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.
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.
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.
HENDERSON, TX – Following a fatal injury suffered by an 86-year-old worker, the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA opened an investigation. The worker had fallen from a stack of pallets at W.D. Townley and Son Lumber Company Inc. The manufacturer has been family-owned and operated since 1943, with its private fleet of commercial transportation equipment.
OSHA Cited the Manufacturer Exposed Workers to Hazardous Energy Sources
The federal investigation at this Henderson sawmill and pallet manufacturer found the company exposed workers to hazardous energy sources and a lack of machine guarding.
“Sawmill operations can be hazardous work, but it should not be life-threatening,” said OSHA Area Director Basil Singh in Dallas. “W.D. Townley and Son Lumber Company Inc. showed a complete disregard for their employees’ well-being. OSHA will hold employers accountable when they neglect their legal responsibility to provide workers with a safe workplace.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citationsand penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Proper Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. Employers must train workers in the purpose and function of the energy control program. In addition, workers have to be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to safely apply, use, and remove energy control devices.
HARTFORD, CT – Following a tragic electrocution accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspected PM Engineered Solutions Inc., a metal fabrication company. The agency found that the manufacturer lacked safeguards to protect employees against electrocution, mechanical, chemical, fall, and other electrical hazards. OSHAcitedPM Engineered Solutions Inc. with 40 serious and eight other-than-serious violations and is seeking $236,201 in proposed penalties.
Failing to Develop Lock Out Procedures and Providing Training
OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to develop procedures to lock out the water heater’s power source during maintenance. In addition, the company failed to check energy control procedures periodically and provide lockout training to the deceased employee. The purpose of lockout/tagout, also called hazardous energy control, is to prevent the unexpected startup or release of stored electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, or other energy sources in machines and equipment that can result in severe injury or death to workers.
“This employee lost his life due to the employer’s failure to implement required energy control procedures. Of equal concern is the broad cross-section of hazards throughout the facility left uncorrected. They expose employees to being crushed, caught in moving machine parts, burned, chemical exposures, falling and being unable to exit the workplace promptly in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or explosion.” Dale Varney, OSHA’s Hartford, Connecticut, area director, said in an agency statement.
Additionally, OSHA has also identified other hazards during its inspection of the plant as listed below:
62 instances of inadequately guarded machinery, including mechanical power presses, forges, hydraulic presses, and grinding machinery.
Numerous electrical safety violations, including exposed live electrical parts, uncovered electrical boxes, flexible cords used in lieu of permanent wiring, and material stored in front of electrical panels.
Open or unlabeled tanks and containers of hazardous chemicals.
Improperly located or designed collection systems for combustible dust.
Lack of personal protective equipment for employees.
Unsecured or improperly stored compressed gas cylinders.
Lack of a permit-required confined space program for employees who regularly entered a machine pit.
Uninspected damaged, and unmarked chain slings.
Uninspected, inadequate and improperly altered powered fork trucks.
Failure to periodically evaluate fork truck operators’ performance.
Missing or inadequate exit signage.
On August 30, 2021, the agency also cited PM Engineered Solutions for failing to electronically file its annual OSHA 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses for the previous year.
The company has 15 business days to comply, request a conference, or contest before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout), the General Industry is among the Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards
OSHA’s lockout/tagout and machine guarding standards are among the agency’s top 10 most frequently cited standards in FY 2021. The lockout/tagout standard (29 CFR 1910.147) was cited 1,698 times in fiscal year (FY) 2021; while Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212) was cited 1,113 times.
MOBILE, AL – As the nation’s largest discount retailer, Dollar General stores are widely available in 46 states for their low-price merchandise. Based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Dolgencorp LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dollar General Corporations. It operates about 17,000 stores and 17 distribution centers around the nation and employs more than 150,000 workers. In September 2021, the company announced plans to open its first Idaho store and expand its presence to 47 states. However, the company has a long history of violations and repeated failures to protect its workers from on-the-job hazards. Since 2016, OSHA has proposed more than $3.3 million in penalties from over 54 inspections at Dollar General locations nationwide.
The Company Faces $321K in Penalties After Recent Alabama Inspection
In June 2021, an OSHA inspection at the retailer’s Alabama store found the main storeroom too disorderly to allow a safe exit during an emergency. Additionally, workers were exposed to slip and trip hazards, the dangers of being struck by falling boxes, and the lack of access to electrical panels. As a result, OSHA identified three repeat violations in this inspection and proposed $321,827 in penalties.
“Dollar General has a long history of disregarding safety measures to prevent serious injury or death in the event of a fire or other emergency. This company’s troubled history of workplace safety violations must end. OSHA will make every effort to hold them accountable for their failures,” said Assistant Secretary for OSHA Doug Parker.
The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education, and assistance.
