks regulatory text.
- News Release, July 28. US Department of Labor‘s OSHA publishes final rule on cranes and derricks in construction
- OSHA Cranes & Derricks Subpart CC [1 MB PPT*, 62 slides]
- AGC Cranes and Derricks Webinar A 60 minute PowerPoint presentation with voiceover and question and answers.
- Webchat, July 28 3-4pm EDT. View the Archived Webchat.
By Greg Hellman from Occupational Safety & Health Reporter™
The pilot chemical facilities emphasis program has been expanded nationwide in an effort to reduce catastrophic releases of hazardous chemicals, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Nov. 30.
The pilot emphasis program had been operating in OSHA Regions I (Boston), VII (Kansas City, Mo.), and X (Seattle), but the initiative covers all the regions effective Nov. 29, the date of the new directive (41 OSHR 631, 7/21/11).
“Far too many workers are injured and killed in preventable incidents at chemical facilities around the country,” David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said in a Nov. 30 written statement. “This program will enable OSHA inspectors to cover chemical facilities nationwide to ensure that all required measures are taken to protect workers.”
OSHA will target chemical facilities for inspection based on four sources of information: the Environmental Protection Agency’s risk management program, explosives manufacturing industry classification codes, its own inspection database, and area office knowledge of local facilities, the directive said.
Number of Programmed Inspections Reduced
The agency has made some changes as it makes the program nationwide. OSHA is reducing the number of programmed inspections each area office must conduct, toughening the qualifications for agency inspectors implementing the program, and requiring those inspectors to verify abatement of previous citations under the process safety management standard (29 C.F.R.1910.119) in the past six years.
Any facility OSHA has inspected within the last two years, either programmed or not, should be exempted, it said. Each region should complete an average of three to five programmed inspections per area office, per year under the emphasis program. Under the pilot program, OSHA directed offices to complete an average of between five and 10.
The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates told BNA in a Nov. 30 e-mail it has maintained regular communication with OSHA on the program.
“Our members, who are predominantly small- and medium-sized chemical manufacturers, are aware of the nationwide NEP and are prepared for it,” Christine Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the association, said. “We are confident that our members will continue to perform well in the inspections.”
The compliance directive also requires state plans to participate in the enforcement program and notify OSHA within two months how their programs will differ from the federal initiative, if at all.
OSHA had previously indicated it could fold its emphasis program for refineries into the chemicals initiative, but an agency spokesman told BNA in a Nov. 30 e-mail that the national chemicals program will not apply to refineries.
OSHA concluded the emphasis program for refineries in September, and the spokesman said the agency is evaluating a large amount of data from that program “as the first step toward determining the Agency’s future refinery enforcement approach.”
Inspection Process Described
Under the new program, inspectors will focus on at least one process unit at each plant selected and ask a “dynamic list of questions” to review compliance. OSHA will not disclose those questions ahead of time.
While the pilot program aimed to verify that companies documented and implemented process safety elements at several different types of facilities, the national emphasis program has two categories: those that use ammonia refrigeration and all other facilities that use hazardous chemicals.
Different lists of between 10 and 20 questions are designed for facilities conducting ammonia refrigeration, chemical storage, or chemical processing, the directive said.
“Based on inspection history at refineries and large chemical plants, OSHA has found that employers may have an extensive process safety management program, but insufficient program implementation,” the directive said. “Therefore, [inspectors] should verify the implementation of [process safety management] elements to ensure that the employer’s actual program is consistent with their written program.”
Under the pilot program, the majority of citations—750—were issued under the process safety management standard, according to data OSHA released in July. At that point, the agency had conducted 207 inspections under the program.
Inspectors will also request access to a number of safety-related documents from employers, including their injury and illness logs; a list of all process safety management-covered processes and units; unit process flow diagrams; piping and instrumentation diagrams; and process hazard analysis, among others, the directive said.
Process units will be selected for inspection based on several factors, including the nature and quantity of chemicals involved; incident investigation and near-miss reports; age of the unit; discussions with workers; and potential hazards observed during an inspector’s walk around. An inspector may expand the investigation if hazards outside of the selected unit are observed, the directive said.
In addition, the directive sets new experience requirements for OSHA inspectors implementing the program, depending on what level of inspection they are conducting.
