For the 11th consecutive fiscal year, OSHA’s fall protection(29 CFR 1926.501) remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard. While the Fall Protection Training Requirements(29 CFR 1926.503) was the agency’s seventh most frequently cited standard in FY 2021. In the meantime, fall fatalities from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees. Above all, the BLS data reports that 1,008 construction workers died on the job, with 351 of those falling from elevation. In an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries, organizations should participate in OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down event and activities. The one-week event aims to raise fall hazard awareness and reinforce fall protection training across the country.
All Workplaces Are Encouraged to Hold a Safety Stand-Down
A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. All workplaces should hold a stand-down event or meeting to focus on fall hazards and reinforce the importance of preventing falls. However, participation is not limited to the construction industry, and no business is too small to participate. Workplaces that are not exposed to fall hazards should also leverage this opportunity to promote a positive safety culture. In fact, OSHA recorded that many non-construction employers held Stand-Down events.
In past years, participants included commercial construction companies of all sizes, contractors, general industry employers, the U.S. Military and other government participants, unions, employer’s trade associations, institutes, employee interest organizations, and safety equipment manufacturers.
Additionally, several domestic and international companies working outside of the United States participated in past Stand-Downs, and OSHA hopes to have more international participation this year.
How to Conduct a Safety Stand-Down
Generally, managers should plan a Stand-Down that works best for their workplace schedule. Accordingly, some of the recommended practices in conducting a Safety Stand-Down are as follows:
Conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk.
Inspections of safety equipment, developing rescue plans or discussing job-specific hazards.
Develop presentations or activities that provide information about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals, and expectations. In addition, sharing hands-on exercises, including a worksite walkaround, equipment checks, etc., can also increase retention.
Besides, consider inviting the subcontractors, owners, architects, engineers, or others associated with your project to participate in the Stand-Down for a collaborative effort.
Employers may share information on their Stand-Down events, Fall Prevention Programs, or suggestions with OSHA on how initiatives such as these can be improved. Employers can also download a certificate of participation following the event.
Resources for Preventing Fall Hazards
In summary, employers should provide competent person training and proper supervision in the workplace, ensuring workers are aware of fall hazards. Virtual Reality Fall Protection Training can provide an effective and engaging way to practice and validate fall safety requirements without the real-world consequences. Learn more about VR curriculums developed by industry experts to help raise risk awareness and to help prevent fall accidents.
Sulphur, LA – After a flash fire and subsequent explosion, OSHA initiated an investigation at a chemicals facility in Sulphur, Louisiana. The tragedy occurred during preventive care and maintenance activities, and it seriously injured six workers on Sept. 27, 2021.
According to OSHA’s investigation, the contract employer didn’t instruct each contract employee on the known potential hazards. The incident has exposed workers to fire, explosion, and toxic release hazards related to isolation plug failure at the Quench tower pipe.
Subsequently, OSHA issued citations with 11 serious violations as summarized below, to four employers, and the total penalties amounted to $139,427:
29 CFR 1910.146(c)(8)(iv): The host employer did not coordinate entry operations when both host employer personnel and contractor personnel were working in or near permit spaces. The violation has exposed workers to explosion hazards at the DA-101 Quench Tower.
29 CFR 1910.146(d)(2): Under the permit-required confined space program required by 29 CFR 1910.146(c)(4), the employer did not identify and evaluate the hazards of permit spaces before employees entered. The hazards were associated with isolating the space and the welding space, exposing workers to explosion hazards.
29 CFR 1910.146(f)(7): The entry permit that documented compliance and authorized entry to a permit space did not identify the permit space’s hazards. The company didn’t identify the hazards associated with isolating the DA-101 Quench Tower and welding on the DA-101 Quench Tower. This violation has exposed employees to the explosion hazards
“Employers are responsible for ensuring employees have a safe workplace by having the correct confined space permits and a plan to inspect equipment to prevent serious injuries,” said Area Director Roderic Chube in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “In addition, employers should also ensure that employees are not exposed to an airborne concentration of benzene above the permissible exposure limits.”
In summary, Martin Technical encourages all organizations to provide proper confined space training to their employees. Safety training for employees helps prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of workplace safety. Also, learn more about state-of-the-art VR training with modules on Confined Spaces Virtual Reality (VR) Training. VR training provides safer safety training enabling trainees to experience real-world consequences, all while retaining more of what they learn. Employers can also have their trainees demonstrate and validate their skills remotely using VR training. VR safety training also significantly reduces human error and provides trainee data to track the completion and accuracy of tasks.
STERLING, MA – OSHA cited a multinational manufacturer for $370,000 due to failure to establish and use lockout tagoutprocedures and provide training. Investigators from OSHA determined that the worker in the Sterling facility was sprayed with hot liquid plastic. The accident caused severe burns to the employee who changed a screen on a plastic bag extruder machine.
