OSHA

OSHA Instills New Automotive Lift Inspections

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

silhouette auto repair small

Since 2007, 15,000 U.S. workers were treated for automotive lift, jack, or jack stand injuries, causing OSHA to implement a new program to inspect, identify, and evaluate lift safety in the auto industry. A local emphasis will be placed on the Hawaiian region beginning in July 2013.

Inspections will be conducted at randomly selected sites within the auto industry, including automobile dealers, automotive repair, accessories, and tire stores. OSHA will also respond to complaints, referrals, and incident related facilities.

Contact KPA for more information at info@kpaonline.com.

Retaliatory Firing: Don’t Fire Whistleblowers, No Ifs, Ands, or Buts

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Employees have a right to report alleged non-compliance to federal and state agencies without fear of retaliatory firing or demotion- no ifs, ands, or buts. A violation of an employee’s protected conduct of reporting potentially illegal or dangerous circumstances, the Department of Labor has made it very clear that retaliatory firing will not be tolerated.

A historical case of retaliatory firing landed one company with a $110,000 back wage payment, as well as fines imposed by OSHA, After an employee reported mechanical issues with his truck and was fired the next day, United Auto Recovery was required to rehire the employee, pay back wages and punitive damages, and was required increase trainings on employee rights, as well as to improve the workplace by posting employee rights posters.

Traditionally OSHA and the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) have been the primary investigators of complaints of retaliatory firing. Other agencies, including the SEC and FTC, have become involved with strong whistleblower protections under Sarbanes Oxley for employees of public companies; new laws including The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, which creates whistleblower protections for employees in the health care sector; and The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which provides expansive protection to whistleblowers in the financial services industries.

The bottom line is that you can’t afford to fire a whistleblower unless you have absolute, irrefutable evidence that the firing had nothing to do with the report of fraud, complaint of discrimination, or safety issues.

Are we required to fill-out the OSHA 300 Logs?

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Under the OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements, most employers are required to record work-related injuries and illnesses using the OSHA 300 Logs.  However, many businesses, including car dealerships, are currently exempt from most of the requirements, dependent on store’s primary Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code.

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I2P2 status update

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

For those of you wondering what is going on with OSHA’s I2P2 regulation: it’s still in the pre-rule stage. There are 3 stages to regulatory promulgation: Pre-Rule, Proposed Rule, and Final Rule. The rule is scheduled to have a “Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act” study completed this month and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by December of 2013. That’s when we would likely switch to the Proposed Rule stage. With that schedule we might see a final regulation sometime in 2014, but more likely in 2015. A copy of the current information is shown below.

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Two of the nation’s largest safety associations are pushing OSHA to make the injury/illness prevention program (I2P2) rule a top priority in 2013

Friday, December 14th, 2012

I2P2 OSHAI2P2 was presented a few years as a top priority for OSHA and then we didn’t hear much about it for a while. Earlier this week we read an update again in this article that two of the nation’s largest worker safety associations — the American Society of Safety Engineers and the American Industrial Hygiene Assoc. — are pushing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to make the injury/illness prevention program (I2P2) rule a top priority in 2013.

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OSHA’s Housekeeping Regulation Explained (Housekeeping Part 2)

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

At a glance the OSHA regulatory standard 29 CFR 1910.22 states that all places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service room shall be kept clean and sanitary.  So this regulation will cover every square inch of your facility.   Everything from your service department to your janitor closets and bathrooms.  It also mentions that to help facilitate cleaning all protruding nails, splinters, holes, and loose boards need to be fixed beforehand.

Moving past the definition, the OSHA regulation specifically identifies toilet facilities, waste disposal, wet processes, water supply, change rooms, vermin control, and food supply. OSHA can use the Housekeeping regulation as a catch all for any unsanitary condition. It also applies to items that you can’t see like odors.

How Much Can it Cost if OSHA Inspectors Finds Housekeeping Issues?

  • $1800 depending on situation (general duty clause)
  • $2700 general housekeeping initial penalty

Top General Housekeeping Issues:

  • Waste disposal
  • Clean and Dry Floors
  • Vermin control
  • Water supply (potable and non-potable water)
  • Toilet facilities
  • Food handling, storage, preparation and consumption

Waste Disposal

This includes detached buildings, forgotten corners of storage areas, detail areas, and body shops.

Ask the right questions: Is the trash getting taken out daily? Are there enough trash cans? Are the trash cans conveniently located so that disposing of an item doesn’t require slowing down work?

What is an acceptable trash can? Carefully inspect any container that you would consider using for a waste receptacle. Consider the following:

  • Waste receptacles cannot leak
  • It should have a tight fitting cover unless it can be maintained in a sanitary condition without a cover
  • Trash should be removed as often as possible to maintain a sanitary condition

Vermin Control, Toilet Facilities

It is hard to attract and keep top performing employees with dirty toilets and vermin in working environments. Working conditions like these tend to trigger OSHA calls, and customers  tend to spread the word about dirty bathrooms more often than they would talk about clean showrooms. If these are issues at your facility, they need to be addressed and you should consider hiring a subcontractor to fix the problem immediately and follow up on a regular schedule.

Clean and Dry Floors
Even the floor in the detail area needs be maintained. A “Wet Process” involves a location where liquid is used as part of the working process, and workers should be provided mats and the area should have proper drainage.

