OSHA Quick Takes – June 2, 2014

OSHA QuickTakes



Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez launches unprecedented partnership for safety: More than 1 million workers across the country expected to “Stand-Down” to prevent falls in construction

National Safety Stand-down poster

Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels today announced the kick-off for the national fall safety stand-down, reaching more than 1 million workers and bringing together tens of thousands of businesses across the country. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. In 2012, 279 construction workers lost their lives in falls from heights and more than 8,800 construction workers were seriously injured by falls. From June 2 to 6, employers and workers are voluntarily stopping work to talk about saving lives and preventing fatal falls, reaching more workers, businesses and workplaces than ever before.

“This is an unprecedented effort with a record number of participants coming together for worker safety,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The economy is on the rebound, housing starts are on the rise, and the summer construction season is getting underway. Now is the time to focus on this vital safety issue and make sure all construction workers get to come home at the end of every workday.”

“Our message is ‘safety pays and falls cost,'” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “We emphasize planning ahead, providing the right equipment—such as guard rails or safety harnesses, lines and anchors—and training all employees, three simple steps can save lives.”

During this week OSHA is partnering with the Associated General Contracts, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the National Association of Home Builders, the National Roofing Contractors Association, the Steel Erection Association, more than ten international unions including the Carpenters, the Laborers Union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Ironworkers Union, CPWR, community organizations, faith-based organizations and universities nationwide.

The national stand-down is part of OSHA’s third annual Fall Prevention Campaign, launched in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Occupational Research Agenda, and CPWR, the Center for Construction Research and Training. For more information on the national stand-down, read the press release and statements from Secretary Perez and Assistant Secretary Michaels, or visit OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down page and read OSHA’s blog.

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Stand-Down safety events scheduled at more than 25,000 workplaces nationwide

Safety Stand-Down for Fall prevention billboard
One of six billboards posted in well-traveled areas of Arizona promotes OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. Dozens of billboards are going up in more than ten states across the country to support the campaign.

In hundreds of stand-down events happening across the country, employers and workers will pause their workday to talk about fall prevention in construction, and discuss topics like ladder safety, scaffolding safety and roofing work safety. Businesses, universities, faith-based groups, the U.S. Air Force and many others are joining together in record numbers for the week-long stand-down.

The University of Texas at Arlington is joining with OSHA’s Dallas staff and Balfour Beatty to kick off events across the state of Texas. In Palo Alto, Calif., Clark Construction will be hosting a stand-down at the Stanford University Medical Center with OSHA staff in the Oakland area. OSHA officials will join racecar driver Greg Biffle at the Daytona Speedway in Jacksonville, Fla., to do a fall protection harness demonstration and discuss fall safety with construction workers. In Nebraska, OSHA Omaha staff is teaming with the Heartland Workers Center to host a free fall prevention event for the public at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

For a complete list of stand-downs open to the public, visit OSHA’s National Safety Fall-Down calendar of events.

Materials to use in stand-downs, including posters, factsheets, safety videos, stickers and tool box talks, can be found on OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign Web page.

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OSHA launches annual summer campaign to prevent heat-related illnesses

Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers

OSHA announced May 22 the launch of its annual Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers. For the fourth consecutive year, OSHA’s campaign aims to raise awareness and educate workers and employers about the serious hazards of working in hot weather and provide resources and guidance to address these hazards.

“Heat-related illnesses can be fatal, and employers are responsible for keeping workers safe,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Employers can take a few easy steps to save lives, including scheduling frequent water breaks, providing shade and allowing ample time to rest.”

In 2012, there were 31 heat-related worker deaths and 4,120 heat-related worker illnesses. Heat illness disproportionately affects those who have not built up a tolerance to heat, and it is especially important for employers to allow new and temporary workers time to acclimate. Workers at particular risk include those in outdoor industries, such as agriculture, construction, landscaping and transportation.

Visit OSHA’s heat campaign Web page for free educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a free heat app for mobile devices. See the news release and the recent blog by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels for more on OSHA’s heat illness campaign and resources.

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Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway ordered to pay more than $526,000 to terminated workers who were retaliated against for reporting injuries

Whistleblower Protection Programs

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway has been ordered to pay more than $526,000 in back wages and other damages to two workers following an investigation by OSHA. The agency found that the company, based in Fort Worth, Texas, violated the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act by terminating the employees in 2010 and 2011 for reporting injuries that occurred at the company’s Havre, Mont., terminal.

“An employer cannot retaliate against employees who report an injury,” said Gregory Baxter, OSHA’s regional administrator in Denver. “OSHA recognizes that employers can legitimately have, and apply, policies to require prompt injury reporting; however, that is not what happened here. When employers mask their retaliatory intent through application of a policy or rule, they violate the law.”

Burlington Northern has been ordered to pay back wages with interest, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees, while reinstating and expunging the two employees’ work records. Read the news release for additional details. OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statutes protecting employees who report violations of laws in various industries. For more information, visit

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Chicago engineering company cited again for failing to protect construction workers from trenching hazards

For the second time this year, OSHA has cited Pan-Oceanic Engineering Co. Inc. for exposing workers to trenching hazards at a job site at East 93rd Street and South Woodlawn Avenue in Chicago, Ill. OSHA cited the company for willful violations for again failing to protect workers from trench cave-ins while installing water and sewer lines. Proposed penalties total $147,000.

“It is completely unacceptable that Pan-Oceanic Engineering continues to put workers at such great risk,” said Kathy Webb, OSHA’s area director in Calumet City. “Since 2003, this company has been cited multiple times for violations of trenching standards, which result in numerous fatalities and injuries every year. Pan-Oceanic Engineering’s repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to the safety of its workers.”

OSHA opened the inspection under the National Emphasis Program for trenching and excavation. The company was issued two willful violations for failing to ensure workers were protected from cave-in hazards while working in a trench deeper than 5 feet and failing to support the street pavement above the trench from collapsing on the workers. See the news release for more information.

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New York tire retreader faces $160,280 in OSHA fines for failing to correct fire, mechanical and electrical hazards

American Made Tires, an Elmira Heights, N.Y., tire retreader, failed to correct 12 hazards cited during a 2013 inspection. Because of that inaction, and the discovery of new and recurring hazards during a follow-up OSHA inspection, the company faces an additional $160,280 in proposed fines.

“The company’s inaction exposed employees to ongoing hazards of fire, falls, chemicals and to being caught in or crushed by unguarded or unexpectedly activated machinery,” said Christopher Adams, OSHA’s area director in Syracuse. “The sizable penalties proposed reflect the severity of these conditions and the employer’s failure to follow through on its obligation and commitment to correct hazards that never should have existed.”

OSHA’s follow-up inspection in November 2013 found violations including improperly constructed flammable adhesive spray booths, failure to implement lockout/tagout procedures and lack of machine guarding. Read the news release for more information.

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Semiannual regulatory agenda published

The Office of Management and Budget has published the Spring 2014 unified agenda. The agenda lists regulatory actions now in development and under consideration by each federal agency, providing information about each rule and its stage of development. OSHA’s updated agenda includes projected timelines for several safety and health standards. For more information, view the DOL Spring 2014 Agency Rule List from

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OSHA and the American Staffing Association form alliance to protect temporary workers

Protecting Temporary Workers

OSHA signed an alliance with the American Staffing Association May 21 to work together to further protect temporary employees from workplace hazards.

“We want to make sure that at the end of every work shift, all temporary workers in the United States are able to go home safely to their families,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Through this alliance with the ASA, we will increase outreach to staffing agencies and host employers and provide information and education that is vital to protecting temporary workers.”

Through the alliance, OSHA and ASA will conduct outreach to workers about their rights, and work to educate staffing firms and their clients that all workers have the right to be safe, regardless of how long they have been on the job. The partners will work together to distribute OSHA guidance and additional information on the recognition and prevention of workplace hazards, and to further develop ways of communicating such information to staffing firms, host employers and temporary workers. See the news release and read about OSHA’s Alliance Program for more information.

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Assistant Secretary Michaels addresses oil and gas industry leaders at annual onshore drilling conference

Dr. David Michaels addresses the International Association of Drilling Contractors.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels addresses worker safety and OSHA’s outreach to the oil and gas industry at the International Association of Drilling Contractors’ annual onshore drilling conference.

On May 15, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels traveled to Houston to discuss workplace safety with stakeholders attending the International Association of Drilling Contractors’ annual onshore drilling conference. Michaels joined an industry panel to speak about OSHA’s extensive outreach to the oil and gas industry, which included numerous safety stand-downs, conferences and consultations through OSHA’s free on-site consultation program. Michaels also expressed concern about the increase in the number of fatalities in oil and gas production in 2013 and asked industry employers to make worker safety a priority.

Dr. Michaels observes a demonstration of an oil rig drilling operations simulator.
OSHA’s Dr. David Michaels observes a demonstration of an oil rig drilling operations simulator used by BP to train workers in workplace problem solving.

Dr. Michaels also met with BP senior officials to encourage their continued support of the National Service, Transmission, Exploration & Production Safety Network; OSHA’s silica workgroup; and industry safety stand-downs. He also thanked BP leaders for the corporation’s efforts to protect workers, including cleanup workers, following the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and oil spill in 2010.

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NIOSH seeks help to characterize risks during chemical flowback in oil and gas extraction

Flowback Tanks
Flowback Tanks (NIOSH photo)

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is requesting assistance from oil and gas stakeholders to better characterize the types and magnitude of risks for exposing workers to volatile chemicals during oil and gas extraction. NIOSH is also seeking recommendations for developing and implementing exposure controls.

A new blog on NIOSH’s website summarizes flowback operations, addresses related reports of recent worker deaths, and identifies preliminary recommendations to reduce the potential for hazardous exposures. NIOSH is focusing interest on this subject after learning about several worker deaths associated with flowback operations through media reports, OSHA officials and members of the academic community.

For safety and health resources and information about the oil and gas industry, visit OSHA’s Oil and Gas Extraction Web page.

