Burrows Paper faces $298,100 in proposed fines from OSHA

iStock_000017378933XSmallSYRACUSE, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Burrows Paper Corp., based in Little Falls, for repeat and serious safety violations at two of the company’s work sites. Burrows faces $298,100 in proposed fines following inspections by OSHA’s Syracuse Area Office.

“The proposed fines reflect both the gravity of the cited hazards and the employer’s refusal to use required safeguards,” said Chris Adams, OSHA’s area director in Syracuse. “Workers could have been injured in falls, electrocuted or suffered other injuries because of the employer’s repeated failure to ensure a safe workplace.”

The inspections were initiated as part of OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting inspection plan. The inspections were conducted because the company’s injury and illness rates exceeded national incident rates for 2009 and 2010. Burrows is a food grade paper and packaging manufacturer that has five paper machines in four mills located in New York and Mississippi. It employs approximately 700 workers.

During the inspection of the company’s Mohawk Valley Mill at 489 West Main St., OSHA inspectors found three serious safety violations for stairways that lacked railings; papermaking machines that lacked guarding to prevent employee contact with their moving parts; and an electrical hazard related to the use of electrical equipment not approved for the location. Additionally, inspectors identified six repeat violations for safety hazards related to falls, lack of eyewash stations and additional machine guarding and electrical hazards.

The inspection of the East Mill at 730 E. Mill St. found two serious safety violations for exposure to combustible paper dust, electrical issues and a malfunctioning exit light. Additionally, it identified found four repeat safety violations for machines with insufficient guarding.

A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any of its facilities in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA had previously cited Burrows in 2010 and 2011 for similar hazards at locations in Little Falls and Lyons Falls. 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.

Burrows has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The citations can be viewed at http://go.usa.gov/kCSB* and http://go.usa.gov/kCSQ*.

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OSHA fines Precision Custom Coatings LLC $185,400 for willful and repeat violations

e-stopTOTOWA, N.J. – Following two workplace incidents leaving one machine operator’s hand crushed and another with a partial hand amputation, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Precision Custom Coatings LLC for one willful, one repeat and 12 serious safety violations, including failure to provide required machine guarding, at the company’s fabric manufacturing facility in Totowa.

OSHA’s investigation began in September 2013 in response to a referral from the Totowa Police Department after a machine operator’s hand was crushed while moving materials through a roller machine. During the investigation, OSHA was contacted about another incident where an employee suffered a partial hand amputation while performing machine maintenance. Proposed penalties total $185,400.

“With the proper machine guarding in place, this company could have prevented these needless, life-altering injuries,” said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA’s Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. “Employers are responsible for eliminating or controlling hazards when the operation of a machine or accidental contact could injure the operator or others. This employer’s failure to do so created catastrophic consequences.”

The willful violation, with a $70,000 penalty, reflects the company’s failure to use danger tags and proper guards on machinery to warn and protect employees from burn hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The repeat violation, with a $38,500 penalty, was due to a lack of machine guarding to protect operators from hazards created by ingoing nip points and rotating parts. The company was cited for the same violation in December 2011. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Carrying a $76,900 penalty, the serious violations include:

  • Lack of a midrail on an aerial lift work platform.
  • Lack of standard railings on an open-sided platform more than 4 feet above a lower level.
  • Liquefied petroleum gas containers not stored properly.
  • Lack of danger tags to warn of burn hazards on dry can rollers.
  • Inadequate lockout/tagout procedures and training for controlling hazardous energy.
  • Lack of training for employees operating powered industrial trucks.
  • Powered industrial truck left unattended with elevated forks.
  • Lack of guards for rotating shafts and portable grinder.

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.

“A first step toward preventing such hazards is for an employer to develop and implement an illness and injury prevention program where management and workers proactively identify and eliminate hazardous conditions,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/PrecisionCustomCoatingLLC_942873_0326_14.pdf*.

Precision Custom Coatings has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director in Hasbrouck Heights, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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by Dwayne Towles

Acute pain in a woman Finger.Scenario: You have an employee dislocate their finger at work.  You send her to an occupational medicine clinic.  While at the clinic, the physician performs a closed reduction procedure on her dislocated finger. It was determined that the employee had no broken bones, splints were not necessary, did not receive any medication, no restrictions were issued, and she returned to work immediately after the reduction procedure was performed on her finger.

Medical Note:  Closed Reduction Procedure Explained – A dislocated finger can be corrected with or without injecting local anesthesia. To correct the dislocation, the doctor will press against the displaced bone to dislodge the bone if it is caught against the side of the joint. As the end of the bone is freed, the doctor can pull outward to restore the bone to its correct position. This is called closed reduction.

