Posts Tagged ‘OSHA’

Dual-Purpose Machine Q&A

On mMay 24th 2016, Cranes101 hosted a Round Table meeting to discuss the unique nature of these Dual-Purpose Machines. We were glad to have such a diverse group of attendees at the event, because they brought their own perspective and knowledge on the subject to share with the group. We started off the discussion by explaining the difference between Bucket Trucks and Cranes stability. Then the conversation opened and we enjoyed a great afternoon of Questions and Answer. Below, here are the highlights from our discussion:

Bucket Trucks: 

Understanding Stability

Per OSHA, refer to the ANSI A92.2 standards for the stability test requirements.

  • The stability test is required to be done by the upfitter, i.e.; the person(s) responsible for attaching the base to the chassis, one time.
  • Truck should be stable at 150% of load when at its worst condition, i.e.; stick straight out.
  • Truck should be able to turn 360°.
  • If truck passes above requirements, this would be the last time a stability check is needed, unless further repairs are done on the truck.

Questions from this section

Question: Does an outrigger repair qualify as “further repairs”?

Answer: Yes. If it is a typical repair, it would require re-certification.

Cranes:

Understanding Stability for Suspended Platforms

Per OSHA, refer to the ASME B30.5 standards for the stability test requirements.

  •  The stability test is required to be done every time you move the crane.
  • The procedure includes;
    • 5-minute suspension test with 25% of the weight attached
    • Weight must meet OSHA’s specifications
    • Test pick which cannot exceed 50% of the basket’s capacity
    • Needs to include your expected capacity in the basket
  • A pre-lift briefing is required at ever stability test. Those in attendance must include;
    • Lift Director
    • Person(s) going in basket

Questions from this section

Question: After the test pick is done, is there a requirement to document the pick?

Answer: It is not required. However, for liability purposes, whenever a pick or test is conducted there should be proper documentation.

Question: Why must my suspension test take 5-minutes?

Answer: This is an OSHA requirement.

 

***DOCUMENTATION beats CONVERSATION!***

If there’s a record of it, you won’t have to talk about whether it’s done or not.

meeting Jay speaker

General Discussion:

Question: How should I go about identifying a Dual-Purpose Machine?

Answer: To date, OSHA and ANSI do not make reference on how to define a dual-purpose machine, so there is no guideline to go by. This is a loaded question that can only be answered by opinion since there is no verbiage on this. The term “Dual-Purpose Machine” is a relatively new term. Manufacturers are still discussing how they are going to handle these machines. So, you can’t always depend on your manufacturer to determine if your machine is dual-purpose. To properly identify this machine, there might be a bit of investigating.

You should also note that

  • You can attach a basket to a crane without making it a dual-purpose machine in some instances
  • Not all manufactures identify a machine as a dual-purpose machine.

 

Question: If you cannot make the determination as to if the machine is dual-purpose or not, then what becomes the default standard?

Answer: Our opinion is to have the manufacturer make that determination.

 

Question: Are any manufacturers currently selling clearly identified Dual-Purpose Machines?

Answer: National Crane will be releasing this machine in 2016.

 

Question: How are range limits achieved?

Answer: With a bucket truck, they typically turn 360°. A crane’s range limits are dependent on mechanical limitations, and the operator needs to be aware of this to test those limits before getting into the basket.

 

Question: Does OSHA require a documented daily inspection?

Answer: No. However, you should check with your employer as they might require it. Also, in the state of Massachusetts, it is a requirement to document your daily inspections.

 

Question: Does OSHA require a documented monthly crane inspection?

Answer: Yes.

 

Question: What standards should I follow for my dual-purpose machine if it is configured as a crane?

Answer: You should follow the ASME B30.5 standards, unless you attach a bucket. Then, you would be required to follow the ASME B30.23 standards.

 

Question: Where is it recommended that I add my notes to document that I did a test pick on my suspended platform crane?

Answer: A suggestion would be right in the daily inspection log under the comment section.

 

Question: Does Massachusetts have the same definition for cranes as OSHA does?

Answer: No.

 

Question: In your opinion, what is the most common cause in accidents for both bucket trucks and cranes?

Answer: Lack of training.

 

Question: How do I know what standards I should be following? What makes that distinction?

Answer: You need to know what industry you are categorized in. The same machine can fall under different standards, depending on what they are being used for. You need to be educated on the different standards and how and when they apply.

