July 1, 2013 • Volume 12, Issue 13
A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.
New National Emphasis Program announced to protect the health of workers exposed to isocyanates
OSHA recently announced a new National Emphasis Program (PDF*) to protect workers from the serious health effects from occupational exposure to isocyanates. Through this NEP, OSHA will focus on workplaces in general, construction and maritime industries that use isocyanate compounds in an effort to reduce occupational illnesses and deaths. These chemicals can cause occupational asthma, irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat, and cancer and other conditions that have proved fatal in some cases. See the news release for more information.
OSHA reaches settlement agreement with Nebraska-based ConAgra Foods to protect workers from anhydrous ammonia
ConAgra Foods, Inc. dba Lamb Weston, Inc. has signed a settlement agreement with OSHA to protect workers at five of its frozen food facilities from the release of anhydrous ammonia from refrigeration systems. The agreement protects workers at Idaho, Arkansas, Missouri and Ohio facilities of the Nebraska-based company. It requires ConAgra to implement controls to reduce hazards associated with the release of ammonia, a chemical used to refrigerate foods in industrial factories. See the news release for more information.
Environmental Enterprises cited for 22 violations after worker dies from burns suffered at Cincinnati hazardous waste treatment facility
Environmental Enterprises Inc. has been cited by OSHA with 22 safety and health violations after a fatal fire and explosion occurred at a Cincinnati waste treatment facility. Two employees were severely burned by the fire, one fatally. Proposed fines total $325,710.
OSHA determined the cause of the fire and explosion to be the ignition of an industrial filter cartridge filled with sodium chlorate that came in contact with incompatible materials resulting in a fire and explosion. Violations involve failing to develop and implement hazardous waste handling procedures, provide new training to employees assigned to handle waste materials and select and ensure the use of proper personal protective equipment. OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program as a result of the willful violations found. See the news release for more details.
Register now: Free webinar on protecting temporary workers
OSHA will co-moderate a free webinar with the American Staffing Association at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, July 18, to discuss best practices for protecting temporary workers. To register, visit www.americanstaffing.net/education/ASAPro/2013/jul18.cfm.
The webinar is part of OSHA's new initiative to protect temporary workers—many of whom face the most dangerous working conditions and therefore more vulnerable in the overall workforce. There is a growing body of research showing that temporary workers are at greater risk of workplace injury and illness than non-temps. According to the literature, two of the leading factors that point to increased risk are 1) lack of job information and safety training for temps, who are increasingly employed in dangerous occupations, and 2) employer financial and performance incentives around workers' compensation and other benefits.
OSHA urges increased safety awareness in fireworks industry in advance of July 4 celebrations
OSHA is urging employers in the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry to protect workers from hazards while manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying and selling fireworks for public events. In March 2012, three workers suffered serious burns caused by an explosion at Global Pyrotechnic Solutions Inc. OSHA cited the Dittmer, Mo., company nearly $117,000 for safety violations relating to explosive hazards.
OSHA's pyrotechnics directive, Compliance Policy for Manufacture, Storage, Sale, Handling, Use and Display of Pyrotechnics (PDF*), provides inspection guidance and OSHA requirements as they apply to pyrotechnics facilities and operations. The agency's Web page on the pyrotechnics industry addresses retail sales of fireworks and fireworks displays and includes a video, which demonstrates best industry practices for retail sales and manufacturers based on National Fire Protection Association consensus standards. Read the news release for more information.
OSHA signs agreement with Canadian health department to align hazard communications standards
OSHA's Dr. David Michaels and Suzy McDonald, director general of Canada's HECS after signing a Memorundum of Understanding on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling.
OSHA and the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch of the Department of Health of Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding on June 19 to work together on implementing the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling in their respective jurisdictions. Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, and Suzy McDonald, director general for HECS, signed the agreement in which both parties will establish a working group to reduce barriers between the systems responsible for occupational safety and health of workplace chemicals.
OSHA aligned its Hazard Communication Standard with the GHS in March 2012 to provide a common, understandable approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. In the U.S., all employers with hazardous chemicals in the workplace must conduct new training for workers on the new label elements and safety data sheets by Dec. 1, 2013. See the news release for more information on the agreement, and the OSHA's Hazard Communications page for materials available on the new changes to the requirements of HCS.
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