Hazardous Communications and Training Lacking in Illinois Construction Co

Hazardous communication and Proper Handling of Material is a critical element of proper training.The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued citations for seven violations to Burbank-based contractor, JW Construction and Plastering Inc., following an August 25, 2016 inspection of an Evanston, Illinois home remodeling worksite. Among those citations processed were two willful, two repeated, and three serious violations involving various hazardous communications protocol, exposure to respirable silica dust as well as fall-protection. The company faces $80,741 in proposed penalties.

The agency investigation showed that JW Construction and Plastering failed to provide employees with adequate fall-protection and also exposed workers to respirable silica during cement and stucco work, a clear violation of OSHA hazwoper protocol. The company was cited for similar violations in 2014. Hazardous communications and material identification are critical to proper safety precaustions.

OSHA found the following violations, among others, to be extant at the work site:

  • Failure to develop or implement a written hazardous communications program
  • Failure to maintain copies of required data safety sheets for each hazardous chemical in the workplace
  • Failure to provide effective information and training on hazardous materials
  • Failure to ensure that employees wore appropriate hand or skin protection while dealing with stucco application
  • Failure to ensure that employees wore safety glasses with side shields while dealing with stucco and Portland cement application
  • Failure to provide fall-protection for employees working on the front-porch roof
  • Failure to ensure that fabricated-frame scaffolding was fully planked

OSHA Chicago North area director, Angeline Loftus, said, “Preventable falls account for nearly 40 percent of all deaths in the construction industry and silica presents a health hazard that can cause irreversible lung damage, that can lead to long-term health concerns. OSHA is committed to protecting construction workers from unnecessary illness, injuries, or worse.”

Among the various offenses presented in this case, the most insidious is that of chemical exposure, namely silica respiration. Because the effects of chemical exposure are gradual and often delayed in their symptoms, the prevention of undue chemical exposure must be mitigated by vigilant compliance with health and safety standards. In the case of the aforementioned violations, exposure to silica could have easily been avoided. This and other citations show a safety protocol that is lacking in hazardous communications protocol. One resource that safety leaders can utilize to ensure the safety of their employees is an OSHA-approved HAZWOPER training course.

Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure, Multiple Heath Violations Lead to OSHA Citations

Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure lead to heavy fines At Maryland USPS StationThe United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations to a Maryland-based U.S. Postal Service station, doing business as Brooklyn South Carrier Annex, for a variety of health and safety violations, including employee bloodborne pathogen exposure. Among the citations processed to the postal service, were, one serious, two willful, and three repeat violations. The OSHA-proposed penalty for these violations was, $342,059.

An investigation was prompted, in response to a complaint filed with the agency, which alleged that there was employee exposure to various hazardous materials, including blood and potentially infectious bodily fluids, in an incident where packages, labeled as containing biological infectious materials, were being handled. As a result of this complaint, OSHA began a formal inspection of the Brooklyn, Maryland facility on May 24, 2016.

The investigation yielded several violations, including:

  • Failure to draft or implement a bloodborne pathogen exposure control-plan
  • Failure to perform an exposure determination
  • Failure to offer exposed employees a Hepatitis-B vaccine
  • Failure to draft or implement a hazard-communication plan
  • Failure to adequately train employees in bloodborne pathogen handling/protection-protocol
  • Failure to provide employees with properly-sized gloves

OSHA Baltimore Area Office director, Nadira Janack, said, “Exposure to bloodborne pathogen hazards can result in serious or life-threatening illnesses. To reduce or eliminate these hazards at USPS’s Brooklyn facility, an exposure control plan must be implemented, to protect employees and provide a safe and healthy workplace.

The handling of hazardous material is among the most complicated in its protocol and, for good reason. Many of the inherent dangers in the handling of biological materials are potentially fatal or life-long in their scope of symptoms. For this reason, it is absolutely necessary that those safety leaders who work in environments where hazardous materials are stored and handled make every effort to apprise themselves of any resource available, in an effort to maintain compliance.

Safe Working Conditions at Missouri Plant Questioned in OSHA Citations

Safe working conditions Lacking at Missouri Sheet Metal Manufacturer found questionableThe United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has assessed $138,430 in fines to Missouri sheet metal manufacturer, Hammond Sheet Metal, numerous health and safety violations involving safe working conditions. Among the violations were 15 serious and one repeated offense. These violations came, following a July 7th investigation by OSHA, which was conducted as the result of a Missouri federal court order. This court order arose out of numerous complaints of unsafe working conditions and employee injuries. Upon inspection, OSHA conducted a review of company injury logs and found numerous suffered laceration reports.

Hammond Sheet Metal, which operates at Barrington Manufacturing Corporation, was cited for numerous offenses, including:

  • Failure to evaluate workplace for hazards
  • Failure to ensure workers incorporated eye/face protection and other personal protective equipment
  • Failure to provide workers with adequate hazardous chemicals training
  • Failure to install adequate machine guarding
  • Failure to develop and implement adequate energy energy control and machine safety procedures
  • Failure to keep spraying areas free of combustible residue accumulation
  • Failure to maintain 20 foot distance of all spark-producing equipment from potentially combustible residues
  • Failure to remove damaged powered industrial trucks from service
  • Failure to monitor and prevent chromium from accumulating on surfaces

OSHA Kansas City area director, Karena Lorek, said, “Employers have a legal responsibility to provide safe working conditions and allow OSHA to investigate complaints, when safety is overlooked. Barrington Manufacturing must make immediate changes to its safety and health programs to ensure workers are protected from injuries and illnesses in its facility.”

Many offenses are avoidable, given the proper training.Safe working conditions is a team effort with multiple facets.  One resource that safety leaders can utilize, to that end, is an OSHA-approved training course. As regards the “failure to provide workers with adequate hazardous chemicals training” offense, compliance is a simple as provide a course for all workers to participate in. The difference between proper training and a failure to maintain compliance with safety and health regulations can prove to be potentially life-threatening to employees tasked with managing hazardous chemicals.