by Jonathan Brown

iStock_000004803357XSmallEarlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding they feel will facilitate coordination and cooperation between the two agencies.  The memorandum allows for the exchange of safety, coercion, and retaliation information between the two entities.  This agreement seems to have been developed primarily as a result of two other pieces of legislation:  the anti-retaliation provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA), 49 U.S.C. §31105, and the anti-coercion provision, 49 U.S.C. §31136(A)(5). The STAA protects drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) from termination and other acts of retaliation for reporting safety, health, or security concerns. The anti-coercion provision provides the Secretary of Transportation the authority to develop regulations that ensure a CMV driver is not coerced into operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner or condition.

OSHA’s responsibility is the investigation of complaints of retaliation upon drivers by a commercial motor carrier. Under the STAA, OSHA has the authority to order affirmative action upon the commercial motor carrier to abate the situation, reinstate driver(s), and award compensatory damages as well as reasonable attorney fees to the driver. In contrast, the FMCSA’s purview is in investigating and taking appropriate enforcement action against the commercial motor carrier found to have been in violation of federal safety regulations.  FMCSA has many options when taking action against a commercial motor carrier, ranging from issuing a notice of violation up to and including suspending their operating authority.

Per the agreement, the FMCSA will inform all individuals who complain of alleged retaliation of OSHA’s areas of responsibility and supply the individual with the proper contact information to file a complaint. OSHA will supply the FMCSA with complaints filed and findings issued under the STAA. Finally, the agencies will report to each other annually on the previous year’s activities.

In the past 9 years, OSHA has processed almost 3,000 cases under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. Recently, OSHA ordered a transportation contractor in Oregon to repay $115,000 in back wages and reinstate a driver who was fired in 2011 after she refused to drive her truck that she said had inadequate tire tread.

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Form300AScenario:  An employee is injured on the job and a work relationship is established for recordkeeping purposes. The employee is now not able to drive himself to work. He may be in a cast or splint, arm in a sling, using crutches, or leg immobilized, etc. The employer has work the employee could perform if he could get to work. The employee stated he was not able to drive. Prior to the injury, the employee drove himself to work every day. He was not in a carpool or didn’t catch a ride with co-workers, etc.

Questions: Would this case be a days away from work case or a restricted work activity case?  If the employer provided transportation (even though not required by the regulation to do so), could the company count the days as restricted or must they still count them as days away from work?  Would the answer be the same if the employee’s doctor wrote a restriction of “no driving”, but the company says “the employee can get a ride with someone else, we have work available”?

Answer: The case must be recorded in a manner reflecting what actually occurs. If the employee does not make it to work, the case must be recorded as involving days away from work. If the employee is driven to work by the employer (or anyone else) and the employee performs restricted work, the case must be recorded as involving restricted work activity.

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DavesmallLouisville, KY – Dwayne Towles, President of Advanced Safety & Health, LLC, announces the addition of David McGill, CIH, CSP, CHMM, to serve as the manager of Industrial Hygiene Services, further complementing the team of dedicated occupational health and safety professionals at Advanced Safety & Health. “He is an ardent safety and industrial hygiene  professional with a proven track record of implementing and managing well-designed safety and health management systems, specifically in the areas of industrial hygiene and environmental management”, said Towles.

Dave brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise as he has established and managed environmental, safety, and health programs in a variety of industrial settings including thermoplastics, molten metal, chemical, and metal die casting.  He also has expertise in radiation physics, radiation safety, explosives, chemical hygiene, site inspections, root cause analysis, asbestos abatement, medical management, and community monitoring.  In addition to industrial hygiene and occupational safety, Dave has developed and managed environmental programs for both large and small quantity generators including manifesting of hazardous waste, tracking, and disposal.  As an ISO 14001 Lead Auditor, he has implemented and maintained several Environmental Management Systems for various industries.  With his most recent role on the Deep Water Horizon oil spill clean-up, Dave continuously provided management and oversight for a multi-state area covering all aspects of industrial hygiene activities including technician supervision and assessment of exposures to petroleum, dusts, noise, pathogens, heat stress, and other toxic chemicals.  He has expertise in construction safety and has extensive experience in monitoring construction safety and health activities.

Dave holds a Master of Science degree in Physics from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana.  He is board certified in industrial hygiene (CIH), occupational safety (CSP), and hazardous materials management (CHMM).

