iStock_000011040755SmallI know there’s a community out there touting the benefits of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs (also called vaping).   No one can deny that the e-cig industry is expanding and expanding.  Although everything I’ve read stops short of calling them a healthy alternative to smoking, the overall tone indicates that e-cigs may be a better alternative to tobacco – may help you quit smoking, may lower your exposure to nicotine, and eliminates everyone’s exposure to second-hand smoke with the ultimate goal of quitting altogether.  If that’s the purpose of e-cigs, count me in.

So what’s the problem?  Quit smoking, less nicotine, and no one gets second-hand smoke.  Am I missing something?

A definite Yes!  Pop into your local “vapor” store and you’ll see all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors of what are basically nicotine delivery systems.  Now, the latest thing – flavors.  Yes, flavors.  Now, you can get a quick fix of nicotine AND enjoy any number of different flavors to enhance your vaping experience. (But I thought the goal was to quit using them altogether, so why are they being made more appealing?)

Now, the hidden problem.  Some of the flavors have been identified as potentially hazardous.  That’s right – potentially hazardous.  Remember the “buttery” flavoring on microwave popcorn?  It’s a chemical called diacetyl which was attributed to a condition called Popcorn Lung.  Popcorn Lung is known in the medical community as obliterative bronchiolitis (OB) which is a serious, irreversible lung condition.  The concern was with the workers breathing diacetyl and complaints of lung maladies.  The concern prompted NIOSH1 to investigate and ultimately publish an alert, NIOSH Alert: Preventing Lung Disease in Workers Who Use or Make Flavorings.

But wait.  Aren’t we talking about intermittent exposure in an e-cig rather than continuous exposure like in a factory?  Absolutely.  However, by inhaling the e-cig vapor, you are inhaling the flavoring chemicals directly into your lungs.  Granted, NIOSH does state that more research is needed to establish a causal link between diacetyl and OB.  However, NIOSH also makes a rather compelling case for this causal link.  At least, we need to take a closer look.

Another concern.  Diacetyl and other diacetyl-like chemicals are found in flavorings other than just “buttery” flavoring.  The Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health published a study1 in December 2015 in which diacetyl or diacetyl-like compounds were found in 47 of 51 flavors tested (the flavors tested were fruit, candy, and cocktail flavors).  Again, they aren’t claiming that diacetyl and diacetyl-like compounds are harmful, just that they are in more than just “buttery” flavoring.

To sum this all up, if you’re looking for a definite conclusion, there isn’t one.  At best, it’s a definite maybe. If you’re using e-cigs to wean off of nicotine and eventually get off of nicotine entirely, then great, and count me in.  However, if you’re using e-cigs as a way of “smoking” without the tobacco, count me out.

  1. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  2. Allen JG, Flanigan SS, LeBlanc M, Vallarino J, MacNaughton P, Stewart JH, Christiani DC. Flavoring Chemicals in E-Cigarettes: Diacetyl, 2,3-Pentanedione, and Acetoin in a Sample of 51 Products, Including Fruit-, Candy-, and Cocktail-Flavored E-Cigarettes. Environ Health Perspect;
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Company fined more than $162K following OSHA investigation

Ladder-in-front-of-exit-179x300On December 31, 2015 OSHA Cited Dollar General Corp. headquartered at 100 Mission Ridge in Goodlettsville, Tennessee for an inspection that occurred at a store located at 2222 Texoma Parkway, in Sherman, Texas.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated the inspection on July 14, in response to a complaint alleging workplace safety hazards at Dollar General’s Sherman, Texas, store. OSHA issued citations for one serious, two repeat, and two willful violations.

Dollar General was cited for two willful violations for failing to keep exit routes clear and unobstructed, and for failing to keep working space clear around the electrical panel. The company was also cited for two repeat violations for failing to keep the store aisles clean and clear, and ensuring that portable fire extinguishers were mounted and accessible. One serious violation was issued for failing to clearly mark an exit route. The Proposed Penalties total $162,800.

“Dollar General stores nationwide have repeatedly been cited for exposing their workers to hazards posed by overstocking issues, while promising time and again to take corrective action, yet workers continue to be exposed to unnecessary hazards,” said Josh Bernstein, OSHA’s acting area director in Fort Worth, Texas. “It is the employer’s responsibility to find and fix these hazards and OSHA will continue to hold this employer accountable.”