The company was founded in 1967, and supplies and manufactures products for households, healthcare, personal care, and food and beverage industries. The company serves North and South American, European, and Asian markets with headquarters in Evansville, Indiana. It has 47,000 global employees at more than 295 locations, including the Sterling facility that manufactures plastic bags.
Violations and Citations
The plastic packaging manufacturer has a history of workplace safety and health investigations. OSHA has inspected the manufacturer in various U.S. locations more than 40 times during the last five years. These inspections include two fatality inspections in New Jersey and Wisconsin; both were related to lockout tagout violations. The manufacturer has contested both inspections.
OSHA concluded that the manufacturer could have prevented the accident if they had complied with the lockout tagout requirements and provided personal protective equipment. Based on the investigation in Sterling, OSHA found that the company failed to:
Establish and use lockout tagout procedures.
Provide training to workers to use lockout tagout procedures.
Eliminate employee exposure to protect workers from the extruder machine while they performed service or maintenance.
Conduct periodic inspections to ensure workers follow the safety procedures.
Provide appropriate personal protective equipment to ensure that employees were protected when servicing the extruder.
Subsequently, OSHA cited the manufacturer for two willful violations and one repeat violation and has proposed close to $370K in penalties.
“Berry Global Inc. could have prevented this worker’s injuries if the company had the required safeguards,” said OSHA Area Director Mary Hoye in Springfield, Massachusetts. “OSHA will hold employers accountable when they knowingly disregard their legal responsibility to provide workers a safe and healthful workplace.”
Berry Global Inc. also meets the Severe Violator Enforcement Program requirements because one of the proposed willful, and the proposed repeat citation, are high emphasis standards of lockout tagout.
However, the company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
WASHINGTON – On March 30th, OSHA published a proposed rule to its occupational injury and illness recordkeeping regulation. The proposed amendment targets to improve the tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses recordkeeping regulation, 29 CFR 1904.41.
The Proposed Rule
The proposed rule requires certain employers to submit injury and illness information to OSHA electronically and report the Annual Summary. Ultimately, the agency uses these reports to identify and respond to emerging hazards and makes aspects of the information publicly available.
In summary, the proposed rule would:
Require establishments with 100 or more employees in specific high-hazard industries to electronically submit information from their OSHA Forms 300, 301, and 300A to OSHA once a year.
Update the classification system used to determine the list of industries covered by the electronic submission requirement.
Remove the current requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees not in a designated industry to electronically submit Form 300A to OSHA annually.
LAstly, require establishments to include their company name when making electronic submissions to OSHA.
In the meantime, establishments with 20 or more employees in specific high-hazard industries would continue to submit Annual Summary via Form 300A to OSHA electronically.
The Benefits of the Amendments
After all, the proposed rule would support OSHA’s mission to protect workers, mitigate workplace hazards, and empower workers by increasing transparency in the workforce.
Additionally, OSHA believes that the electronic submission of establishment-specific and case-specific information will improve workplace safety and health by:
Allowing OSHA to effectively identify workplaces where workers are at most significant risk from specific hazards. Thus, enabling the agency to target its compliance assistance and enforcement efforts accordingly.
Improving the visibility of employers to compare their injury and illness data on hazards within the same industry.
Enhancing the ability of stakeholders to make more informed decisions using recent establishment-specific, case-specific, and injury/illness information.
Lastly, advancing the research related to occupational safety and health.
Comments Due Date and Submission Details
The public can submit comments online using Docket No. OSHA-2021-0006 on the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Refer to the Federal Register notice for more details, and the due date for comments submission is May 30th, 2022. All submissions must include the agency’s name and the docket number for this rulemaking (Docket No. OSHA-2021-0006). OSHA also cautions commenters about submitting private information that will be made available to the public online at https://www.regulations.gov without modification.
CAMDEN, NJ – OSHA initiated an investigation of the auto parts shop after a vehicle lift crushed a worker’s hand in Camden, New Jersey. Following the investigation, the NJ auto parts seller faces $1.26 million in fines for thirty-three workplace safety and health violations. The company sells wholesale and retail parts salvaged from used vehicles through an assembly line process.
The Investigation and Citations
OSHA determined that the company failed to have proper safeguards to protect employees from an accidental machine startup. The agency also identified 33 workplace safety and health violations, including willful, repeat, and serious citations, as below:
Failed to equip employees with personal protective equipment or provide fire extinguisher training.
Willfully did not prevent fires, which frequently happened along the conveyor line when sparking tools ignited gasoline vapors.
Exposed workers to electrical, noise, machine guarding, crushing, and flammable material hazards.
