OSHA & PHMSA Working Together

OSHA & PHMSA Issue Joint Guidance Memorandum

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a joint guidance memorandum that is intended to provide clarity on the applicability and relationship between, DOT’s labeling requirements under the HMR and OSHA’s labeling requirements for bulk shipments under the HCS 2012.

PHMSA’s hazardous materials regulations require labeling of hazardous materials in transportation, while OSHA requires labeling on containers in the workplace.

When OSHA released its Hazcom 2012 (29 CFR Part 1910.1200) revisions, Appendix C.2.3.3 stated that “If a label has a DOT transport pictogram, the corresponding HCS pictogram shall not appear.” The Hazardous Materials Regulations state “No person may offer for transportation and no carrier may transport a package bearing any marking or label which by its color, design, or shape could be confused with or conflict with a label prescribed by this part” (49 CFR Part 172.401(b)).

This raised many questions with stakeholders, and shortly thereafter, OSHA published a brief that stated that PHMSA does not view the pictograms as a conflict, and both may appear. OSHA continues on in the brief to state they intend on revising C.2.3.3, but in the meantime, they will allow both to appear. This new guidance document further confirms this position.

The Joint Guidance Memorandum can be found at https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/joint_phmsa_memo_09192016.html


ICC is your source for compliant DOT/OSHA Continue Reading…

OSHA
The Top 10 – OSHA Violations 2016

Top 10s

When you think “Top 10” you might think about David Letterman’s top 10 lists. These lists are perhaps his greatest legacy from his run on the “The Late Show” (see 5 Top 10 Lists from David Letterman)

Unfortunately, this blog is not about those top 10 lists, but rather something far more serious, OSHA’s Top 10 violations.

This list is comprised of nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff. The top 3 violations remain the same as the last three years. They include: fall protection, hazard communication and scaffolds.

The complete Top 10 OSHA violations list includes:

  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolds
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tagout
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Electrical wiring
  10. Electrical, general requirements

According to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are more than 4500 worker deaths and approximately 3 million workers injured every year. Many of the deaths are associated with fall, poor scaffolding and forklift operations. (https://blog.dol.gov/2016/10/18/top-10-osha-citations-of-2016-a-starting-point-for-workplace-safety/)

Prevention

What is astonishing is that so many of the deaths and injuries are preventable. Employers and employees must take safety seriously. Unlike David Letterman’s Top 10, there is nothing funny about workers dying or being injured.

OSHA has recently released new recommendations for safety and health programs that will help prevent injuries and deaths, reduce costs, improve compliance, and engage workers. This recommendation can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/shpguidelines/.

Training

Training is vital. Ensure workers are trained, and Continue Reading…

Environmental Update
EPA Aligns 40 CFR Part 370 with OSHA Hazcom 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final technical amendment to 40 CFR Part 370, in June 2016 which aligns the hazardous chemical reporting regulations to the changes in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazcom 2012.

These changes have a compliance date of January 1, 2018, and affect reporting under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), sections 311 and 312.

Section 311 of EPCRA requires facilities to submit a SDS or a list of hazardous chemicals grouped by categories of physical and health hazards. Section 312 of EPCRA requires facilities to submit an emergency and hazardous chemical inventory form yearly by March 1.

Prior to the change in 2012, the hazard communication regulations (OSHA) were performance oriented, and did not specify the language/description or format that the company had to use. Once the hazard communication regulations were updated, stakeholders requested that EPA align the wording to be consistent with the new OSHA Hazcom 2012 regulations.

Some of the changes in 40 CFR Part 370 include:

  • Technical terms have been updated (i.e., Material Safety Data Sheet to Safety Data Sheet)
  • The definition of Hazard Category has been updated
  • The “Five categories” (Fire/Sudden release of pressure/Reactive/Immediate acute and Delayed-chronic) have been changed to match the physical and health hazards outlined the Hazcom 2012
  • The Tier I and Tier II inventory forms are modified
  • Tier 2 Submit, the software will be updated, and EPA is Continue Reading…
OSHA Safety
What to do When the Inspector Comes Knocking

Is anyone really ready for a surprise visit from a hazmat inspector? The quick answer is no, but there are things that you can do to prepare in anticipation of a visit.

Federal law requires that you allow an inspector access to records, property, reports, and other information relevant to shipping hazardous materials/dangerous goods. Unlike the crime show Law and Order, a search warrant is not required; you may not deny an inspector access to a regulated facility, impose conditions on the entry, or limit the inspector’s right to gather information or evidence.

Inspector’s will visit for a variety of reasons, but often include:

  • Complaints
  • Observations
  • High-risk commodities (explosives, bulk shipments)
  • Incidents
  • Prior issues
  • Proximity to another company being inspected

Preparing for the inevitable

  • Develop a plan and designate staff with defined roles
  • Ensure the designate knows what to say, and when to seek assistance from upper management
  • Conduct internal audits and institute corrective actions
  • Have commonly requested items in a centralized location

What are commonly request documents?

  • List of hazmat employees
  • Employee training records
  • Shipping papers
  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Special permits and interpretations

What do you do when it is show time?

  • Ask the inspector to identify him/herself and the purpose of the visit
  • Escort them to a quiet area where they can review documents
  • Do not volunteer information, wait for them to ask
  • Be polite, courteous and helpful. Continue Reading…
OSHA
OSHA Talks Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

My husband is a rocker. He loves heavy metal music and listens to it often. There is no better channel for him than “Hair Nation” on Sirius XM radio. Having grown up with him, I know he has attended every concert available including Bon Jovi, Ratt, Metallica, Poison, and the like. One of his best memories is seeing Motorhead perform while we were living in Austria. To this day he still goes to concerts, but now the bands include Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin. What is interesting is his approach to going to concerts now as compared to when he was younger. You guessed it. The biggest change is the use of ear plugs.