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iStock_000013114436 ASH Hiring Man

Job Title:        Construction Safety Specialist

Category:        Consulting Services – Occupational Safety & Health

Date Posted:  08/29/14

Job City:          Shelbyville

Job State:       Kentucky

Qualifications/Job Description:

We are seeking a construction safety professional who will provide safety/OSHA consultation and management services for our increasing client base.  The responsibilities of this new position include: providing safety technical support; implementing safety services; conducting safety and health training; performing site safety inspections; and performing standard safety management services for an 18-month project in Shelbyville Kentucky.

Qualified candidates will have: completed an OSHA 30 hour course for construction, have a minimum of five years construction safety experience or two years’ experience with a BS in occupational safety science, safety engineering, or safety management, and must be able to spend long periods of time outdoors in both hot and cold environments. A significant amount of walking will be required for the job.

Interested applicants must be problem-solvers, self-motivated, and results-oriented with strong communication skills.  The ability to interact with various client management styles is necessary.  Computer literacy and the ability to travel as necessary are also required.

Please send your resume with a cover letter explaining your interest and particular qualifications.

Contact Information:

Send resume to:

Please place “Construction Safety Specialist Position” in the subject line.

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Proposed penalties total $74,900

iStock_000033158288 Train TrestleJESUP, Ga. – Sarah Jones, a 27-year-old camera assistant, was killed and eight other workers were injured while trying to escape an oncoming freight train during the filming of a scene on February 20 for the movie “Midnight Rider,” a biopic based on the life of musician Gregg Allman. Film Allman LLC of Pasadena, California, was cited for one willful and one serious safety violation for exposing employees to struck-by and fall hazards.

“Employers are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect workers’ health and safety, and the entertainment industry is no exception,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “It is unacceptable that Film Allman LLC knowingly exposed their crew to moving trains while filming on a live track and railroad trestle.”

OSHA initiated the inspection in response to the incident, which occurred during the filming of a scene on the tracks of the Doctortown train trestle in Georgia that spans the Altamaha River. While the crew was filming, a CSX Corp. train traveling on the tracks was observed heading toward them. Crew members immediately started exiting the tracks, trying to remove set pieces and get off the trestle. However, they were unable to outrun the oncoming train. Ms. Jones was killed and eight other crew members were injured by debris when the train hit a hospital bed being used as a set piece.

“Their failure to develop a safety plan to prevent such hazards, including obtaining permission from the rail owner to use the tracks for filming, led to the death of one crew member and injuries to eight other employees,” said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s Regional Administrator for the Southeast.

A willful citation was issued for the employer’s failure to provide safety measures to protect employees from moving trains. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The serious citation was issued for exposing workers to fall hazards while working on a train trestle that was not equipped with safety guardrails or other fall protection measures. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

At the time of the incident, Film Allman LLC employed 20 workers on the set and approximately 74 workers nationwide. Proposed penalties total $74,900.

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Agreement resolves OSHA violations issued for exposing worker to hazardous chemical

iStock_000017937891SmallFiberdome Inc. has agreed to limit employee exposure to styrene, pay a $2,000 penalty and accept a general duty clause citation under the Occupational Safety and Health Act alleging that an employee was exposed to styrene over the industry agreed-upon level. The agreement resolves all outstanding citations issued to Fiberdome in September 2013 by OSHA.

Styrene, a chemical used extensively in the manufacture of plastics, rubber and resins is used by Fiberdome at its Lake Mills (Wisconsin)-based fiberglass manufacturing plant. It can cause health effects such as headache, fatigue, confusion, difficulty in concentrating, a feeling of intoxication and respiratory problems.

“We are pleased that Fiberdome agreed to adopt the industry recognized 50 ppm limit and believe that all responsible and safety conscious employers who use styrene should consider doing the same thing,” said Kim Stille, OSHA Area Director in Madison. “OSHA believes that employers have the responsibility to further limit exposure to chemicals that can harm employees even if the level of such exposure is below OSHA permissible exposure limits. “

Under the terms of the agreement, Fiberdome will abate the general duty citation by following the styrene industry’s 1996 agreement to voluntarily adopt an employee exposure limit of 50 ppm over an 8-hour time weighted average. Fiberdome further agreed that if it cannot achieve compliance with a voluntary exposure limit through engineering and/or administrative controls, it will implement an effective respiratory protection program, including the use of appropriate respirators.

OSHA cited Fiberdome for a general duty clause violation in September 2013 for exposing a worker to styrene levels that were measured at 1.3 times the industry agreed-upon level, even though the airborne concentration of the chemical didn’t violate OSHA’s permissible exposure limit of 100 parts per million. OSHA initiated the inspection after receiving a referral relating to workers being ill.