Link to the citations:*

Information: Dollar General has 11,500 stores in 40 states, and employs about 90,000 workers nationwide, including eight workers at its Sherman location. OSHA has received complaints from Dollar General’s employees in 21 states since 2006, and has cited the company for 240 safety violations, including numerous willful and repeat violations during this same time period. The company has 15 business days from receipt of their citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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iStock_000021312847XSmall safety job 1 croppedAdvanced Safety & Health would like to congratulate Hardin County Water District No. 2 – a long-term client of ours – for receiving the Governor’s Safety and Health Award.  The Kentucky Labor Cabinet presents the Governor’s Safety and Health Award in recognition of outstanding safety and health performance.

The District’s nearly 70 employees worked approximately 256,000 hours without a loss-time incident.  Kentucky Labor Secretary Larry L. Roberts praised the employees for their dedication to safety.

“Good, clean water is so important to a community, and the employees of Hardin County Water District No. 2 work extremely hard to deliver that service on a daily basis,” said Secretary Roberts. “Not only do they exceed in doing extremely good work, they go about everything they do with safety as a top priority.”

The entire Kentucky Labor Cabinet announcement can be found here.

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What is the Kentucky Tab Q-7 Plan?

ky_fiFirst, some background.  The federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 required each state to establish a formal state-level emergency planning commission (SEPC) and local-level emergency planning committee (LEPC).  The Act was in response to the chemical spill in Bhopal, India, in 1984.  Under the Act, each LEPC was tasked with developing a comprehensive written plan that outlined what to do in the event of a chemical-related emergency, i.e., spill, release, fire, or explosion.  The EPA did not require an LEPC to develop a separate plan for chemical emergencies; it could be incorporated into an existing emergency plan.

Since each county in Kentucky already had a County Emergency Operations Plan, the chemical emergency section was merely added to the existing Emergency Operations Plan as Tab Q-7.  Consequently, facility chemical emergency response plans were known as Tab Q-7 Plans because they were located in Appendix Q-7 of the already existing County Emergency Operations Plan.  Simple (and the name is actually quite appropriate).

What’s in the Tab Q-7 plan?

The Tab Q-7 plan identifies how each facility will respond and what the LEPC needs to know in the event of a chemical emergency.  It has a specific format and required elements.  Each Tab Q-7 Plan contains a list of hazardous chemicals, 24-hour contact information, emergency contact information, map of the facility, where the local community is vulnerable, who in the local community (outside the facility) is at risk, their contact information, etc.  The Tab Q-7 plan can be quite simple or quite lengthy depending on the type of chemicals, the quantity of chemicals, and how many people are at risk.

Do all companies need to have a Tab Q-7 Plan?

No.  The Tab Q-7 Plan is only required for Kentucky companies who have an extremely hazardous chemical on site at any time at levels exceeding pre-determined levels.

How do I know if I have an extremely hazardous substance (EHS) at my facility?

The list of extremely hazardous substances and the levels at which an emergency response plan is required can be found on the EPA website (Appendix A of Part 355), or you can contact us for guidance.

I have an EHS at my facility above the threshold level, now what?

You need to prepare a Tab Q-7 Plan which lists the chemical, emergency planning, map of the facility, and all the other items required by the Kentucky Emergency Response Commission.

Is the Tab Q-7 Plan something I can do or do I need someone with a special certification to prepare it?

The Tab Q-7 Plan can be written by anyone at your company or you can have someone outside your company write your Tab Q-7 Plan.

Who can I contact for further information?

Contact the Kentucky Division for Emergency Management, 502-607-5732, or David McGill @ Advanced Safety & Health,

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iStock_000019952192SmallReser’s Fine Foods, a food processing facility in Topeka, Kansas was cited for 13 serious violations. OSHA opened an investigation at the company, after receiving a complaint about an ammonia leak. Ammonia is used in the refrigeration process in food production facilities. Inspectors found that about eight pounds of ammonia were released in March 2015 from a compressor seal leak at the facility. Emergency evacuation procedures were initiated. One employee was taken to a local medical facility for observation but was able to return to work later that day.

Eight of the serious violations involved OSHA’s process safety procedures which contain requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using highly hazardous chemicals. These include lack of training, failing to conduct periodic evaluations of processes and update procedures, and poor record keeping. OSHA also found the company failed to properly mark doors for emergency exit and did not adequately protect workers from operating machinery parts during service and maintenance. Proposed penalties total $71,700.

