Occupational safety and health

August 30, 2013

OSHA Proposes Silica Dust Limits

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.

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September 20, 2011

Inquiries begin in collapse of canopy at San Ysidro crossing

Source: http://www.signonsandiego.com, September 16, 2011
By: Elizabeth Aguilera, Debbi Baker and Sandra Dibble

Federal officials hope to learn in about a week what caused a construction canopy to collapse Wednesday at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, sending 11 motorists to the hospital and wreaking havoc for thousands of people trying to cross from Mexico into San Diego.

By early Thursday morning, pedestrian and vehicle traffic was moving smoothly through the 14 lanes that had reopened. Travelers said wait times were shorter than usual, perhaps because Mexican media organizations had urged people to avoid the area unless they absolutely needed to cross the border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it was unclear when the remaining 11 northbound lanes would be back in operation. Chris Maston, director of field operations in San Diego for the agency, said Thursday that any increase in lane capacity would likely be incremental over the next few days. (Southbound lanes were unaffected by the accident.)

At a midday news conference, Maston and other federal officials said engineers, government safety experts and others have begun their investigations into the collapse.…

July 27, 2011

Weitz & Luxenberg Wins $1.5 Million for Injured Construction Worker

Source: http://weitzlux.blogspot.com, March 6, 2007

Construction is a high-hazard occupation, accounting for the third-highest rate of death by injury, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. By law, employers are bound to mitigate the dangers inherent to the job wherever possible. This includes ensuring that the surrounding areas to the work site are safe for the construction team.

Unfortunately, this was not the case for a 47-year-old construction worker who fell off elevated train tracks on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in New York City. Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. filed a case (index no. 1752/03) in the County of Queens and in the Court of Claims against various defendants that were responsible for the construction project. This yielded a $1.5 million settlement the worker will now use to recover from the tragic and physically debilitating experience.…

June 14, 2011

2 companies fined in crane collapse

Source: http://www.seattlepi.com, May 11, 2007
By: Andrea James

The state Department of Labor & Industries on Friday fined two companies a total of $14,800 for alleged violations that resulted in a deadly tower crane collapse in Bellevue.

A six-month investigation into the accident confirms preliminary reports that the crane’s poorly designed foundation, which was made of steel rather than concrete, was the primary cause of the November collapse. L&I’s report said that the foundation should have been able to withstand far greater pressures.

The Seattle engineering firm that designed the foundation, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, must pay $5,600 in fines because the base did not meet manufacturer requirements, the report said.

The firm challenged the findings.

“The Department of Labor & Industries made several factual errors in its investigation and L&I refused to discuss these facts despite MKA’s repeated attempts to do so,” Chief Executive Jon Magnusson said in an e-mail to the Seattle P-I. “MKA will immediately file an appeal.”…

May 3, 2011

Questions lingering after Gatlinburg spill

Source: http://www.knoxnews.com, May 1, 2011
By: Natalie Neysa Alund

From debris cleanup and odor elimination to water sampling and machinery replacement, daily reports reflect what’s been happening at the Gatlinburg Wastewater Treatment Plant since a basin wall collapsed last month and killed two workers.

Although reconstruction is under way at the Banner Road facility where the April 5 catastrophe took place, officials have released little information from the investigation into what caused the collapse – an event state officials say hasn’t occurred in Tennessee in the past decade.

Officials from Veolia Water North America, the company that runs the plant owned by the city of Gatlinburg, began sending status updates to Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation officials April 8 alerting them of their recommissioning efforts to fully get things back online.…

March 28, 2011

Dollar Tree Store in Newport fined for asbestos violations; repairs scheduled

Source: http://www.oregonlive.com, March 23, 2011

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division has fined a Newport retailer for asbestos violations. OSHA issued three citations, totaling $300 in fines, to the Dollar Tree Store for failure to identify the asbestos, repair or remove it and for failing to provide employees with an awareness training course.

The asbestos was found in the basement level of the store and in a freight room on the main level. In the basement, tests found 1 percent asbestos dust and on the main floor 1 percent asbestos in floor tile glue.

Melanie Mesaros, public information officer for OSHA said inspectors said the risk from the dust was low and that tiles had been covered.

The store will close for one week in late April to tear out the flooring and replace it, she said.…

December 23, 2010

OSHA Cites 4 Companies in Parking Garage Collapse

Source:  New York Times Online, April 30, 2004
By:  Eric Lipton

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. …

July 27, 2010

OSHA Proposes $121K Fine for Chemical Company

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.…

July 22, 2010

Chemical Plant Facing $125.4 Million Fine

A Texas chemical company is facing fines of $125.4 million resulting from safety violations at their manufacturing and treatment plant. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the deaths of two employees at the plant since December 2008. The Texas Attorney General is seeking a court order requiring the company to cease operations until they demonstrate compliance with state environmental regulations. The Attorney General also claims employees from nearby sites complain about odors creating nausea, dizziness and headaches.…