OSHA Releases Workplace Injury and Illness Data

January 8th, 2018

Every year since 1996 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has collected work-related injury and illness data from more than 80,000 employers. For the first time, the agency has made the data from 1996 to 2007 available in a searchable online database, allowing the public to look at establishment or industry-specific injury and illness data. The workplace injury and illness data is available online at OSHA.gov at as well as Data.gov.

OSHA uses the data to calculate injury and illness incidence rates to guide its strategic management plan and to focus its Site Specific Targeting (SST) Program, which the agency uses to target its inspections.

“Making injury and illness information available to the public is part of OSHA’s response to the administration’s commitment to make government more transparent to the American people,” said David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. “This effort will improve the public’s accessibility to workplace safety and health data and ensure the Agency can function more effectively for American workers.”

Information available at the Data.gov and www.osha.gov websites includes an establishment’s name, address, industry, associated Total Case Rate (TCR), Days Away, Restricted, Transfer (DART) case rate, and the Days Away From Work (DAFWII) case rate. The data is specific to the establishments that provided OSHA with valid data through the 2008 data collection (collection of CY 2007 data). This database does not contain rates calculated by OSHA for establishments that submitted suspect or unreliable data.

Data.gov provides expanded public access to valuable workforce-related data generated by the Executive Branch of the federal government. Although the initial launch of Data.gov provides a limited portion of the rich variety of Federal datasets presently available, the public is invited to participate in shaping the future of Data.gov by suggesting additional datasets and site enhancements to provide seamless public access and use of federal data.

More information about the Department of Labor’s Open Government Web site is available at www.dol.gov/open where there are links to the latest data sets, ways to connect with Department staff, and information about providing public input that will make the Department’s site and its work more useful and engaging.

OSHA Public Hearing on New Hazcom Workplace Rule

January 6th, 2018

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will hold three informal public hearings to accept comments and testimony on the proposed rule to align the agency’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

The first hearing will begin in the auditorium of the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Additional hearings are scheduled in Pittsburgh and April 13 in Los Angeles. OSHA will provide the location for the Pittsburgh and Los Angeles hearings in a future notice.

A number of countries, including the United States, and international organizations participated in developing the GHS to address inconsistencies in hazard classification and communications. The system provides a single, harmonized system to classify chemicals, labels and safety data sheets with the primary benefit of increasing the quality and consistency of information provided to workers, employers and chemical users.

Those interested in attending the hearings must provide a notice of intention to appear by the filing date. Notices may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Notices can also be submitted by regular mail to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-H022K-2006-0062, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Ave., Washington, D.C. 20210. Submissions not exceeding 10 pages can be faxed to the OSHA Docket Office at 202-693-1648.

Technical inquiries should be directed to Maureen Ruskin, OSHA, Office of Chemical Hazards-Metals, 202-693-1950. Press inquiries should be directed to Jennifer Ashley, OSHA, Office of Communications, 202-693-1999.

Department of Labor Increases Budget To Fight Workplace Fraud

January 2nd, 2018

DOL Budget Boosts Labor Funds to Combat Workplace Fraud

The Obama administration has proposed $14 billion to fund Labor Department divisions pertaining to work force development and safety, among other initiatives. Several Labor Department divisions, including the Employee Benefits Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division, among others, saw moderate increases to their fiscal unit budgets.

In an online chat Monday following the budget’s release, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said the department would seek to allocate $1.7 billion for worker protection programs—an increase of roughly $69 million—and also hire about 177 new inspectors and investigators.
“Today’s budget affirms this administration’s strong commitment to vigorous enforcement,” Ms. Solis said in a recorded video message. She added, “OSHA received over 100 inspectors in our federal budget, as well as an additional 25 requested last year. We are also moving 35 inspectors from compliance assistance activities to enforcement.”

From the Wall Street Journal.

The Code of Federal Regulations Quarterly Update

December 31st, 2017

code of federal regulations The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation.

Each volume of the CFR is updated once each calendar year and is issued on a quarterly basis.

Titles 1-16 are updated as of January 1st
Titles 17-27 are updated as of April 1st
Titles 28-41 are updated as of July 1st
Titles 42-50 are updated as of October 1st

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OSHA Penalty Reduction Audit

May 2nd, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Inspector General has announced its audit targets for 2010. On the list, “Impact of OSHA’s Penalty Reductions.”

OSHA’s penalty structure is designed to provide companies with an incentive to correct violations. Reductions in fines can come from several sources. An inspector can recommend discounts to the original fine amount. OSHA supervisors, including area directors, regional administrators and Department of Labor attorneys can further reduce the size of a penalty, which are often significantly less than statutory maximums.
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Details About OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program

April 6th, 2017

OSHA announced a Severe Violator Enforcement Program today that will be in effect in 45 days and also said it is administratively raising the dollar value of its penalties, suggesting it would raise them higher still if it could.

“The current maximum penalty for a serious violation, one capable of causing death or serious physical harm, is only $7,000 and the maximum penalty for a willful violation is $70,000. The average penalty for a serious violation will increase from about $1,000 to an average $3,000 to $4,000,” OSHA’s news release stated. “Monetary penalties for violations of the OSHA Act have been increased only once in 40 years despite inflation. Read the rest of this entry »

Hexavalent Chromium Notification Mandates for Excess Exposure

March 5th, 2017

hexavalent chromium In response to a court order, OSHA has amended its February 28, 2006, final rule on occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) by requiring that employers notify employees of the results of all Cr(VI) exposure determinations.

As originally promulgated, the Cr(VI) rule required employers to notify affected employees of any determinations indicating exposures in excess of the permissible exposure limit (PEL). The employer could satisfy this requirement either by posting the determination results in a location accessible to all affected employees or by notifying each affected employee in writing of the results.

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Unethical Employers Hiding Workplace Injury Records To Avoid OSHA Fines

March 2nd, 2017

Dubious data clouds job safety gains

Executives at Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. were jubilant. The big packaging company, a self-proclaimed leader in workplace safety, had smashed its own record for lowest injury rates in its industry.

It was another milestone in Smurfit’s “incredible tradition of safety achievement,” said a February 2008 press release.

Yet the month before, Monterey County authorities filed criminal charges against two officials of a local Smurfit plant and a medical provider, accusing them of conspiring over several years to cover up injuries and discourage workers from filing workers compensation claims. The men pleaded not guilty, and the case is pending.
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Cal OSHA Fines Bimbo Bakery Where Workers Lost Limbs

October 18th, 2016

Bimbo Bakery logo
California occupational safety officials have issued one of their agency’s largest group of fines ever, $230,535 to Bimbo Bakeries for failing to fix safety violations that led to amputation of workers’ limbs.

Cal OSHA officials said that 20 alleged violations were documented at three factories belonging to the company, which produces brands that include Oroweat and Entenmann’s baked goods.

The food factories are in South San Francisco, Escondido and Montebello.
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Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Citations at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center

September 23rd, 2016

The handling of a patient with bacterial meningitis landed an Alta Bates Summit Medical Center employee and an Oakland police officer in intensive care and prompted California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) to issue citations to three employers, including willful allegations against Alta Bates.

The citations, issued April 19, were the first issued under Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) standard, which took effect last summer. DOSH issued citations to Alta Bates, and the Oakland Police and Fire departments, and is investigating possible meningitis exposure to ambulance drivers employed by American Medical Response.
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