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“Deadly Dust” video wins award for getting out the message on silicosis

Deadly Dust video

“Deadly Dust,” an OSHA educational video on the hazards of silica exposure, won first place in the safety category in an international competition to find the best business communications videos.

OSHA’s nine-minute documentary-style video puts a face on the debilitating and fatal effects of silicosis through images of construction workers on the job. Interviews with doctors, OSHA officials, safety consultants, stone carvers and others provide additional information on the disease and safety measures to prevent it. Visit OSHA’s silica rulemaking Web page for more information and the Department of Labor’s YouTube channel to watch this and other videos on protecting the safety and health of America’s workers.

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New educational resources available to protect workers from heat illness and falls

Fall prevention booklet

New and updated materials for OSHA’s Fall Prevention and Heat Illness campaigns are now available. OSHA’s Fall Prevention Training Guide includes lesson plans, or “toolbox talks” in English or Spanish to help employers protect workers from fall hazards on the job. Resources for OSHA’s 2014 campaign to prevent heat-related illnesses in outdoor workers include fact sheets, posters, wallet cards and a training guide.

To order quantities of these or any other OSHA materials, visit OSHA’s Publications Web page or call the Office of Communications at (202) 693-1999.

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OSHA Announces $7 million Available for Grants

Susan Harwood Training Grant Program 2014-05-16 16-30-27


The Susan Harwood Training Grant Program awards grants to nonprofit organizations on a competitive basis. Awards are issued annually based on Congressional appropriation.

The focus of the program is to provide training and education for workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of safety and health hazards in their workplaces, and to inform workers of their rights and employers of their responsibilities under the OSH Act. Target audiences include under-served, low-literacy, and workers in high-hazard industries. Since 1978, over 1.8 million workers have been trained through this program.


In Focus


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Trade News Release Banner Image

Release: 14-832-NAT
Date: May 14, 2014
Contact: Lauren North    Jesse Lawder
Phone: 202-693-4655    202-693-4659
Email: :

$7M for Susan Harwood safety and health training grants
now available from US Labor Department’s OSHA

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is soliciting applications under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program through two separate and distinct announcements. A total of $7 million is available for nonprofit organizations, including community and faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, and colleges and universities.

The Susan Harwood Training Grant Program supports the creation of in-person, hands-on training and educational programs and the development of materials for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates; and workers who are underserved, have limited English proficiency or are temporary workers. The grants will fund training and education for workers and employers to identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards. Two types of safety and health training grants will be awarded: Targeted Topic Training and Capacity Building; approximately $3.5 million will be available in each grant fund.

“These grants play an important role in ensuring worker safety and health. By providing training to employees on their rights and employers on their responsibilities, the Susan Harwood grants are making sure that workplace safety is the number one priority on any job site,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.

Targeted Topic Training grants support the development of quality training materials and programs for addressing workplace hazards and prevention strategies. The Targeted Topic Training grants require applicants to address occupational safety and health topics designated by OSHA. Targeted Topic Training grants may be eligible for one additional follow-on grant, based on satisfactory performance.

Capacity Building grants focus on developing and expanding the capacity of an organization to provide safety and health training, education, and related assistance to target audiences. Grantees are expected to increase occupational safety and health competence and improve organizational capacity to assist workers and employers on an ongoing basis by ensuring that services continue beyond federal financial support. Capacity Building Developmental grant recipients may be eligible for additional 12-month follow-on grants, based on satisfactory performance.

The solicitation for grant applications is available at, where new applicants must register and returning applicants must ensure registration is accurate and up-to-date prior to completing the application. The registration process generally takes between three to five business days, but may be as long as four weeks if all steps are not completed in a timely manner. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to begin the process as soon as possible. Applications for Capacity Building grants (SHTG-FY-14-02) must be submitted by Thursday, June 26, 2014, and Targeted Topic grants (SHTG-FY-14-01) must be submitted by Monday, June 30, 2014. All applications must be submitted electronically and are due no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on each grant’s due date. No extensions of the deadline will be granted.

OSHA has developed a proposal webinar to assist prospective applicants in understanding the application process. The webinar will be available at all day, every day during the solicitation period.

More information on the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program is available on OSHA’s website at Questions from the public should be directed to Heather Wanderski or Jim Barnes by emailing or calling 847-759-7700. Please note that this is not a toll-free number.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

OSHA QuickTakes – December 3, 2012

OSHA QuickTakes

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis visits Staten Island, NY, to highlight efforts to protect workers engaged in Sandy recovery operations

Secretary Solis traveled to some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods of New York City with OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jordan Barab on Thursday, Nov. 29, to meet with worker groups and others involved in rebuilding communities in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy and observe some of the recovery efforts that are currently underway. The massive response to the devastation has brought together government, worker advocates, unions, public and private employers, and community and faith-based organizations, and OSHA continues to conduct comprehensive monitoring and training to ensure that workers are protected from the serious health and safety hazards involved in the operations.

Secretary Solis surveys recovery operations with workers from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Nov. 29, 2012
Secretary Solis surveys recovery operations with workers from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Nov. 29, 2012. Click here to view the slideshow of Secretary Solis’ visit.


OSHA distributes safety information at locations where workers typically gather to prepare recovery efforts, such as this big-box retail store
OSHA distributes safety information at locations where workers typically gather to prepare recovery efforts, such as this big-box retail store.

With workers still at risk of serious safety and health hazards, these efforts remain extremely urgent. OSHA is focused on high hazard operations such as debris removal, utility restoration, and clearing trees, conducting interventions that have reached more than 15,000 workers, with an emphasis on limited-English-proficiency and vulnerable workers. OSHA is distributing information on some of the most common safety and health hazards workers face, including (PDFs*) downed electrical wires*, chain saws*, chipper machines*, portable generators*, mold* and falls*.

All of these materials are collected at a single site: Keeping Workers Safe during Hurricane Sandy Cleanup and Recovery, which is also available in Spanish. Two new fact sheets have been recently added to the website and are being distributed to workers and employers: Keeping Workers Safe during Hurricane Sandy Cleanup and Recovery Fact Sheet (PDF*, available in Spanish*) and the Hurricane Sandy Cleanup PPE Matrix Fact Sheet (PDF*). The site also includes OSHA’s Hazard Exposure and Risk Assessment Matrix, which provides information on many of the tasks and operations associated with disaster response and recovery and the most common and significant hazards that response and recovery workers might encounter. The matrix is designed to help employers make decisions during their risk assessments that will protect their workers doing work in hurricane–impacted areas. To order fact sheets and other hurricane recovery safety and health publications, call OSHA’s Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA’s Publications page.

New director of Office of Whistleblower Protection Program announced

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels has announced Beth Slavet as the new director of the agency’s Office of Whistleblower Protection Programs. Slavet is an experienced administrator and manager with more than 30 years of experience with the enforcement of federal whistleblower statutes. She is the former chairman of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, where she also served as vice chairman and a member from 1995-2003. She has spent the last decade in private practice where she had a special focus on whistleblower protection. For more information, read the news release.

Cast your vote today for the Department of Labor’s Workplace Safety and Health Challenge People’s Choice Award

The submissions are in for the Department of Labor’s Worker Safety and Health Challenge, and now it’s your turn to help us select a winner. The challenge, which closed Nov. 30, sought tools that demonstrate the importance of recognizing and preventing workplace safety and health hazards and help young people understand their rights in the workplace. The People’s Choice Award, a $3,000 prize, will be awarded to the submission that receives the most public support during the open public voting period. Just browse the entries at the challenge’s Submissions Gallery between now and Jan. 4 and vote for the tool that you think does the best job of teaching young people about workplace safety and health. Then check back on Jan. 8 for the announcement of all the challenge winners.

Federal Aviation Administration proposes policy to improve flight attendant workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration, working with OSHA, proposed a new policy for addressing flight attendant workplace safety. While the FAA’s aviation safety regulations take precedence, the agency is proposing that OSHA be able to enforce certain occupational safety and health standards currently not covered by FAA oversight.

“The policy announced today with the FAA will not only enhance the health and safety of flight attendants by connecting them directly with OSHA but will, by extension, improve the flying experience of millions of airline passengers,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. Flight attendant workplace issues could include things such as exposure to noise and bloodborne pathogens and access to information on hazardous chemicals. The policy notice has been sent to the Federal Register and is currently available at The 30-day comment period begins when the policy notice is published. For more information, see the news release.

New OSHA website provides information on preventing backover incidents in construction

New OSHA website provides information on preventing backover incidents in construction

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 70 workers died from backover incidents in 2011. A backover incident occurs when a backing vehicle strikes a worker who is standing, walking, or kneeling behind the vehicle. These incidents can be prevented. OSHA has published a new Preventing Backovers webpage that provides information about the hazards of backovers; solutions that can reduce the risk or frequency of these incidents; articles and resources; and references to existing regulations and letters of interpretation.

Dover Chemical Co. placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program following chemical release at Ohio plant

After an unexpected release of hazardous materials that led to the temporary shut-down of Dover Chemical Co. and an adjacent highway in Ohio in May, OSHA has cited the company for 47 health and safety violations. Although no injuries were reported as a result of the incident, OSHA opened an investigation focused on the agency’s standards for process safety management, known as PSM, at facilities that use highly hazardous chemicals. Proposed fines total $545,000.

The release of materials resulted from a breach of a polyvinyl chloride piping system. Due to the nature of the hazards and four willful violations cited, Dover Chemical has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Willful violations include failing to correct deficiencies found in compliance audits, not resolving recommendations identified during a process hazard analysis, having operating procedures that do not include the consequences for deviation or the steps required to correct or avoid deviation from operating limits, and process safety information that does not detail the construction materials used for piping and piping system components. For more information, see the press release.

OSHA cites Dallas company for safety violations following robbery, death of worker at Garland, Texas, convenience store

OSHA has cited TMT Inc. for four serious safety violations following an aggravated robbery that resulted in the death of an employee at the company’s Whip In convenience store in Garland. OSHA’s Dallas Area Office opened an investigation at the Garland store in May after an employee working at the checkout counter was seriously assaulted during a robbery and later died from second- and third-degree burns. OSHA also investigated the company’s three other stores in Dallas and Mesquite, and found that workers at those locations were exposed to the same or similar workplace violence hazards. Each store was cited with violating OSHA’s “general duty clause” for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause serious injury or death. Read the press release for details.

Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening and disruptive behavior that occurs at a work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. It can affect and involve employees, clients, customers and visitors. More information on workplace violence is available at OSHA’s website at

OSHA cites Cargill Meat Solutions for exposing workers to hazardous energy at Illinois plant, proposes $114,000 in fines

OSHA has cited Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. with three safety violations for failing to protect workers from unexpected start-up of machines at its Beardstown pork processing facility. Proposed penalties total $114,000. OSHA initiated an inspection upon receiving a complaint alleging hazards.

OSHA cited Cargill for one willful violation for exposing employees to hazardous energy when performing servicing and maintenance tasks because the energy control procedures did not outline specific procedural steps for shutting down and securing machinery, placing and removing lockout or tagout devices, and providing a specific means to verify that the equipment was isolated from all energy sources prior to work on the equipment. The company was also cited for one repeat violation for failing to train workers who operate equipment on procedures to properly control hazardous energy. A similar violation was cited in May 2009 at the company’s Nebraska City, Neb., facility. See the press release for more information.

Harrison Hoist, Inc. cited by OSHA following crane collapse at UT Dallas that killed two workers

OSHA has cited Harrison Hoist Inc. of Grand Prairie with six serious safety violations following a tower crane collapse at the University of Texas at Dallas’ Richardson campus that killed two workers. The workers were trying to remove the top portion of the crane’s mast when it collapsed, causing them to fall more than 150 feet.

The violations include the company’s failure to address the hazards associated with the effects of wind speed and weather on the equipment, ensure that procedures for disassembling the tower crane prevented the collapse of any part of the equipment, adequately support and stabilize all parts of the equipment, ensure that disassembly procedures positioned workers to minimize their exposure to unintended movement or collapse, ensure that disassembly procedures were developed by a qualified person, and train each competent person and each qualified person regarding the requirements of 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1926 Subpart CC “Cranes and Derricks in Construction” that are applicable to their respective roles. For details, read the news release. More information on crane safety is available at

NACOSH and ACCSH meet in Washington, D.C., to provide recommendations on OSHA policies and procedures

On Thursday, Nov. 29, Dr. Michaels addressed the full committee of OSHA’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, highlighting current safety and health trends in the construction industry and recent OSHA initiatives, including OSHA’s ongoing fall prevention campaign. In conjunction with the full committee meeting, ACCSH workgroups met Nov. 27-28 to discuss Health Hazards, Emerging Issues, Prevention through Design, Diversity/Multilingual/Women in Construction, Training and Outreach, Injury and Illness Prevention Programs, and Backing Operations. OSHA’s Director of Construction Jim Maddux also provided an update to committee members on current regulatory initiatives.

OSHA's Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health
Committee members at the Nov. 29, 2012, meeting of OSHA’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health.


The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health also met in November. The committee meets twice annually to advise the secretaries of labor and health and human services on worker safety. During the two-day meeting, the committee’s Effectiveness Measures Work Group furnished recommendations on measuring the efficacy of OSHA strategies, programs and actions and sent a report to the full committee membership. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jordan Barab spoke on the meeting’s second day, including agency initiatives and a new project with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agreement intended to enhance patient and worker safety.

Labor Department officials visit Beijing for landmark dialogue on worker safety and health

On Nov. 14, Chinese workplace safety and health officials hosted the First U.S.-China Workplace Safety and Health Dialogue in Beijing. The historic conference brought together officials from China’s State Administration of Work Safety to exchange ideas and information about protecting workers on both sides of the Pacific. Dr. Michaels presented an overview of workplace safety and health standards and compliance assistance in the United States. He spoke about the importance of understanding and shaping modern worker safety and health programs and their added benefits to trade and economic growth. Bill Perry of OSHA’s Directorate of Standards and Guidance also presented; he addressed current OSHA strategies to reduce or eliminate toxic and hazardous substance hazards.

The dialogue was co-chaired by SAWS Vice Minister Sun Huashan and Mark Mittlehauser, Associate Deputy Undersecretary of Labor for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. The conference celebrated ten years of previous cooperation on coal mine safety and health, with Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph Main delivering remarks. This year’s conference marked the beginning of efforts to move beyond mining and forge a way forward on collaborating to protect workers in other industries.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels addresses 2012 Susan Harwood Training Program grantees

Susan Harwood Training Grant Program recipients
Susan Harwood Training Grant Program recipients attend a session of the 2012 program orientation. For more photos of the event, visit the Department of Labor’s Flickr page.

At an orientation for all Susan Harwood Training Grant recipients held in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 29, Dr. Michaels thanked representatives of the nonprofit organizations who have received grants to conduct worker safety and health training, adding “we’re counting on you.” Dr. Henry Payne, OSHA’s Director of Training and Education, welcomed the grantees to the event and introduced Dr. Michaels, and Irasema Garza, Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor and Acting Assistant Secretary of Policy, paid a visit to greet the attendees. In the morning session of the orientation, representatives from four grantees shared success stories of delivering effective training to vulnerable workers. Later, the attendees attended breakout sessions on program, financial and monitoring requirements.

The Susan Harwood Training Grant Program awards grants to nonprofit organizations on a competitive basis. The focus of the program is to provide training and education for workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of safety and health hazards in their workplaces, and to inform workers of their rights and employers of their responsibilities under the OSH Act. Target audiences include underserved, low-literacy, and workers in high-hazard industries. Since 1978, over 1.8 million workers have been trained through this program.

Injury and illness rates substantially reduced at Kan. grain handling operation after working with OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program

After experiencing injury and illnesses rates that were higher than the national average, Farmway Cooperative, Inc. of Beloit, Kan., contacted the Kansas On-site Consultation Program, a division of the Kansas Department of Labor, to help the grain handling company implement an effective safety and health management system. During the initial On-site Consultation visit, the KDOL consultant identified hazards regarding fall protection, inadequate machine guarding and improper documentation within their written safety and health procedures. Farmway immediately took action to address these hazards by placing machine guards on equipment and correcting railing issues to prevent falls. Additionally, Farmway created a safety committee, which included management and employees, to review and discuss safety issues on a monthly basis.


After these changes were implemented, Farmway achieved a nearly 50 percent reduction in the number of injuries and illnesses at its 19 worksites, earning it recognition in OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, which recognizes small employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system. “Working with KDOL consultants helped bring our company to the next level of safety awareness, which in turn changed our safety culture within Farmway,” said David Edwards, Farmway’s Safety Director this fall. “Our dollar value of workman’s compensation has been reduced.” To learn more, visit Farmway’s Small Business Success Stories page.

OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. As part of OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program, highly qualified safety and health professionals from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs.

OSHA releases fact sheet on internal combustion engines as ignition sources

Investigations by OSHA and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) have documented a history of fires and explosions at workplaces (oilfields, refineries, chemical plants, and other facilities) where an internal combustion engine was identified as or suspected to be the source of ignition. Internal combustion engines present an ignition hazard when used in facilities processing flammable liquids and gases. If flammable vapors or gases are released in these facilities, an internal combustion engine could ignite the flammable materials with catastrophic consequences. OSHA’s new Internal Combustion Engines as Ignition Sources Fact Sheet (PDF*) helps employers and workers understand the risks involved in the use of internal combustion engines, as well as some of the control strategies that should be used to prevent such catastrophic events.

Three workers were killed and four injured in a fire resulting from a runaway diesel engine (Source: Chemical Safety Board)
Three workers were killed and four injured in a fire resulting from a runaway diesel engine (Source: Chemical Safety Board).


New educational resource on healthcare worker, patient safety

On November 20, the Joint Commission released a new, free educational resource, “Improving Patient and Worker Safety: Opportunities for Synergy, Collaboration and Innovation.” The purpose of this resource is to raise awareness and educate health care managers, employers and employees on the need for a healthcare culture focused on the safety of both patients and the workers who care for them.

The monograph contends that high rates of injuries and illnesses among health care workers serve as a warning that the health care environment as a whole must be transformed in order to improve safety. The monograph highlights examples of health care organization practices that address patient and worker safety simultaneously and the benefits and potential cost savings attained through collaboration between employee and patient safety departments. The monograph also identifies functional management systems and processes, strategies and tools that have been used to successfully integrate health and safety activities. For more information, read the monograph in full and visit OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics page on Healthcare.

Center for Construction Research and Training launches online resource to help workers and employers identify and control silica dust

A new online resource from the Center for Construction Research and Training provides information and tools to help identify silica hazards, understand the health risk, and easily find equipment and methods to control the dust. The site also features a “Create a Plan” tool that generates job-specific silica control plans based on user responses to a series of questions about the tasks that will be performed and the materials that will be used. The new resource is available at

Common workplace operations involving cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock, and stone products (such as in construction operations), and operations using sand products (such as in glass manufacturing, foundries, and sand blasting), can result in worker inhalation of small silica particles in the air. Inhalation of these particles has long been known to cause silicosis, a disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease. More information is available at OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Safety and Health Topics page.

A call to Action: Statement by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on tragic fire in Bangladesh

Secretary Solis issued the following statement regarding the tragic Nov. 24 fire in Bangladesh:

“This past Saturday, Bangladesh suffered one of the worst industrial accidents in its history. A devastating fire swept through the Tazreen Fashion garment factory, killing more than 100 and injuring many more. I join U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena in extending heartfelt condolences to the people of Bangladesh and the many families who lost their loved ones.

“Just over a century ago, in March 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York City burned to the ground, killing 146 people, mainly young women. That fire was our call to action. It galvanized support for stronger worker protections and institutions to enforce them, from workplace health and safety to workers’ right to organize and bargain collectively.

“The Tazreen Fashion factory fire is a similar call to action for Bangladesh and also for the many international buyers supplied by the country’s garment factories. Investigations should be conducted and the perpetrators punished, but things cannot then return to business as usual. I know that change is not easy. The U.S. Department of Labor stands ready to help, with technical assistance and expertise, to work with the government of Bangladesh to ensure that this horrific tragedy becomes a watershed moment for Bangladeshi workers’ rights.”

