Author Archive

Eric Schmitz

Posts by Eric Schmitz:

Possible Ban of Harmful HFC Greenhouse Gases

Monday, September 15th, 2014

forbidden

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the ban of certain hydro-fluorocarbon chemicals (HFCs). This is the second time that the EPA has tried to reduce emissions of HFCs, which the EPA claims significantly contribute to climate change. If the ban is implemented, the action is estimated to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 42 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2020, equal to the carbon dioxide emissions from the annual electricity use of more than five million homes. (more…)

OSHA Announces New Workplace Hazard Identification Tool

Monday, September 8th, 2014

announcement

OSHA has created an interactive training webtool in an effort to teach employers and employees hazard identification skills as well as hazard abatement and control. OSHA also hopes to increase awareness of the types of information and OSHA resources available about workplace hazards with the use of the new tool. (more…)

Automotive Parts Warehouse Cited for Unsafe Forklift Operation

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

violationcompliance

After an OSHA inspection on February 12, 2014, an automotive parts warehouse was cited for unsafe forklift operation with the possible penalty of $52,000. The inspection occurred after multiple complaints of a forklift incident at the facility. (more…)

Heat Related Deaths Due to Lack of Acclimatization Programs

Monday, August 25th, 2014

extreme heat

A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the primary risk factor for heat related illness and deaths is due to the lack of acclimatization programs. Acclimatization is an important part of heat safety, allowing workers to gradually build up their workloads and exposure to heat through the use of frequent breaks for water and rest in shade or air conditioning.
(more…)

Protect Yourself and Your Employees with Respiratory Protection

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

records

OSHA has instilled a variety of requirements for shops that have employees who wear respirators. This applies to any facility that conducts any spray coating operations including painting, priming, or rustproofing. (more…)

Is Your Dealership Exempt from Keeping an OSHA 300 Log?

Monday, June 16th, 2014

records

Many businesses, including dealerships, are currently exempt from keeping an OSHA 300 Log, depending on which SIC code their accounting department uses. All business activities that generate revenue are assigned a SIC code, based on the activity that generates the most revenue. Applicable dealership Exempt OSHA 300 Log SIC codes include New and Used Car Dealers (SIC Code 5511), Used Car Dealers (SIC Code 5521), and Motorcycle Dealers (SIC Code 5571). (more…)

December Tip of the Month: Don’t Let Them Rig Your Lifts

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Overriding lift safety controls can be crushing. Never allow technicians to disable lift safety controls by using bungees or other devices to block them open. An OSHA local emphasis program for automotive lifts explains why:

Automotive service and repair work in the automotive industry exposes employees to crushing hazards with the use of automotive lifts. These hazards can be effectively controlled through proper maintenance of the automotive lifts and effective training for the employees on inspection and use of the automotive lifts. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a total of 15,000 people were treated in hospitals for automotive lift, jack, or jack stand injuries during 2003.

While focusing on lift safety, watch for these five common hazards:

  • Unapproved hoist accessories
  • Missing or damaged contact pads
  • Vertical catch on above-ground hoists
  • Lack of training documentation
  • Lost owner’s manuals

Read the full article, Automatic Lift Review: Five Common Hazards that Bring Big OSHA Fines in KPA’s newsletter.

Complaint Results in $58,000.00 Fines for Pennsylvania Company

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Vortex Recycling’s is a small business, with 20 employees at a Pennsylvania facility. Recently, OSHA inspected the plant in response to a complaint. During the visit, the compliance officer found 27 violations, including one repeat violation for failure to remove a defective or unsafe powered industrial truck. The citation carries a $5600.00 fine, and stems from similar violation in 2008.

The company was cited for 25 serious violations, including:
•    Fall hazards
•    Electrical hazards
•    Struck-by hazards
•    Using equipment that is improperly installed, identified or located
•    Improperly maintaining emergency eyewash stations, and shower facilities
•    Improper portable fire extinguishers
•    Unguarded machinery
•    A lack of proper housekeeping procedures for areas around plant equipment
•    Failing to develop programs for energy control, hearing conservation, permit-required confined spaces and hazard communication.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knows or should have known.

