Safety News Item – 07/03/09 – Million Dollar Plus OSHA Citation
In June 2009 OSHA fined Milk Specialites, Co. of Wisconsin over 1.1 million dollars for numerous safety violations.
Willful violations found at the processing plant included, among other problems, inadequate confined space entry, lack of guarding of floor and wall openings and lack of ladder protection
Safety News Item – 06/12/09 – OSHA Fatal Fall Fine
In June 2009 OSHA cited the Sills-Swindell, Inc. drywall company $60,000 for two alleged willful and one repeat violation for failing to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for loading equipment on a lift truck and to provide proper fall protection for employees using scaffolding above 10 feet.
In this instance a worker was unloading materials being delivered from a lift truck. The truck became unstable and the worker fell 36 feet to his death.
Safety News Item – 06/05/09 – HSE Crackdown
The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted a blitz of inspections of construction sites in March 2009 visiting over 1,750 in all.
Approximately 20% of the sites were found to be below standard. Problems were addressed either with a Prohibition Notice meaning work had to cease until corrective measures were taken or an Improvement Notice allowing work to continue but providing a set time period for corrective actions.
The most common problems found involved work at heights with about one in every six sites inspected receiving a Prohibition Notice for improper fall protection.
Safety News Item – 01/09/09 – OSHA Ruling on PPE Requirement
In December 2008 OSHA issued a final ruling concerning an employer’s duty to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and training as to the equipment’s use to each employee.
This ruling provided clarification that each employee not protected may be considered a separate violation with separate penalties assessed, allowing a per employee citation.
However, the ruling does not expand the pool of protected employees, does not require new types of PPE or new types of training.
To review the entire OSHA Ruling go “OSHA issues final rule on clarifying employers’ duty to provide personal protective equipment and train each employee”.
Safety News Item – 12/05/08 – Industrial Stair Railings
OSHA Standard Interpretation of 1910.23(e) concerning industrial stairs platforms and railing heights discusses compliance as well as what is a de mininmus violation of the railing height requirement.
To review the entire Interpretation go to OSHA 1910.23(e) Interpretation.
Safety News Item – 10/31/08 – New OSHA Construction Fall Section
OSHA has added a comprehensive section to its website dedicated to preventing Falls at Construction sites. The OSHA page includes, among other things, links to statutes, compliance guidelines, Bureau of Labor Statistics about fall injuries and fatalities, various safety tip cards and a link to NIOSH.
To visit this page go to OSHA Construction Fall Site.
Safety News Item – 10/17/08 – OSHA Says Falls #1
An OSHA task force found that fall hazards are the most frequent safety violation at New York City construction sites. Close a quarter of a million dollars in fines were issued by the OSHA task force during a 2 week enhanced enforcement period this summer with 39 of the 129 violations being for fall hazard violations.
To read the complete article on Occupational Health and Safety Online go to OSHA Fall Hazard Violations.
Safety News Item – 08/15/08 – OSHA Fall Tips
OSHA has prepared a handy reference tool to remind workers of some basic fall protection tips. To keep these useful tips fresh in workers’ minds they should be reviewed periodically and readily available at all times.
To review the tips click here OSHA Fall Tips.
Safety News Item – 07/25/08 – Contractor fined $140K for fall and electrocution hazards
OSHA has cited Connecticut contractor for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards following agency inspections at two worksites. BMA General Contractors LLC, which also was fined in 2006 and 2007 for similar problems, faces a total of $140,000 in fines for subjecting employees to potentially fatal falls and electrocution hazards. Exposures included falls of 19 to 29 feet while working on scaffolds and on roofs without fall protection equipment or training, as well as fall hazards from using ladders that did not extend at least three feet above the scaffold platform.
“Falls are the most frequent cause of death in construction, and there is no justification for an employer’s repeated failure to ensure that employees have the knowledge, training and equipment to identify and protect themselves against this most dangerous of hazards,” said C. William Freeman III, director of OSHA’s Hartford Area Office, which conducted the inspections.
Safety News Item – 07/04/08 – OSHA and ASSE Renew Alliance
In June 2008 OSHA announced that it had renewed its alliance with the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE)in their joint effort to foster a culture of prevention for safety and health hazards at the workplace.
