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Summer’s here and temperatures are rising in the Southwest. Extreme heat kills dozens of workers every year, and sickens thousands more. Tips and tools from OSHA can help keep workers – and others – safe. Among the most at-risk industries are construction, transportation, agriculture and landscaping. New and temporary workers are especially susceptible to heat-illness and death due to lack of acclimatization.

Screen Shot 2015 07 29 at 10.02.37 PMAnyone who has done any audits knows this question carries a lot of weight, since cylinders "in use" have different safety requirements versus cylinders that are "in storage".  The great safety folks at OR-OSHA have once again provided a really nice flow chart we can use to establish the state the cylinder is in so that the proper safety rules can be applied to it.  And yes, these rules are ONLY enforceable in the state of Oregon, but wow what a nice tool we can use in any workplace - even though OR-OSHA is years ahead of Federal OSHA in their compressed gas safety standards!  I would also like to mention that OR-OSHA has also re-defined how cylinders of flammables and oxidizers can be "separated" by means other than 20' separation.  Noncombustible barriers modified or constructed after May 1, 2015, must meet the following additional minimum requirements:

OSHA today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that clarifies an employer’s continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness throughout the five-year period during which the employer is required to keep the records.   OSHA is issuing this proposed rule in light of the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in AKM LLC v. Secretary of Labor (Volks) to clarify its long-standing position that the duty to record an injury or illness continues for as long as the employer must keep records of the recordable injury or illness. The proposed amendments add NO NEW compliance obligations; the proposal would NOT require employers to make records of any injuries or illnesses for which records are not already required.  The proposed rule will be published in the July 29, 2015, issue of the Federal Register. Members of the public can submit written comments on the proposed rule at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. See the Federal Register notice* for submission details. Comments must be submitted by Sept. 27, 2015.

This paper company had 39 VPP Sites in 2013 and today they were placed in OSHA's SVEP for this incident.  Here is a breakdown of the citations that took them from VPP to SVEP.  A 57-year-old general mechanic was removing burned filter bags of combustible fly ash dust from a dust collector in the facility’s power plant and replacing them with new bags when the fly ash ignited. He sustained severe burns as a result and subsequently died.

Today OSHA announced that they have placed International Paper (IP) into their Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) following a combustible dust ignition incident involving fly-ash at one of their facilities.  This development is HUGE in the respect that IP was once one of OSHA's top participants in the Voluntary Protection Program.  To go from one of OSHA's top performers to the SVEP is quite a shock to a safety pro who sort of grew up stealing IP safety programs for use at Westvaco.  I can still remember the very first VPP Star site I ever visited was an IP plant and I was so impressed it left a lasting impression on me to this very day.  I always morn the loss of life, especially when it was a workplace accident that could and should have been prevented, but to place a company in the SVEP implies they are a "severe violator" and how can a company be such a presence in the VPP and be in the SVEP.  (FYI... in 2013 IP had 49 VPP sites).  I get the SVEP and believe in it's need for OSHA to effect change in workplace safety; and I even could see the rationale behind DuPont... multiple fatalities at multiple facilities over a several year period.  But how does a company with 49 VPP sites in 2013 make it to the SVEP in 2015.  I understand IP had four (4) employee fatalities and one (1) contractor fatality in 2014 and this is UNACCEPTABLE, but when your using OSHA measurements and your rates are:

 
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