Criteria for the assignment of inspectors includes whether they have prior experience investigating accidents at chemical plants or ammonia refrigeration facilities, prior experience in chemical industry safety, and how extensive either of their experience is.
OSHA’s new compliance directive is available at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_03-00-014.pdf
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today announced the winners of its first ever photo contest to raise public awareness of occupational safety and health.
In celebration of its 40th anniversary, OSHA held the Picture It!: Safe Workplaces for Everyone photo contest. The contest challenged anyone with a passion for photography to capture an image of workplace safety and health and share it with OSHA. At the same time, OSHA held a second contest challenging OSHA staff to submit their images of workplace safety and health. The six winning photographs, and seven honorable mentions, can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/osha40/photo-winners.html.
“I am thrilled by the way these photographers have so creatively captured the challenges of workplace safety and health,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, expressing his enthusiasm for the overwhelming response to the contest and the quality of the submissions. “Each winning photograph tells its own powerful story of the contribution of workers to our great country’s success, and America, and of the vital importance of protecting their health and safety. I am deeply grateful to everyone who contributed their time and talent to this contest.”
Aaron Sussell, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was selected from more than three hundred submissions as the first-place winner of the public contest for his compelling photograph of workers involved in last summer’s cleanup of the Gulf Oil Spill. “This is a great captured moment that tells the story of workplace safety,” said Kathleen Klech, Photography Director, Condé Nast Traveler Magazine and Photo Contest judge.
Second-place winner Roberto Carlos Vergara, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was lauded for the otherworldly display of light and shadow in his photograph; set high above the clouds, the photograph emphasizes the importance of the fall protection equipment that each worker in the frame wears. Roberto Rodriguez of Mesquite, Texas, placed third for his image of a worker safely operating a machine in the midst of a visually active factory floor.
The winner of the OSHA staff contest is Elena Finizio, who works in OSHA’s Braintree, Massachusetts Area Office. Ms. Finizio’s photograph of the eerie glow of molten metal as workers pour a casting was praised for its “visual drama” by photojournalist and contest judge Earl Dotter. Steve Baranowski, also of OSHA’s Braintree, Massachusetts Area Office, was awarded second place in the internal contest for his vivid portrayal of an OSHA compliance officer at work. Frank Wenzel of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries placed third for his dizzying image of wind turbine construction.
Several honorable mentions were also awarded to photographers whose work will be featured on the contest Web page. They are Koralie Hill of Oakland, California; Roy Berke of Sacramento, California; Paul Navarette of Riverside, California; Wally Reardon of Pulaski, New York; and Jorge Intriago of Columbia, South Carolina from the public contest; and Keith Tsubata of the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and McClelland Davis of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries from the OSHA staff.
The winners will receive framed certificates from Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis (first prize) and Dr. Michaels (second and third prizes). All six winning photographs will be framed and hung in the Department of Labor’s headquarters at the Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C., where they will serve as daily reminders of the real-life impacts of OSHA’s mission. Winners were selected by an expert panel of judges that included Mr. Dotter; Carl Fillichio, the Department of Labor’s Senior Advisor for Communications and Public Affairs; Kathleen Klech, photography director for Condé Nast Traveler magazine; and Shawn Moore, the chief photographer for the Department of Labor. OSHA extends its thanks to these judges for their generosity and their critical expertise.
Many of the remaining contest submissions can be viewed on the Department of Labor’s Flickr photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usdol/sets/72157627278407408/.
OSHA Inspection Procedures – Download PDF File
I have had many questions lately asking “What should I expect and how do I handle an OSHA Inspection?”, thus this posting.
Being prepared to handle an OSHA inspection or investigation properly minimizes the employer’s exposure to liability and eliminates unnecessary anxiety surrounding the inspection. Inspections or investigations can be triggered by:
Target inspections (especially for industries designated for special emphasis programs);
Claim of imminent danger where there has been a fatality; and
Where three or more employees are hospitalized as a result of an accident or illness.
If you ask, the OSHA compliance officer generally will tell you why he or she is there. If the inspection was triggered by an employee complaint, the company is entitled to an explanation as to the reason for the inspection and can ask for a copy of the complaint.
Direct the OSHA compliance officer to the company’s designated safety officer prior to the opening conference. The safety director should obtain the compliance officer’s credentials and his or her business card with an address and phone number to ensure that the compliance officer is on an official inspection. The opening conference should begin at this point.
