Archive for February, 2012

OSHA Cites Two Florida Companies for Gas Station Explosion

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

On August 19, 2011, a massive fire broke out at a BP gas station on State Route 16 just outside of Saint Augustine, Florida. A half mile radius was evacuated around the station, the highway was closed, and over 4000 homes and businesses lost power as three fire and rescue units fought to contain the blaze. An employee was seriously injured in the incident.

Following a six month investigation, OSHA has cited Coomes Oil & Supply Inc., doing business as the 5th Wheel BP gas station in St. Augustine, and Florida Rock & Tank Lines Inc for serious and willful violations.

According to an OSHA news release, the incident happened when a Florida Rock & Tank Lines delivery driver was refilling an above-ground gasoline storage tank that had a broken gauge. The tank overflowed, and the combination of vapors and heat from the running delivery truck caused an explosion. OSHA’s inspection found that the gas station and Florida Rock & Tank Lines decided to refill the storage tank even though the liquid level gauging system was inoperable.

OSHA has proposed a $70,000 fine against Florida Rock & Tank Lines along with a citation for one willful violation. This violation is for “failing to provide the delivery driver to determine if the storage tank had enough capacity for additional gasoline.”

A $7,000 fine has been proposed for Coomes for a “serious violation” because there was substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

A few things about this incident caught my attention. First, I think it is interesting that Florida Rock and Tank Lines was issued the maximum fine for the willful violation, and Cooms was issued the minimum fine carried by its violation.

The second part of the incident that caught my attention is that the gas station is one of the last in the country to use above ground fuel tanks. I wouldn’t be surprised if this incident triggers targeted inspections for above ground fuel tanks at automotive businesses. If you have above ground storage tanks at your facility, make sure that monthly inspections are conducted as required by SPCC regulations, and that all safety features are in good working condition.

2012 Mileage Rates

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

 The cost of gas is going up again but the IRS has not updated the 2012 mileage rates to reflect the increased price.  Effective January 1, 2012, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

55.5 cents per mile for business miles driven
23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The rate for business miles driven is unchanged from the mid-year adjustment that became effective on July 1, 2011. The medical and moving rate has been reduced by 0.5 cents per mile.

Acording to the IRS, taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates. A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously. These and other requirements for a taxpayer to use a standard mileage rate to calculate the amount of a deductible business, moving, medical or charitable expense are in Rev. Proc. 2010-51.

Notice 2012-01 contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

Additional information can be found at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=250882,00.html

 

Special NADA University Webinar: Green Programs Will Bring in Greenbacks

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Capitalize on your regulatory compliance programs for increased sales and improved profitability. This workshop explains how to leverage safety programs, environmental compliance, and the positive perception of being “green” to bring in more customers, without “green-washing.”

 

Presenter: Eric Schmitz

Vice President, Product and Business Development, KPA

Eric is a registered environmental assessor and is the Vice President of Product and Business Development at KPA. Prior to joining KPA, Eric worked as a field chemist and project manager for a hazardous waste disposal contractor across the US. Eric earned his B.S. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California at Davis.

 

Date: Wednesday April 04, 2012

 

Register Today >>

 

 

Happy Workers Equals Higher Profits

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Creating a congenial workplace and happy workers is something that most employers at least say they are attempting to do. The real question is- do the various program designed by HR to create happier and more engaged employees actually work to improve the bottom line? Simply stated, is there a real link between happy workers and higher profits? The answer is yes. There is a growing body of research that makes a compelling case that there is high return on investment when the investment is made in employees. The current issue of Harvard Business Review, which includes a series of articles focused on employee happiness, is just one example of the growing recognition that happy, engaged employees are more productive and generate better outcomes for their companies.
The challenge is not to focus just on making employees happy but to create a sense of worth and to help employees understand how their contributions matter. Here are four key area to focus on according to “Creating Sustainable Performance” by Gretchen Spreitzer and Christine Porath (Harvard Business Review, January-February 2012).

  • Allow employees at all levels to make decisions, giving them a sense of control.
  • Let employees know how their contribution fits into the organization as a whole.
  • Hire for civility – employees in a hostile environment are likely to narrow their focus to avoid risks.
  • Give feedback regularly to remove all uncertainty about performance and keep people focused.

OSHA 300 Logs 2012

Friday, February 17th, 2012

The deadline to post OSHA 300 logs was February 1, 2012. If you haven’t posted yet, don’t panic. You might be exempt. This short video walks you through the record keeping requirements and many exemptions. The video focuses on federal OSHA guidelines; some state agencies may have different requirements. Check with your KPA Environment and Safety engineer for specific requirements in your jurisdiction.