Employers are responsible for ensuring safe workplaces. If you think that some of these citations could be found at your dealership, you should discuss your concerns with your KPA safety engineer and address the situation immediately.

Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifests

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The days of 6 paper copies of a Hazardous Waste Manifest may finally be drawing to a close.  Earlier this month President Obama signed Senate Bill S.710; The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act.  This regulation amends the Solid Waste Disposal Act requiring the federal government to implement an optional electronic submission system within 3 years.  This optional system must be made available to any person currently required to submit paper manifests.

There is little in the regulation that defines the specifics of how this might be accomplished just a lot of information on how fees would be collected to pay for the system, and how they must promulgate additional regulations to carry out the implementation within the next year.  Overall the new system must be established “Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment”.   I guess that means that we could see the system sooner than the 3 year timetable.

From KPA’s perspective this regulation is long overdue.  As we continue to shift all of our programs online this is the first step towards eliminating all of those paper shipping receipts our client’s receive.  Ultimately, without making any specific promises, this regulation could pave the way for KPA to implement an online “Yellow Box”.

 

A Few Things You Should Know About OSHA’s Pending I2P2 Requirements

Friday, January 20th, 2012

This month OSHA published a whitepaper on Injury and Illness Prevention Programs (I2P2).  Leading up to this publication, there has been a lot of regulatory activity around I2P2. Shortly after proposing a federal standard for I2P2 in 2010, OSHA held a series of stakeholder meetings on the subject.  In this newly released whitepaper, OSHA makes clear that they see overwhelming value in moving forward.  The paper discusses the needs and benefits associated with a well-run program while downplaying the cost to business.

Questions raised by the whitepaper

What will the final regulation look like?  Who will it apply to?  And when will we see the first draft?  There are some preliminary indications in the white paper as to which industries the new regulation will affect, but the timeline for the new guideline is still up in the air. Additionally, there is a precedent for political pressures to get involved with crafting guidelines. In this case, it means that the federal standard will be based on a combination of state programs, the ANSI Z10 standard, and the OHSAS 18001 standard.  References in the whitepaper indicate that the regulation will require employers to abide by plans with some form of “management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement.”  The tone of the whitepaper indicates that OSHA sees benefits for all sizes of businesses but may lean towards reduced regulation for business under a certain threshold of employees (less than 10 or 15).

Guidelines for an I2P2 Program

Based on the whitepaper and influencers in the legislative process, programs are likely to be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Does management participate and encourage involvement in the safety systems and processes in your workplace?  This involvement is the key to letting your employees know that you care and that safety is an important part of everyone’s job.  There’s no better way to build a strong safety culture than to lead by example.
  2. Do your workers participate in the safety program?  This includes participation in safety committee meetings, gathering and acting on employee suggestions, or as part of your hazard identification process.  Remember that employees are more likely to know about the hazards they face than management.
  3. Do you have a system in place to identify hazards in your workplace?  Once identified, is there a process in place to ensure timely correction?  Identifying and correcting hazards not only eliminates risk of injury, but sends an important message to your employees that you value their safety.
  4. Do you proactively evaluate your employees work practices and new processes to prevent and control new hazards?  This is where it’s good to look at industry experts and pool resources among many similar businesses to identify trends and new hazards before they occur.
  5. Do you conduct regular health and safety training for your employees?  Training can be specific to a particular task or general in nature – either way taking time out for safety training sends the message that your business values safety over speediness.
  6. Finally do you measure the effectiveness of your program and seek ways to improve it?  Can you measure your facility against your peers or departments against each other?  A good software tool will make these metrics easier to manage and simple accident investigations and evaluations will give you insight into where to improve the process.

The Point

If you’re a KPA Environment & Safety Pro client, then you already have the foundations to comply with the pending I2P2 requirements. Our programs include safety committees, incident tracking, and written programs based on industry best practices. Currently, these programs meet proposed I2P2 regulation requirements.  If things change in the legislative process, KPA will modify our programs to ensure compliance with any new regulations.

 

Additional information on OSHA’s I2P2 initiative and a copy of the whitepaper are available at:  http://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/safetyhealth/

 

What do you think? Have you been watching these developments as OSHA crafts new regulations? Are you ready if it goes into place in 2012?