OSHA QuickTakes – August 31, 2012


August 31, 2012 · Volume 11, Issue 19
OSHA QuickTakes logo
A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.
In this issue

OSHA cites company after June heat fatality in New Jersey

OSHA has cited Waste Management of Trenton and Labor Ready Northeast Inc. of Ewing for one serious violation each of OSHA’s general duty clause following a heat-related fatality in June. OSHA initiated an inspection after a Labor Ready Northeast temporary employee working for Waste Management as a garbage collection worker died while picking up trash on a collection route in Hopewell Borough.

OSHA found that neither Labor Ready nor Waste Management trained their employees to recognize and respond to heat related illness, nor did they provide sufficient training or implement procedures to minimize or mitigate the risk of developing heat related illness. Read the press release for more details.

Monro Muffler Brake reaches agreement with OSHA to protect workers against hydraulic lift hazards at multiple company locations

Monro Muffler Brake Inc., which operates a chain of more than 800 stores that provide automotive repair and tire services throughout the eastern United States, has reached an enterprise-wide settlement agreement with OSHA in which it will institute procedures to protect its workers against being crushed or struck by automotive hydraulic lifts.

In September 2011, OSHA cited the company’s Stoughton location for improperly inspecting and maintaining hydraulic lifts, as well as other hazards, following an April 2011 incident in which a lift failure caused a car to fall to the ground. Monro initially contested these citations but has now agreed to address the issue – and not just at the Stoughton location, but companywide. Under the agreement, Monro will develop and implement an inspection and maintenance program for all automotive lifts at all of its federal OSHA-covered work sites. The program will comply with industry standards and include periodic inspections by qualified inspectors, procedures to remedy any potentially unsafe conditions, mandatory training for lift operators and the submission of written compliance reports to OSHA. Monro also will pay a fine of $12,500 for the violations identified at the Stoughton location. For more information, read the press release.

North Carolina OSHA cites Smithfield Packing Co. for exposing workers to hydrogen sulfide gas following death of employee

The North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL) has cited Smithfield Packing Co. in Clinton for 17 safety and health violations, including failing to provide workers with personal protective equipment and training to protect themselves from exposure to hazardous chemicals. North Carolina DOL initiated safety and health inspections February 18, 2012, after a worker died from exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas as he filled a tanker with liquid sludge. Proposed penalties from both inspections total $251,250.

Willful violations include not providing respirators when equipment was necessary to protect workers and employee training to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical. Serious violations cited include failing to provide personal protection equipment, exposing workers to struck-by hazards and falls from height. For more information, visit the North Carolina State Plan page.

Temporary enforcement measures extended in residential construction

OSHA will extend for three months its temporary enforcement measures in residential construction. The temporary enforcement measures, now extended through December 15, 2012, include priority free on-site compliance assistance, penalty reductions, extended abatement dates, measures to ensure consistency, and increased outreach. Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of workplace death in construction.

OSHA has been working closely with the industry to assist employers in complying with the new directive. Since October 1, 2011, OSHA’s On-site Consultation Projects performed more than 2,500 on-site visits, conducted 925 training sessions, and delivered 438 presentations related to fall protection in residential construction. OSHA’s regional and area offices also conducted more than 800 outreach activities on the directive. The agency will continue to work with employers to ensure a clear understanding of, and to facilitate compliance with, the new policy.

OSHA will continue to develop materials to assist the industry, including a wide variety of educational and training materials to assist employers with compliance, which are available on the Web pages for residential construction and the Fall Prevention Campaign.

OSHA publishes removal criteria for employers from the Severe Violator Enforcement Program

OSHA has published criteria for removing employers from the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). SVEP has been in effect since June 18, 2010, and focuses agency resources on employers who demonstrate indifference to their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act with willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.

An employer may be considered for removal from the program by an OSHA Regional Administrator after a period of three years from the date of the final disposition of the SVEP inspection citation items to include: failure to contest, settlement agreement, Review Commission final order, or court of appeals decision. Employers must also affirm all violations have been abated, all final penalties have been paid, all settlement provisions have been completed and abided by, and no additional serious citations have been incurred related to the hazards identified in the SVEP inspection at the initial establishment or at any related establishments. Read the news release and the memorandum for further details regarding these removal criteria.

REMINDER: Take the Worker Safety & Health App Challenge before the September 16 deadline!

Time is running out to submit entries for the Worker Safety & Health App Challenge at The challenge is to use publicly available government information (i.e., DOL/OSHA data, NIOSH data, and other online government resources) to educate young workers on the safety and health risks and their rights in real work scenarios. The deadline to enter your app is September 16.

A panel of judges that includes Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, co-hosts of the popular Discovery Channel show “Myth Busters,” will award $15,000 for the “Safety in the Workplace Innovator Award,” $6,000 for the “Safety and Health Data Award” and $6,000 for the “Workers’ Rights Award.” There is also a “People’s Choice Award” of $3,000 for the developer of the app that receives the most public votes on the website. For more information about the prizes and the competition guidelines, , visit the challenge page, and read Dr. Michaels’ most recent blog.

Fall Prevention Campaign spreads the word: OSHA staff across the country teach how to save lives

Since launching the Preventing Falls in Construction campaign in April, OSHA’s Regional and Area Offices have been getting the message of “Safety Pays, Falls Cost” out to tens of thousands of employers, workers and other stakeholders.

Across the country, OSHA’s Free On-site Consultation Program and compliance assistance specialists have conducted more than one thousand workshops, presentations, site visits, and radio and TV interviews. OSHA’s specialists have participated in phone banks, staffed information booths at community events, visited with foreign consulates, distributed educational materials, and conducted many other outreach activities to explain that falls can be prevented when employers follow a three-step process — Plan, Provide and Train.


Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, but these deaths are preventable. Learn more about OSHA’s Fall Prevention campaign, and watch Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis’ public service announcement at OSHA also has numerous educational resources available in multiple languages, including (PDF*) stickers, wallet cards, fact sheets, and posters. To order these or any of OSHA’s outreach materials, call OSHA’s Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA’s Publications page.

Heat Safety Tool mobile app approaches 52,000 downloads as hotter-than-average temperatures hang on in much of the U.S.

The National Weather Service is forecasting hotter-than-average temperatures to continue in much of the country over the next week, possibly putting outdoor workers at risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. A useful tool for getting vital safety information about working outdoors in extreme temperatures is OSHA’s free Heat Safety Tool mobile app, already downloaded by nearly 52,000 mobile phone users. The app is available in both English and Spanish and is compatible with iPhone, Blackberry, and Android phones.

Meanwhile, throughout the country, OSHA staff are on hand to provide expert guidance to workers and employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather. In Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, Texas, OSHA compliance officers operated three phone banks in Spanish on local Univision stations, taking questions from the public and providing information on the campaign. Learn more about staying safe while working in the heat with OSHA’s heat illness prevention materials. Order copies in English or Spanish by calling OSHA’s Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 or by visiting OSHA’s Publications page.

Direct Final Rule to apply worker safety and health requirements for cranes and derricks to demolition and underground construction

OSHA has issued a direct final rule and notice of proposed rulemaking that applies the requirements of the August 2010 cranes and derricks in construction standard to demolition work and underground construction. The application of this rule will protect workers from hazards associated with hoisting equipment used during construction activities.

The direct final rule will apply the same crane rules to underground construction and demolition that are already being used by other construction sectors, and will streamline OSHA’s standards by eliminating the separate cranes and derricks standard currently used for underground and demolition work. The rulemaking also corrects several errors introduced in the 2010 rulemaking to make it easier for workers and employers to understand and implement these standards.

The direct final rule will become effective November 15, 2012, unless OSHA receives a significant adverse comment by September 17. Individuals may submit comments electronically, by fax or by mail. See the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register and read the news release for further details.

Updated “Tool Shed” directive gives procedures for eliminating workplace hazards in the marine cargo handling industry

On August 10, OSHA issued a revised directive (PDF*) providing enforcement guidance for inspections of longshoring operations and at marine terminals, also known as the marine cargo handling industry.

The new “Tool Shed” directive clarifies what kinds of personal protect equipment (PPE) employers must provide at no cost to their workers, as well as the circumstances when employers must pay for replacing PPE. The directive also provides information and guidance on regulations for Vertical Tandem Lifts (VTLs). For more information, read the news release and visit OSHA’s Maritime Industry Safety and Health Topics page.

Labor Secretary applauds programs to educate migrant workers during Labor Rights Week

For this year’s Labor Rights Week, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis selected the theme “Promoting Labor Rights is Everyone’s Responsibility.” Held August 27-31, this year’s events included regional activities designed to educate migrant workers and employers about U.S. labor laws.

“When employers follow our labor laws, workers are more productive and businesses can grow. When the rights of workers are respected, it helps our economy,” said Secretary Solis in her video message.

During Labor Rights Week, the Labor Department and consulates representing ten countries worked together to educate migrant workers and their employers about laws administered by OSHA and the department’s Wage and Hour Division. A series of training events, workshops and information-sharing programs were held to distribute information about U.S. health, safety and wage laws and resources available to workers and employers.

laborrightsweek-500x322.pngOSHA Regional Administrator Robert Kulick delivers remarks at a Region II Labor Rights Week event.

In one such event, OSHA’s Region II office signed agreements to protect the rights of migrant workers with Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, and Honduras, and welcomed representatives from Argentina, Brazil and Nicaragua. To learn more about programs that protect migrant workers, visit the Labor Department’s website.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Barab addresses Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association


Workplace safety and health was front and center on August 20 at the 28th Annual National Conference of the Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association (VPPPA) meeting in Anaheim, Calif. The VPPPA welcomed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jordan Barab as their keynote speaker. In his speech, Barab praised OSHA’s VPP worksites for their dedication to workplace safety, and the pride many companies take in their health and safety achievements.