In summary, the risk is available in any workplace; however, to avoid becoming complacent with health and safety procedures is essential. Scheduling regular workplace health and safety trainingcan positively influence an organization’s efficiency, productivity and save lives. A safe work environment helps employers build a good relationship with their employees and supports businesses in achieving higher recognition.
Queens, NY – A federal workplace safety investigation has found a construction contractor failed to provide and ensure the use of effective fall protection safeguards. OSHA conducted the investigation following the death of a worker during the demolition of the Brooklyn building last year.
OSHA’s investigators also determined that the contractor failed to train its workers to recognize and avoid fall hazards. This has caused a worker who engaged in demolishing a building at 1045 Flatbush Ave to fall 60 feet.
The Citations and Penalties
OSHA cited Richmond Construction Inc. for nine willful, repeat, and six serious violations of workplace safety standards. As a result, the agency is seeking penalties totaling $374K. The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Provide employees with effective fall protection and fall protection training.
Have a competent person inspect the roof, lifeline systems, and fall arrest harnesses before the employees started work. A competent person has the knowledge to spot hazards and the authority to correct them.
Have a qualified person supervise the design, installation, and use of the horizontal lifeline.
Ensure the lifeline system was capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds.
Ensure employees did not connect their fall protection lanyards to anchor points below their harness rings.
Provide eye and ear protection to employees operating jackhammers.
“Richmond Construction Inc. ignored its legal responsibility to protect workers from falls and the result was the loss of a worker’s life. Complying with OSHA standards is not optional. It is required to ensure workers return home unharmed at the end of the day,” said OSHA Area Director Kay Gee in New York City. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.
Fall Protection Training requirements are OSHA’s Seventh Most Frequently Cited Standard
In conclusion, falls are the number one killer of construction workers. In addition, 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) is the agency’s seventh most frequently cited standard in FY 2021. Thus, employers should have a competent person training and supervising the workplace, ensuring workers are aware of fall hazards.
Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by scheduling regularworkplace fall protection training. Learn more on VR curriculums developed by subject matter experts. The VR curriculums are able to raise awareness about the risks and preventive measures against fall accidents. Furthermore, it provides an effective and engaging way to practice and validate safety requirements without stopping production.
Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. Forklifts can also be used to raise, lower, or remove objects on pallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers. Powered industrial trucks can either be ridden by the operator or controlled by a walking operator. Over-the-road haulage trucks and earth-moving equipment that has been modified to accept forks are not considered powered industrial trucks. OSHA has extensive safety and compliance regulations for forklift design and maintenance, operations, and training to be followed by employers. There are also additional requirements that depend on the classification of a forklift and its use. Businesses that use forklifts should adhere to safety and compliance requirements for operating forklifts.
Violations of the Powered Industrial Trucks are Consistently on the OSHA Top Ten Most Frequently Cited Safety and Health Violations
Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a list of the top ten most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year. Violations of the Powered Industrial Trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178) are consistently on the list; and were ranked 7th for the FY2020. Several thousand injuries related to forklifts occur in U.S. workplaces every year.
According to OSHA, tip-overs are the leading cause of fatalities involving forklifts, representing about 25% of all forklift-related deaths. Common forklift problems that lead to worker injuries include three directly related to employer compliance and two related to driver responsibilities. Employer compliance issues include:
Failure to provide or inadequate operator training;
Failure to provide or ensure the use of seat belts; and
Defective equipment that is not taken out of service.
Common problems that relate to worker responsibilities include:
Failure to conduct regular inspections before operation; and
Driving in an unsafe manner.
This article will focus on general compliance tips on the OSHA requirements for forklift, reach trucks, order pickers, and other powered industrial trucks.
OSHA requirements for Forklift, Reach Trucks, Order Pickers, and other Powered Industrial Trucks
The employer must assess the types of equipment used. Any equipment with cargo and driver is a “powered industrial truck.” The regulations apply to forklifts, powered pallet jacks, order pickers, reach trucks, and powered pallet jacks.
The employer’s safety program must be specific to the workplace. Assessment of the workplace is a must to identify hazards and provide guidance to operators during training. The assessment would include elevated storage, low ceilings, uneven surfaces, high noise areas, oversize loads, and use of attachments such as drum clamps or fork extensions.
Safety equipment must be available and be properly maintained. Fall protection equipment must meet OSHA standards, and workers must be trained in its inspection and use. Platforms for elevating workers using the equipment must have guardrails and toe boards. Flushing of the eyes and body must be available where batteries are charged.
A program of daily equipment inspection must be implemented. Powered Industrial Lift Trucks and fall protection equipment must be properly maintained by the employer and inspected by the operator before each shift. Each piece of equipment must have its maintenance logs. If at any time a powered industrial truck is found to need repair, defective, or in any way unsafe, the truck shall be taken out of service until it is restored to safe operating condition.
