Testimonials

OSHA Requests Information on Possible Updates to the Lockout/Tagout Standard

OSHA TRADE RELEASE

OSHA Requests Information on Possible Updates to the Lockout/Tagout Standard

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is requesting information on a possible update to the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)) standard. The Agency is interested in comments on the use of control circuit-type devices to isolate energy, as well as the evolving technology for robotics.

OSHA is requesting information about how employers have been using control circuit devices, including information about the types of circuitry and safety procedures being used; limitations of their use, to determine under what other conditions control circuit-type devices could be used safely; new risks of worker exposure to hazardous energy as a result of increased interaction with robots; and whether the agency should consider changes to the LOTO standard that would address these new risks.

The current LOTO standard, published in 1989, requires that all sources of energy be controlled during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment using an energy-isolating device. The standard specifies that control circuit devices cannot be used as energy-isolating devices, but the agency recognizes recent technological advances may have improved the safety of control circuit-type devices.

Comments must be submitted on or before August 18, 2019. Comments and materials may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, or by facsimile or mail. See the Federal Register notice for submission details.

Click here for the actual OSHA Trade Release

Paper Manufacturer Cited for Exposing Workers to Electrical Hazards

OSHA News Release – Region 4

$303,657 Proposed in Penalties

NATCHEZ, MS – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited von Drehle Corp. – a paper products manufacturer – for several workplace safety hazards that put employees at risk of injury at its facility in Natchez, Mississippi. The paper manufacturer faces $303,657 in penalties, including one for the maximum amount allowed by law.  

An OSHA inspection of the company’s facility resulted in citations for exposing employees to electrical hazards; lack of machine guarding; allowing combustible dust to accumulate on surfaces; failing to lockout machinery to control hazardous energy;exposing employees to arc-flash; and allowing slip, trip, and fall hazards. 

“Employers are required to assess potential hazards, and make necessary corrections to ensure a safe workplace,” said OSHA Jackson Area Office Director Courtney Bohannon. “The inspection results demonstrate workplace deficiencies existed putting workers at serious risk of injury or death.”

Click here for the entire OSHA news release

OSHA investigating incident involving utility worker in Texas

OSHA investigating incident involving utility worker in Texas

The United States Department of Labor is investigating a workplace accident involving a utility worker in Brazos County.

An employee of Echo Powerline doing contract work for Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU) was shocked while working on utility lines south of College Station, TX on Wednesday. He was taken by a medical helicopter to a hospital following the accident. His condition is unknown at this time.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) confirmed it is investigating the incident. Officials won’t release more details until the investigation is completed.

Click here for more from KBTX-TV

OSHA cites solar contractor almost $40,000 after fatal electrocution of one of their workers

OSHA cites solar contractor almost $40,000 after fatal electrocution of one of their workers

The agency said Wednesday that it cited Power Factor LLC for four serious violations after the employee, who has not been identified, died July 24, 3018, while installing solar panels at the base. In their findings, the agency says the employee was hoisting a metal rail that came into contact with overhead power lines.

OSHA cited the company for allowing employees to work too closely to electrical power circuits without de-energizing and grounding the circuits, or guarding the circuits using insulation or other means. Officials also said the company didn’t regularly inspect the job site or train workers to recognize and avoid hazards.

“This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had complied with electrical standards that require maintaining a safe distance from unprotected energized power lines, training employees, and providing personal protective equipment,” said OSHA Wichita Area Director Ryan Hodge.

Click here to read more directly from the OSHA news release

Not reporting workplace injuries is a red flag to OSHA

Questions have arisen about whether the Trump administration has weakened the OSHA electronic injury reporting rule because there appear to be few (if any) penalties tied to not reporting. That’s changed. 

First, some background on who’s been reporting injuries electronically to OSHA and the apparent (lack of) consequences for not complying.

OSHA expected about 460,000 establishments to file the electronic forms. Just under 249,000 did – a 54% compliance rate.

The consequences for not filing were minor. OSHA can only cite employers for alleged reporting violations less than six months old. And when OSHA has cited employers for failing to file forms, it’s been classified as an other-than-serious violation, the lowest category with the lowest (if any) monetary penalty.

But a consequence of not reporting has just been announced in OSHA’s new Site-Specific Targeting (SST) Program. OSHA will target high injury rate establishments in manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors (but not construction).

Reason not to report, right? Not necessarily, because OSHA will also inspect employers the agency believes should have provided Form 300A data electronically, but didn’t for calendar year 2016 injuries.

Therefore not reporting may actually increase a facility’s chance of getting visited by an OSHA inspector.

OSHA says in its announcement about the new SST, “Inclusion of these non-responding employers is intended to discourage employers from not reporting injury and illness information in order to avoid inspection.”

Also, if a facility is inspected, it would be comprehensive in scope. The OSHA Area Office Director would decide whether to conduct a safety or health inspection depending on the nature of the business. It could be both safety and health if a site has been inspected previously.

Click here to read more from this article by Fred Hosier of Safety News Alert. See below for the OSHA requirements on filing electronic forms:

Who: Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees that are classified in certain industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses.

If employers in State Plan states have questions about their obligation to submit injury and illness information, please contact your State Plan office.

What: Covered establishments must electronically submit information from their 2017 OSHA Form 300A.

When: In 2018, covered establishments must submit information from their completed 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, covered establishments must submit the information by March 2.

How: OSHA will provide a secure website that offers three options for data submission. First, users will be able to manually enter data into a web form. Second, users will be able to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. Last, users of automated recordkeeping systems will have the ability to transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface). We will provide status updates and related information here as it becomes available.