The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an inspection of RWS Manufacturing Inc., a miscellaneous wood product manufacturing company, on Jan 13, 2016, as a follow-up to a previous 2012 inspection which yielded a total of 22 violations. That follow-up inspection revealed several extant violations, with a variety of dust-related hazards among them. Inspection found that the company failed to correct issues with the dust collection system that were occurring, years prior.
Robert Garvey, OSHA- Albany area director, said, “RWS Manufacturing has disregarded its employees’ safety in failing to correct an obvious fire and explosion hazard and in allowing the existence of new and recurring hazards. Especially disturbing is the fact that, since OSHA’s last… Continue reading
A new accident rule issued by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which will go into effect on Aug. 10, will change the way that manufacturers and businesses log their injuries and illnesses.
OSHA directives state that all businesses inform their employees of their respective rights to file any injury or illness, without fear of retaliation. According to OSHA’s new accident rule, it “clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses,” according to OSHA representatives.
While the current OSHA… Continue reading
OSHA Announces New Safety Initiative Entitled “Grain Handling”.
Perhaps in part as a result of a series on grain bin entrapment deaths entitled Buried in Grain, a joint effort of NPR and the Center for Public Integrity was published in March of this year, OSHA has announced a new safety initiative in several states to promote safe practices in the grain industry.
OSHA says that it entered into an alliance with the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association to focus on projects to educate employers on safety in grain handling in 2012.
OSHA has now also partnered with the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin Extension’s Agricultural Safety Specialist to further promote awareness of safety issues in grain handling… Continue reading
OSHA Re-Launches Campaign Against Fall Hazards in the Workplace
The Fall Prevention Campaign initially was started in 2012 by OSHA and NIOSH. The re-launch of the campaign on April 28, 2013 has more participants and more resources to help with this initiative to prevent construction deaths and injuries from falls. NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D., stated, “The residential construction industry holds an important role in the economic vitality of our nation and the health of this industry is tied to the health of its workers. The re-launch of this campaign demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that contractors and workers stay safe on the job by providing the knowledge and tools they need.”
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR),… Continue reading
In 2010, three young workers at the Haasbach LLC grain storage complex in Mount Carroll, Illinois were sent into a grain bin to “walk down” the corn. The practice is used to help clear clogged drains in grain bins by walking on and using shovels to loosen it. One of the workers was Wyatt Whitebread, only 14 years old, too young to legally work at the job. Wyatt had been at the job for 2 weeks. The other two workers were Will Piper, aged 20 who had been at the job 1 week and Alex Pacas, 19, who had started the job 2 days earlier.
After working for two hours in the bin, their supervisor, Matt Schaffner, without warning, opened… Continue reading
Following two investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Chicago and Pittsburgh, Norfolk Southern Railway Co. was found to have violated the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act for wrongfully firing three employees who reported workplace injuries. OSHA has ordered the company to pay $1.1 million in damages for the violations. In addition, the company has been ordered to expunge the disciplinary records of the three whistleblowers. The company is also ordered to post a notice regarding employees’ whistleblower protection rights under the FRSA and to train workers on these rights.
One of the employees whose termination OSHA investigated was a crane operator based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The employee reported… Continue reading
OSHA Designates October As Hearing Protection Month
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is highlighting the importance of hearing loss prevention during the month of October, which is designated as Protect Your Hearing Month. NIOSH has enlisted a training mannequin named Nick to aid in teaching young people and their families about preventing noise-induced hearing loss, and they even provide instructions for building your own training mannequin.
People are exposed to hazardous noise both in the workplace and in their private lives. Many occupations involve working in noisy environments, and 33% of all people who are exposed to hazardous noise at work will develop noise-related hearing loss as a result of this exposure. A… Continue reading
The Whistleblower Protection Program from OSHA
The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has responsibility for enforcement of twenty-one whistleblower statutes which protect employees who report violations of various workplace safety, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws.
Any employee who has been retaliated against by their employer for any protected activity under the whistleblower statutes can file a compliant with OSHA. The law requires that complaints be filed within a certain number of days after the alleged retaliation. The amount of time allowed for filing complaints depends on which law covers a particular violation. Time allowances vary… Continue reading
On October 2, 2012 the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it is launching an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) pilot program that will help resolve disputes between complainants to OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program.
The pilot program will be implemented in the two regions headquartered in Chicago and San Francisco and will last for one year. The Chicago Regional Office is responsible for investigations of whistleblower complaints filed in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio. The San Francisco Regional Office is responsible for investigations of whistleblower complaints filed in Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada, as well as various Pacific Islands including the commonwealth of the Northern Marian Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.
OSHA enforces… Continue reading
Earlier this year, OSHA issued a memorandum on the subject of employer safety incentive and disincentive policies and practices. The memorandum addresses programs that some employers have instituted that discourage workers from reporting injuries using such methods as disciplining the employees when they report an injury. This practice violates 29 C.F.R. 1904.35(b)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which addresses work-related reporting of injuries and illnesses, and violates section 11c as well as other whistleblower statutes. The memorandum states that retaliating against a worker for reporting an injury or illness is illegal discrimination under section 11c. The Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) prohibits this discrimination against employees in the railroad industry.
The entire workforce is put at… Continue reading