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.
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.
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.
Warehousing is one of the riskier industries due to high-powered machinery and vehicles operating within proximity of each other. Rapid growth in e-commerce is driving an ever-increasing demand for the delivery of products in shorter timeframes. Industrial and commercial warehouses are to keep up with this demand while complying with the current safety expectations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports thousands of injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the warehousing industry annually. Many of those are caused by workplace accidentssuch as slips or falls, hazardous materials, and equipment malfunction. Warehouse safety should be the employers’ utmost priority to keep employees safe, ensure efficient operation, maximize productivity, and minimize injury or damage. Below are some factors to consider when planning a safe work environment for warehouse employees.
Building a Safety Culture and Procedures
Establishing comprehensive safety procedures can help prevent workplace accidents in warehouses and promote a safe work environment. An engaging safety procedure starts from the top-down; management should walk the talk in cultivating such values into the company culture. While employees may have the required certification for the job, this does not always include in-depth safety training. Thus, providing ample opportunities for employees to access safety resources, including signage, safety stickers, regular safety meetings, and safety training, is essential in creating a safe work environment. Consider developing training programs with the help of industry subject matter experts that offer blended and interactive training solutions. Ideally, a comprehensive training program should include a good mix of on-site training, hands-on validation, online learning, webinars, toolbox talks, andvirtual reality courses in multiple languages for easy access.
Other good practices include posting signs around the warehouse indicating different safety procedures, regular communication on safety tips, and announcements on new safety procedures. Incentivize workers to take safety courses and recognize their efforts to demonstrate exemplary safety protocol. Consider putting together a safety handbook or manual that includes potential hazards, safety protocols, and rules.
Establishing a complete and comprehensive Lockout Tagout program that includes clear and precise lockout procedures for all workers is imperative, especially in heavy machinery warehouses. Routine training on using the equipment, shutting it down correctly, and isolating the power sources by following the proper lockout tagout procedures can prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of safety in your warehouse.
Warehouse workers are more likely to internalize the safety culture and take it seriously when they know the company is responsible, accountable, and invested in their well-being. A safe work environment helps warehouses build a good relationship with their employees and supports businesses in achieving higher recognition.
Ravenna, OH – Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) imposed a $1.6 million fine for a vehicle parts manufacturer’s 38 safety and health violations. The company was cited with four repeats, 18 willful, and 16 serious safety and health violations, following an investigation into the death of a 43-year-old worker on March 30. The tragedy happened when the barrier door closed on his head when loading a part into a machine.
OSHA alleged that General Aluminum allowed employees to bypass guarding mechanisms designed to prevent the barrier door from closing on them. A malfunction in the door’s optic control also existed before the deadly incident. The OSHA investigators also found a lack of Lockout / Tagout and effective safety management procedures throughout the vehicle parts maker’s facility, in addition to failure to protect employees from burn and explosion hazards.
General Aluminum Mfg was placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) and is subject to mandatory follow-up inspections and increased agency pressure to abate cited hazards. Willful violations will be cited when an employer knowingly disregarded safety and health law and regulation or acted indifferently for employee safety and health. “OSHA will continue to hold bad actors accountable and emphasize the importance of complying with safety and health requirements that can save lives,” Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick said in an agency statement.
Risk can be found in any workplace; it’s essential to avoid becoming complacent with health and safety procedures. Workplace health and safety training can positively influence an organization’s efficiency and productivity, reducing costs and saving lives. A robust health and safety policy cultivates a safe company culture. It helps organizations build a good relationship with their employees, supports businesses to achieve high recognition and good standing in their industry.
MONTICELLO, IL – On February 19th, 2021, two workers at Topflight Grain Cooperative Inc. were clearing a bin of debris when the soybeans inside collapsed, engulfing one employee up to their waste. The subsequent investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found the grain facility exposed workers to engulfment hazards. The total proposed penalties amounted to $303,510.
The agency cited Topflight for four grain-handling violations. This included a willful citation for failing to lockout or de-energize hazardous equipment before allowing workers to enter the bin. OSHA issued another willful violation for failing to post an attendant outside the bin for emergency response. The agency all issued citations for directing employees to work on top of railcars without fall protection and failing to test oxygen levels within before directing employees to work inside the grain bin.
In OSHA’s press release, OSHA Area director Barry Salerno made a statement regarding the grain facility which exposed workers to engulfment hazards. Salerno stated, “Six in ten grain engulfments result in the death of a worker but, like the incident at Topflight Grain Cooperative, they are entirely avoidable. OSHA works diligently with the grain and feed industry to enhance education and safety, but employers must follow industry-recognized standards to protect their workers.”
