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Archive for the ‘OSHA’ Category

OSHA fines 2 companies in worker’s death at Longmont’s Village at the Peaks


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited and fined two Colorado companies for a dozen serious violations in the wake of a construction worker’s death at Village at the Peaks in August.

Tereso Zamarippa-Hernandez, 39, died after falling 15 feet through a hole in a roof and landing on concrete. Zamarippa-Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene on Aug 31.

Erie-based Ramos Roofing, Zamarippa-Hernandez’ employer, was fined $11,460 for not having a safety program in place to check for the presence of holes and protecting employees from falling or tripping, according to OSHA.

Ramos was also cited for not properly training employees on safe ladder and stairway usage.

Colorado Springs-based Colorado Structures Incorporated was fined $12,775 for not initiating and maintaining a safety program to provide frequent and regular inspections of jobsites, materials and equipment, exposing workers to fall hazards. Ramos Roofing was also cited, OSHA an representative said.

OSHA cited both companies for not properly illuminating job sites and not properly securing and marking covers and making sure they were substantial enough to support employees.

Longmont police said at the time of the incident that Zamarippa-Hernandez fell through the hole in the roof before the sun had risen, and investigators didn’t find any flashlights on site.

OSHA determined the 12 violations between the two companies to be “serious,” documents show.

Ramos Roofing owner Alfredo Ramos said that he is working to reinforce safety policies but added that his company already had safety procedures in place at the time of the accident.

“We have a safety policy that encompasses everything currently,” Ramos said. “But we are going to reinforce and strengthen them. We are working with a safety consulting firm that is going to be a second set of eyes.”

Ramos declined to comment further but added that $30,000 was raised to help family members of Zamarippa-Hernandez in the immediate aftermath of the accident.

Attempts to reach CSI president Gabe Godwin via phone and email on Wednesday weren’t successful. A receptionist at the company said he was out of the office on Wednesday.

Newmark Merrill Mountain States, the property developer, had not responded to a request for comment as of Wednesday afternoon.

Herb Gibson, area director for the OSHA Denver Area Office, said both companies are working with OSHA to resolve the issues, and the companies have abated the hazards OSHA identified during its investigation.

He urged employers to visit osha.gov to get information on fall protection. He said fall protection is the number one priority in Colorado, and a local program has been in place for about 10 years.

“There’s an amazing amount of information on the website,” he said. “We would like employers to have a comprehensive (fall protection) program in place to ensure employees are protected.”

John Bear: 303-684-5212, bearj@timescall.com or twitter.com/johnbearwithme

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10 Things Chemical Plant Operators Need to Know About OSHA’s New Chem NEP


On Nov. 30, OSHA announced the launch of its PSM National Emphasis Program for chemical facilities (Chem NEP). The new Chem NEP expands nationwide a previous 2009 Pilot Chemical Facilities Process Safety Management NEP, which had covered only a few OSHA regions, and established policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces covered by the PSM Standard.

The inspection process under the new Chem NEP includes detailed questions designed to gather facts related to PSM requirements and verification that employers’ written PSM programs are adequately implemented in the field. The intent of the NEP is to conduct focused inspections at facilities randomly selected from a list of worksites likely to have covered processes. The director of OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, announced at the launch of this new NEP that during “the pilot Chemical NEP, [OSHA Compliance] found many of the same safety-related problems that were uncovered during our NEP for the refinery industry … As a result, [OSHA is] expanding the enforcement program to a national level to increase awareness of these dangers so that employers will more effectively prevent the release of highly hazardous chemicals.”
Below are the 10 most important things chemical plant operators need to know about the new nationwide Chem NEP:

 

1. It is effective immediately and has no expiration.
Programmed inspections will begin immediately in all regions. Unlike the Refinery PSM NEP and the Pilot Chem NEP, this directive does not include an expiration date.

 

2. It expands the Chem NEP nationwide.
Whereas the pilot NEP involved only a few select regions under federal OSHA’s jurisdiction, the new nationwide Chem NEP applies to all OSHA regions. And unlike the pilot chem and refinery NEPs, states are required to participate in this emphasis program. If the approved state OSHA plan already has some version of a Chem NEP or wants to implement its own version (within 60 days), the state plan must demonstrate to federal OSHA that its program is at least as effective. Otherwise, the states must adopt this directive.

