US safety board seeks more regulation of chemical storage tank areas

At a congressional hearing into the spill at a Freedom Industries site that leaked last month, the US Chemical Safety Board said regulators should limit where such storage facilities are built or operate. Preliminary research suggested a gap in regulations for above-ground storage tanks.
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By MARK DRAJEM

The West Virginia storage facility that leaked a chemical tainting the water supply of 300,000 Charleston-area customers shouldn’t have been built upstream from a treatment plant, a federal investigator said.

At a congressional hearing into the spill at a Freedom Industries site that leaked last month, the US Chemical Safety Board said regulators should limit where such storage facilities are built or operate. Preliminary research suggested a gap in regulations for above-ground storage tanks, according to the board.

“The facility was simply a truck terminal and its position alongside the Elk River just upstream of the water intake was a historical anomaly that had tragic consequences,” Rafael Moure- Eraso, chairman of the independent safety board, said Monday at the House Transportation and Infrastructure hearing. “The facility just did not need to be where it was.”

The leak of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or MCHM, caused West Virginia American Water Co. on Jan. 9 to issue a “do not use” order for the tap water it supplies to 300,000 people. The order, largest ever by the company, and the lingering signs of contamination a month later sparked calls for stronger state and federal rules, as well as complaints about the response of the government and the companies.

The board today released a photo of the tank, which leaked a month ago, showing the corroded wall.

Licorice Odor

While that order was lifted after a week, residents complained Monday that they can smell the licorice odor associated with the chemical in their homes, and worry about long-term health effects from drinking or cooking with it. The utility said the water has MCHM at levels deemed safe by the US Centers for Disease Control.

“We’re dealing with this fear of the water, because it has this odor to it,” Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water, said at the hearing in Charleston. “Just because you smell something doesn’t mean it’s not safe.”

McIntyre defended a decision by the utility not to close off its water intake and shut the water system altogether, saying it could have taken a month to restart.

The Freedom Industries complex in Charleston was subject to a patchwork of federal and state regulations that allowed hazardous materials to be stored less than 2 miles upstream from a treatment facility for drinking water. While the CDC set a standard of one part per million of the chemical as safe for use, it can still present an odor at much lower concentrations.

A representative of Freedom Industries was invited to testify today and did not appear at the hearing.

To view the original article, visit http://www.hydrocarbonprocessing.com/Article/3307475/Latest-News/US-safety-board-seeks-more-regulation-of-chemical-storage-tank-areas.html

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Workplace Safety Ranks As Top Concern for Small Businesses In 2014, According To Survey

Common Risks Cause Small Business Owners the Most Worry

RENO, Nev.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–February 12, 2014–

There is good news for the millions of Americans who work for small businesses. Keeping employees safe at work is a top concern for small business owners, according to a survey sponsored by EMPLOYERS(R) (NYSE:EIG), America’s small business insurance specialist(R) .

Workplace safety risks were cited as the source of greatest worry and the area where small business owners expect to dedicate most of their attention this year, more than professional liability risks, cyber-security risks, natural disaster risks and terrorism risks.

“Small business owners realize they have to protect their most valuable assets — their employees,” said EMPLOYERS Chief Operating Officer Stephen V. Festa. “Employee injuries can carry a significant cost, not only in terms of medical and workers’ compensation expenses, but also in terms of lost productivity and potentially lower workplace morale.”

To view the full article, visit http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140212-910755.html

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OSHA issues proposed rule to extend compliance date for crane operator certification requirements

Feb. 7, 2014

Contact: Office of Communications

Phone: 202-693-1999

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a proposed rule to extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification requirement by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. The proposal would also extend to the same date the existing phase-in requirement that employers ensure that their operators are qualified to operate the equipment.

OSHA issued a final standard on requirements for cranes and derricks in construction work on Aug. 9, 2010. The standard requires crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by Nov. 10, 2014. After OSHA issued the standard, a number of parties raised concerns about the qualification/certification requirements. After conducting several public meetings, OSHA decided to extend the enforcement date so that the certification requirements do not take effect during potential rulemaking or cause disruption to the construction industry.

Comments may 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 and additional information about this proposed rule. Comments must be submitted by March 12, 2014.

