Tag Archive | "fatalities"

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Incidents at Two Fabrication Facilities Lead to Fatalities

Posted on 29 August 2017 by cradmin

This year has proven to be difficult and heartbreaking for the stone and countertop fabrication industries after two separate safety incidents caused the deaths of two employees and the injury of another. CountertopResource.com would like to express our sincere condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of those who are no longer with us, and we hope these incidents can act as a reminder about the hazards associated with working with large, heavy slabs of natural and engineered stone.

The latest incident occurred on August 11 at NCO Custom Marble & Granite in Raleigh, N.C. Officers were called to the scene to find that one employee, 21 years of age, was killed when struck by a falling slab of granite and a second was hospitalized with moderate injuries. Although the employee who lost is life has not been officially named, company spokesperson Traci Hobcroft, noted that he was the nephew of the owner.

Hobcroft also released the following statement:

“We have suffered an accident at our facility today at approximately 12:30 p.m. There has been one fatality and another individual injured. The accident has been reported to OSHA. We are a small, family-owned business and trying to deal with this tragedy. We ask for your patience, prayers and that you give us the space and time to further investigate. We will release more information as it becomes available. Thank you very much for your patience and understanding.”

OSHA officials reported to the site where they remained for the duration of the workday, and an investigation continues. However, according to state and federal records, the company has been operating since 2007 with no health and safety violations or complaints.

Investigation of January Incident Now Complete

On January 30, Johnnie Tharp, age 60, died of injuries after multiple slabs of marble fell on him at a warehouse operated by Dente trading Marble & Granite in Gloucester County, N.J. Emergency personnel arrived at the scene where Tharp was unconscious and unresponsive. He was quickly brought to a local hospital but died shortly thereafter.

After a six-month investigation, OSHA found that no citations were necessary, but the agency did issue three violations for other issues carrying fines that totaled $5,070:

  • Lack of fall protection on walking surfaces more than 4 ft. above the floor
  • Equipment storage in front of the electrical circuit breakers
  • No certification for overhead crane ropes

Even though none of the above violations pertained to the storage and handling of slabs, OSHA asked the business to take voluntary measures to limit employees’ exposure to hazards.

“Employees who move stone slabs throughout the warehouse are exposed to struck-by, caught-in-between and crushed-by hazards,” the inspection report stated.

Safe Handling and Storage Practices

While it is possible for injuries and even deaths to occur even when you do everything right in the safe handling and storage of heavy slabs, using true and tested procedures can minimize the risk. And a big part of these procedures is having the proper equipment available for the job.

For further information, you can check out some of the previous articles in our Health & Safety Watch series or seek additional information from trade associations, such as MIA+BSI – The Natural Stone Institute. You can also get relevant information about equipment from some of the industry’s top suppliers of handling and storage equipment, including Better Vacuum Cups, WEHA, Braxton-Bragg, Lackmond Stone, Regent Stone and one of our sponsors for August’s upcoming newsletter, Groves Inc.

Also, remember, OSHA has a consultation branch completely separate from its compliance/enforcement department. When you ask for a health and safety consultation, the consultant cannot report any offenses found, and your business can only be inspected if there is an accident or complaint. If you are not 100 percent sure that you are in full compliance, this free program is highly recommended.

Also, experts like Groves may be able to assist you in finding the safest equipment and processes for your operations to avoid future tragedies such as these.

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OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

Posted on 29 September 2016 by cradmin

recordkeeping-ruleOver the last couple of years, there has been so much talk among countertop professionals about OSHA’s new silica rule, that it is easy to forget all of the other regulations that must be followed under federal and state law. Although most regulations are directly aimed at keeping workers in the U.S. safe and healthy, several administrative rules are also in place, including recordkeeping requirements, which are set forth in Standard 29 CFR 1904.

Less than two short years ago, the recordkeeping rule only required employers to report work-related fatalities and hospitalizations invoicing three or more employees, but as of January 1, 2015, the reporting requires were expanded to include all of the following:

  • Work-related fatalities
  • All work-related hospitalizations regardless of the number of employees
  • Work-related losses of one or both eyes
  • Work-related amputations

Who Must Report Injuries and Fatalities?

Some employers mistakenly believe that they are not required to report workplace injuries and deaths because they are exempt from having to keep routine records of these unfortunate accidents. However, recordkeeping should not be confused with reporting. The new rule clearly states that “all employers under OSHA jurisdiction” must comply with federal or state injury-reporting requirements even if they are exempt from recordkeeping.

When Must Reports Be Submitted?

To comply with the rule, employers must report injuries and fatalities relatively quickly. If a fatality occurs within 30 days of a work-related accident/incident, it must be reported to OSHA within 8 hours of discovering it. For inpatient hospitalizations, losses of one or more eyes and amputations, employers have 24 hours to submit reports.

How to Report Worker Injuries and Fatalities

It is recommended that employee injuries and fatalities are reported by telephone to the nearest OSHA office. However, these offices are only open during standard business hours Monday through Friday. If reports must be submitted outside of this time, employers must call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at (800) 321-OSHA (6742).

This reporting system, however, is set to change January 1, 2017. After this date, most employers will no longer be able to submit reports over the phone. OSHA will have an electronic reporting system available on its website, and all reports will have to be entered in the computer. When these reports are entered, they are saved in OSHA’s database so that they can be compiled for later research on workplace hazards.

This rule includes additional provisions that are meant to encourage employees to report all accidents to their supervisors, and it prevents employers from retaliating against workers who report accidents.

The electronic reporting rule only affects employers that have been deemed to run businesses that pose significant safety and health risks to its workers, and countertop fabrication and construction are among such businesses. However, if the company has fewer than 20 employees, reports may still be made over the phone.

For further information on the OSHA recordkeeping and reporting rule, visit www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014 or call the nearest OSHA office.

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