3. Targets for Chem NEP inspections include:
The types of workplaces inspected under the new Chem NEP are similar to the pilot. OSHA will assemble a master list for each region based on employers who: (1) submitted Program 3 Risk Management Plans to EPA; (2) have a NAICS code for Explosives Manufacturing; (3) appear in OSHA’s enforcement database as having been cited in the past for PSM-related issues; and (4) are known to the area office as operating a PSM-covered process. Any workplaces selected for inspection under OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Plan, which also happen to operate a PSM-covered process, will be inspected under the Chem NEP directive. Likewise, inspections arising from an employee complaint, referral or incident involving a PSM issue also will be conducted under the Chem NEP directive. Complaints, referrals and incidents unrelated to PSM may still result in an inspection under this directive at the area director’s discretion.

 

VPP- or SHARP-approved facilities are partially exempt. (They are exempt from programmed inspections, but may be subject to inspection under the Chem NEP upon an employee complaint, incident or referral related to PSM.)

4. The selection of unit(s) includes:
OSHA will attempt to identify “the most hazardous process” as the selected unit(s) for inspection under the Chem NEP. The selection of the unit(s) will be based on the following:
· Quantity of chemicals in the process;
· Age of the process unit;
· Number of workers and/or contractors present;
· Incident and near-miss reports and other history;
· Input from the union or operators;
· Ongoing maintenance activities; and
· 119(o) Compliance Audit findings.

5. Inspection scheduling expectations include:
Every OSHA area office across the country is expected to complete 3-5 programmed Chem NEP inspections per year. The sites selected for inspections will consist of approximately 25 percent workplaces that use ammonia refrigeration and 75 percent all other workplaces with a PSM coverage process.

6. It emphasizes implementation over documentation.
Like the pilot NEP, compliance officers will be focused on implementation of PSM elements in the field rather than relying solely on the quality of the written PSM program.

 

7. It features dynamic list questions.
Like the pilot NEP, the dynamic list-based evaluation under the Chem NEP is a mandatory gap analysis formatted in a series of questions to facilitate evaluation of compliance with various elements of the PSM standard. The list of questions rotates periodically and will not be publicly disclosed. The questions are accompanied by guidance for CSHOs as to what documents to request, interview topics and questions to cover, and potential citations to issue. Each dynamic list includes 10-15 primary and 5 secondary questions. Questions are designed to elicit a “Yes,” “No” or “N/A” determination of PSM compliance, and any “No” will normally result in a citation.

8. The following documents and presentations will be requested:
During a Chem NEP inspection, employers will be asked to produce the following documents:
· List of PSM-covered processes;
· List of units and maximum intended inventories;
· Three years of OSHA 300 logs for employer and contractors, and contract employee injury logs;
· Summary description of PSM program;
· PFDs, P&IDs, Plot Plans and electrical classification drawings for the selected unit(s);
· Description of process and safety systems, safe upper and lower operating limits and design codes and standards for the selected unit(s);
· The initial PHA and the most recent Redo or Revalidation for the selected unit(s) (including PHA reports and worksheets, recommendations and action items and schedule for addressing and completing recommendations and action items); and
· PSM incident reports for the selected unit(s).

 

Before a walkaround inspection, OSHA will request the following presentations:
· Overview of the company’s PSM Program and how it is implemented;
· Identify personnel responsible for implementing each PSM element;
· Description of records used to verify compliance; and
· Process description for the selected unit(s).

 

9. A single issue will yield multiple citation items.
As we reported about the refinery NEP, OSHA was turning a single issue into multiple violations. The agency has memorialized this practice in the Chem NEP directive. The directive advises CSHOs that a single valve change, for example, could implement 11 different PSM elements, and each should be considered for individual citation items.

 

10. Abatement verification and documentation is now mandatory.
Under the pilot NEP, some citations required employers to simply certify that abatement had been completed. Under the new Chem NEP, however, abatement verification and documentation is now mandatory. The NEP also directs CSHOs to review past PSM-related citations issued to the same employer going back 6 years, and identify potential failures to abate and possibly repeat and willful violations.

http://ehstoday.com/standards/osha/OSHA-Chem-NEP-1208/

Report: Congress, Presidents, U.S. Supreme Court Have Obstructed OSHA Regulatory Process


Some OSHA regulations have been delayed for as long as 31 years, with presidents, Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court all contributing to the slowdown in the rulemaking process.

“The requirements on OSHA have nearly paralyzed the agency,” said Justin Feldman, worker health and safety advocate with Public Citizen and author of the report. “As a result, OSHA cannot adequately protect workers from toxic chemicals, heat stress, repetitive use injuries, workplace violence and many other occupational dangers. Inadequate regulation imposes tremendous costs on workers, who may be forced to pay with their health or even their lives.”