Question: In the standards, there is no mention to “use this dual-purpose machine” when feasible. Shouldn’t there be?

Answer: Sometimes there are voids in the standards. This may have been done purposely in order to open discussion for revisions.

 

Question: The use of equipment to hoist employees is prohibited, except in the OSHA 1926 subpart CC. Why is that?

Answer: This is a perfect example of balancing liability. Without an incident, it may not be a safety issue. However, you may be setting yourself up for a liability issue.

 

Question: When a scenario comes up where you are bidding a job, whose responsibility is it to assign the proper equipment for the job?

Answer: There is usually mention in the contract that the contractor will follow the most stringent requirement that applies. This can also depend on the culture of the job.

 

Question: If ANSI and ASME are considered voluntary standards, then this means that they are not the law. Also, good practices and manufacturer’s recommendations are not the law. So, what exactly is the law?

Answer: You need to meet OSHA’s requirements every time. If OSHA refers to an ANSI or ASME standard, then it has now become a law. If OSHA says to refer to your manufacturer, then the referral you receive from them is now the law. The rules of good practices can always exceed OSHA’s requirements, however, they can never come short from what OSHA expects.

On a side note, for liability purposes, you should know that lawyers are not restricted to consensus standards. This means that it is important for the employer to have an understanding of the expectations from all areas.

 

Question: How does the operator protect themselves and know how to operate a Dual-Purpose machine safely?

Answer: The operator must read and understand the operator’s manual.

 

Question: Can a company be cited if there is proof that their operator did not read and understand the operator’s manual?

Answer: Yes.

 

Question: If the machine is built to the A92.2 standards, do you still have to do a load test?

Answer: Only if you can prove that it is built to the A92.2 standards by identifying it on the plate. If the machine has a winch on it, it is now a crane.

 

Question: What if the machines winch is not functioning, i.e.; tied off, and you are using the machine to change light bulbs. What standard do you use?

Answer: OSHA 1910 Standards; because you are not using the machine for construction.

 

Question: Should the supervisor know how to run a Dual-Purpose machine?
Answer: Yes. The supervisor and anyone running the machine should be trained on how to operate these machines. This will broaden the understanding of how to safely operate this machine.

 

Question: What prevents an operator from flipping the switch and using the machine in a different way?

Answer: That has to come from management and discipline, separate from training. In our opinion, altering the functionality of the machine in any way that is unsafe or incorrect would be means for dismissal. This message needs to be clearly understood. Furthermore, having documentation that the operator has signed and understood how the machine is to be operated is a good practice for liability.

 

Question: Is there ever a time where working near power lines or radio towers causes interference?

Answer: Yes. When working with radio towers that has happened.

 

Question: How does the employer ensure safe operation of a Dual-Purpose Machine; or any piece of equipment for that matter?

Answer: Qualify the operator and document it.

 

Question: What are some suggestions for the manufacturer to best provide a safe machine?

Answer: Involve the operator/end-user when they are designing the machine.

A Year of Injuries, and Lessons

 

This article was posted on the U.S. Department of Labor Blog

Filed in Español, Safety By Dr. David Michaels on March 17, 2016

In January 2015, we started requiring employers to report any work-related severe injury – such as an amputation or an injury requiring hospitalization – within 24 hours. In the first year, we received 10,388 reports, or nearly 30 a day.

Each report told the story of a man or woman who went to work one day and experienced a traumatic event, sometimes with permanent consequences to themselves and their families. But the reports also created opportunities for OSHA to engage with employers in ways we had never done before, and to ensure that changes were made to prevent similar incidents from happening to others.

hospitalizations

We learned things that surprised us, encouraged us and sometimes disappointed us. Today, we published a report of our evaluation that features stories from our offices around the country and reflects on lessons learned in the first year.

Our two main goals for the new reporting requirement were to engage more employers in identifying and eliminating serious hazards themselves, and to allow us to better target our enforcement and compliance assistance efforts to places where workers are most at risk. After reviewing the field reports and associated data, we are confident that both goals are being met.