What about weather conditions?

According to an OSHA interpretation of the standard, rain and snow are not considered part of a wet process, and general housekeeping rules apply to weather related slip hazards. As long as a hazard exists, employees and customers should be protected from the hazard, even if it is a slip hazard from rain or snow.

Water Supply
Potable Water

  • Drinking water must be provided (at all times, especially in hot and dry weather conditions)
  • Water fountains must be clean and sanitary
    • If providing water bottles instead of drinking fountains is more feasible, it is technically acceptable.
    • Potable water in bathrooms must be provided for hand washing

Non-potable water

  • Non-potable water must be clearly labeled

Food and Beverages

  • No employee is allowed to consume or store food or beverages in any area exposed to a toxic material- this means the service area, paint room, and detail areas of the dealership.
  • No eating or storage of food in the bathroom
  • Any trash can used for disposal of food must be emptied daily.

 

Whose responsibility is it?

  • Ultimately, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide a clean and safe work environment.

Resources:

Housekeeping: What It Means, and Why It Matters (Housekeeping Part 1)

2012-10-11 10.03 Yuck! Housekeeping Regulations for Dealers that You Just Have to Know [Webinar]

Spring Cleaning for Three Trouble Areas in the Service Bay

OSHA Fines Auto Parts and Used Car Dealer $49,000 for Safety and Health Violations: Conclusion

OSHA Top 10 Citations for Dealerships and Service Centers in 2012

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Managers need fast, straightforward answers to their compliance concerns. To meet this need, KPA researched the Top 10 OSHA Citations for Dealerships and Service Centers by combining OSHA’s annual Most Frequently Cited Regulations for Dealerships, and OSHA’s annual Most Frequently Cited Regulations for Repair Shops. We pin-pointed specific machinery and processes at facilities that were frequently cited, and developed the Top 10 OSHA Citations for Dealerships and Service Centers.
The List
1. Hazard Communication
2. Respiratory Protection
3. Unguarded Machinery (Parts Grinder)
4. Electrical Safety Requirements
5. Powered Industrial Trucks
6. Exit Routes and Emergency Action Plans
7. Portable Fire Extinguishers
8. Spray Finishing Using Flammable Liquids (especially at collision centers)
9. General Duty Clause
10. Improperly Maintained Emergency Eyewash Stations

Learn More
KPA will host a free educational webinar on November 29th about OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations by Dealers. Register now at http://www.dealerwebinars.com/top10 to attend or to receive a link to the recorded webinar.

August Tip of the Month: When It’s Really Hot, How Much Should You Drink?

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

 Compliance Tip of the MonthWe all know that drinking enough fluids is an essential part of staying safe during the summer. But exactly how much water is enough, especially when it’s really hot? And does it really matter what you drink, or when?

For employees who are physically active in extreme heat, KPA’s safety team recommends the following:

  • Drink about 4 oz. of water every 15 minutes.
  • Make it a priority to take quick breaks to drink – consuming small, frequent amounts of water is particularly important in extreme heat.
  • Drink even when you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Avoid drinks with sugar, caffeine and alcohol, because they can dehydrate your body. (Sorry, folks, but iced coffee lovers are out of luck.)

Basically, keeping yourself and your staff hydrated in the heat takes effort and planning. If you’d like to learn more, read these blog posts: How to Keep Cool, Heat Illness Prevention Programs and How to Manage Heat Exhaustion at Work.

Compliance Inspections Save Lives, and Are Good For Business

Friday, June 15th, 2012

OSHA’s inspections not only prevent workers from getting hurt on the job, they also save billions of dollars for employers through reduced workers’ compensation costs. A recent study by business school economists at the University of California and Harvard University followed more than 400 worksites in California after each site underwent an OSHA inspection.

The study, entitled “Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with No Detectable Job Loss,” appeared in the top scientific journal Science and reports that workplace injury claims dropped 9.4% at businesses in the four years following a randomized OSHA inspection, compared with employers who were not inspected. Those same employers also saved an average of 26% on workers’ compensation costs, compared to similar companies who were not inspected. This means that the average employer saved $355,000 (in 2011 dollars) as a result of an OSHA inspection. Benefits were observed among both small and large employers. Nationwide, these savings to employers amount to an estimated six billion dollars.

While it’s great to know that safety pays, you don’t need to call OSHA to start saving. KPA’s Environment & Safety services are delivered by safety engineers with extensive knowledge in compliance- not only with OSHA, but also EPA, DOT, FAA, along with state and local agencies. As part of our service, they visit your facility and conduct regularly scheduled inspections without intruding on your work day. For our clients, this means reaping the savings, without the headache, potential fines, or paperwork from regulatory agencies.

New Heat Safety APP from OSHA

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

This summer, when you’re walking across the blistering pavement of the inventory lot, or checking under the hood of a heated engine, you can grab your Android, Blackberry or iPhone and calculate the heat index for your worksite. Based on the heat index, the app gives you a risk level, and reminders of protective measures that you should take to reduce the chances of suffering from heat related illnesses. You can download the app here:

HEAT SAFETY TOOL

 

Related articles:

How to Manage Heat Exhaustion and Heat Illness at Work

Keep Your Cool When It’s Hot Outside