Based on the fact that employee had no broken bones, no medication, no splints, and no restrictions and she returned to work immediately after the reduction procedure was performed, you determine this falls under first aid treatment and is not an OSHA recordable.

Question:  Did you make the right decision?

Answer:  In an OSHA Letter of Interpretation dated June 26, 2013 to Ms. Brandi Behrnes with John L. Lowery & Associates, Inc., OSHA states “reduction is the care of a disorder not included on the first aid list under 1904.7(b)(5) and therefore it is considered medical treatment for OSHA recordkeeping purposes”.

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Website Provides Free, Read-Only Access

3D small people - an engineer with the laptopThe American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has launched an online tool for free, read-only access to voluntary consensus standards that have been incorporated by reference (IBR) into federal laws and regulations. In recent years, issues related to IBR have commanded increased attention, particularly in connection to requirements that standards that have been incorporated into federal laws and regulations be “reasonably available” to the U.S. citizens and residents affected by these rules.

Currently, the portal provides access to standards from 13 domestic and international groups, including the International Organization for Standardization and the American Welding Society.  The program is designed to prevent users from downloading, printing or taking screenshots of the material.

For more information on this valuable resource, visit the portal at ibr.ansi.org.

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Federal OSHA telling Arizona Their Residential Fall Protection Regulations Don’t Go Far Enough

iStock_000017937891SmallOn March 19, 2014, OSHA sent a letter to the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health, stating that OSHA does not believe that Arizona’s residential fall protection standards are at least as effective as federal OSHA standards. ADOSH has until April 18, 2014 to show how it will correct the outlined deficiencies or otherwise “show cause” as to why their standard is at least as effective as federal OSHA’s. Should the state fail to satisfy OSHA’s concerns, OSHA will move forward with a process that could eventually lead to the federal government taking over enforcement jurisdiction of Arizona’s construction sector.

OSHA has several concerns with Arizona’s residential fall protection standard, but most notably that it requires very limited conventional fall protection for workers working between 6 and 15 feet. Generally, OSHA requires the use of conventional fall protection at a height of 6 feet and above.

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, and OSHA’s obligation is to protect construction workers by ensuring that Arizona has and enforces a standard that is at least as effective as OSHA’s. In discussions with Arizona officials over the past months, OSHA has indicated a strong preference for working collaboratively with Arizona to make the necessary changes to its legislation and statute so that the State Plan provides the requisite level of protection to workers, without the need for federal enforcement intervention.

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Construction worker holding blank signMSHA News Release: [04/03/2014]
Contact Name: Lauren North
Phone Number: (202) 693-4655
Release Number: 14-0539-NAT

MSHA issues guidance on implementing effective corrective action programs

copper mineARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today issued a Program Information Bulletin reminding the mining community of the process for submitting a corrective action program for MSHA approval and the tools MSHA makes available to assist mine operators in monitoring compliance.

The purpose of a CAP is to establish and implement corrective actions at a mine to reduce significant and substantial violations that could lead to pattern of violations sanctions. A CAP must: contain concrete, meaningful measures to reduce S&S violations; be specifically tailored to the mine’s compliance problems; and contain achievable benchmarks and milestones for implementation. These programs must be submitted to the agency for approval.

Mine operators are encouraged to develop and implement CAPs prior to meeting the POV screening criteria. Mines that meet the POV screening criteria and lack mitigating circumstances are subject to sanctions under Section 104(e) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 for demonstrating a disregard for miners’ health and safety through a pattern of S&S violations.

In January 2013, MSHA published a final rule revising the agency’s pattern of violations rule. According to the preamble to the rule, mine operators approaching POV status have the opportunity to implement a CAP, and MSHA considers a mine operator’s effective implementation of an approved CAP as a mitigating circumstance in determining whether to issue a POV notice.

In accordance with Section 104(e)(1) of the Mine Act, once a mine operator receives a POV notice, for each subsequent S&S violation MSHA will issue an order withdrawing miners from the affected area until the cited condition has been corrected. MSHA will terminate an operator’s POV notice if no withdrawal order for an S&S violation is issued by the agency within 90 days of the issuance of the POV notice, or when an inspection of the entire mine is completed and no S&S violations are found.

“Mine operators should closely track their violation and injury histories,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “Developing and implementing an effective corrective action program that reduces significant and substantial violations puts a mine on track to make the workplace safer and healthier for miners.”

MSHA’s online POV monitoring tool is available to assist operators in tracking their violation and injury histories against the POV screening criteria. MSHA stresses that operators should not rely on the monitoring tool exclusively and be proactive in monitoring their violation, accident and injury histories to determine if they are approaching the POV screening criteria. An S&S rate calculator is also available to assist operators in determining if a mine is meeting the goals set forth in its CAP.