For the full announcement go to OSHA & ASSE Alliance.
Safety News Item – 06/20/08 – Partnership with OSHA
The Delaware Contractors Association, located in Newark, DE, has entered into a partnership with OSHA in an effort to increase the number of contractors in Delaware who implement effective safety and health programs.
The goal is to eliminate employee exposures to safety and health hazards – including falls, being struck by objects and vehicles and electrocutions – all leading hazards in the construction workplace.
Safety News Item – 02/01/08 – OSHA Fall Protection Fact Sheet
The OSHA website – www.OSHA.gov – contains a lot of very valuable information, including fact and tips sheets on many topics.
The Fall Protection fact sheet – OSHA FP Facts – provides concise, useful advice on preventing falls.
Every employer and building owner should think about distributing and/or posting this fact sheet for the benefit of all employees and others using the facility.
Safety News Item – 05/04/07 – Carpentry firm fined $80K by OSHA
A carpentry firm in Connecticut received $80,000 in proposed fines from OSHA for repeat violations of exposing its employees to fall hazards, including one employee being exposed to a fall of 27 feet.
“Falls are the number one killer in construction,” said C. William Freeman III, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “Effective fall protection is absolutely essential for protecting employees against death or disabling injuries. There is no good reason for this contractor’s failure to provide fall protection.”
Safety News Item – 03/23/07 – Ruling strengthens Cal/OSHA multi-employer worksite liability
The California Third Appellate District Court of Appeals affirmed a Cal/OSHA citation to a controlling employer on a multi-employer worksite for a subcontractor’s failure to protect workers in a trench.
The Court of Appeal held the Cal/OSHA did not need to demonstrate a lack of reasonable dilegence by the controlling employer for liability.
California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 336.10 authorizes Cal/OSHA to issue citation to controlling employers on multi-employer worksites that have actual or contractual authority to correct the violation.
Safety News Item – 12/15/06 – OSHA Citation for Fall Deaths
In October 2006 OSHA levied fines of over 2 million dollars against Thomas Industrial Coatings, Inc. for the fall deaths of two workers.
The deaths occurred on the same bridge painting project in Kansas City, Mo. within 2 months of each other. The first worker fell to his death when he dropped through a hole in the platform on which he was working and the second died when he fell dismantling the scaffolding.
Another worker died in a fall on a different project earlier in the year.
To read more about the incident go to OSHA cited Thomas Industrial Coatings for Fall Deaths.
Safety News Item – 10/06/06 – Philadelphia Construction Fall Deaths
The Philadelphia Inquirer, as part of an article about the recent death of worker who fell through a net guard rail and was impaled to death on rebar below, reports that so far this year (2006) 16 workers have been killed in construction accidents in the area that includes Philadelphia and Delaware County. About half of those have been from falls.
The subcontractor on the 31-story condominium project mentioned above, has a history with OSHA – most notably for its role in the deaths of four workers and injuries to 21 others while building a garage at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in 2003.
Following an appeal of a series of safety violations, fines against the contractor in this case were reduced earlier this year from the $98,000 proposed by OSHA to $21,000. Fabi was fined $105,000 for a 1995 worker fatality at another garage at the same resort. That fine was later lowered to $31,500.
Safety News Item – 09/22/06 – OSHA Citation against Roofing Company
After an employee, while helping with the operation of a trolley hoist, fell from a 6-story roof and was impaled to death on a wrought iron fence, OSHA issued a willful citation against the Miami roofing company employer for failure to comply with the manufacturer’s operating instructions for the trolley hoist.
This, along with other violations found at the site brought proposed fines of over $150,000.
Safety News Item – 07/28/06 – Multi-Employer Work Site Liability
OSHA’s Multi-Employer Work Site Policy sets out the categories of employers involved in a construction project; determines the range of safety responsibilities for each category of employer and sets forth the level of reasonable care each category is responsible for providing for the safety of its employees.
It is important to note that these responsibilities cannot be contracted away, regardless of the contracts signed or agreements made.
Each contractor must know into which category they fall and the responsibilities they have arising from it.