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OSHA proposes $110,700 in penalties

iStock_000017601923XSmall Home Depot LogoHome Depot USA Inc. has been cited for six safety violations, including two repeat, one willful and three serious, at its home improvement store on North Kimball Avenue in Chicago. The repeat and willful violations involved lack of training and maintenance for powered industrial vehicles. Proposed penalties total $110,700.

“Employees at this Home Depot store used powered industrial vehicles around-the-clock to receive stock and transport goods to customers’ vehicles. This made maintenance and operator training for these vehicles vital to employee safety,” said Angeline Loftus, OSHA’s area director for Chicago North. “Employers, such as Home Depot, have a responsibility to re-evaluate safety procedures corporatewide. When cited for a hazard at one store, they need to ensure that all stores have incorporated the necessary safety procedures and training.”

Nationwide, Home Depot has been cited more than 120 times in the past five years for safety and health violations at its stores, which employ about 325,000 people. The Kimball Avenue store employs 210 workers.

Person drive a ForkliftOSHA opened the January 27, 2014, inspection under the Local Emphasis Program for Powered Industrial Vehicles. Yearly, thousands of workers are injured, sometimes fatally, while operating these vehicles. The local emphasis program was implemented to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries caused by these vehicles. The vehicles have been the source of 105 occupational fatalities during fiscal years 2005 through 2013 in Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio.

OSHA issued one willful violation for failing to remove from service a powered industrial truck in need of repair. A repeat violation was issued for failing to evaluate forklift operators’ performance at least once every three years. The Home Depot was previously cited for this violation at its Douglasville, Georgia, store in July 2012. A second repeat violation was issued for failing to perform shift-by-shift inspections of forklifts. This violation was previously cited in 2010 at Home Depot stores in Tampa, Florida, and Chicago.

Three serious violations were issued for exposing workers to chemical burns from sulfuric acid by failing to require the use of eye, face and hand protection when adding water or checking water levels in powered industrial vehicle batteries. Home Depot also failed to provide an eyewash station for immediate emergency use for employees exposed to injurious corrosive materials while working with industrial batteries. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

To view the citations, visit

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Inspection finds repeat and serious violations; $92,400 fine proposed

Beer-making unitCOLUMBUS, Ohio – Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC, which makes Budweiser and Bud Light beers and other beverages, has been cited by OSHA for two repeat and eight serious safety violations following an inspection of its Columbus brewery’s ammonia refrigeration system. Proposed penalties total $92,400.

The violations were cited under OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standards, which contain specific requirements for managing highly hazardous chemicals in work processes. One such chemical is anhydrous ammonia, widely used as a refrigerant in industrial facilities, including breweries. Ammonia can be a health hazard because it is corrosive to the skin, eyes and lungs. It is a flammable vapor.

“Anheuser Busch has a responsibility to ensure the safe operation of its refrigeration systems by implementing an engineering process for the detection and control of potential ammonia systems releases,” said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA’s area director in Columbus. “Exposure to ammonia can have serious health consequences. Failure of these systems, such as overpressurization, can result in explosion and fire. Workers should not be put at risk because this company failed to implement the required protections.”

The February 4, 2014, inspection found the Anheuser-Busch plant failed to develop procedures for normal and emergency shutdown and restarting refrigeration systems. The company’s process hazard analysis failed to address the dangers of overpressurization and ammonia release completely, and failed to address engineering controls and their potential failure. In addition, the company did not install ammonia detection systems or a continuous emergency ventilation system.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

The company was issued two repeat citations for failing to document properly the ammonia refrigeration system and the building ventilation design for use in emergencies. The company failed to document the design for a suction header pressure relief system adequately. The company was cited for similar violations in 2010 at a brewery in Cartersville, Georgia.

Anheuser-Busch, headquartered in St. Louis, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, a global brewer, and operates under the Anheuser-Busch name and logo.

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Nearly $189,000 in penalties proposed

iStock_000023698673XSmallRust-Oleum Corporation, doing business as Synta Inc., was cited by OSHA for 33 serious safety and health violations for exposing full-time and temporary workers to crystalline silica dust, amputation and electrical hazards. OSHA initiated its inspection in February 2014, following a complaint alleging improper storage of material and inadequate forklift training. The proposed penalties total $188,500.

Inhalation of respirable crystalline silica particles can cause silicosis, a disabling, nonreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease. Leading scientific organizations, including the American Cancer Society, have confirmed the causal relationship between silica and lung cancer.