OSHA held three stakeholder meetings on operator certification/qualification issues in April 2013 and posted detailed notes of the meetings at http://www.osha.gov/cranes-derricks/stakeholders.html, a Web page devoted to the stakeholder meeting. A list of frequently asked questions are also posted on OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks in Construction Web page to provide additional clarification and address some comments and concerns raised by stakeholders.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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OSHA provides advice for workers to various consulates

BRENTWOOD, N.Y. — Officials from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are announcing an agreement on Long Island with representatives of the Salvadoran consuls that serve the metropolitan region.

OSHA spokesman Edmund Fitzgerald says the agreement will provide Salvadoran workers in New York and New Jersey with helpful information. He says OSHA will provide training and guidance about workplace safety, health issues and their rights in the workplace.

Similar agreements have been made previously with OSHA offices and the consulates of Dominican Republic. Mexico, Guatemala, Philippines and Brazil.

It also has cooperative working relationships with the consulates of Argentina, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Colombia.

The event takes place Wednesday afternoon at the Salvadoran consul in Brentwood, on Long Island.

To view the original article, visit http://online.wsj.com/article/AP0d382cf8070148e888d5d8016a4363ba.html.

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OSHA renews alliance with Scaffold and Access Industry Association

Dec. 18, 2013

Contact: Office of Communications

Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA renews alliance with Scaffold and Access Industry Association to protect workers from scaffold hazards

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today renewed its alliance with the Scaffold and Access Industry Association to provide information and training to protect the safety and health of workers who use scaffolds and lift equipment. Through the alliance, OSHA and SAIA will work to reduce and prevent fall and caught-in-between hazards and issues related to frame, mast climbing and suspended scaffolds and aerial lift equipment.

“Worker injuries and deaths from scaffolding hazards can be prevented when employers provide training on safe set up and use of equipment,” said Assistant Secretary of Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “By renewing our alliance with SAIA we will expand our outreach to employers and workers and provide important training to protect workers in the scaffold and access industry.”

Through the alliance, OSHA and SAIA will focus on reducing and preventing fall and caught-in-between hazards; address potential hazards associated with mast climbing scaffolds, suspended scaffolds, and aerial lift equipment; and emphasize the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The alliance members will also use injury and illness data in selected industries to help identify areas of emphasis for alliance awareness and outreach activities.

Founded in 1972, SAIA is a national trade organization that advocates worker safety in the scaffold, aerial lift and access industry worldwide. The organization represents 1,000 member companies that employ more than 200,000 workers.

For more information, visit the OSHA-SAIA Alliance page. The agreement will remain in effect for five years.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA inspections or any other enforcement benefits. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/index.html.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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OSHA renews partnership with electrical commission and distribution contractors associations

OSHA renews strategic partnership with electrical transmission and distribution contractors, associations to reduce worker injuries, deaths

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today renewed a national strategic partnership with employers, workers and professional associations in the electrical transmission and distribution industry to reduce injuries, illnesses and deaths among linesman and other electrical workers. The partnership includes ten of the nation’s largest electrical transmission and distribution contractors, an electrical industry labor union and two trade associations, representing about 80% of the industry.

Since its establishment in 2004, there has been a noticeable reduction in the injury, illness and fatality rates among the partners’ workers, which include close to 26,000 workers. Fatalities among these workers have dropped from 11 in 2004 to 1 in 2013.

“By working on common goals through the partnership, partner injury, illness and fatality rates have been reduced,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Through this national partnership, the partner companies and associations looked at factors causing fatal incidents and other serious injuries and implemented changes to reduce and prevent the number of fatalities not only within their own companies, but in the industry as a whole. We look forward to seeing even greater outcomes of this partnership in the future.”

The partnership has developed and implemented best practices that directly correspond to key hazards and operations associated with injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the industry. These practices include fall protection, the use of specific insulating protective equipment and the implementation of safety checks. The partnership also has trained more than 33,000 workers and supervisors through industry-specific courses developed by the partners. OSHA and industry partners are in the process of expanding these courses to provide industry-wide training.

Members of the partnership include Asplundh Tree Expert Co., Davis H. Elliot Co. Inc., Henkels & McCoy Inc., MasTec Inc., MDU Construction Services Group Inc., Michels Corp., MYR Group Inc., PLH Group, Pike Electric LLC, Quanta Services Inc., International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Edison Electric Institute and the National Electrical Contractors Association. For more information, see OSHA’s Web page on the partnership.