Safety News Item – 06/02/06 – OSHA Identifies High Risk Employers
In an effort to increase awareness and, hopefully, in the process increase workplace safety OSHA had identified and notified 14,000 employers that the injury and illness rates at their worksites are higher than the national average.
Assistance from OSHA to remedy the situation also is being offered.
The list was compiled from the employer supplied 2005 surveys of 80,000 worksites (data from 2004).
Safety News Item – 03/03/06 – OSHA Steel Erection Standard; Slip Resistance
OSHA has revoked a provision from the steel erection standard that addressed the slip resistance of walking surfaces of coated structural steel members.
OSHA determined that the revocation was necessary because two requisite technical developments had not occurred. These developments were 1. completed industry protocols for slip-testing equipment and 2. the availability of suitable slip-resistant coatings.
Tip of the Week No. 90 – 11/28/05 – OSHA terms
The terms competent person, qualified person, and qualified climber or worker need to be defined by each employer and standards of performance need to be developed around safety rules for fall protection.
A company’s Experience Modification Rate (EMR)in future years will be predicated on active fall-incident prevention now. Employers should become leaders for preventive safety engineering in their industry!
See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 3rd Edition” page 62.
How about ordering a copy for yourself? Order online now.
Safety News Item – 10/28/05 – OSHA fines
OSHA has fined a New York state railroad car manufacturer over $130,000 for 17 safety violations, some of them deemed willful.
Nearly $100,000 in fines arose from willful violations involving huge cranes. According to OSHA the manufacturer was aware that workers were being exposed to falls of up to 45 feet as they moved across the cranes and yet continued to permit such actions.
Safety News Item – 09/23/05 – OSHA assists with Katrina clean-up
OSHA officials are on the ground and are committed to providing technical assistance for the long-term, in the Katrina clean-up efforts.
OSHA has developed Public Service Announcements for the radio, distributed fact sheets on dozens of topics and have handed out over 100,000 Quick Cards concerning specific safety hazards clean-up workers can expect to confront.
These include hazards associated with toxic water, mold, working with chainsaws and generators, fall hazards, working in unstable structures and electrocution.
Safety News Item – 07/15/05 – OSHA fine in Craneway Collapse
A Massachusetts demolition company was fined over $60,000 by OSHA for safety and health violations arising from a craneway collapse that killed two workers.
OSHA found that an engineering survey to determine the stability of the craneway was not done and that had it been done it would have found that the craneway was not stable or safe for use.
Safety News Item – 06/03/05 – Imminent Danger most Severe OSHA Action
Contrary to popular believe, OSHA Director of Enforcement Richard Fairfax states that OSHA cannot “shut down” at worksite.
Fairfax says that OSHA finds sever hazards upon inspection they most OSHA can do is post an imminent danger notice and attempt to get a temporary restraining order from a Federal District Court.
He states that OSHA cannot walk in, see a hazard and demand that all work cease immediately.
Safety News Item – 05/27/05 – Oregon OSHA
Oregon has received final approvala from U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to become the 17th state to establish and run its own Occupational Safety and Health program.
This means that Oregon OSH act will now supercede the federal OSHA regulations.
Safety News Item – 05/06/05 – OSHA Fatality Investigations
In April 2005, OSHA posted guidelines for officials conducting investigations into work-related fatalities and catastropes. (A catastrope is defined as a work-related incident that results in the hospitalization of 3 or more employees).
The guidelines direct that, if possible, only trained and experienced CSHOs should investigate such incidents.
The guidelines include, but are not limited to:
*training for investigating personnel
*witness interview procedures
*data recording and tracking
*the relationship between such investigations and OSHA programs and activities, and
*information as to OSHA’s jurisdiction.
Safety News Item – 04/08/05 – OSHA Initiative
A recent OSHA newsletter discussed its new kits for employers focusing its initiative to promote both fall protection and safety near power lines.
The fall protection kit is “Fall Protection – It’s a Snap!” available at Its a Snap kit.
The power line safety kit is “Overhead Powerlines – Don’t Get Zapped” available at Don’t Get Zapped.
Safety News Item – 03/11/05 – OSHA Proposed Budget
The proposed 2006 OSHA budget earmarks funding to focus on enforcement and compliance assistance programs. The goal is to reduce or eliminate ALL workplace injuries and/or illnesses.
