Millions in OSHA fines for one roofing contractor, 2020 is off to a deadly start for the poultry industry and OSHA celebrates its 50th anniversary. These were among the top stories featured on ISHN.com this week.
With 2020 barely underway, the poultry industry has already experienced two workplace fatalities, at facilities in two different states. The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) says those incidents, along with a government-approved increase in line speeds at poultry slaughterhouses, illustrate the need for safety reforms in the industry. The poultry industry maintains that employees are considerably safer now on the job than in the past, and points to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data to back up that claim.
A plumbing contractor who allowed employees to work in a trench that showed signs of water intrusion and possible collapse has been fined $37,318 by OSHA – after one of those workers died in a trench collapse.
Rhobina Electric Inc. in Batesville, Mississippi was cited for exposing employees to excavation hazards after the fatality. The commercial electrical and plumbing contractor was installing sewer pipe to a new concrete manhole when the incident occurred.
When OSHA celebrates an anniversary, it does it up big. The federal agency otherwise known as the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plans to commemorate its 50th anniversary this year with a yearlong celebration of past achievements, current events and future initiatives.
The Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 29, 1970 – that one that created OSHA – gave the federal government the authority to set and enforce safety and health standards for most of the country's workers.
With the increasing popularity of vaping, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working with other federal agencies and organizations to remind airline passengers that electronic smoking devices like vaporizers (vapes) and e-cigarettes are considered hazardous materials when transported on aircraft.
Electronic smoking devices contain lithium batteries that pose a fire risk.
A fire and explosions at a refinery in Pennsylvania have resulted in an energy company being cited by OSHA for serious violations related to process safety management (PSM). Philadelphia Energy Solutions faces $132,600 in penalties stemming from the June 2019 incident at its Girard Point Refinery Complex in Philadelphia.
OSHA has cited Milwaukee Valve Company Inc. – based in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin – for exposing employees to lead and copper dust at rates higher than the permissible exposure levels. The agency has proposed $171,628 in penalties to the industrial valve manufacturing company.
The agency cited owner Shawn Purvis of Purvis Home Improvement Company, Inc. for 17 willful and serious safety violations, including failure to provide fall protection training and exposure to electrocution. Portland, Maine's grand jury also indicted Purvis on April 5, 2019 for manslaughter and workplace manslaughter. If convicted, he will face an additional $50,000 fine and 30 years in prison.
With the new year comes new maximum penalty amounts for safety violations leveled by OSHA, due to an annual adjustment for inflation.
Here are the maximum penalty amounts that may now be assessed by the agency (as of Jan. 15, 2020.)
“It is shocking that the USDA has decided to once again put the health of our children at risk"
January 20, 2020
“We are extremely disappointed that the USDA is once again rolling back nutrition standards in our schools. First, the Trump Administration weakened requirements for sodium and whole grains, and now these proposed changes would allow schools to serve fewer fruits and grains, a smaller variety of vegetables, and less healthy entrees that aren’t part of a balanced meal. These changes are unnecessary and put children’s health at risk."
The American Society of Safety Engineers is offering a virtual symposium to help occupational safety and health professionals better understand the sweeping changes OSHA recently made to its final rule on Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection standards in relation to slip, trip and fall hazards. Read More
Among the articles in the January 2020 issue of ISHN Magazine, we review the most violated OSHA standards, Part 2 of Larry Wilson's 'Rethinking Traditional Safety' column series, insight from safety experts, and much more.