“Ammonia can cause immediate damage to skin, eyes and lungs,” said Judy Freeman, OSHA’s area director in Wichita. “Refrigeration is essential in the food industry, but the dangers of ammonia in the workplace are entirely preventable if employers follow the right procedures.”

To view current citations, visit:

The Beaverton, Oregon-based company’s leading brands include Reser’s American Classics deli salads, Reser’s Sensational Sides, and Stonemill Kitchens gourmet dips.

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Sentenced to 3 years’ probation, community service

iStock_000017937891SmallOn April 6, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Marcus Borden, a steel and roofing contractor, with making false statements and lying to OSHA inspectors regarding an incident investigation at one of his work sites in Cordova, Alabama.

Borden told the inspector that he was present on the job site the day of the accident and that he had obtained personal fall arrest equipment to protect workers from falls on March 13, 2013. Actually, he retained the equipment on March 18, 2013, after the incident occurred. Borden also claimed that employees had been tied off when he knew, in fact, they were not.

Borden was supervising a crew of five men working on a roofing project when a severe thunderstorm occurred, resulting in serious injuries to three of the five workers. One was thrown against the edge of a new metal roof and suffered a left arm amputation; a second worker was thrown across the roof and suffered an injured shoulder. The third worker became wrapped in a sheet of metal, managed to escape, but was carried by the momentum over the roof’s edge and fell 30 feet to the ground. The worker broke his wrists, ribs, tail bone and pelvis. None of the workers had been provided with fall protection equipment, none of them were tied-off to the roof at the time of the accident, and none had a means to exit the roof quickly.

OSHA cited Borden for six safety violations following the incident, including a willful citation for failing to provide workers with fall protection while working within 6 feet of an open edge that was 30 feet above the ground.

Additionally, four serious violations were cited for exposing workers to severe weather conditions and not securing metal decking during inclement weather conditions. One other violation was cited for failing to notify OSHA about the workers being admitted to the hospital due to a work-related incident. Borden contested OSHA’s citations but later settled the case, agreeing to all violations as cited and a penalty of $55,000. The settlement was approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and became a final order on July 23, 2014.

Borden pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements on May 13, 2015 and was sentenced on August 6th to three years of supervised probation and must complete 30 hours of community service.

“Marcus Borden provided false information to OSHA during the investigation and needs to face the consequences for his actions,” said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta. “The injuries sustained by the three employees could have been avoided if Borden had fulfilled his responsibility to ensure a safe working environment and provide the necessary protection to his workers.”

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MP Global Products faces $244K in penalties, placed in Severe Violator Program

iStock_000023698673XSmallNORFOLK, Nebraska – A Norfolk flooring materials company tried to hide hazardous machines from federal inspectors and threatened to fire employees who complained about unsafe working conditions during an investigation into why a 65-year-old temporary worker suffered the amputation of one finger and severe damage to another when his left hand was caught as he operated a machine.

OSHA inspectors found the man’s employer, MP Global Products LLC, attempted to conceal an entire production line from them. Inspectors found numerous machines lacked safety guards that exposed workers to amputation injuries on that line and throughout the facility. Workers also told investigators the company threatened to fire those who told inspectors about their safety concerns. OSHA cited the MP Global for two willful, 22 serious and one other-than-serious safety violations carrying proposed penalties of $244,000. The agency also placed the company in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“MP Global shut down an entire production line, turned the lights off and herded employees into the back room where they were instructed to remain quiet during OSHA’s inspection. This was a willful attempt to prevent inspectors from discovering numerous machine safety violations in the plant,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in Omaha. “Knowingly requiring workers to operate unsafe machinery and threatening their jobs for reporting unsafe work practices are illegal and shameful activities. MP Global needs to immediately correct the multiple machine hazards in its facility.”

OSHA inspectors found the company failed to train workers on machine safety procedures and vehicle operation. They also found blocked aisles, inadequate emergency exit signs, defective powered industrial trucks in operation and numerous electrical safety hazards, including damaged electrical boxes and exposed electrical wires.

Machine guarding violations are among OSHA’s most frequently cited, and can result in death or permanent disability.

MP Global manufactures underlayment products from recycled materials for use beneath laminate, tile and hardwood flooring. These products are sold by nationwide distributors such as: Home Depot, Lumber Liquidators, Menards, Wayfair and Build Direct.

