Flammable Material Containment In Question at Liberty Bridge Fire

Flammable material containment is paramount in all construction safety training.The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued a citation to Pennsylvania-based construction company, Joseph B Fay Company, for a violation related to a September 2nd, 2017 fire which occurred during the renovation of the Liberty Bridge in Pittsburgh. The serious violation came as the result of a flammable material containment failure that couldn’t be removed from the work space, which involved metal-cutting processes and, relatedly, slag run-off onto decks below. For this violation, OSHA proposed a penalty of $7,500.

In addition to the major fire, which ignited in an uncovered plastic ventilation pipe, burned for 30 to 45 minutes, and buckled a structural 30-foot steel beam, a number of smaller fires were determined to have previously ignited on lower decks at the same worksite, in the days prior. Two separate incidents of smaller fires, which ignited due to slag run-off, were found to have occurred on Aug. 30th and Sept 1st, respectively.

The $80 million dollar-renovation was put on hiatus for 24 days, to allow for investigation and safety compliance procedures to be carried out. Flammable material containment review was under further scrutiny.

Joseph B. Fay issued a statement, regarding the incident and subsequent OSHA findings:

“Individual OSHA interviews are a portion of an investigation and need to be taken in context with all the findings. The final determination was based on the entirety of information collected and verified by the compliance officer. The OSHA investigation is closed. The bridge was reopened and safe to traffic, months ago, and not one person was injured during the entire incident. Modifications have been made to procedures to assure no future situations occur.”

Proper flammable material containment or combustible materials storage is an OSHA standard that is outlined in the HAZWOPER standards. One resource that safety leaders can utilize to identify potential fires or explosion hazards at work sites that utilize flammable or combustible materials is an OSHA-approved online training course.

Absence of Bloodborne Pathogen Training Leads to Citations

Bloodborne Pathogen Training Online is a vital part of a hospital safety programOn January 11th, 2017, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to Pennsylvania-based healthcare provider, BNC Northwest Psychiatric Hospital LLC, doing business as Brooke Glen Behavioral Hospital, for multiple violations at their Fort Washington facility. These citations included four serious violations including the lack of bloodborne pathogen training. The proposed penalty for these violations is $32,158.

A July 11th, 2016 investigation, conducted by OSHA, revealed that employees at Brooke Glen were exposed to a variety of hazards involving workplace violence. It was determined by OSHA that a number of incidents, including employees being punched, bitten, scratched, grabbed, and hit with objects, had taken place. In some cases, these incidents resulted in serious employee injury. Further violations included:

  • Failure to provide restroom access for employees
  • Failure to provide personal protective equipment
  • Failure to establish a comprehensive bloodborne pathogen training program

For those violations involving workplace violence, OSHA has cited Brooke Glen Hospital under the General Duty Clause.

OSHA Allentown area director, Jean Kulp, said, “Documented reports of violent incidents at this hospital reflect a lax approach to workplace safety. The hospital must take immediate action and put in place effective measures, so that the hospital’s employees can work safely.”

Among the most egregious of violations in the general industry workplace are those of workplace violence. According to OSHA, “Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” Nearly 2 million employees experience workplace violence annually and many more cases go unreported.

Hazardous chemical exposure, including bloodborne pathogens, is often an avoidable violation. One implement that safety leaders can utilize, easily, is protective equipment. Though, the fitting and maintenance of said equipment requires periodic attention and training. Employers would be well-served to take advantage of bloodborne pathogen training via an online training-course in HAZWOPER compliance, to that end.

Wisconsin Clinic Cited For Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos Exposure leads to multiple OSHA citations at Wisconsin Clinic.On December 21st, 2016, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations related to asbestos exposure to Wisconsin healthcare provider, The Monroe Clinic Inc., for multiple violations. These citations included 1 willful and 11 serious violations. These citations came, following a June 2016 OSHA inspection of the Monroe, Wisc. Facility. For these citations, the proposed penalty is, $261,890.

The bulk of violations issued to The Monroe Clinic pertain to a failure to properly address the issue of asbestos exposure in the workplace. According to the agency investigation, The Monroe Clinic had identified that, in 2008, asbestos had been disturbed in the Monroe facility, while conducting maintenance tasks, repairs, and installation and removal of materials on the boiler, in crawl spaces, and near ceiling tiles. Despite having become aware of the potential asbestos exposure, no effort was made to inform employees of the asbestos. Furthermore, the agency determined that The Monroe Clinic failed to provide employees with protective equipment.

OSHA determined that the following violations existed, with most relating to asbestos exposure:

  • Failure to provide basic personal protective equipment
  • Failure to create a decontamination area for employees
  • Failure to implement appointed work-methods to minimize asbestos exposure
  • Failure to provide respiratory protection
  • Failure to conduct exposure assessments
  • Failure to provide medical surveillance to monitor potential exposure
  • Failure to post asbestos-hazard signage on the boiler room and in other areas
  • Failure to inform workers on the location and use of hazardous chemicals

 

OSHA Madison area director, Ann Grevenkamp, said, “Monroe Clinic knew its employees were working amid materials known to contain asbestos and failed to inform them of the location of hazards and to protect them from exposure to a known carcinogen that can cause life-long health issues and possibly death. It is imperative that employers take all known precautions to protect workers from potential exposure to any material that may contain asbestos.”

Asbestos exposure is a dangerous health issue. It is important for companies to have an active training and education program to deal with this deadly environmental issue. One resource that safety leaders can utilize to maintain HAZWOPER compliance is an OSHA-approved online training-course.