A few examples explain how:

  • In Chicago, a conveyor loaded with liquid chocolate suddenly started up as a worker was cleaning a roller. Her arm was pulled in and mangled so badly that she required a plate and skin grafting. To prevent future injuries, the employer installed metal guards to shield workers’ arms and hands from moving machinery as well as warning alarms and flashing lights that are activated 20 seconds before the conveyor moves.
  • In Idaho, a valve cover (long known to be problematic) snapped shut on the hand of a truck driver who was loading a tanker, severing his fingertip. After the amputation, the employer devised a new hands-free tool for closing the valve, and alerted the manufacturer and other employers likely to use the same equipment.
  • At a sawmill, a chipper operator’s arm was amputated after he tried to clear a conveyor jam. In response, the owner suspended operations for a week and made improvements that went far beyond what OSHA required, including installing electrical shut-offs within easy reach of all workers, placing catwalks around the entire mill, and providing handheld radios for all employees.

In these cases and many more, employers worked closely with OSHA specialists to protect the safety and health of their workers. In fact, we responded to more than half of all injury reports  not by sending inspectors to the scene but by asking employers to conduct their own incident investigations and propose remedies to prevent future injuries.

At other times, the reported hazards warranted a worksite inspection, and we were able to investigate the incident and determine whether hazards remained.

But we were also disappointed by a handful of employers who went to great lengths to conceal injuries or hazards. In one stunning example, a manufacturer tried to hide an entire production line from OSHA inspectors after a staffing agency reported the amputation of a worker’s finger. Inspectors who uncovered the back room found a row of machinery with exposed parts that could have caused other workers to lose their fingers.

While we have made progress toward ensuring that severe injuries are quickly reported, we believe a sizable proportion of these types of injuries are still not being reported. That’s why we’re developing outreach strategies, including working through insurers, first responders, and business organizations to ensure that all employers know of their obligations to report severe injuries. Those who choose not to report should know that, now that the requirement is in its second year, OSHA is more likely to cite for non-reporting, and we have increased the maximum penalty for not reporting a severe injury from $2,000 to $7,000.

We will continue to evaluate the program and make changes to improve its effectiveness. To help protect the safety and health of the nation’s workers, it is essential that employers report all severe injuries, either by phone or online. Learn more at osha.gov/report.

Dr. David Michaels is the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Behr Iron & Steel Inc. Pleads Guilty to OSHA Violation Causing Death of Employee

A Rockford-based company pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Iain D. Johnston to willfully violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, resulting in the death of an employee at the company’s facility in South Beloit, Ill.

BEHR IRON & STEEL INC., a high volume ferrous and nonferrous scrap processor, admitted in a plea agreement that on March 10, 2014, the company failed to provide lockout/tagout protection and confined space protection as required under OSHA regulations for the company’s employees who were cleaning a shredder discharge pit.  The company admitted that those violations caused the death of an employee who got caught in a moving, unguarded conveyor belt.

The Company faces a maximum sentence of 5 years’ probation, a maximum fine of $500,000, and restitution to the victim employee in an amount determined by the Court.  Sentencing is scheduled for July 12, 2016, at 1:30 p.m.

The guilty plea was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Ken Nishiyama Atha, Regional Administrator of OSHA in Chicago.

“Justice cannot restore life to the victim whose body was crushed because Behr Iron and Steel failed to provide protection from dangerous machinery on the job,” said Mr. Atha.  “Safety training at the plant was woefully insufficient.  Behr must be held responsible by the courts for ignoring safety standards and failing in its obligation to protect its workers on the job.”

Behr’s South Beloit facility recycles metals contained in such things as automobiles and refrigerators.  According to the plea agreement, OSHA regulations require employers to adopt safety procedures to ensure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and unable to start up again prior to the completion of maintenance or servicing work.  The safety procedures include placing a lock on the power source of the machine and a tag on the lock warning that the machine cannot be operated until the warning is removed, and identifying the employee who has the key to the lock.  OSHA also promulgated regulations that address the need to protect employees from entering a confined space without safety precautions.

Metals shredded through a shredding machine in Behr’s South Beloit facility fall onto a conveyor belt located about ten feet underground in a shredder discharge pit, which was approximately six feet long and six feet wide.  The shredded materials were then moved by a conveyor belt out of the discharge pit and through a sorting process.  Some of the shredded metals fall onto the ground of the discharge pit near the conveyor belt.  One or two Behr employees working on the shredding machine were required to clean the discharge pit on a daily basis.  The employees shoveled shredded materials from the floor of the discharge pit onto the running conveyor belt.

On March 10, 2014, a Behr employee was cleaning the discharge pit when the employee’s arm was caught by the unguarded conveyor belt.  The employee was pulled into the machinery and killed.