If the company is a union shop, the compliance officer will probably request that a union representative be present at the conference to report any employee concerns and will ask the union representative to accompany him or her in the inspection “walk-around.”
The company should say as little as possible. The compliance officer will not only seek general information, but also may seek specific admissions concerning an employer’s knowledge of unsafe conditions. Be helpful and courteous, but watch out for questions designed to elicit knowledge of uncorrected hazards. Don’t volunteer information.
Show the OSHA inspector the company’s commitment to its safety statement, but be aware that OSHA does not like employee safety incentive programs. The existence of an incentive program may bias the inspector against the company. OSHA’s view is that the effect of safety incentive programs is under-reporting of injuries and illnesses.
Generally, the compliance officer can examine records that an employer is required to maintain under the Act, such as the log and summary of occupational illnesses and injuries (OSHA 200 Log), the supplemental record of occupational illnesses and injuries, and Material Safety Date Sheets.
The company is required to keep its logs of injuries and illnesses on file for the specified period (5 years), but the safety manager should not volunteer logs unless they are specifically requested by the inspector. Information contained in these logs may cause the inspector to conduct additional employee interviews and lead to a stricter examination of the company’s safety training programs.
However, management should be ready to produce records concerning compliance programs required by specific OSHA standards. Examples include:
Confined space protocols
Bloodborne pathogens containment
Evacuation plans for fire, flood, explosion
Other records, such as accident reports, insurance company studies, and employee medical records should not be given to the compliance officer without the proper request procedures being followed. Employee medical records should be obtained by OSHA in compliance with a medical access order. The order must be posted so that the employee has a chance to object to the release of the records.
The next phase of the inspection is the walk-around. The company’s designated walk-around representative should be the facility’s safety officer, who should stay with the OSHA compliance officer at all times. If possible, two employer representatives should also be present to take detailed notes and/or photographs or videos if necessary.
The OSHA compliance officer is limited to the areas identified in the complaint or warrant, together with those areas consented to by the employer. The inspection may be expanded based on records or additional information obtained from a previous “limited” inspection. It is important that the inspection be of only the appropriate areas, but a violation in plain view can be cited and may expand the scope of the inspection. The employer representatives should say as little as possible during the inspection Any comments may be used against the employer in later citation proceedings and may compromise defenses available to the employer.
The employer should take certain proactive steps during the walk-around inspection. Be sure to:
Take detailed notes of all comments and questions asked by the OSHA compliance officer;
Take photographs, videotapes/audiotapes and measurements of inspected work areas and machinery to correspond to the photographs, videotapes and measurements taken by the compliance officer; and
Make note of the names of any employees interviewed by the compliance officer.
The employer must not take any action against an employee who interviews or cooperates with the OSHA compliance officer. Retaliation carries extremely heavy penalties under federal and state law.
The company representatives should advise the OSHA compliance officer in advance of any concerns the company has regarding possible trade secrets and other proprietary information. The authority of the OSHA compliance officer is limited. For example, the compliance officer:
must conduct employee interviews within “reasonable” limits and in a “reasonable” manner
may not conduct private employee interviews on employer’s premises unless the employer consents
is not allowed to view employee medical records without the proper request order, but is allowed to determine if the records are being maintained
should not enter restricted/posted areas unless proper precautions are taken
must wear required protective equipment such as goggles, hard hats, gloves and earplugs
may not take photographs if the flash would produce a hazard or disrupt the work area
may not cause an unreasonable disruption or interference with operations.
After the walk-around, the compliance officer will conduct a closing conference. He or she will describe any “apparent violations” to the company’s representatives and explain the company’s rights and responsibilities. The compliance officer may ask how much time is needed to abate the “apparent violation.” An affirmative response to this question may be deemed an admission of a violation and could subject the company to a heavier fine. Preface any response with: “If a violation exists . . .”
If an apparent violation cannot be contested in good faith, the company should try to abate it during the inspection. This could result in a reduced penalty. Take detailed notes on problems addressed by the compliance officer (with the applicable standards) and the suggested abatement procedures.
At the closing conference, verbally confirm the scope of the inspection as stated in the opening conference, and send a follow-up letter to the compliance officer confirming the scope of the inspection.