OSHA Voluntary Protection Program

“It is chiefly because of the example you set for all American workplaces that the VPP can continue to rely on the full support of OSHA and the Department of Labor,” Barab said. He praised outgoing Executive Director Davis Layne and presented the VPPPA’s 8th Annual Special Government Employee of the year award to Jon Alexander, the contractor/guest safety lead for Monsanto World Headquarters in St. Louis.

Barab also addressed the recent assessment of the program by OSHA’s VPP Review Team, which recommends a number of changes to maintain the integrity of the program. Created in April, 2011, by Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels and Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Fairfax, the VPP Review Team is comprised of representatives from OSHA’s Regional and National Offices. The VPP Review Team was directed to conduct a review of the VPP operations and to make recommendations to the Assistant Secretary to enhance the program. Their report recommends improvements to the consistency and efficiency of VPP review operations, while maintaining the integrity of the VPP. For more information about VPP, visit OSHA’s VPP page, see the VPP review team’s report, and read Assistant Secretary Barab’s speech for the 2012 VPPPA Conference.

Maritime Industry Outreach Trainers: OSHA announces new workplace safety training requirement

Individuals seeking authorization to become OSHA Maritime Industry Outreach Trainers must complete a new workplace safety and health course. Effective October 1, 2012, prospective maritime industry trainers must complete OSHA Course #5410 Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Maritime Industry.

OTI Education Center Logo

The OSHA Maritime courses focus on eliminating needless injuries and deaths by sharing methods of finding and fixing deadly industry hazards like falls, confined spaces, electrical hazards, machine guarding and welding/hot work. The new required course, developed by the OSHA Directorate of Training and Education and offered through authorized OSHA Training Institute Education Centers, focuses on maritime industry standards related to longshoring, marine terminals, and shipyard employment. Prospective trainers can access the course, training locations, registration and other information on OSHA’s searchable course schedule Web page or visit the Outreach Training Program for the Maritime Industry Web page.

National Safety Council renews Alliance with OSHA to address fall prevention, injury and illness prevention programs

OSHA has renewed its Alliance with the National Safety Council (NSC) to continue enhancing worker safety and health by addressing construction hazards, injury and illness prevention programs and motor vehicle safety.

During the two-year agreement, the Alliance will develop fact sheets on injury and illness prevention programs, hazard identification, worker training, fall prevention and best practices for reporting near misses. The Alliance will also develop a case study on preventing falls from heights in construction, focusing on the causes of fall protection failures and how employers can assure an effective and reliable fall prevention program. More information about this and other OSHA Alliances is available in the news release and on OSHA’s Alliance Program page.

Thousands of workers and employers attend free OSHA webinar on the revised Hazard Communication Standard

On August 13, OSHA and the Society of Chemical Hazard Communication (SCHC) welcomed more than 5,600 participants to a free webinar on implementing OSHA’s revised Hazard Communication Standard in the United States.

The webinar, developed as part of OSHA’s alliance with SCHC, explained changes to the Hazard Communication Standard to align with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). During the webinar, OSHA staff provided information and answered questions from chemical manufacturers, downstream users, and other interested parties. Topics included changes expected in training, labeling, and safety data sheets and compliance assistance opportunities. To learn more about the revised Hazard Communication and the Globally Harmonized System, see OSHA’s Hazard Communication page and read the QuickTakes special issue on GHS.

Healthcare and Social Assistance workers suffer workplace violence injuries: Maine Department of Labor issues new report

A new Maine Department of Labor report indicates that more than 13 percent of healthcare workplace injuries result from patient aggression. The aggressive acts resulting in worker injuries included hitting, biting and kicking. Workers frequently sustained injuries while trying to restrain their patients and clients.

The research on violent or aggressive actions by mental health patients, nursing home and residential care clients, general hospital patients, adults and children with disabilities and individuals being treated for substance abuse target workers in the Healthcare and Social Assistance industry. The Research and Statistics Unit of Maine’s Department of Labor compiled this data from the First Reports of Injury of the Workers’ Compensation Board 2011 database. Their study (PDF*) found that in 2011, more than 1,300 workers in healthcare or rehabilitation settings were hurt on the job by a patient or client.

OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics page on Workplace Violence explains risk factors, provides training materials, and offers additional information about preventing violence in the workplace. OSHA’s Healthcare page can provide further resources about workplace hazards and preventative measures for the healthcare industry.


Staying safe in adverse weather: Important flood and hurricane safety resources

As Tropical Storm Isaac continues its path from the Gulf Coast into the Southeast and Midwest, OSHA has educational materials for those in affected parts of the country. Visit OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics pages to learn about Flood and Hurricane Preparedness and Response.

West Nile Virus: Protecting outdoor workers from infection

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported an increase in West Nile virus infections in the United States, including more than 1,500 cases in people and at least 65 deaths. West Nile virus is a potentially serious illness transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Workers at risk include farmers, foresters, landscapers, gardeners, painters, construction workers, mechanics, and other outdoor workers. Preventing mosquito bites reduces risk to outdoor workers. Learn about preventing infection with OSHA’s West Nile Virus Fact Sheet (PDF*) and QuickCard (PDF*) and visit the CDC’s Fight the Bite! website for additional resources and frequent updates.

Explore the DOL Labor Day website

OSHA and the Department of Labor invite you to explore the special Labor Day website, a collection of labor-related news and resources in recognition of the strength, prosperity, and well-being that workers bring to our nation.



What Grain Handlers Should Do to Prepare for and Manage OSHA Inspections

By Eric J. Conn, Head of the OSHA Practice Group

We recently authored an article for Feed & Grain magazine entitled “When OSHA Comes Knockin’.” The article explains why employers in the grain industry need to be prepared for an OSHA inspection, and outlines steps they should take to prepare for and manage a visit from an OSHA inspector.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

As Alexander Graham Bell famously said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” No truer words could be said to employers in the grain industry today about OSHA inspections. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, summed up OSHA’s enforcement philosophy during her swearing in, when she stated: “There is a new sheriff in town. Make no mistake about it, the Department of Labor is back in the enforcement business. We’re serious. We’re very serious.” OSHA has certainly lived up to that tough talk.

Through increased penalties, inconsistent and confusing interpretations of grain-related regulations, aggressive special emphasis enforcement programs, inflammatory press releases, and criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, OSHA has hit the grain industry particularly hard. Accordingly, OSHA’s current enforcement philosophy makes the consequences of being unprepared for an OSHA inspection direr than ever before.

Read the full article at, and be sure to download our OSHA Inspection Checklist, a desk reference guide explaining the OSHA inspection process.

Source: OSHA Law Update

OSHA Daily Headlines – August 30, 2012


Families sue over Kansas grain elevator blast
Kansas City Star
“Bartlett Grain’s disregard for the law led to a catastrophic accident and heartbreaking tragedy for the workers who were injured or killed, their families and the agricultural community,” U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said in April in response to
See all stories on this topic »
Brick company fined $75K over work at Secaucus site, OSHA says
The Star-Ledger –
A Brick-based construction company has been fined nearly $75,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for alleged safety and health violations at a Secaucus work site, U.S. Department of Labor officials said. An OSHA
See all stories on this topic »

The Star-Ledger –
OSHA 101 for rural builders
Even companies with the best safety practices ‘fear’ a visit from OSHA. With thousands of pages of regulations developed for the protection of workers, the concerns are justifiable. Yet, knowledge is power and knowing something about this federal
See all stories on this topic »
OSHA Cites Montana Sawmill Company
Occupational Health and Safety
OSHA announced it has cited Tricon Timber LLC in St. Regis, Mont., for 25 serious and two repeat safety violations based on an inspection that followed a complaint alleging workers had been injured at the sawmill. The proposed penalties total $128,700.
See all stories on this topic »
Explosives Truck Driver Who Was Fired for Refusing to Ride With a Smoker Wins
OSHA said the driver, who was not identified, was dismissed in February, 2010 — two days after refusing to take a shipment of explosives to Canada with a co-driver whose ashtray was overflowing with cigarette butts. The driver noted that smoking while
See all stories on this topic »
OSHA investigating worker death in Williston
Jamestown Sun
The Bismarck Area Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating a work-related fatality in the Williston area. Eric Brooks with the Bismarck Area office tells The Dickinson Press ( that the agency is in the initial
See all stories on this topic »
: Norfolk Southern Railway Co. ordered by US Labor Department’s OSHA to pay
The investigations were completed by OSHA’s office in Chicago and revealed reasonable cause to believe that the employees’ reporting of their workplace injuries led to internal investigations and, ultimately, dismissals from the company. “Firing
See all stories on this topic »
Brick Contractor Fined $74K for Safety Violations
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited La Conti Concrete & Masonry Inc., located on Mantoloking Road, for nine safety and health, including two repeat, violations at a Secaucus work site stemming from an investigation that
See all stories on this topic »


Which OSHA Regulations Require Written Plans?

If OSHA came to your door, what’s one of the first things the inspector might ask to see? The answer is . . . your Hazard Communication Plan. Is your written plan up for that kind of scrutiny? How about your other safety and health plans? Are you sure you have all the required written plans you need in place?

Not all OSHA regulations require written plans, but many do. The question is which ones? Take a look at the bulleted list of general industry regulations requiring written plans. For your convenience, we’ve put them in order from most-violated down to least-violated plans, according to the latest OSHA statistics:

  • Hazard communication – 1910.1200(e)
  • Lockout/tagout (energy control procedures)- 1910.147(c)(4)
  • Respiratory protection – 1910.134(c)(1)
  • Process safety management – 1910.119(d),(e)(1),(f)(1),(j)(1),(l)(1),(m)(4),(o)(3)
  • Personal protective equipment (hazard assessment) – 1910.132(d)
  • Bloodborne pathogens – 1910.1030(c)
  • Emergency action plans – 1910.38(b)
  • Permit-required confined spaces – 1910.146(c)(4)
  • Hazardous waste operations and emergency response – 1910.120(b)(1),(l)(1),(p)(1),(q)(1)
  • Electrical safety (assured equipment grounding conductor program and lockout/tagout procedures for work with energized parts) – 1910.304(b)(3)(ii) and 1910.333(b)(2)(i)
  • Fire prevention plans – 1910.39(b)
  • Laboratory standard (chemical hygiene plan) – 1910.1450(e)
  • Commercial diving operations (safe practices manual) – 1910.420
  • Powered platforms for building maintenance (emergency action plan) – 1910.66(e)(9)

When OSHA considers a safety or health hazard to be serious, the agency usually requires written documentation of the steps an employer takes to counteract the hazard. You can see that the above list covers some of the most serious hazards faced by workers today, including, but not limited to, chemical exposures, process explosions, fire, electrocution, and bloodborne pathogens.