“As our guidance explains, these tools are evaluation aids. Ultimately, mine operators are responsible for monitoring compliance, determining whether they are close to meeting the POV screening criteria and taking corrective actions,” said Main. MSHA updates the POV monitoring tool on or about the 15th of each month. However, operators should not wait for violations or injuries to appear in this program before considering the implementation of a CAP. MSHA conducts POV screening at least once each year.

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Olivet Management faces $2.3M in OSHA fines for knowingly exposing workers to asbestos and lead during renovation of former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in New York

iStock_000001167898SmallWASHINGTON – Olivet Management LLC, a real estate development and management company that owns the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in the Wingdale section of Dover Plains, N.Y., faces a total of $2,359,000 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The company has been cited for exposing its own employees, as well as employees for 13 contractors, to asbestos* and lead* hazards during cleanup operations in preparation for a tour of the site by potential investors.

“Olivet knew that asbestos and lead were present at this site, yet the company chose to ignore its responsibility to protect its own workers and contractors,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The intolerable choice this company made put not only workers, but also their families, in danger.”

An inspection by OSHA’s Albany Area Office conducted in response to a complaint began Oct. 23, 2013. The inspection found that Olivet employees and contractors were exposed to asbestos and lead while performing renovation and cleanup activities. The work, which was directed and overseen by Olivet supervisors, included removing: asbestos- and lead-contaminated debris; asbestos-containing floor tiles and insulation; and lead-containing paint from walls, windows, door frames and other painted surfaces.

OSHA determined that Olivet knowingly failed to take basic safety precautions. The company neither informed their own employees nor the contractors about the presence of asbestos and lead, despite knowing that both hazards existed. As a result, Olivet did not: train employees in the hazards of asbestos and lead and the need and nature of required safeguards; monitor workers’ exposure levels; provide appropriate respiratory protection; post notices, warning signs and labels to alert workers and contractors to the presence of asbestos and lead. The company also did not provide clean changing and decontamination areas for workers, many of whom wore their contaminated clothing home to households with small children.

As a result of these conditions, Olivet was cited for 45 willful violations, with $2,352,000 in proposed fines. Twenty-four of the willful citations address instance-by-instance exposure of workers to asbestos and lead hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health. Olivet was also issued one serious citation, with a $7,000 fine, for failing to inform waste haulers of the presence of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials, meaning asbestos from the site may have been disposed of improperly at an unknown location. 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.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/OlivetManagementLLC945519.pdf*.

Renovation and cleanup activities can generate airborne concentrations of asbestos and lead. Workers can be exposed to both through inhalation or ingestion. Exposure to asbestos can cause disabling or fatal diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and gastrointestinal cancer. While lead exposure can cause damage to the nervous system, kidneys, blood forming organs, and reproductive system. Detailed information on asbestos and lead hazards and safeguards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/index.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/index.html respectively.

In January of this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration ordered Olivet to stop all work that could disturb asbestos at the facility. EPA’s investigation is ongoing.

Olivet has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

Due to the willful violations found at the site, Olivet has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities or job sites.

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by Whitney Martin

Russ Lazzell had been with FreightCar America, Inc. less than 6 months when he decided to do an Employee Safety Perception Survey. He was the first Director of Safety the company had hired (previously, safety was managed by each individual facility) and he could see right away that it was going to be an uphill battle. During the first six months of 2012, the company was at a 13.2% recordable incident rate. During the last six months of that year—after conducting the Safety Perception Survey—they were down to a 4.5% rate. Mr. Lazzell feels the survey played a key role in this success by:

  • Giving employees more ownership in the safety program
  • Giving him ammunition to go to company leadership with, to gain their support and commitment to the safety initiatives he was proposing
  • And, by validating his thoughts on what needed to change, and helping him prioritize his plan of attack.

What is a Safety Perception Survey?

Perception SurveyA safety perception survey (SPS) is designed to measures the safety culture in an organization. The term “safety culture” was first used in reference to the Chernobyl disaster, and later in the context of the Challenger and Columbia shuttle explosions, the King’s Cross underground fire in London, and the Continental 2574 crash in 1991. The Advisory Committee on Safety in Nuclear Installations (ACSNI) defined the term as “The product of individual and group values, attitudes, beliefs, competencies, and patterns of behavior that determine the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organization’s health and safety management.”

It is a pretty powerful statement to say that disasters such as Chernobyl and The Challenger explosion were not primarily due to a system failure or a freak human error—they were primarily caused by an underlying pattern of values, attitudes, and beliefs that demonstrated an overall lack of commitment to safety.  A SPS measures employee values, beliefs, and attitudes that drive behavior. It is a proactive measure of safety that allows you to identify the state of safety within the workplace without having to wait for the system to fail.

