Happy New Year! You owe OSHA $32,490 in fines. Many small companies believe they are exempt from OSHA regulations. This is NOT the case. This is a story that occurred to a small business. I received a call from a company with six (6) employees to assist them with abatement issues after an OSHA Inspection. An employee filed a complaint with OSHA. This complaint triggered two separate inspections including an Industrial Hygiene study for noise, mold, and asbestos. There were no findings regarding the employee complaint or the industrial hygiene studies. However, this small company received two citations totaling $32,490. On the second inspection, OSHA sent two inspectors that spent almost 7 hours inspecting a 35,000 square foot building.
Here are a few of the items cited along with their associated fines:
- 1910.22(a)(1) All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms were not kept clean and orderly. $2,400
- 1910.22(a)(2) Explosive dust (saw dust) on the floor and surfaces $1,600
- 1910.37(a)(3) Exit Routes were not kept free and unobstructed $1,200
- 1910.133(a)(1) Employees not wearing safety glasses $1,200
- 1910.213(c ) (1) Guard missing (table saw guard) $2,800
- 1910.303 (b)(2) Overloaded surge protector (power strip) $2,400
- 1910.305(g)(1)(iv)(A) Misuse of a flexible cord (extension cord) $2,400
- 1910.305(g)(2)(ii) Extension cord was repaired with electrical tape $1,600
- 1910.157(c )(1) Fire Extinguisher was not mounted (sitting on the floor) $1,600
- 1910.178(l)(1)(i) Un-licensed fork lift operators $2,800
- 1910.213 (s)(6) Cleanliness around working machinery $2,000
Remember all companies are required to follow OSHA regulations. In most cases, companies with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from many of the paperwork and recordkeeping requirements.
All companies have to maintain a healthy and hazard free workplace. Companies must be proactive versus reactive when it comes to the safety and health of their employees.
At Mather Risk Management, we can help you develop a safety management system, training and work practices to prevent these types of workplace hazards.
If this sounds familiar, we can help. Give us a call at 205-440-3849 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please like us on Facebook and visit our website at http://www.matherriskmanagement.com.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminds consumers to follow safety precautions when purchasing and using electric or fuel-fired heaters and fireplaces. “Most of the deaths and injuries from heaters and fireplaces happen in the winter months,” said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. “Every home needs working smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide alarm.”
In a recent year, there were about 10,900 residential fires and about 190 deaths associated with portable or fixed space heaters. There were 15,500 fires and 40 deaths associated with fireplaces and chimneys. In addition, an average of about 85 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by heating systems, ranges/ovens and water heaters.
Heaters can cause fires if they are placed too close to flammable materials such as drapes, furniture or bedding. Fireplaces can cause fires if the chimney is cracked, blocked or coated with creosote, or if sparks and embers can reach flammable materials. Fuel-burning appliances can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if they are improperly installed, poorly maintained, have compromised venting systems, or are misused.
Heater safety tips:
- Use a heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features; older space heaters may not meet the newer safety standards. CPSC worked to upgrade industry standards for electric, kerosene and vented and unvented gas space heaters. Kerosene heaters are required to have an automatic cut-off mechanism that will extinguish the flame if the unit tips over. Most electric heaters also have a similar mechanism to turn the unit off. More guarding around the heating coils of electric heaters and the burner of kerosene heaters also is required to prevent fires. Unvented gas space heaters require oxygen depletion sensors to help prevent carbon monoxide production from inefficient combustion.
- Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials.
- Keep doors open to the rest of the house if you are using an unvented fuel-burning space heater. Make sure your heater meets current safety standards to shut off if oxygen levels fall too low. Make sure your heater is correctly rated for your home. An oversized heater could deplete the available oxygen, causing excess carbon monoxide to be produced. Keep a window in the room open at least one inch to ensure proper ventilation. This helps prevent pollutant build-up and promotes proper combustion. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to provide sufficient combustion air to prevent carbon monoxide production.
- NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep. Never place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
- Turn the space heater off if you leave the area. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
- Have gas and kerosene space heaters inspected annually to ensure proper operation.
- Do not use a kitchen range or oven to heat your house because it could overheat or generate excessive carbon monoxide.
- Be aware that mobile homes require specially-designed heating equipment. Only electric or vented fuel-fired equipment should be used.
- Have a smoke alarm with fresh batteries on each level of the house, inside every bedroom, and outside the bedrooms in each sleeping area. In addition, have a carbon monoxide alarm outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area.
Fireplace safety tips:
- Have flues and chimneys inspected before each heating season for leakage and blockage by creosote or debris.
- Open the fireplace damper before lighting the fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. Never close the damper before going to bed if the ashes are still warm. An open damper will prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home, especially while the family is sleeping.
- Never use gasoline, charcoal lighter or other fuel to light or relight a fire because the vapors can explode. Never keep flammable fuels or materials near a fire. Never store flammable liquids in your home.
- Never use charcoal in a fireplace because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Keep a screen or glass enclosure around a fireplace to prevent sparks or embers from igniting flammable materials.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054. Consumers can obtain recall and general safety information by logging on to CPSC’s Web site at www.cpsc.gov.