As an employer, not all of these plans will necessarily be applicable to your workplace, so you’ll want to review the scope and applicability of these regulations to see if your company falls under any of them. For the applicable ones, make sure your written plans meet all the OSHA-required elements specified in the regulations.

Below are links to 189 examples of subject-specific, written, workplace, safety and health plans. Many address OSHA required plans.  They are provided as guides to help you develop, implement and maintain your own plans.   They are not intended to be adopted “as is”, nor do they assure compliance with any standards.   It is recommended that all safety and health plans be adapted to each organizations’ unique needs, exposures and operations by a qualified occupational safety and health professional.

OSHA QuickTakes – May 16, 2012


In this issue

OSHA kicks off summer campaign to prevent heat-related illnesses and fatalities among outdoor workers: Educational materials and mobile application available

Heat Illness Prevention Campaign ad

OSHA has kicked off a national outreach initiative to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in the heat and steps needed to prevent heat-related illnesses. OSHA’s 2012 Heat Illness Prevention Campaign builds on last year’s successful summer campaign as well as CAL/OSHA’s successful initiative in 2010. Nationwide last summer, OSHA participated in 500 national and local conferences, training sessions, and media events, and distributed more than 180,000 heat hazard materials in English and Spanish.

For outdoor workers, ‘water, rest and shade’ are three words that can make the difference between life and death,” Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said. “If employers take reasonable precautions, and look out for their workers, we can beat the heat.”

The OSHA heat app
The OSHA heat app.

Each year, thousands of outdoor workers experience serious illnesses such as heat exhaustion. For 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 4,190 workers suffered from heat illness and 40 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job. Although outdoor workers in a variety of industries are susceptible to heat illness, those in construction and agriculture are the most vulnerable.

For information and resources on heat illness, visit OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention page. To order quantities of OSHA’s heat illness educational materials in English or Spanish, call OSHA’s Office of Communications at (202) 693-1999 or email More details are also available in the press release (y en Español).

OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign: New OSHA and stakeholder educational materials on fatal falls

NORA fatality map
OSHA stakeholder NORA maps fatal falls for CY 2011

As part of OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry, OSHA is working closely with NIOSH, the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) program and scores of stakeholders to get resources out to employers and workers – especially vulnerable workers with limited English proficiency.

To raise awareness of the hazards of the construction industry, the NORA program has developed interactive maps which illustrate construction workers killed on the job, including in fatal falls. If you are aware of a construction worksite fatality that has occurred since January 2012, you can email NORA at with the date, location, cause of the fatality, and your contact information.

Fatal falls among Massachusetts construction workers
Fatal falls among construction workers in Massachusetts over the last five years.

In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working to inform construction employers, workers and other stakeholders about numbers and causes of fatal falls in the state (PDF*). In Massachusetts over the last five years, 44 construction workers fell to their deaths.

Across the U.S. in 2010, more than 10,000 construction workers were injured as a result of falling while working from heights, and another 255 workers were killed. For more information, visit OSHA’s new Fall Prevention page.

OSHA also has new educational materials available. A new poster and factsheet—offered in both English and Spanish—provide employers and workers with life-saving information about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. To get copies of OSHA’s new Fall Prevention poster or fact sheet in English or in Spanish, please call 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA’s Publications page to order online.


Fall Prevention poster
Fall Prevention Poster
English: HTML | PDF* — en Español: HTML | PDF*
Fall Prevention Fact Sheet
Fall Prevention Fact Sheet
English: HTML | PDF* — en Español: HTML | PDF*

NIOSH researchers find respirable crystalline silica hazard for workers engaged in hydraulic fracturing operations

On April 30, NIOSH researchers presented preliminary data (PDF*) which suggest that gas and oil workers may be exposed to dangerously high levels of respirable crystalline silica while performing hydraulic fracturing operations. The researchers found that nearly half (47%) of the workers sampled were exposed to levels of silica above OSHA’s permissible exposure limits with almost 80% of those sampled exposed above NIOSH’s recommended exposure limits.

The findings were reported by Eric Esswein during a meeting of the Institute of Medicine on The Health Impact Assessment of New Energy Sources: Shale Gas Extraction. The researchers identified seven primary dust generation points, which include refilling/hot loading and release from top hatches, T-belt operations, and the “dragon’s tail.” Esswein also discussed possible means of prevention through design.

Inhalation of respirable crystalline silica particles has long been known to cause silicosis, a disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease. For more information, visit OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics page on Crystalline Silica.

Assistant Secretary speaks on OSHA outreach at Kentucky Governor’s Safety and Health Conference

On May 9, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels addressed participants at the 28th Annual Governor’s Safety and Health Conference and Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Michaels spoke about OSHA’s Workers’ Memorial Day events in honor of fallen workers, and discussed recent OSHA initiatives to protect workers from hazardous chemicals, falls in construction, and heat illness. He also invited those in attendance to join OSHA in making the Fall Prevention in Construction and Heat Illness Prevention campaigns a success.

The Governor’s Safety and Health Conference features courses, keynote speakers, and concurrent workshops focused on state-of-the-art techniques, current issues, and trends in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit the Kentucky Conference Web site.

OSHA posts new application materials to bring transparency to the variance approval process

To make the process of applying for a variance more transparent and straightforward, OSHA has posted new application forms and checklists to its Variances page. A variance is a regulatory action that permits an employer to deviate from the requirements of an OSHA standard under specified conditions. OSHA may grant a variance to employers who can prove their alternative method, condition, practice, operation, or process provides workers as safe or healthful a workplace as the applicable OSHA standard requires.

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, OSHA has worked with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to create these new materials, which significantly reduce the burden of preparing a complete and appropriate application. For more information and to access the new materials, visit OSHA’s page on How to apply for a variance.

DeMoulas Super Markets agrees to correct hazards, enhance employee safety at all Market Basket stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire

The Department of Labor has reached a settlement with DeMoulas Super Markets Inc. in which the Tewksbury grocery chain has agreed to correct all hazards and take substantive steps to enhance safety and health measures for employees at all of the chain’s more than 60 Market Basket stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“This enterprisewide settlement is significant because DeMoulas has agreed not only to correct the hazards cited during OSHA’s inspections but also to enact effective and ongoing systemic changes that will benefit all its employees,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

These changes will include a full-time safety and health director, written safety and health programs, and formal safety and health training for all workers, in addition to a number of other improvements. The company has also paid $400,000 in fines. The settlement resolves litigation that followed citations carrying $589,200 in OSHA fines in October 2011 after OSHA’s inspections identified widespread fall and laceration hazards at the stores. For more information see the press release.

OSHA orders Tennessee trucking company to reinstate whistleblower, pay more than $180,000 in back wages and damages

OSHA has ordered Brush Creek-based Mark Alvis Inc., a commercial motor carrier, to reinstate a former employee and pay him more than $180,000 in back pay, interest, and compensatory and punitive damages.

The order follows OSHA’s determination that the company violated the worker’s rights under the whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act by terminating him for his refusal to drive while fatigued and ill or violate the hours-of-service requirements outlined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The order issued by OSHA also requires the trucking company to expunge any adverse references relating to the discharge from the complainant’s personnel records, and to post a notice for employees and provide a fact sheet to them with notification of their rights under the STAA. For more details, read the news release.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the STAA and of Section 11(c) of the OSH Act, as well as 19 other whistleblower statutes. Detailed information on workers’ whistleblower rights is available on OSHA’s Whistleblower page.

OSHA issues willful citations to Wisconsin pump service, Rhode Island contractor, and Ohio excavation company for exposing workers to trenching hazards

OSHA has cited River Falls, Wisconsin-based Gordy’s Pump Service with five safety – including two willful – violations as the result of an inspection conducted after a 19-year-old worker died when an unprotected trench collapsed at a Spring Valley job site on Nov. 3, 2011. The teenager had just finished locating an existing waterline in the 220 feet long, 6 feet deep and 2 feet wide trench using a hand-held shovel when a sidewall caved in. Proposed fines total $137,000. Due to the willful violations, OSHA has placed Gordy’s Pump Service in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on recalcitrant employers and mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. For further details, see the news release.

In Rhode Island, OSHA has proposed fines totaling $117,740 against Newport-based Raymond J. Cawley Contracting Inc. for allowing cave-in and other hazards while workers were excavating at 28 W. Main Road in Middletown to replace a sewer line. OSHA’s inspection found workers in an unsafe 8-foot-deep trench who were working without means of safe egress, protective helmets, or adequate training. For more information about the willful, repeat, and serious citations, see the news release.

OSHA has also cited Perrysburg, Ohio-based Stillion Brothers Excavation Inc. with five safety – including two willful – violations for failing to protect workers from trench cave-ins at a job site in Columbus Grove. OSHA initiated an inspection on Dec. 15, 2011, under the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation. Six workers were installing 20-foot-long steel plates into a 12-foot-deep trench using a hydraulic excavator with a swivel hook that was not equipped with a safety latch. Proposed penalties total $72,820. Read the news release for additional information.

Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards and related OSHA standards is available on OSHA’s Trenching and Excavation page.

OSHA’s Free On-Site Consultation Program helps NC wood pallet manufacturer to protect workers

Edwards Wood Products
John Bogner (NC Project Mgr.), Jeff Edwards (CEO), Lynne Greene (Director Admin. Services), David Poole (Safety Consult.), Scott Hammond (Health Consult.) Howard Walters (Consult. Supervisor)

In an industry where workers are at risk for hazards from amputation to combustible dust, Edwards Wood Products, Inc. (EWPI) of Marshville, NC decided to reach out to the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL), Consultative Services Bureau, for help in strengthening its safety and health management system.