To view current citations, visit

Posted in Electrical, Exit Routes, Machine Safety, OSHA Inspections, Powered Industrial Trucks | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Case Farms Processing ignores dangers, cited with 55 violations

Production of white meatWINESBURG, Ohio — For employees at a leading supplier of chicken to national fast food and supermarket brands, the dangers of amputation, electrocution and hazardous falls are all in a day’s work, and part of their employer’s long history of violating federal worker safety and health standards.

An OSHA investigation of an Ohio poultry processing facility operated by Case Farms Processing Inc. found that the company was aware of the dangers, but continued to expose workers to serious and potentially fatal injuries. Acting on a referral, OSHA cited the company for two willful, 20 repeat, 30 serious and three other-than-serious safety and health violations. OSHA assessed $861,500 in penalties and added the company to the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“Case Farms is an outrageously dangerous place to work. In the past 25 years, Case Farms has been cited for more than 350 safety and health violations,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and Health. “Despite committing to OSHA that it would eliminate serious hazards, Case Farms continues to endanger the safety and health of its workers. This simply must stop.”

The February 2015 inspection that resulted in the citations found:

  • Amputation hazards.
  • Fall hazards due to non-functioning fall-arrest systems, unprotected platforms and wet work surfaces.
  • Lack of personal protective equipment.
  • Numerous violations of electrical safety standards.
  • Improperly stored oxygen cylinders.
  • Lack of emergency eye-wash stations.

Case Farms has an extensive history of health and safety violations. Since 1988, OSHA and the Occupational Safety and Health Division of North Carolina’s Department of Labor have inspected the company 66 times at its facilities in North Carolina and Ohio, with citations issued in 42 of those inspections. A majority of the inspections were initiated after worker injuries, complaints or referrals.

In 2013, the company agreed to address safety violations in a settlement agreement with OSHA after being cited for exposing workers to dangerous machinery and other hazards at its Winesburg facility. However, follow-up inspections led to the issuance of citations on May 28, 2015, for one willful violation, four repeat violations, one serious violation, and one other-than-serious violation. The hazards addressed by those citations include failing to ensure machines had safety guards to protect workers and allowing electrical hazards. Case Farms has contested those citations. In addition, OSHA is currently investigating Case Farms facilities in Canton, Ohio, after receiving reports of employee injuries there.

Current citations on Case Farms are available here.

Headquartered in Troutman, North Carolina, Case Farms Processing processes 2.8 million chickens per week at seven facilities in North Carolina and Ohio. It has more than 3,200 employees and produces more than 900 million pounds of fresh, partially cooked and frozen-for-export poultry products yearly. Its Ohio facilities are located in Canton, Strasburg, Massillon, and Winesburg. In North Carolina, Case Farms operates in Dudley, Goldsboro, Mount Olive, and Morganton.

Posted in Caught Between/Struck By, Fall Protection, Injury Prevention, Machine Safety, OSHA, OSHA Inspections, PPE | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rapidly growing occupational safety consulting company has immediate need for a quick starter – must be degreed and experienced in the safety field.

iStock_000013114436 ASH Hiring Man

Safety Consultant

Advanced Safety & Health, LLC is a growing Occupational Safety Consulting company based in Louisville, Kentucky.  We are dedicated to providing high quality professional safety management, consulting and training services to our vastly diverse client base. We provide onsite safety support services, training and consulting for large- to small-scale operations, conduct OSHA-related audits, injury prevention programs, safety program management support, develop written programs and procedures, provide incident investigations and trending, provide customized training, job safety analysis, risk assessments, and many other related services for both short-term and ongoing contract engagements.

We are currently searching for an individual who is passionate about safety management and training practices, and is able to work with a wide array of organizations and people, including manufacturing, utilities, municipalities, distribution, construction, mines, maritime, and service sectors.

What You’ll Do

The ideal Safety Consultant for Advanced Safety & Health will be located in the Louisville, Kentucky area and be willing to travel as the job requires.  You must be able to conduct onsite safety management support, risk assessments, and training for our growing client base throughout the United States, but primarily focused in Kentucky, Southern Indiana, and Ohio areas.

