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Health & Safety Watch: OSHA Releases Top 10 Violations

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Health & Safety Watch: OSHA Releases Top 10 Violations

Posted on 26 November 2018 by cradmin

OSHA has released preliminary data noting the Top 10 Most Cited Violations. The data for the year is only preliminary, covering violations through September 30, 2018. While these violations cover every industry, they also remain common in countertop fabrication shops and can be avoided or abated relatively easily.

10. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment: Eye and Face Protection (1926.102) – 1,536 violations

9. Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 1,972 violations

8. Fall Protection: Training Requirements (1926.503) – 1,982 violations

7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,294 violations

6. Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,812 violations

5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 2,944 violations

4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 3,118 violations

3. Scaffolds: General Requirements (1926.451) – 3,336 violations

2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 4,552 violations

1. Fall Protection: General Requirements (1926.501) – 7,270 violations

For more in-depth coverage of the top 10 violations for 2018, please read the feature in the December 2018 issue of Safety+Health, the official magazine of the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress & Expo.

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Top 10 OSHA Violations in 2015

Posted on 18 July 2016 by cradmin

Safety-SignsWorking in a countertop fabrication shop can be dangerous if safety precautions are not followed. Many of the most hazardous situations are very specific to the industry, but employees may also become injured or killed by general hazards that are common in all types businesses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) makes its data available to the public, and the latest release is for 2015.

In 2015, federal compliance officers conducted 35,820 inspections and state officers conducted 43,471 inspections, and following are the top 10 most frequently cited violations for the year:

  1. Fall protectionFalls are, by far, the most common type of accidents in the construction industry, accounting for nearly 40 percent of worker injuries in the construction industry. In most cases, citations can be avoided by simply keeping floors clean, dry and unobstructed, providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for falls and training employees about known dangers.
  2. Hazard communication standard – The hazard communication standard (HCS) requires businesses to label and provide safety data sheets for all hazardous chemicals used while on the job. All employees who are exposed to these chemicals must also be appropriately trained to handle them.
  3. General scaffolding requirements – Approximately 50 people each year are killed in scaffolding accidents while on the job. Injuries often occur when the planks or supports are not used properly. It is also common for workers to slip and fall or be struck by fallen objects while on scaffolding.
  4. Respiratory protection – About 5 million workers in the U.S. are required to wear respirators while working in environments with insufficient oxygen or harmful substances are in the air. For most countertop fabricators, the respirators are primarily used to reduce exposure to silica dust.
  5. Control of hazardous energy – Hazardous energy can from a variety of sources, including electrical, mechanical, thermal, chemical and hydraulic and pneumatic. Injuries can easily occur when employees are cleaning or maintaining heavy machinery. Examples include burns while repairing steam valves, getting crushed by a faulty conveyer-belt system and getting shocked while working on electrical equipment. The most effective way to prevent or reduce these types of injuries is to implement an approved lockout/tagout (LOTO) practice.
  6. Powered industrial trucks – Powered industrial trucks, more commonly known as forklifts, present several dangers, such as overloading, collisions with objects or people and falling off loading docks or trucks. Specialized training is recommended for all workers operating forklifts.
  7. Ladders – While ladders are common household tools, but they can be extremely deadly when care is not taken and proper procedures are not followed.
  8. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment – Because electricity is so deadly, federal and state safety precautions are very strict, very specific and designed to prevent several types of injuries, including shock, fire and explosions.
  9. Machinery and machine guarding – Heavy machines with moving parts are responsible for a great many workplace injuries and deaths. While many of these machines cannot be tamed, they can be sufficiently guarded to lower risk.
  10. Electrical systems design – In addition to components, wiring methods and equipment, you entire electrical system design could be a hazard.

Fabrication shops of all types are inherently dangerous, but injuries can be prevented by following all health and safety regulations. Even though compliance usually carries a high upfront cost, the cost of paying your workers’ compensation premiums is even more costly. For further information on common workplace injuries, contact the nearest OSHA office, a trade organization such as the Natural Stone Institute or a private compliance consultation firm.

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Department of Labor & Industries Imposes Fines for Workplace Violations

Posted on 03 March 2016 by cradmin

Department of Labor & IndustriesVancouver, Wash.-based fabricator, Wall to Wall Tile & Stone, was cited and fined $261,000 for multiple workplace violations. The citations and subsequent fines were for failing to protect workers from exposure to silica dust and other health hazards associated with stone slab grinding.

The employer was cited for several violations in November 2014. When the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) performed a follow-up inspection they found that the previously cited violations had not been corrected, resulting in “failure to abate” serious citations and fines. Serious violations are cited for hazards where there’s a possibility of serious injury or death.

Serious violations that the company had previously been cited for but had not corrected included:

  • Failing to use feasible controls to reduce employee exposure to silica dust — $40,500.
  • Not developing a written respiratory protection program to protect employees from inhaling silica dust — $40,500.
  • Failing to provide fit testing for workers required to wear full-face respirators — $40,500.
  • Not providing effective training for employees who wear full-face respirators — $40,500.
  • Not providing noise and hearing protection training to affected employees — $22,500.
  • Not providing annual hearing tests for workers exposed to excess noise — $22,500.
  • Failing to develop, implement and maintain a written Chemical Hazard Communication Program for employees using a variety of chemicals — $40,500.

An L&I inspection found that employees were exposed to silica quartz dust at more than three (3.4) times the permissible limit during stone slab grinding operations. Breathing in silica dust can cause silicosis, as well as lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis and other airway diseases.

In addition, L&I cited the company for two serious violations that were not associated with the 2014 inspection. One citation was given for not ensuring that employees who wear full-face respirators don’t have facial hair. Respirators may not seal properly on workers with beards or other facial hair. The company was also cited for not providing appropriate respirators for employees grinding stone slabs. Each violation has a penalty of $4,050.

General violations, the lowest-level citation, are those involving safety issues where there is no possibility of serious injury or death. Wall to Wall Tile & Stone was cited for two “failure to abate” general violations. These violations were for not providing medical evaluations for employees who wear full-face respirators, and for not creating a list of chemicals used in the workplace. For each of these violations the company received a penalty of $2,700.

The employer had 15 days to appeal the citation. Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping workers and families of those who have died on the job.

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