Willfully failed to keep an emergency egress clear.
Did not protect employees from being caught in automobile lifts.
According to OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson, “by disregarding required safety protections, My Auto Store contributed to a worker’s serious and life-altering injury. In fact, the company could have prevented the accident by complying with workplace safety standards and implementing safety programs,” he added.
However, the company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Martin Technical, Inc., a leading subject matter expert in providing industrial plants and facilities with simplified safety solutions and consulting services, will be participating as a Gold Sponsor at the NFMT National Facilities Management and Technology Conference March 29-31, 2022, in Baltimore, MD. Industry experts will be present to educate facility professionals on how Martin Technical can make the complex simple by applying solutions for training, electrical maintenance, inspections, lockout tagout, confined space, and OSHA services.
Martin Technical will be highlighting the latest, most comprehensive, and practical safety training offerings, including blended learning training and strategies to guide organizations in building the most robust training program.
NFMT will also be hosting world-class conference sessions, including Martin Technical’s Chief Operating Officer, Donny Snyder, addressing the topic Maintaining Electrical System Health, Efficiency, and Safety. This topic will be presented during NFMT’s product zone speaking event on Thursday, March 31, at 11:30 AM ET.
Martin Technical is inviting workplace safety professionals to register as a Pro Level Access guest at no charge using promo code PROALUM. Guests are encouraged to visit Martin Technical at booth #715 during the conference.
GREENSBORO, NC – OSHA cited a mail facility’s distribution center in Greensboro for $170K after a worker suffered a life-changing injury last year. The investigation revealed the mechanic suffered an amputation after coming into contact with a machine that had a safety guard removed. Greensboro Network Distribution Center is a bulk mail processing and distribution center for the company with a programmable network of heavy conveyor lines and other systems that handles packages for delivery.
The Violations and Citations
Following the tragedy,Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the postal service’s facility, which operates as Greensboro Network Distribution Center. Subsequently, the investigation identified repeat and serious safety violations as follows:
Failure to ensure that safety guards were in place as required.
Allowing conveyor guards to be routinely removed, leaving workers at risk for injury.
Did not train staff on working near conveyors or proper methods for safely operating equipment using lockout tagout safety measures.
Allowed unqualified workers – workers without adequate training and protective equipment – to perform tests on live electrical equipment.
Therefore, OSHA issued two serious and two repeat citations, totaling $170,918 in proposed fines.
The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
“The USPS has an obligation to eliminate hazards to ensure safe working conditions and prevent future tragic and life-altering injury. But the company ignored long-established safety standards and put workers at risk,” said OSHA Area Director Kimberley Morton in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Key Takeaways: Training and Proper Lockout Tagout Could Have Prevented the Tragedy
Key takeaways are to ensure proper Lockout Tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures are in place to safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. Establishing a complete and comprehensive Lockout Tagout programthat includes precise lockout procedures for all workers is essential. Partnering with certified lockout techniciansto enhance efficiency and turnaround time on developing LOTO procedures and placards is also important.
Additionally, routine safety training can prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of workplace safety. Thus, employers must train workers in energy control and the skills required to safely apply, use, and remove energy control devices.
APPLETON, WI – OSHA cited an Appleton-based contractor twice in six months for exposing workers to deadly fall hazards.
In June 2021, OSHA cited the company during an inspection at a Neenah job site and proposed $21,140 in penalties. The citation included failing to provide workers with fall protection equipment and training and a ladder extending at least 3 feet above the landing surface.
Despite the consequences of the June citation, OSHA has issued one willful, one repeat, and one serious violation six months later. The proposed penalties total $49,722, based on OSHA’s observations of six roofers atop a two-story Algoma duplex on Nov. 2, 2021.
The Contractor’s History of Exposing Workers to Fall Hazards
The pair of recent inspections continues the company’s history of failing to protect its roofing workers. In 2017 and 2018, OSHA cited the company for similar hazards at other job sites. The company has neither paid OSHA penalties assessed in June 2021 nor complied with requirements to provide abatement information.
“Apple Roofing Solutions continues to show a flagrant disregard for the safety and well-being of its workers and the law. Fall hazards make roofing work among the construction industry’s most dangerous jobs. It is also OSHA’s most frequently cited hazards,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton. “This company seems willing to ignore the dangers of falls and the potential for serious injuries, debilitation, or worse. OSHA will hold Apple Roofing Solutions, and other employers like them, accountable for failing to meet the legal requirements to provide safe working conditions.”
Fall Protection Remains OSHA’s Most Frequently Cited Standard
For the 11th consecutive fiscal year, OSHA’s fall protection (29 CFR 1926.501) remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard. At the same time, the Fall Protection Training Requirements(29 CFR 1926.503) was the agency’s seventh most frequently cited standard in FY 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports in 2020 that 1,008 construction workers died on the job, with 351 of those falling from elevation.