To read the complete OSHA budget announcement and outline of the budget go to 2006 OSHA Budget Proposal.
Safety News Item – 01/14/05 – OSHA/Hispanic Site
OSHA regulations and standards do little good if the parties working under them cannot understand them. Spanish speaking employees and their supervisors can be directed to the OSHA web site, and have them click on OSHA Hispanic Site.
The Hispanic site provides access to OSHA information and rules that pertain to roofing, siding and other construction work. The National OSHA office currently is working on translating the standards.
Additionally, OSHA has started the process of translating various courses into Spanish and with some investigation an employer often can find places where a needed OSHA course is taught in Spanish.
Safety News Item – 12/17/04 – Failure to provide safety belts not malicious
The Montana Supreme Court held that the behavior of a telephone cooperative in failing to provide linemen with safety belts did not rise to the level of an intentional act, thereby leaving workers’ comp as the only remedy available.
A worker fell 18 feet from a ladder and broke his neck, leaving him unable to work.
The worker claimed that he was inadequately trained and had not been provided a safety belt, which all parties agree would have prevented the fall.
The court concurred that training was not adequate, but found it was only negligent – not malicious or intentional.
The court further held that the OSHA telecommunications standard – 29 CFR 1910.268(g)(1) – did not specifically require the use of safety belts on aerial ladders, only requiring safety belts when work was done above 4 feet “on poles, and on towers”.
Safety News Item – 12/10/04 – Most Frequent OSHA Violations
Oregon OSHA reports that for 2003 the most common serious violations were of the general fall protection standards, and most of these were in the construction industry.
Safety News Item – 12/03/04 – OSHA proposes $108K fine of roofing materials manufacturer
OSHA has proposed $108,000 in fines to a roofing materials manufacturer after an employee suffered amputation of his hand.
OSHA issued five repeat citations for:
exposing workers to “caught-by” injuries from unguarded equipment;
electrocution from uncovered fittings and boxes;
falls from catwalks without guardrails and
inadequate nozzle on compressed air piping.
There were an additional 11 serious citations.
There had been previous citations for these conditions which have become final orders.
Safety News Item – 11/05/04 – OSHA WARNING RE: WIRE HOOK FAILURE
OSHA has issued a warning about the potential failure of wire hooks when attached to diagonal member. Doing so can cause the hook to get into such a position that the release mechanism unintentionally employs or the hook is becomes so bent and stretched that it disengages.
The OSHA bulletin cites the case of a tower worker who was using a personal fall arrest system but still fell 75 feet to his death when the wire hook connected to a diagonal member failed.
See OSHA Wire Hook Bulletin.
Dr. J. Nigel Ellis has considerable experience in the area of wire hooks and the possibility of failure. If you have any questions in this regard you can contact him at nigel@FallSafety.com or call him at 1-800-372-7775.
Safety News Item – 10/22/04. OSHA Grants
OSHA has awarded over $10.5 million in training grants to non-profit organizations for training and educational safety programs.
33 of the 69 grants are for new programs and another 36 grants are one-year extensions of existing programs.
The grants cover a wide variety of safety related programs and are from all across the country.
10/08/04 – Safety News Item. OSHA Authority.
The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission ruled that an air freight company was properly cited by OSHA for exposing its employees to fall hazards at the Dayton International Airport.
The air freight company unsuccessfully argued that it was subject to OSHA because the Federal Aviation Administration exercised authority over the loading procedures at issue.
09/24/04 – Safety News Item. Contractor fined over $145,000 for fall protection violations.
A New Jersey company faces over $145,000 in fines from OSHA for failing to provide fall protection and other safety violations.
OSHA inspected the site after being informed that workers were on scaffolding up to 30 feet above ground without fall protection.
Five willful violations were alleged, among other citations.
07/23/04 – Safety News Item. OSHA seeks comments re: Whistleblowers
OSHA has requested comments on the extension of information collection requirements for Whistleblower claims.
The statute sets out the procedures for filing such a claim. A specific form is not required, but a full, written statement of the basis of the claim, including all alleged acts and omissions, must be included.