Any citation must be issued within six months of the start of the inspection, but are usually issued within a few weeks. There are strict time limits (15 days) within which a company may contest the citation. The company’s mail room must be alerted that a letter from OSHA is expected and instructed to give it to the designated company representative immediately upon receipt.
If you are issued a citation, it should be posted (with penalty amounts deleted) in the area cited, as well as where company notices normally are posted. Notify the company’s OSHA counsel immediately. The company may want to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, depending on how the nature of the violations, the penalty classification, whether abatement is feasible, and the cost of abatement. The informal conference may or may not result in an informal settlement, but the request for an informal conference does not extend the time for the filing of a notice of contest.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has been recognized as an approved accreditor of crane operator certification programs by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor.
“ANSI is pleased to have earned OSHA’s recognition as an accreditor of crane operator certification programs, which attests to the highest quality of the Institute’s personnel certification accreditation program,” said Lane Hallenbeck, ANSI vice president of accreditation services. “This is just the latest example of how government agencies in key sectors rely upon ANSI accreditation as the most rigorous and comprehensive third-party verification of the competence of personnel certification bodies utilizing ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 – Conformity Assessment – General Requirements for bodies operating certification of persons.”
Under the new OSHA rule to address the safety of cranes and derricks used in construction, all crane operator certification bodies must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting entity. According to statistics issued by the Department of Labor, approximately 267,000 construction, crane rental, and crane certification establishments employing about 4.8 million workers will be affected.
In drafting the rule, OSHA weighed multiple options for the qualification of crane operators, including employer self-certification, certification by an accredited educational institution under existing Department of Education criteria, and certification by an accredited third-party personnel certification body. Comments were submitted and testimony offered from all perspectives, including from Roy Swift, Ph.D., ANSI senior program director, personnel credentialing accreditation programs. According to Dr. Swift’s testimony, which was cited in the final rule (29 CFR Part 1926), “a personnel certification program is designed to address competency for job performance. The accreditation process for educational institutions does not include an assessment of an institution’s ability to assess personnel competency… and the tests administered by an educational program are not held to the same psychometric standards as those administered by an accredited personnel certification program.”
Ultimately, OSHA concluded that accredited third-party certification would provide the only reliable demonstration that a crane operator has the knowledge and skills needed for safe operation.
ANSI is the only personnel certification accreditation body in the United States to meet ISO/IEC 17011:2004, Conformity assessment – General requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies, which represents the highest internationally accepted practices for accreditation bodies.
Since the inception of ANSI’s fast-growing Personnel Certification Accreditation Program in 2003, the Institute has accredited 30 personnel certification bodies that represent more than 70 different credentials. In total, over 5.2 million professionals currently hold certifications from ANSI-accredited personnel credentialing bodies.
For more information on ANSI’s accreditation services, visit www.ansi.org/accreditation.
In This Issue
BP agrees to pay more than $50 million in fines for safety hazards uncorrected after 2005 explosion killed 15 workers
BP Products North America Inc. has agreed to pay OSHA a full penalty of $50.6 million stemming from the 2005 explosion at its Texas City, Texas, refinery that killed 15 workers and injured 170 others. In addition to paying the record fine, BP has agreed to take immediate steps to protect those now working at the refinery, allocating a minimum of $500 million to that effort.
“This agreement achieves our goal of protecting workers at the refinery and ensuring that critical safety upgrades are made as quickly as possible,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The size of the penalty rightly reflects BP’s disregard for workplace safety and shows that we will enforce the law so workers can return home safe at the end of their day.”
Under the agreement*, finalized Aug. 12, BP will immediately begin performing safety reviews of the refinery equipment according to set schedules and make permanent corrections. The agreement also identifies many items in need of immediate attention; the company has agreed to address those concerns quickly and to hire independent experts to monitor its efforts. Additionally, the agreement provides an unprecedented level of oversight of BP’s safety program including regular meetings with OSHA, frequent site inspections and the submission of quarterly reports for the agency’s review.
“Safer conditions at this refinery should result from this arrangement, which goes far beyond what can normally be achieved through abatement of problems identified in citations,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels. “Make no mistake, OSHA will be watching to ensure that BP complies with the agreement and safeguards its workers.”
See the OSHA Web site for the more information on the agreement and OSHA’s investigations resulting from the 2005 fatal explosion.
Kleen Energy fined more than $16 million after power plant explosion kills six workers