J. Lynn Greene, EWPI’s Human Resources and Safety Director, first contacted OSHA for help in 1995. Since then, OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program, which offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses, has helped Greene to implement engineering and administrative controls to eliminate and reduce hazards. Some of EWPI’s improvements have included redesigning the dust collection system around the pole mill and making changes to the facility’s vibrating conveyer system. Since becoming the first small business in the wood industry to achieve SHARP status in North Carolina in 2003, EWPI has worked to continually improve its safety and health management system.

On April 20, Greene reported that savings from lower injuries, incidences, and frequency rates have enabled the company to purchase new equipment, improve the workplace environment, and hire more workers. “We could not have put 35 new people to work if we did not have a strong safety and health management system helping the bottom line profit and loss statements,” he said. More information about the company is available on OSHA’s Small Business Success Stories page.

I have rights

OSHA poster on young workers’ safety and health rights now available for high schools and colleges

OSHA’s “I have rights” poster for young workers is available for order. The poster is directed at workers aged 16-24 to provide information and educational resources about rights to a safe and healthful workplace under the OSH Act.

To request copies, call 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA’s Publications page to order online. Additional information for young workers, employers, parents and educators, can be found on OSHA’s Young Worker page.

OSHA and the Laser Institute of America renew Alliance to protect workers from laser hazards

On May 9, OSHA renewed its Alliance with the Laser Institute of America (LIA) to reduce and prevent worker exposure to laser beam and non-beam hazards in industrial, research and medical workplaces. The Alliance will also share information on laser regulations and standards, effects lasers have on the eyes and skin, laser control measures and laser safety program administration.

“Worker exposure to laser beams can result in eye and skin damage, and in more serious cases, blindness and skin cancer,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels. “This renewed Alliance will help broaden outreach efforts to workers and employers and share critical education and information to reduce preventable injuries.”

For more information about the OSHA-LIA Alliance, see the news release. To learn more about laser hazards and laser safety, visit OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics pages on Laser Hazards, Laser/Electrosurgery Plume, and Radiation.

Updated Workers’ Memorial Day page covers events held to honor fallen workers around the country

OSHA has updated its Workers’ Memorial Day page to include photographs and descriptions of memorial events from across the United States. In honor of Workers’ Memorial Day (April 28) OSHA’s National, Regional, and Area Offices co-sponsored and attended events to honor those workers who have died on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers.

Workers' Memorial Day Web spage

OSHA welcomes Alliance members and families to kick off 2012 NAOSH Week

ASSE Safety on the Job poster contest winner
Eleven-year-old Abigail Helser of Madison, Ala., was one of the 2012 winners of the ASSE Safety on the Job poster contest.

On May 7, Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels, along with Terrie Norris, President of the American Society of Safety Engineers and Jim Hopkins, Secretary of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering marked the start of this year’s North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week.

The Assistant Secretary highlighted OSHA’s initiatives to prevent falls and heat injuries and the agency’s recent release of the hazard communication standard. This year’s NAOSH week theme, “Safety, What Every Business Needs,” was highlighted by the winners of ASSE’s 10th Annual “Safety-on-the-Job” poster contest in which children create illustrated posters with safety messages to their parents and other workers. Contest winners and runners up can be viewed here.

“These posters are vivid representations of an ideal work environment in the eyes of the next generation of workers.” said Dr. Michaels. Visit the NAOSH Week Web site for more information, or contact Morgan Seuberling at

Job openings

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OSHA QuickTakes – May 1, 2012

In this issue

President Obama proclaims April 28, 2012 Workers’ Memorial Day

In an official proclamation, President Barack Obama declared April 28, 2012 to be Workers’ Memorial Day. The President called upon all Americans to participate in ceremonies and activities in memory of those killed or injured due to unsafe working conditions.

“Today, we reflect on their sacrifice,” said President Obama, “and we rededicate ourselves to protecting the health, safety, and dignity of every worker.” Read more in the Presidential Proclamation.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis observes Workers’ Memorial Day at Action Summit for Worker Safety and Health, announces Fall Prevention Campaign

On April 26, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced a new OSHA campaign to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry. The awareness campaign will provide employers and workers with life-saving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. In 2010, more than 10,000 construction workers were injured as a result of falling while working from heights, and another 255 workers were killed. For more details of the Los Angeles Action Summit, see the news release and read the Secretary’s remarks.

OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign was developed in partnership with NIOSH and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) program. OSHA and NIOSH will work with trade associations, labor unions, employers, universities, community and faith-based organizations, and consulates to reach employers and workers – especially vulnerable, low-literacy workers – with educational materials and training on common-sense fall prevention equipment and strategies that save lives. For more information, visit To order copies of OSHA’s new Fall Prevention poster or fact sheet in English or in Spanish, please call 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA’s Publications page to order online.

OSHA memorializes fallen workers in events around the country

At the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Memorial Mass in NYC, hard hats on empty chairs are a powerful reminder of lives lost.

Last week, in Workers’ Memorial Day events around the country, OSHA honored the memories of those killed, disabled, injured or made sick by their jobs. Workers’ Memorial Day, April 28, also marked the 41st anniversary of OSHA and the dramatic improvements in workplace safety and health over OSHA’s first 40 years.

“In the 41 years since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was enacted, we have made tremendous progress,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, “but our steadfast mission to make every job in America a safe job must continue. One workplace death is too many. Making a living shouldn’t include dying.”

To learn more, listen to Dr. Michaels’ audio message, read Secretary Solis’ statement, view the Presidential Proclamation. To read about local Workers’ Memorial Day ceremonies and see pictures of the events, visit OSHA’s Workers’ Memorial Day page.

New OSHA directive focuses on communications with victims’ families following a workplace fatality

A new OSHA directive guides OSHA representatives in communicating investigation procedures with family members following a workplace fatality. The guidance ensures that OSHA representatives speak to the victim’s family early in the inspection process, establish a point of contact, and maintain a working relationship with the family..

“This directive,” explained Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, “ensures that OSHA receives the necessary information from the family and keeps the family informed throughout the investigation and settlement processes.”

Under the new directive, OSHA representatives will contact the victim’s family to explain the investigation process, timeline, and provide the family with updates throughout the investigation. Once the investigation is closed, OSHA will explain findings to the family and address any questions. If an employer has been issued citations, OSHA will provide a copy of the citation(s) to the family. For more information, see the news release and visit OSHA’s directive page (PDF*).

OSHA issues alert on CSE Corporation’s SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuer: Defective respirators can result in life-threatening hazards

OSHA issued an alert (PDF*) to employers and workers using the CSE Corporation’s SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuer (SCSR). Some of these devices have a critical defect that may cause the release of insufficient oxygen during start-up, a defect that could immediately result in a life-threatening situation for workers using the respirator.

“When workers need to escape from a dangerous situation, effective and reliable respiratory protection is essential,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. “Employers should immediately take steps to replace these respirators with a different NIOSH-approved self-rescuer or other respirator suitable for emergency escape protection.” Employers must remove CSE SR-100’s from service no later than May 31, 2012.

Under OSHA’s respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134), employers must provide training to ensure that workers know what to do should their SCSR fail to activate. Employers and workers should immediately obtain another SCSR if they encounter any difficulty with the operation of an SCSR. For more information, see the news release.

New OSHA web page on protecting nail salon workers from on-the-job hazards

A new OSHA web page provides information and educational resources on protecting nail salon workers from chemical, biological, and other hazards on the job.

The more than 375,000 nail technicians working in salons across the United States face possible health hazards every day. The hazards include exposure to chemicals from glues, polishes, removers, and other salon products; muscle strains from awkward positions or repetitive motions; and risk of infection from contact with client skin, nails, or blood. OSHA’s new Safety and Health topics page on Health Hazards in Nail Salons gives important information about these hazards and the steps that nail salon workers and employers can take to prevent injuries and illnesses.

OSHA finds Florida canvas manufacturer and Louisiana riverboat company retaliated against whistleblowers

OSHA investigations have determined that a canvas manufacturer and a riverboat company violated the whistleblower protections of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and Seaman’s Protection Acts.

OSHA is suing LOTO Services LLC and its owner, Allan R. Lochhead, for allegedly terminating an employee at Aquatech’s facility in Stuart, Fla. The worker filed a health complaint with OSHA after repeatedly reporting serious concerns to management regarding rodents and rodent droppings in the office to no avail. One day after the company was notified of the health complaint by OSHA officials; the employee was terminated. The employee filed a timely whistleblower complaint with OSHA, which concluded that the company and Lochhead had unlawfully and intentionally terminated the worker for engaging in activity protected by the OSH Act. The suit seeks to have the worker reinstated and paid back wages, interest, and compensatory and punitive damages. More details are available in the news release.

In addition, OSHA has entered into a settlement agreement with St. James Stevedoring Partners LLC New Orleans, which OSHA found also terminated a riverboat barge captain who twice reported an inoperable starboard vessel engine to the U.S. Coast Guard. The parties resolved their difference through a settlement agreement under which St. James Stevedoring Partners will pay a total of $245,000, including $23,451 in back pay, $70,352 in front pay, $133,106 in compensatory damages and $18,091 in attorney’s fees, representing the most significant financial settlement under the Seaman’s Protection Act (SPA) since OSHA assumed jurisdiction of the whistleblower provisions of that law in October 2010. Further details of the settlement are available in the news release.


OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the SPA and of Section 11(c) of the OSH Act, as well as 19 other whistleblower statutes. Detailed information on workers’ whistleblower rights is available on OSHA’s Whistleblower page.

OSHA fines Lakeview Specialty Hospital for inadequate workplace violence safeguards at Waterford, Wis., center

OSHA has cited Lakeview Neurorehab Center Midwest, which operates as Lakeview Specialty Hospital in Waterford, for exposing employees to workplace violence at the health care facility and treatment center, among other violations. OSHA has proposed penalties of $12,000.