“By failing to correct the violations identified, Rust-Oleum chose to ignore worker safety and exposed employees to hazards that could result in illness, injury or death,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “Workplace hazards need to be addressed immediately and prevented from reoccurring by implementing an effective safety and health program.”

One repeat violation was cited for allowing employees to perform maintenance and servicing of equipment without ensuring the machine could not restart.

OSHA cited the employer for 26 serious violations for exposing an employee to crystalline silica at levels of more than two times the exposure limit; failing to develop procedures to protect workers from moving machine parts during servicing and maintenance; exposing workers to crushing and struck-by hazards by not replacing or repairing damaged storage rack shelving; and allowing electrical equipment to be installed or used without following manufacturer instructions. The employer failed to administer and implement an occupational noise monitoring program; to provide adequate protective equipment, such as a chemical apron for employees working with corrosive materials; and did not develop or implement a written hazard communication program for employees working with hazardous chemicals. To view the citations, including six other violations, visit

Rust-Oleum Corp. has been in business since 1921 and acquired the Clarkston facility, formerly Synta Inc., in September 2012. Synta was established in 1993 and is a paint and coating manufacturer that sells its products through home improvement, hardware and other retail stores. Synta employs approximately 1,500 workers. The company’s corporate headquarters is in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

OSHA has conducted six previous inspections at Synta in the last five years. Most recently, in April 2012, Synta was cited for failure to have machine guarding and an eyewash station and lack of a hazard communication plan.

At the time of the inspection, two staffing agencies were on-site, Impact Staffing Corp. and Precision Employment Group. The staffing agencies did not maintain supervision at the company and were not knowledgeable about hazardous conditions at the facility. No citations were proposed for the staffing agencies.

In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers.

OSHA has recently proposed to update its current silica standard. Published in the Federal Register on September 12, 2013, OSHA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica aims to update the inconsistent and outdated permissible exposure limits for crystalline silica in general industry, construction and shipyards, and establish other provisions to protect workers better. OSHA just concluded three weeks of hearings on the proposed rule and is now receiving post-hearing comments. Additional information on the proposed rule, including five fact sheets, is available at

Posted in Hazard Communication, Hearing Protection, Lockout/Tagout, OSHA, OSHA Inspections, PPE, Silica | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Resulted in two fatalities, nine injuries

Facility Collapse

A structural failure of the east side truss caused the bins to collapse down three floors into the center of International Nutrition’s Omaha facility.

The structural collapse of International Nutrition Inc.’s Omaha-facility, was caused by overloading nine storage bins on the building’s roof level, an investigation by OSHA has found. The collapse at the livestock feed supplement manufacturer caused the death of two workers and injuries to nine others. The company manufactures a feed supplement using multiple dry ingredients, rice hulls, solulac and limestone – the ingredients that were stored in the nine bins on the roof of the structure. As a result of the incident, OSHA cited the company with one willful, one repeat and 11 additional safety violations for failing to protect workers from hazards associated with structural collapse.

The investigation determined a structural failure of the east side truss, after bins that it supported were loaded with an excess of limestone. The extra weight caused the bins to collapse three floors into the center of the facility in about 30 seconds. A 53-year-old worker, who had been with the company just over a year, was cleaning on the second floor and a 47-year-old worker, who had been employed at the facility for 10 years, was conducting maintenance when the bins collapsed. Both were fatally injured. Four workers were trapped in the rubble of the building after the collapse and were rescued by the Omaha Fire Department’s ladder truck rescue team. They and five other workers were transported to the hospital with injuries.

International Nutrition’s decision to overload these bins directly led to the deaths of these two workers and the injuries sustained by nine other employees,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Families lost loved ones because International Nutrition did not follow the basic safety procedures that would have prevented this senseless loss of life.”

OSHA has proposed penalties of $120,560 and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program after its investigation into the collapse.

The company’s failure to protect workers from hazards associated with overloading the bin structures on the roof and its subsequent collapse resulted in the issuance of one willful safety citation. A repeat violation was also issued for failing to protect workers from hazards associated with using compressed air at greater than the recommended 30 pounds per square inch. The company was previously cited for this violation in 2011.

A total of nine serious violations were also cited for combustible dust hazards including failure to provide proper dust ventilation and failure to follow respiratory protection standards. The company was also cited for failing to train workers on confined space requirements, hazard communication and proper operation of powered industrial vehicles. Other violations included lack of specific lockout/tagout procedures to protect workers operating dangerous machinery and failing to de-energize potential ignition sources when using compressed air for cleaning.

To view the current citations see:

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