I’m not sure if this change is due to getting older or the fact that being in a safety role he now realizes how damaging the level of music at these concerts is to his hearing. (You can insert your own joke about men or women having “selective” hearing here.)

two workers wearing ear protection

Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge

In a recent press release OSHA indicated that every year 22 million workers risk losing their hearing due to workplace noise hazards. The estimated worker’s compensation costs for this disability is around $242 million. This is too high! Employers warn of hearing hazards in the workplace and often require workers to wear hearing protection. In a Continue Reading…

Hazmat Personal Protection Equipment
Drywall and Dust Exposure

Being a Home Owner Working in Safety

A part of being a homeowner is maintaining the structure and surrounding area. We do this to keep the city and neighbors happy, but also to keep the house in good working order. If you look around your neighborhood, yards are mowed and houses are painted. You will even see the occasional furniture delivery or roofer in the area. Another part of home ownership is keeping the inside up to date. After all indoor plumbing is nice and there is always the chance that the house will be sold in the future.

Our home is currently 16 years old and we’ve been in it for 8 years. It has not been updated much beyond some interior paint and a new roof thanks to St. Louis hail storms. We decided to update a bathroom. Easy enough given how small they are, right? It turns out we needed to gut the bathroom down to the studs since it was covered in wallpaper. During the demolition there was a ton of dust generated. Now that new drywall is up it has to be “mudded and sanded” which created even more dust. What was fascinating was the fact none of the folks working wore masks or respirators during any of this. Remember I work in safety so this bothered me greatly and sent me on a hunt Continue Reading…

OSHA Update
Crystalline Silica Rule (Part 3)

Well, here you have it the 3rd and final part to my Silica blog series. As I had mentioned in my previous blog the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to curtail lung cancer, silicosis, COPD and kidney disease in workers by regulating their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The rule is included into two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime.

Silica Rule

In review from previous blogs OSHA estimates that this rule will save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year. About 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in their workplaces, including 2 million construction workers who drill, cut, crush, or grind silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone, and 300,000 workers in general industry operations such as brick manufacturing, foundries, and hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Responsible employers have been protecting workers from harmful exposure to respirable crystalline silica for years, using widely-available equipment that controls dust with water or a vacuum system.1

This ruling for Silica will reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micro grams per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift. It requires employers to use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure or provide respirators when unable to apply controls. Continue Reading…

Shipping by Road
A Closer Look at Truck Safety

In the United States, there are close to ten million people in trucking-related jobs. Over 2 million tractor-trailers hit the roadways each year, logging nearly 450 billion annual miles. These trucks account for 70 percent of freight transported in the US, with several trillion dollars of cargo delivered in North America each year.

For a delivery system that’s so critical to our nation, the safety risks associated with the trucking industry are huge.

OSHA reports that an average of 475,000 large trucks are involved in accidents each year, causing over 5,000 deaths and 142,000 injuries. A quarter of those belong to the truck drivers (although the truck operators are only responsible for 30 percent or less of the accidents.) In addition to driving-related accidents, regulators issued numerous citations for improper guards on equipment, lack of personal protective equipment, improper grounding of equipment and lack of proper fall protection.

The sad reality is that employees in the trucking industry have more work-related fatalities than any other occupation, with a full third of these deaths taking place off of the roadway. The industry also accounts for more non-fatal injuries requiring medical attention than any other form of employment, with the most prevalent injuries being sprains and strains. One of the most prevalent types of serious occurrences is back-overs, with many hundreds of employees being struck each year.

So what can be done?

Establish Continue Reading…

OSHA Update
2 Million Plus Workers Get Protection From Deadly Dust! (Part 2)

Silicosis and OSHA Standards

As you may recall in my last blog, I spoke of a tragic story out of West Virginia. It was the Hawk’s Nest Industrial Incident and the repercussions on the people of that time in the 1930s. Up to date each year illness continues takes the lives of thousands of workers. One of these illness still present is caused by a deadly dust – crystalline silica which can cause Silicosis. It is approximated that 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work. Over time workers have come to count on OSHA to adopt standards to be enforced in the workplace. These standards aid in the reduction of the risks to workers from contracting illness or injury in the workplace.

Let’s review what crystalline silica is. Crystalline silica is an important industrial material found largely in the earth’s crust and is commonly found in the likes of sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. It is found in materials that we see every day in the construction of roads, buildings, and sidewalks. Silica dust occurs in the workplace when operations involve cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock, and stone. It can also be found among operations that use sand products, such as glass manufacturing, foundries, sand blasting, and hydraulic fracturing.

Crystalline silica (respirable) is hazardous to workers who Continue Reading…

OSHA Update
Silica Dust Just One Account in History (Part 1)

The Hawk’s Nest Incident

In Muriel Rukeyser’s book, The Book of the Dead, which is considered poetry, it tells of the historical Hawk’s Nest Incident. It is the grand truth told of one of the worst industrial disasters in US history. It happened in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia. This story is particularly near to my heart, because my grandparents and our extended family are from the area. When I was a young girl we used to frequent the area often to camp and visit our family. I remember hearing stories of some of my ancestors working in the tunnels and mines of West Virginia but it was only years later, as an adult, that I realized what that actually meant.

The Hawk’s Nest Incident revolves around the contraction of silicosis while constructing a power plant. Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock, and mineral ores such as quartz. It mostly affects workers exposed to silica dust in occupations such as mining, glass manufacturing, and foundry work. Exposure to silica particles causes scarring in the lungs, which can inhibit your ability to breathe. The most common warning sign shown by sick people is shortness of breath. Silicosis is contracted through inhaling rock dust that contains silica dust. Blasting away at the rock in order to Continue Reading…