Behr admitted that there was no lock or operable emergency shut off switch in the discharge pit for the conveyor belt, and the conveyor belt did not have guards designed to protect employees.  Behr also admitted that employees in the discharge pit were not adequately trained to use the shredder or the conveyor belt, and that the company had not developed and implemented confined space protection for employees entering the discharge pit.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott R. Paccagnini.

Connecticut steel foundry fined more than $100K

Connecticut steel foundry fined more than $100K for exposing workers to multiple hazards and failing to provide protective equipment

Employees at Connecticut steel foundry exposed to electrical, chemical,
mechanical and fire hazards and lack of protective equipment
$104K in OSHA penalties proposed for PCC Structural-Groton

HARTFORD, Conn. – Employees at PCC Structurals-Groton faced the risk of chemical burns, fire, lacerations, amputations, electric shock and other injuries, inspections by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration have found.

“Our inspections identified a disturbing cross-section of hazards that could result in eye, face or body injuries, burns, or hearing loss for employees at the Groton location, as well as potential fires or explosions. It’s imperative for the health and well-being of its employees that PCC Structurals takes comprehensive, effective and ongoing corrective action to eliminate these hazards,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford.

Located at 839 Poquonnock Road, the Groton facility is a steel-investment casting foundry that casts components for aerospace, energy, and commercial applications. Among the hazards identified during OSHA’s inspections:

  • Lack of hand, face and body protection for employees working on or near electrical equipment.
  • Exposed live electrical parts; misused electrical equipment and power cords; inadequate working space around electrical panelboards; and an ungrounded extension cord.
  • Unguarded points of operation of hydraulic presses.
  • Failure to inspect energy control procedures periodically to prevent the unintended startup of machinery during maintenance and cleaning.
  • No program to inspect chain alloy slings used to lift materials and equipment.
  • Lack of emergency eyewashes where employees worked with corrosive chemicals.
  • Inadequate safety glasses for employees working with chemicals.
  • Inadequately labeled containers of hazardous chemicals.
  • Flammable liquids not stored in closed containers; improper disposal of combustible waste.
  • Unsecured compressed gas cylinders.
  • Incompatible chemicals stored together in a cabinet.
  • Employees exposed to high noise levels not provided with a choice of hearing protection.

As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited the company for 20 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards on Feb. 19, 2016, with proposed penalties of $90,000. OSHA earlier cited the facility on Jan. 5 for two serious violations concerning inadequate fall protection equipment and an unprotected table saw. Fines of $14,000 were proposed for those violations.

The citations can be viewed here*, here* and here*.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Source

Labor Department Sues Employer for Firing Whistleblower

The Department of Labor is suing a company that allegedly fired a worker for reporting health and safety concerns.

 

whistle blower

The U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit in federal court against a Niagara Falls-based contractor that allegedly fired an employee who reported health and safety concerns.

The suit, which was filed Feb. 19 with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, alleges that Regional Environmental Demolition Inc. and its officials – Charles Van Epps and Enrico Liberale – fired a laborer who had expressed concerns about safety after OSHA contacted the employer about an anonymous complaint.

The demolition and asbestos abatement laborer had been working on an asbestos abatement project in Buffalo and noticed “soft spots” – deteriorated sections of floor. During the time he worked on the project (from April to June 2014), he reported on multiple occasions his concerns about the safety hazard to officials at the company.

The worker then was fired in June 2014 after OSHA contacted the company in response to an anonymous complaint it had received. The worker subsequently filed a whistleblower complaint to OSHA, which found merit in the claim.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Act gives us the authority to sue employers who retaliate against employees in safety and health matters. We will do so when the case warrants, as it does here,” said Jeffrey Rogoff, the regional solicitor of labor in New York.

In its lawsuit, the Department of Labor is looking for payment of lost wages and compensatory damages, interest, front pay, emotional and financial distress damages and punitive damages to the worker; and for the matter to be erased from his personnel record.

“Regional Environmental Demolition had no reason and no right to fire this worker for repeatedly reporting a safety hazard that could have seriously harmed him and his fellow workers. Firing or retaliating against workers who raise safety concerns is intimidation, plain and simple. If employees fear losing their jobs, hazards can go unreported and injuries can result,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

The lawsuit also calls for the court to make Regional Environmental Demolition post a notice to employees announcing that they will not discriminate against workers who raise health and safety concerns.