Because so much time and resources are spent trying to promulgate fewer standards, Public Citizen asserts that OSHA has been unable to address many other risks. For example, NIOSH has identified 682 toxic chemicals to which workers are exposed. OSHA has no existing regulation for 244 of these chemicals, meaning workers can be exposed to them at any level. For another 196 chemicals, OSHA’s standards offer less protection than NIOSH recommends. OSHA has regulated only two chemicals since 1997; industry, meanwhile, develops two new chemicals every day.

This article was originally posted at http://ehstoday.com/standards/osha/report_obstruction_osha_standards_1007/

Doctor’s office settles with OSHA


A local doctor’s office has agreed to pay a $10,500 fine as part of a settlement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The Kirkland Family Practice also agreed to correct violations involving exposure of employees to needles and other sharp devices, infection control and employee training, according to a settlement signed Aug. 18 by Dr. Clem Kirkland.

In July, OSHA cited the office, 5928 Springboro Pike, with eight violations calling for a potential $32,000 fine.

In the settlement, OSHA withdrew citations involving steps taken after an employee suffered a needle-stick in June 2011 and annual employee training. OSHA reclassified and reduced the fines for other violations.

In addition to the fines, Kirkland agreed to rewrite its exposure control plan, including “annual consideration and implementation of safer needle devices” and “identification of the appropriate disinfectant to be used in decontaminating contaminated work surfaces.”

Kirkland also agreed to hire inspectors for annual job safety and health inspections for the next two years and to report “how each item was abated or corrected” to OSHA.

Kirkland did not return calls.

Repeat, Fall Hazards Add Up to $125,818 Fine for Aluminum Finishing Firm


OSHAhas issued Aluminum Finishing LLC in Adel, Ga., 18 safety citations for a variety of hazards, including a lack of fall protection and dangers from the corroded components of the facility’s structural integrity. Proposed penalties total $125,818. OSHA opened an inspection in October 2010 as a follow-up to an April 2010 inspection and a complaint alleging the hazards.

Aluminum Finishing, which anodizes aluminum products, was issued one willful citation with a penalty of $53,900 for exposing employees to fall hazards while walking on top of a steel beam without proper fall protection.

The company was issued six repeat citations with $43,120 in penalties for failing to have employees use fall protection while working above dip tanks, ensure emergency lighting is operational, guard live electrical equipment, cover open troughs to prevent tripping, and provide sanitary conditions for workers. The company was cited for similar violations in October 2008 and April 2010.

Eight serious citations with $28,798 in penalties were issued for allowing employees to work near a dip tank without the proper eye or face protection; exposing workers to shock, electrocution and burn injuries; not properly adjusting the work rest on the floor grinder; and having an emergency eye wash unit with inadequate water pressure. The inspection also revealed that workers were exposed to struck-by hazards from corroded ceiling objects, including sprinkler system pipes, metal wall sheathing, and light fixtures.

The company received three other-than-serious citations with no proposed penalties for failing to establish or implement a written respiratory protection program, anchor the floor grinder to the floor, and mount a portable fire extinguisher.

“This company has disregarded the safety of its employees and repeatedly allowed them to be exposed to struck-by hazards from structural failure, electrocution hazards and falls,” said Robert Vazzi, OSHA’s area director in Savannah. “Immediate action needs to be taken to protect employees from these workplace hazards.”

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RMC rewarded for workplace safety


Making the workplace safe for employees paid off handsomely for the Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg & Calhoun Counties recently when it received a check for $229,852 from Palmetto Hospital Trust, the workers’ compensation self-insurance pool in which it participates.

Edisto Regional Health Services Inc., an affiliate of the RMC, was also recognized for workplace safety and received a check for $5,400.

“The Regional Medical Center, Edisto Regional Health Services Inc. and other Palmetto Hospital Trust members are reaping the rewards of effective loss prevention strategies,” said Larry W. Gray, AIC, executive vice president, claims and risk management at PHT Services Ltd. in Columbia. “These include embracing the trust’s emphasis on preventing lifting injuries and widespread implementation of transitional duty programs. PHT members are also diligent about reporting claims promptly.”

PHTS administers the workers’ compensation program for the RMC, ERHS and other South Carolina hospitals and health systems participating in Palmetto Hospital Trust.

PHT and its members are known for their emphasis on preventing lifting injuries, trips and falls, injuries from sharp objects and for helping injured workers return to work as soon as their condition permits. All of these loss-prevention techniques have been instrumental in helping PHT members earn refunds for their contribution to the group self-insurance program’s success.

Palmetto Hospital Trust was founded in 1977 by South Carolina health care executives as a group workers’ compensation self-insurance pool. Trust members include hospitals, continuing care retirement centers, organizations dealing with special needs individuals and other health care organizations.

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