According to their website, Topflight Grain Cooperative operates 19 grain-producing facilities. These operate across Illinois and process 40 million bushels of grain annually.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Gainesville, GA– OSHA of the US Department of Labor cited Foundation Food Group Inc. and three other companies for a total of 59 violations and a combined $998,637 in penalties following its investigation of a liquid nitrogen leak that killed six people working in a Prime-Pak Foods processing plant in Gainesville, GA.
The incident occurred January 28th, after a freezer at the plant malfunctioned, releasing colorless, odorless liquid nitrogen into the air, displacing the oxygen in the room. OSHA said in its report that three maintenance workers entered the freezer room without safety precautions. The three maintenance workers and three other workers died immediately.
OSHA investigated the incident and found that Foundation Food Group and Messer LLC of Bridgewater, NJ, “failed to implement any of the safety procedures or necessary to prevent the accident and found that did not do safety training for employees on the safety procedures they can take to protect themselves, and the methods used to detect the presence or release of nitrogen, the hazards of liquid nitrogen, and emergencies.
“This horrible tragedy could have been prevented had the employers taken the time to use – and teach their workers the importance of – safety precautions,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta. “Instead, six workers died because their employers failed to follow necessary procedures and to comply with required safety and health standards. We hope other industry employers learn from this terrible incident and comply with requirements to prevent similar incidents.”
OSHA cited Foundation Food Group Inc. for 26 violations for the uncontrolled release of liquid nitrogen; the Company also failed to develop, document, and use lockout procedures, nor ensure the procedures were shared between the host employer and contractors. The Company faces $595,474 in penalties.
FS Group Inc., which manufactures equipment and provides mechanical servicing, was also cited by OSHA for eight serious violations for failure to train workers on the physical and health hazards and emergency procedures. The Company also failed to ensure the development and use of specific written lockout procedures and ensure that the host employer and contractors shared information on lockout procedures. FS Group faces $42,325 in penalties.
East Norriton, NJ– According to an OSHA investigation, Wilmer Mejía Landaverde, a New Jersey worker building an Amazon warehouse in East Norriton, fell from the structure’s roof. Mejia’s fall was fatal due to his injuries from falling 25 feet.
A Trenton-based construction contractor employed Mejía. Mejía’s brother, Josué, said he and his brother were replacing roofing material before Mejía’s fall; he recalled that his brother removed his safety ties briefly for a water break. Both workers have cables attached while they work. After returning from break, he did not put his cable back on.
According to East Norriton police, the fall occurred at 3:48 p.m. at a construction site on 53 West Germantown Pike. Amazon was not involved in the construction nor are they under investigation.
In a statement, an official from IMC Construction stated: “Despite extensive safety training, inspections, procedures, instructions, safety personnel on-site and mandated safety requirements, the worker was witnessed by his co-workers removing his mandated safety line from his safety harness while on the roof, and within minutes fell.”
Amazon spokesperson Branden Baribeau noted that the East Norriton site is under construction, with no Amazon employees. “We’re saddened by this tragic incident and extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones,” he said. “It is our understanding that OSHA is investigating, and we will work with them as needed.”
OSHA stated it has up to six months to complete the investigation. In addition to the Construction Contractors, the agency said it is also investigating the roofing contractor.
“Falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths,” OSHA experts caution on the agency’s website. “Employers must set up the workplace to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated workstations or into holes in the floor and walls.”
BROOKLYN, NY– A Bronx contractor was cited for a scaffolding accident and a worker’s fall when his arrest harness was not tethered as required by OSHA. The 21-year-old laborer, who was erecting scaffolding, suffered a deadly fall at a Brooklyn building project on November 13th, 2020.
Falls are the leading cause of death and injury when proper safety protocols are not in place. The laborer who was installing a welded frame scaffold fell over 50 feet from the construction site of the seven-story Brooklyn building.
“The Company cited the tragedy could have been prevented if Everest Scaffolding had provided appropriate training on fall hazards and ensured workers were using fall protection correctly,” said OSHA Area Director Kay Gee in Manhattan.
OSHA proposed $300,370 in penalties for the two serious safety violations. The Company did not train their workers on Fall Hazards and did not make sure they were using the protection correctly.
The Company Failed to evaluate the feasibility of using fall protection correctly and did not adequately train employees on fall hazards associated with scaffolding work.