Comments are due by August 23, 2004 and should be sent to OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. ICR 1218-0236(2004), Room N-2625, US Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20210.
07/02/04 – Safety News Item. Proposed OSHA timetable.
Proposed legislation would require OSHA to issue any citations within 30 days of an inspection and would provide employers with 30 days to contest citations.
06/04/04 – Safety News Item. OSHA requests comments on SST Program
OSHA is seeking public comments on its Site-Specific Targeting inspection program (SST).
The SST program utilizes OSHA’s injury and illness data to select high-injury workplaces for targeted inspections.
OSHA welcomes any suggestions or comments, but does have a number of specific questions that it would like addressed:
1. are lost work day injury and illness and days away from work injuries and illness rates appropriate measurement tools;
2. should OSHA consider other measures for injury and illnesses;
3. should OSHA use multiple rather than single year data;
4. should industry citation rates be taken into account for inspection priority;
5. should SST focus on specific industries or past citation history; and
6. are there areas or hazards OSHA should be focusing its enforcements efforts on?
Comments are due by July 6, 2004 and should be mailed to OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. C-08, Room N-2625, US Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20210, or faxed to 202-693-1648 or electronically submitted to http://ecommets.osha.gov.
Questions may be directed to Richard Fairfax, Enforcement Programs Director at 202-693-2100.
05/21/04 – Safety News Item. Senator moves to strenghten OSHA.
Senator Edward Kennedy has plans to introduce legislation that will extend OSHA protection to “millions of public and private sector employeess who aren’t protected now”.
The legislation would extend OSHA protection to state and local public employees and millions of private sector workers.
The legislation also would call for criminal penalties, requirements that employers pay for workers’ personal protective equipment, whistleblower protections and greater public access to records.
The tougher criminal penalties would include making it a felony rather than a misdemeanor for employers that cause a worker’s death due to a wilful violation of health and safety laws.
(Occupational Safety & Health Reporter – April 29, 2004, vol.34, no. 18 – BNA, Inc. publications)
05/14/04 – Safety News Item. Tower Company Cited after 3 Fall Deaths.
Michigan OSHA has cited CB & I Water with two willful and three serious violations with proposed penalties of over $100,000.
These citations came after the third CB & I Water employee in less than a year died in a fall from a tower. All three cases included citations for fall protection violations, including failing to have a secured life line of proper strength, failure to have a Competent Person on site, fall protection violations on ladders and stairways as well as failure to train for the specific type of rigging and failure to monitor the activity of a new employee.
The Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth stated, “This outrageous cluster of fatalities provides tragic documentation that CB & I Water has a complete disregard, on the corporate level, for protecting their workers.”
CB &I Water has appealed.
04/09/04 – Safety News Item of the Week. OSHA Top Ten Citations.
Below is a list of the Federal OSHA construction standards most frequently cited from October 2002 through September 2003.
1. standard 1926.451 – scaffolds – 9458 citations.
2. standard 1926.501 – fall protection – 5811 citations.
3. standard 1926.651 – excavations – 2064 citations.
4. standard 1926.1053 – ladders – 2030 citations.
5. standard 1910.1200 – HazCom – 1681 citations.
6. standard 1926.405 – electrical – 1514 citations.
7. standard 1926.652 – excavations – 1484 citations.
8. standard 1926.100 – head protection – 1445 citations.
9. standard 1926.20 – general safety – 1430 citations.
10. standard 1926.453 – scaffolds – 1361 citations.
03/26/04 – Safety News Item. OHSA Enforcement – Two contractors cited for failing to provide Fall Protection.
From Occupational Safety & Health Reporter (published by BNA,Inc.)vol.34, no.11 dated March 11, 2004:
The general subcontractor and a sub-contractor on a New Hampshire hotel construction site were fined over $118,000 for both willful and serious violations for failing to provide fall protection to their employees. Based on complaints OSHA inspected the site and found that workers of both companies were exposed to falls of up to four stories while working without fall protection near the edges of open-sided floors. The general contractor’s employees also were exposed to falls from unguarded scaffolding.
The contractors also were cited for lack of proper training on scaffoldidng, ladders and fall protection generally, as well as for exposure of employees to falling objects, unsecured holes and misuse of a ladder.
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