Thus, employers should have a competent person training and supervising the workplace, ensuring workers are aware of fall hazards.
In summary, Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by scheduling regularworkplace fall protection training. The training provides an effective and engaging way to practice and validate safety requirements without stopping production. In addition, learn more aboutVR curriculums developed by subject matter experts created to raise risk awareness and provide training for preventive measures against fall accidents.
WOLF CREEK, MT – The U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA has certified NorthWestern Energy’s Holter Hydroelectric Plant in Wolf Creek as a “Star” under the VPP. This is the highest level of recognition for workplace safety and health excellence under the agency’s Voluntary Protection Program. OSHA has approved Holter Hydroelectric Plant as a VPP program participant since June 2008. In total, NorthWestern Energy has four sites participating in VPP nationwide.
OSHA announced the recognition as part of Holter Hydroelectric’s recertification in the VPP program, which is now in its 40th year. The “Star” designation recognizes employers and employees who demonstrate exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of workplace safety and health hazards, as well as the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of their safety and health management systems.
“NorthWestern Energy continues to exhibit a significant commitment to employee safety and health performance,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Jennifer Rous. She quoted this as a great example of safety accomplishments with the teamwork of OSHA, employers, employees, and their union.
The Safety Culture and Good Practices
OSHA praised Holter Dam’s proactive approaches to safety and health, including daily meetings on potential workplace hazards and safety controls.
Other good practices are regular community outreach by employees supporting their emergency preparedness plans. The outreach includes annual tabletop and rotating mock drills at Holter and neighboring dams. It brings together emergency responders, state road and bridge authorities, news media, the National Weather Service, and other stakeholders.
“We conduct annual outreach to 100 people ensuring the readiness in the event of a major worker or public safety threatening issues. Regular exercise programs are conducted with partners, the nearby dams, responders, and major players,” said NorthWestern Energy Operations and Maintenance Superintendent Jeremy Butcher.
In addition, employees at Holter Dam are regularly trained and equipped to perform lifesaving first aid. Last but not least, the company also ensures law enforcement, fire departments, and contractors are familiar with the access points to expedite emergency responses.
In summary, having a positive safety culture within an organization promotes more than safety. It is vital for a successful and effective health and safety program. According to OSHA, developing a strong safety culture has a significant impact on accident reduction of any process. Learn more about building and maintaining a positive safety culture and formulating robust safety training solutions with industry subject matter experts.
OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP)
The VPP recognizes employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies implementing effective safety and health management systems. In addition to maintaining injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. In VPP, management, labor, and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. These are achieved through a system focused on hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training, management commitment, and worker involvement.
WASHINGTON – On February 15, the Department of Labor announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by OSHA to improve worker safety and health. This ensures that the agency’s general industry and construction industry rules reflect current industry practice and state-of-the-art technology. OSHA proposes updating the design and manufacturing requirements of the powered industrial trucks standards for general industry and construction.
The Proposed Update
The proposal would update design and construction requirements for industrial trucks powered by an electric motor or internal combustion engine. This includes fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other specialized industrial trucks.
The proposed updates would add references to the latest design and construction requirements published by the American National Standards Institute. And the references are also in conjunction with the Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation.
Since OSHA adopted the 1969 version of the ANSI B56.1, ANSI has revised its consensus standard twelve times between 1975 to 2020. The three B56 volumes cover all powered industrial trucks that are currently within the scope of OSHA’s standards (§§ 1910.178(a)(1) and 926.602(c)(1)(vi)). They encompass all equipment initially covered by the consensus standard cited in OSHA’s existing standards (ANSI B56.1-1969). OSHA is not aware of any other consensus standards covering powered industrial trucks in its scope. But the agency requests comments on whether any other such standards exist and should be referenced by OSHA.
In addition to updating the design and construction requirements for future manufactured powered industrial trucks, it will also address equipment manufactured before the final rule’s effective date.
This proposed update is part of OSHA’s regulatory projects to update nearly 200 agency standards. The updates will be helpful to reflect the current versions of international consensus and national industry standards.
Violations of the powered industrial trucks are consistently on the OSHA Top Ten Most Frequently Cited Safety and Health Violations. Several thousand injuries related to forklifts occur in U.S. workplaces every year. Read more on the safety and compliance requirements for forklifts. Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by scheduling regularforklift training. The Forklift Train-The-Trainer and Operator Training Course are designed to aid general industry and construction workers in the safe operation of forklifts. This step-by-step approach proves helpful for workers to be knowledgeable of OSHA and manufacturers’ safety requirements for the use of forklifts.