Additionally, you will need to be able to:

  • Conduct full day training sessions that may involve multiple consecutive days
  • Conduct intense multi-day onsite risk evaluation surveys and compile detailed reports and recommendations
  • Assist clients with the development and implementation of safety policies, programs, and procedures specific to each account and loss exposure
  • Provide advanced risk management and consultative services to assigned clients
  • Maintain and demonstrate safety management and expertise in areas such as OSHA, MSHA, injury prevention, workers’ compensation,  and fleet safety
  • Develop, coordinate, and conduct safety/risk management seminars and training programs for accounts to promote OSHA compliance awareness and reduce work-related injury frequency and severity
  • Develop and execute service proposals and plans to large accounts

What It Takes

  • Bachelor’s Degree required, Master’s Degree preferred
  • Degree must have emphasis in Occupational Safety & Health, Engineering, Management, or Loss Control
  • At least five plus years of safety consulting or safety management work experience
  • High level of independence, organization, and self-motivation
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to effectively interact with a diverse customer base
  • Experience in coordinating and servicing large or multi-location accounts preferred
  • Intimate knowledge, understanding, and implementation of OSHA, ANSI, NFPA Standards, and DOT Regulations
  • High level of verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to provide effective training in a variety of hands-on and classroom type settings
  • Proficiency in basic Microsoft computer programs such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
  • Valid driver’s license, acceptable motor vehicle record, and dependable transportation for travel, including overnight travel
  • Safety designations such as CSP preferred, or willingness to pursue professional designation(s)
  • A proficiency in mine or construction safety and health as well as environmental compliance could be an added plus, but not required.

What You’ll Receive

Advanced Safety & Health offers all full-time employees a benefit package that includes:

  • Competitive Compensation with a potential for pay bonuses
  • Group Medical, Dental, and Vision
  • SIMPLE retirement plan with an employercontribution
  • Paid Vacation and Holidays

What You Need To Do

Submit your resume, with a cover letter explaining why you should be part of our growing team, your special qualities, and salary expectations to  Please put Louisville Safety Consultant in the email heading.

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Illinois construction companies, manager face nearly $2M in fines

Danger Asbestos2OKAWVILLE, Illinois - An investigation by OSHA has found that Joseph Kehrer, Kehrer Brothers Construction, and a Kehrer-affiliated company, D7 Roofing, violated numerous OSHA health standards related to the dangers of asbestos.

Kehrer Brothers and Joseph Kehrer face $1,792,000 in penalties for willfully exposing at least eight workers to asbestos. OSHA inspectors determined that Kehrer and supervisors of the Albers, Illinois-based company told employees to remove asbestos-containing materials during renovation of the former Okawville school. OSHA also placed Kehrer Brothers in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Many of the workers came to the U.S. to work for Kehrer under the provisions of the H-2B visa program that allows companies to hire foreign workers temporarily. The investigation also found the Kehrer management threatened some workers with termination if they spoke with OSHA inspectors.

“Kehrer Brothers Construction brought non-English speaking workers to the U.S. and knowingly exposed them to asbestos,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Kehrer also threatened to fire his employees if they spoke with our investigators. This is outrageous, illegal behavior. We at OSHA will do everything in our power to ensure this employer stops endangering his employees.”

OSHA cited Kehrer and Kehrer Brothers for 16 egregious, nine willful and six serious violations. OSHA inspectors also found that Kehrer and the companies failed to warn employees, some of whom spoke only Spanish, of the danger even though they were aware of the asbestos hazard. They also failed to ensure that workers used appropriate work methods and respirators, and to train them about the hazards of working around asbestos.

Asbestos exposure occurs when workers cut and sand asbestos-containing building materials, releasing asbestos fibers that can be inhaled without proper protection. Asbestos can cause lung disease and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung or stomach that is nearly always fatal. Asbestos fibers also remain on clothing and transfer to other surfaces such as upholstery and carpets, creating a danger of secondary exposure for others.

In its citations, OSHA alleges that Kehrer and Kehrer Brothers Construction failed to:

  • Provide basic personal protective equipment such as hard hats, eyewear and protective clothing.
  • Create a decontamination area for employees to remove work clothing before leaving the worksite.
  • Use appropriate work methods to minimize asbestos exposure, such as removing tiles intact and using wet methods to keep asbestos fibers from becoming airborne.

OSHA also cited D7 Roofing for one serious and two willful violations. The willful violations were for not training the workers or informing them about the presence of asbestos-containing material. The serious violation was for failing to conduct inspections as required by law. Proposed penalties total $147,000.

Following its investigation, OSHA made referrals to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Kehrer Brothers Construction has an extensive prior history with OSHA and has been inspected 11 times since 2007. At the time of the 2015 inspection, Kehrer Brothers Construction and D7 had workers’ compensation insurance through American Zurich Insurance Co.

Current citations on Kehrer Brothers are available here, while citations issued to D7 Roofing are available here.

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