This is one of several national partnerships. OSHA’s Strategic Partnership Program helps encourage, assist and recognize the efforts of partners to eliminate serious workplace hazards and achieve a high level of worker safety and health. Most strategic partnerships seek to have a broad impact by building cooperative relationships with groups of employers and workers. These partnerships are voluntary relations among OSHA, employers, worker representatives and others including trade unions, trade and professional associations, universities and other government agencies.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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Contractor Charged with Third-Degree Murder for Building Collapse

Contractor Griffin Campbell Charged with Third-Degree Murder for Philadelphia Building Collapse

Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams on Nov. 25 announced his office was charging 49-year-old Griffin Campbell with six counts of third-degree murder in addition to manslaughter and other charges for his role in the deadly building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets in June. A second contractor already is in jail awaiting a preliminary hearing for six counts of involuntary manslaughter, among other charges.

To view the article, visit http://ehstoday.com/construction/contractor-griffin-campbell-charged-third-degree-murder-philadelphia-building-collapse?page=1.

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New rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses is proposed by OSHA

Injured Man

Injured Man

A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in 2012, which estimates three million workers were injured on the job in 2012, has made an impact on OSHA’s proposed rulemaking.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has have recently proposed a rule to improve the tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses.

“Three million injuries are three million too many,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels says. “With the changes being proposed in this rule, employers, employees, the government and researchers will have better access to data that will encourage earlier abatement of hazards and result in improved programs to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer’s obligation to transmit these records to OSHA.”

The proposed rule was developed following a series of stakeholder meetings in 2010 to help OSHA gather information about electronic submission of establishment-specific injury and illness data. OSHA is proposing to amend its current recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information employers are already required to keep under existing standards, Part 1904. The first proposed new requirement is for establishments with more than 250 employees (and who are already required to keep records) to electronically submit the records on a quarterly basis to OSHA.

The public has until February 6 to submit written comments on the proposed rule. Additional information on the proposed rule can be found at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=24002 and http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/proposed_data_form.html.

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How First Aid/CPR/AED training saves lives

Chris Misturak

Ever wonder when you will actually need the training your employer sits you through? For a Florida employee on work travel, it happened while out to dinner with a coworker in South Carolina.

The two men were sitting down next to a man and his wife, who they had been chatting with for a while, when he suddenly started chocking on a chunk of meat. The man’s employer, Duke Energy, wrote an article in their internal newsletter about this proud moment where Distribution Field Manager Chris Misturak saved this stranger’s life.

Safety moments can happen anywhere — even in the middle of a long trip.

Returning from storm-repair work in Maryland earlier this month, Chris Misturak and Dan D’Alessandro stopped at a restaurant in Florence, S.C.
Traveling ahead of other employees, they were reserving seating for 50 crew members when they decided on an early dinner. Their experience turned into a different type of “daily special.”
Placing their orders, D’Alessandro, an operations manager with 25 years at the company, and Misturak, a 14-year-veteran distribution field supervisor, struck up a conversation with an elderly couple in the booth across the aisle.
They were in town to visit the local VA hospital, where the 77-year-old man was to get treatment. The couple got their main course as the two employees dug into their salads.
Misturak then noticed the elderly man take a drink of water only to have it dribble down his chin. He began to turn red. “Are you all right?” Misturak asked. The man could only point at his throat. He was choking on a piece of meat. Misturak is trained in first aid, and knew exactly what to do.
Knowing what to do
D’Alessandro picks up the story: “This was a big guy – 6-foot-1, 300 pounds — and he was wedged into the booth. Chris was up before I knew what was happening. He drags the guy out of the booth and stands him up. He speaks to him calmly as he grabs him from behind, tells him what he was doing and uses the Heimlich on him. He hit him three times before that piece of steak came out.”
The whole thing was over in less than a minute. When the waitress returned — having run into the kitchen to seek help — it was clear no one on the staff would have known what to do. “Chris counseled them that as a restaurant, they need to know the Heimlich,” said D’Alessandro.
The couple offered to pay for dinner. Misturak politely declined, “In America, a handshake is thanks enough. So, just shake my hand. I’m just glad I was here.”
Hours later, the two employees still felt the adrenaline rush from that moment when an ordinary day turned into something special. D’Alessandro added: “No doubt Chris saved that man’s life.”

Chris Misturak

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OSHA Proposes Cutting Silica Dust Exposure

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed long-awaited rules on Friday to limit crystalline silica, a move it said would prevent nearly 700 deaths a year by reducing exposure to these very small particles that can cause lung cancer and other diseases. OSHA faced heavy pressure from labor leaders, who argued that the current exposure…

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