Operators must be trained in safety procedures and licensed. Only authorized, trained, and certified drivers may operate the equipment. Drivers must be trained in how the machine works, operating skills, inspect and maintain the equipment, and any unique work hazards. There are two general types of powered industrial trucks: electric (battery) powered and internal combustion engine (gas/LPG/diesel) powered. Each of these general types has a variety of different configurations and attachments. For electric-powered equipment, drivers must be trained in battery charging safety. For equipment powered by propane, gasoline, or diesel, drivers must be trained in fueling safety, fuel storage, and fire prevention.
Drivers must demonstrate proficiency in inspection and operation. It is a violation of Federal law for anyone UNDER 18 years old to operate a forklift or for anyone OVER 18 years old who is not properly trained and certified to do so. Each operator must have their operation of a Powered Industrial Lift Truck evaluated by a competent person, and the results given to the employee and supervisors. The employer shall certify that each operator is well trained and assessed as required. The certification shall include the operator’s name, the date of the training, the date of the evaluation, and the identity of the person(s) performing the training or assessment. The driver’s performance must be assessed individually in writing no less than every three years.
Retraining is needed when the workplace or equipment changes. Most companies schedule periodic retraining for their operators. An evaluation of each operator’s proficiency and knowledge must occur no less than every three years and lead by a competent person. Retraining is mandatory when the workplace changes, the equipment changes, the operator involved in an accident or near-miss incident, or an evaluation of the employee’s vehicle operation shows deficiencies.
A written program of compliance must be maintained. The employer must keep written records of all procedures, maintenance, disciplinary actions, equipment inspections, and training activities. The program should be evaluated periodically to ensure that it is effective.
Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by scheduling regular workplace safety training.
Guaynabo, PR – A St. Croix refinery faces $259,407 in proposed OSHA penalties after the agency citedthe company for 20 violations. Earlier in February and May, the refinery releasing oil and vapor into the air and fiery flares led to an OSHA investigation.
The Violations and Citations
Subsequently, OSHA concluded that Limetree Bay Refining LLC’s refinery failed to meet federal workplace chemical safety standards and endangered workers based on the investigation. The agency has determined that Limetree Bay Refining did not fulfill the following:
Compile all necessary information on process equipment and technology, including relief system design, safe operating limits, and consequences of deviation from those limits.
Evaluate and implement controls to manage process hazards adequately.
Complete a pre-startup safety review.
Prevent process equipment from operating in deficient condition.
Inspect process equipment adequately before returning it to service and introducing hazardous chemicals to the process.
Develop and implement operating procedures to address conditions that deviate from normal operations. Inspect process equipment adequately before returning it to service and introducing hazardous chemicals to the process.
Develop and implement operating procedures to address conditions that deviate from normal operations.
In addition to OSHA’s PSM and other safety standards, petroleum refineries are also subject to EPA regulations. The EPA cited Limetree Bay Refining on April 30th and June 16th for Clean Air Act (CAA) violations; and issued a CAA Section 303 order on May 14th, pausing the refinery’s operations. Later on July 12th, the Department of Justice announced the refinery had agreed to EPA’s requirements regarding the refinery’s shutdown. Limetree Bay was no longer in operation and did not intend to restart the refinery.
Complying with OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard Reduces Risks
“The increasing number of severity release incidents at the refinery indicated Limetree Bay Refining LLC was putting workers at risk by permitting serious deficiencies that exist within its process equipment and inadequate process safety management programs.” Alfredo Nogueras, OSHA’s Guaynabo, Puerto Rico area office director, said in an agency statement. “There are inherent hazards facing workers in facilities that process large quantities of flammable and toxic chemicals at high temperatures and pressures. Complying with OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard reduces those risks and protects workers,” he continued.
OSHA has a National Emphasis Programto enforce its PSM standard, including petroleum refineries, chemical manufacturing, and facilities producing explosives and pyrotechnics. The agency has a rulemakingintended to modernize the standards to prevent major chemical accidents.
Incidents at refineries are also investigated by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). The CSB makes recommendations to the EPA, OSHA, facility operators, and standard-setting organizations. Currently, CSB has 14 open recommendationsfor OSHA to address.
In summary, risk can be found in any workplace; however, to avoid becoming complacent with health and safety procedures is essential. Scheduling regular workplace health and safety training can positively influence an organization’s efficiency and productivity, thus reducing costs and saving lives.
Learn more on Martin Technical’s VR curriculums, developed by subject matter experts, to raise awareness about the risks and preventive measures against accidents on the oil and gas platform (FPSO). It provides an effective and engaging way to practice and validate safety requirements without stopping production. VR is also a cost-effective tool for simulating realistic and hazardous working environments to create memorable and interactive learning opportunities in a safe virtual environment.