Why Conduct a Safety Perception Survey?

First, what you measure send a message (both internally and externally) about what you think is important. In most organizations, the C-Suite measures things like profit, market share, and customer satisfaction: measures of success. In safety, however, we most often rely on lagging indicators such as accidents and lost time. These are measures of failure and are fraught with issues. The famous safety consultant Dan Peterson once said, “of course you can use frequency-severity figures to measure your firm’s safety program, as long as you realize that in almost all instances these figures are absolutely worthless.” Conducting a SPS sends a message (to employees, as well as shareholders, customers, regulatory agencies, and insurance carriers) that your company is committed to proactively measuring safety success (rather than failure).

Next, conducting a SPS creates alignment and engagement. Do employees buy-in to your safety messages and practices? Do they truly take ownership of their own safety and that of their coworkers? As a result, do they practice safe behavior (even when you’re not looking) because they accurately perceive the risks and actually believe that adhering to your safety program is an effective way to avoid injury? Giving employees an opportunity to provide feedback and have input into your organization’s safety practices is a great way to ensure everyone is on the same page and working for the same team.

And third, conducting a SPS can have a significant bottom-line impact. Not just in terms of reduced workers comp premiums and OSHA fines, but also because the data obtained in the survey allows you to create targeted, strategic, and efficient action plans. This means that interventions are willingly adopted by employees, and that time and money is spent on implementing the initiatives that will have the biggest impact.  Implementing measures to guide work practices, machinery, behaviors, processes, etc., can only go so far in preventing injuries. A strong safety culture is necessary for any of those efforts to flourish.

How They Did It at FreightCar America – An Interview with Russ Lazzell

“We gave the employees an opportunity to write in their own comments. I had never done that before, and it worked out fantastic for us because we had a lot of good comments written in—I believe the percentage was like 70% of the employees had written-in comments. So they weren’t just going through and pencil whipping the actual survey (coloring in the dots) because they had comments on the back.

We set up in group meetings of about 50-60 employees (depending on the size of the shop). We brought them in, we gave them an hour to do the survey. We explained up front what we were doing, why we were doing it, to be very open, very honest in your comments and don’t hold back. There’s no names on this survey, so no one’s going to know who filled the survey out, if you’ve got a comment on there about a specific supervisor or something like that, more than willingly, put it on there because nobody’s going to know who put it on there.”

Read Whitney’s full article and interview here.

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OSHA announces final rule revising standards for electric power generation, transmission and distribution

LGE PassportWASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that it would be issuing a final rule* to improve workplace safety and health for workers performing electric power generation, transmission and distribution work.

“This long-overdue update will save nearly 20 lives and prevent 118 serious injuries annually,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Electric utilities, electrical contractors and labor organizations have persistently championed these much-needed measures to better protect the men and women who work on or near electrical power lines.”

OSHA is revising the 40-year-old construction standard for electric power line work to make it more consistent with the corresponding general industry standard and is also making some revisions to the construction and general industry requirements. The updated standards for general industry and construction include new or revised provisions for host and contract employers to share safety-related information with each other and with employees, as well as for improved fall protection for employees working from aerial lifts and on overhead line structures. In addition, the standards adopt revised approach-distance requirements to better ensure that unprotected workers do not get dangerously close to energized lines and equipment. The final rule also adds new requirements to protect workers from electric arcs.

General industry and construction standards for electrical protective equipment are also revised under the final rule. The new standard for electrical protective equipment applies to all construction work and replaces the existing construction standard, which was based on out-of-date information, with a set of performance-oriented requirements consistent with the latest revisions of the relevant consensus standards. The new standards address the safe use and care of electrical protective equipment, including new requirements that equipment made of materials other than rubber provide adequate protection from electrical hazards.

The final rule will result in estimated monetized benefits of $179 million annually, with net benefits equal to about $130 million annually.

Additional information on the final rule is available at http://www.osha.gov/dsg/power_generation/. The final rule becomes effective 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. OSHA adopted delayed compliance deadlines for certain requirements.

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 www.osha.gov.

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

iStock_000013114436 ASH Hiring ManSafety 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 consulting and training services to our vastly diverse client base. We provide onsite safety support services, training and consulting for large- and 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, 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 polices, 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 Safety and Health or Industrial Hygiene 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 potential for pay bonuses
  • Group Medical, Dental, and Vision
  • SIMPLE retirement plan with employer contribution
  • 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 info@advancedsafetyhealth.com.  Please put Louisville Safety Consultant in the email heading.

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