OSHA initiated an investigation following a complaint that a worker had been severely beaten and threatened by a client at the facility on Sept. 28, 2011, as well as filed a police report with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department.

As a result of its investigation, which revealed that staff members at the facility had been assaulted numerous times, OSHA has cited the employer for a serious violation of the agency’s “general duty clause” for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause serious injury or death. A second serious violation has been cited due to the lack of a lockout/tagout program for equipment with multiple energy sources. For further details, read the news release.

OSHA cites Connecticut contractor and Georgia framing company for exposing workers to fall hazards

OSHA has cited American Building LLC, a Trumbull-based steel erection contractor, for alleged violations – one willful and one serious – of workplace safety standards following the Oct. 25, 2011, death of a worker at a site in Stamford, Conn. American Building employees were installing metal roofing onto a prefabricated steel building at the former Clairol campus at 1 Blachley Road when one of the workers fell 35 feet to the ground and sustained fatal injuries. An investigation by OSHA’s Bridgeport Area Office found that employees lacked proper fall protection and were not adequately trained to recognize and avoid fall hazards. The safety harnesses of three of the four employees working on the roof, including the victim, were not tied off to anchorage points to prevent falls, and the fourth employee’s safety lanyard was too long to protect him against a fall. For information is available in the news release.

OSHA has also cited Norcross, Georgia-based construction company LRG Framing Inc. for six safety violations at a residential work site in Cumming. OSHA received a referral, and an inspector observed employees working at heights of up to 30 feet without fall protection, among other hazards. Proposed penalties total $66,660. LRG is being cited with one willful violation, with a $46,200 penalty, for allowing employees to work without fall protection. The same violation has been cited at the company’s construction sites three times since 2006, including in connection with a construction site fatality in East Point in 2007. See the news release for additional details.

Detailed information on fall protection is available on OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics Page.

OSHA reaches out with extensive compliance assistance following Dallas tornadoes

Following the tornadoes that devastated the Dallas area on April 3, OSHA has been on the ground helping workers and members of the public engaged in cleanup and repair activities. OSHA safety officers are distributing OSHA fact sheets and QuickCards™ with important safety information, providing safety briefs and conducting interventions to ensure that contractors and their workers have the right equipment and observe safety rules.

After a natural disaster, OSHA’s role is to help protect workers and volunteers from potential hazards caused by the storm so they are not injured during recovery and rebuilding efforts. Workers and employers involved in such efforts can call 800-321-OSHA [6742] to reach an OSHA representative in their area who can provide on-site assistance. OSHA also provides fact sheets, QuickCards™, and other educational materials on safe work practices and personal protective equipment on its Tornado Recovery page.

Worker advocate Tony Mazzocchi to be inducted into Labor Hall of Honor

In recognition of his contributions to the modern occupational safety and health movement, the US Department of Labor will induct Tony Mazzocchi into its Labor Hall of Honor on June 5.

“Tony Mazzocchi’s extraordinary efforts and leadership helped pave the way for vital reforms like the OSH Act, and it’s time he takes his rightful place in the Labor Hall of Honor,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels. “The Labor Department is pleased to recognize Tony for his tireless commitment to the safety, health and welfare of America’s workers.”

Mazzocchi, who served as vice president and secretary treasurer of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic workers, spearheaded the “Right to Know” and “Right to Act” campaigns to give workers the right to know what toxic chemicals they were exposed to at work and the right to act on their knowledge.


The June 5 induction will take place at the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) 33rd Anniversary Awards Celebration at the United Federation of Teachers, 52 Broadway in lower Manhattan from 6-8 p.m. For more information or to order tickets, visit or call 212-227-6440. 

OSHA, NIOSH, Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners renew Alliance to help protect workers in roadway construction work zones

On April 19, OSHA renewed an Alliance with the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners to protect workers while working in roadway construction work zones. The Alliance will focus on preventing worker injuries and deaths from construction vehicle runovers and backovers, and focuses on increased outreach to non-English-speaking or limited-English-speaking workers.

Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary, USDOL-OSHA (first row, center) with members of the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners after the signing the national Alliance renewal agreement on April 19, 2012.

“Most fatalities that occur in road construction work zones involve a worker being struck by a piece of construction equipment or other vehicle,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels. “This renewed Alliance with the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners will help reach workers and employers with critical education and information to reduce preventable injuries and deaths.”

During the two-year agreement, the Alliance will develop fact sheets for paramedics, police officers, truck drivers, and other work zone visitors. Read more details about the Alliance in the news release.

OSHA emphasizes protecting workers from struck-by hazards with new Midwest outreach campaign and safety stand-downs in Georgia

To help protect workers at risk for struck-by hazards, OSHA has recently launched a Midwest outreach campaign and co-sponsored safety stand-downs at Georgia construction sites. “Struck by” injuries and fatalities are caused by conventional traffic/passenger vehicles, forklifts and other moving powered industrial equipment such as cranes and yard trucks.

OSHA launched the regional outreach initiative in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska to educate workers and their employers about preventing “struck by” vehicle accidents in the workplace. OSHA has developed educational materials called “Evaluate Your Entire Surroundings” (E.Y.E.S.) that are available in both English and Spanish. Materials and additional information regarding the initiative can be obtained in the news release and by contacting OSHA’s offices in St. Louis at 314-425-4249; Wichita, Kan., at 316-269-6644; Kansas City, Mo., at 816-483-9531; Omaha, Neb., at 402-553-0171; or Des Moines, Iowa, at 515-284-4794.

In the South, OSHA also partnered with construction contractors, the Federal Highway Administration, the state of Georgia and local government organizations to sponsor a safety stand-down hour at construction sites across Georgia during National Highway Work Zone Awareness Week, April 23-27. Workers voluntarily stopped work at construction sites from 7 to 8 a.m. EDT to conduct work zone safety training focused on the prevention of distracted driving, such as texting while driving, and worker injuries from traffic objects and vehicles. To learn more about the Awareness Week stand-downs, see the news release or contact OSHA’s Atlanta-West Area Office at 678-903-7301, Atlanta-East Area Office at 770-493-6644 or Savannah Area Office at 912-652-4393.

OSHA on the radio: Spanish radio show on workplace safety and health for the Latino community

In an effort to reach Latino workers and employers, OSHA Senior Safety and Health Specialist Danezza Quintero will be co-hosting a popular radio show, La Voz Del Pueblo. Along with fellow host Rafael Ramirez of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, Quintero will discuss worker safety and health issues and offer information and educational resources.

La Voz del Pueblo airs every Friday on La Caliente Radio, La Jefa 700 AM with 85,000 listeners in the Northeast.  To listen to OSHA’s segment, tune in on the first Friday of every month at 3PM EST, or find the show online at


Kansas City Grain Company Cited For Violations In Deadly Atchison Grain Elevator Explosion

Federal officials Thursday accused a Kansas City grain company of willfully ignoring workplace safety rules, leading to an explosion that killed six workers in Atchison last year.

“The deaths of these six workers could have been prevented had the grain elevator’s operators addressed hazards that are well known in this industry,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said in announcing the citations and $406,000 in proposed fines against Bartlett Grain Co. L.P.

“Bartlett Grain’s disregard for the law led to a catastrophic accident and heartbreaking tragedy for the workers who were injured or killed, their families and the agricultural community,” Solis added.

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed the penalties after accusing the firm of five willful and eight serious workplace safety violations in the aftermath of the Oct. 29, 2011, explosion.

OSHA defines a “willful” violation as having been committed “with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference. …”

Specifically, OSHA investigators found that Bartlett allowed grain dust — which is estimated to be nine times as explosive as coal dust — to accumulate; removed dust without shutting down ignition sources; repeatedly started and stopped equipment to free up grain, and used inappropriate electrical equipment in a grain dust environment.

But Bartlett officials issued a strong denial Thursday, calling the federal citations “flawed,” and said that they take “extreme exception to the willful characterization.”

Company president Bob Knief said in a prepared statement that the cause of the accident is still undetermined and “we certainly look forward to proving wrong OSHA’s unfortunate citations and characterization.”

He noted that, while OSHA asserted that accumulated grain dust helped ignite the explosion, “the evidence is clear and incontrovertible that the grain and dust found by OSHA after the incident was deposited by the accident, and could not have been there prior to the accident.”

The explosion killed four Bartlett employees: Ryan Federinko, 21; Curtis Field, 21; and Chad Roberts, 20, all of Atchison; and John Burke, 24, of Denton; and two private grain inspectors, Travis Keil, 34, of Topeka, and Darrek Klahr, 43, of Wetmore.

Working in grain elevators is one of the most dangerous jobs in what has become America’s most hazardous industry: agriculture. And while deaths from grain elevator blasts such as the one in Atchison are rare, grain bin accidents such as suffocations remain all too common.

“This is a substantial fine,” said Ron Hayes, a workplace safety advocate whose son died years ago in a grain elevator suffocation accident. “But if this is a willful violation, OSHA should follow through and seek criminal charges, as they have historically done in cases like this.”

OSHA spokesman Scott Allen said that seeking criminal charges in the case is a matter for the Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor, adding “that decision has not been made as of yet.”

In addition to Bartlett Grain, OSHA also cited Topeka-based Kansas Grain Inspection Services Inc., a contractor employed by Bartlett, for one willful, one serious and one other-than-serious violation, and proposed $67,500 in fines against that company.

Officials at the Kansas Grain Inspection Service said Thursday in a statement that the citations “contradict OSHA’s own instructions that have governed our industry for more than 15 years.”

OSHA cited KGIS for failing to provide fall protection, but company officials noted that “the explosion that killed (our employees) didn’t have anything to do with a fall and, in fact, they weren’t even outdoors when the explosion took their lives.”

“We respectfully, but strongly disagree with OSHA and believe its treatment of KGIS is unfair,” they said. “We plan to appeal the citations and trust the OSHA Review Commission or, if necessary, a federal court will set them aside.”

Both companies have 15 business days to contest the proposed fines.

To reach Mike McGraw, call 816-234-4423 or send email to

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Watch this Important Safety Training Video on Grain Bin & Silo Safety

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