Source: http://www.insurancejournal.com, August 26, 2013 By: Sam Hananel
Federal regulators are proposing a long-awaited rule that would dramatically limit workplace exposure to silica dust.
Officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration say the new limits would save nearly 700 lives each year and prevent thousands of illnesses, including cancer and lung disease.
The rule would cut in half the amount of silica exposure currently allowed for general industry and maritime workers. It would cut it by 80 percent in the construction industry. The dust is often found at construction sites, glass manufacturing plants and hydraulic fracturing operations.
Workplace safety groups have urged OSHA for years to set new exposure limits, saying they would protect lives. Industry groups contend that lower limits are not necessary and will be too difficult and costly to measure for thousands of businesses.
Intentional disregard or plain indifference by one of the main subcontractors at the Tropicana Casino and Resort expansion project, as well as serious violations by three other companies, caused the death of four workers and the injury of 20 others when the garage they were erecting collapsed last October, federal investigators concluded yesterday.
The findings, which leave open the possibility that criminal charges could be filed against Fabi Construction Inc. of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., are based on a conclusion that critical reinforcing steel that was supposed to hold up the garage floors Fabi was building were not sufficiently anchored into columns where the collapse occurred. …
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing to fine a chemical company $121,500 for a toxic leak that led to an acid cloud forcing hundreds of western Pennsylvania residents to evacuate. OSHA reports that the company committed 27 serious safety violations when 3,300 pounds of oleum leaked when a transfer tank overflowed because its internal pumps were connected to an electrical outlet that was not equipped with an automatic shutoff. The resulting sulfuric acid cloud forced 2,500 people from their homes for a day. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection also investigated. They are close to settling with the company on $38,000 in state fines for violating laws pertaining to chemical storage tanks and air pollution.…