Related articles:

OSHA’s Record Keeping Requirements and Industry Exemptions

OSHA 300 Logs- It is that time again for many employers

OSHA Logs: How To Do Them Right!

 

Don’t Miss Tomorrow’s Webinar- Ask the Expert: All Your Environment and Safety Questions Answered

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Don’t miss this practical guide to keeping your facility in compliance with laws and regulations. In this webinar you can ask nationally recognized Environment and Safety Expert, Eric Schmitz, your most pressing questions.  Find out what challenges other automotive professionals are facing so you can be prepared at your facility. Also, Eric will discuss some of the most recent fines from the EPA, OSHA, and DOT.

This event is part of KPA’s educational webinar series, and takes place at 12:00 EST.

Click here for more information and to sign-up for this free webinar.

 

KPA Is Creating a Dealer Recognition Program

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

KPA is in the process of creating a dealer recognition program.  This program is designed to acknowledge the efforts of dealer management and employees in creating a safe and environmentally friendly workplace. This page will provide regular updates on our progress.

2-15-2012 KPA has developed the draft standard below leveraging our years of experience and familiarity with over 4000 dealerships and the regulatory issues they face. We’ve incorporated these issues as well as many best practices that result in lowered operating costs.

 

Valentine’s Day Environment and Safety Trivia Game

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

With a nod to Valentine’s Day, here’s a little fun for readers who love compliance. The rule of the game is that all the answers start with either the letter V or D.

Please post your answers to comments on this blog article.

 

  1. For all facilities that ship hazardous materials, _ _ _ Hazmat Certifications for non-bulk shipments must be available for shipping/ receiving employees and signers of hazardous waste manifests.
  2. All boiler and pressure _ _ _ _ _ _ _ are required to have current permits visible and posted behind a glass frame near the compressor or boiler.
  3. A damaged _ _ _ _  should be immediately removed from the facility and hauled away before it is breached. It should be replaced with a new container.
  4. Ensure safe _ _ _ _ _ _ training is completed by all new hires within 30 days of hire.
  5. Only covered _ _ _ _ _ containers area allowed in areas where hazardous chemicals are in use.
  6. All nozzles to the eyewash stations need to be protected with _ _ _ _ caps to protect from airborne contaminants.
  7. Compressed gas cylinder _ _ _ _ _ caps need to be securely in place except when the cylinder is in use or connected for use.
  8. Keep records of all contracts for on-site _ _ _ _ _ _ _. These contracts should be reviewed by a lawyer to ensure they are legally sound.
  9. Even if an employee _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ uses a respirator or NIOSH rated dust mask, then need to fill out a form and get fit tested before use.
  10. 10. If you are in Texas, you must post the current _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ chemical sales permit for customer viewing.
  11. 11. All areas such as loading _ _ _ _ _ or storage platforms must be chained or gated off.

 

Stay safe and have a happy _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _’s  _ _ _ .

 

 

 

 

Migraines from Safety Glasses?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Everyone knows that eyes are more vulnerable to accident and injury than any other part of your body. Just one small, even microscopic foreign particle can do serious or permanent damage to your eyes.

Additionally, occupational safety laws hold employers accountable for their staff to use eye and face protection that protects from physical and chemical hazards whenever those hazards are present. In practice, that means that everyone should be sporting the “safe look” any time they are in the service bay.

Occasionally, an employee complains about wearing safety equipment, especially if they are new to the eye glasses requirement. Symptoms often include eye strain, migraines, or forgetfulness (forgets to put them on).

As a manager or safety advocate, what are some things you do to make sure that everyone in your shop wears safety glasses?

Don’t Miss Tomorrow’s Webinar: California HR Legislative Update

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Catch-up on new regulations around employment law that went into effect in 2011, and get a heads-up on the most relevant regulations and legislative trends to watch in 2012. This webinar is presented by John Boggs, the nationally recognized labor and employment attorney and outside counsel to the California New Car Dealer Association.

Specific topics include:

  • Use of Credit Reports for Employment Screening (AB 22)
  • “ Wage Theft” and New Required Disclosures (AB 469)
  • Commission Agreements (AB 1396)
  • Gender Identity Discrimination (SB 887)
  • Independent Contract Misclassification (SB 459)

The presentation will be especially relevant to California, although some national trends will be discussed.

This webinar is scheduled for 9:00 am Pacific time.

 

Learn more and register at this link.

http://go.kpaonline.com/LP=102?elqCampaignId=189s