News for Industry
Aurora, Illinois Area Office
Volume 1, Number 1
Joining the Aurora Area Office construction
newsletter is the first issue of our new General Industry
newsletter. Our goal is to issue the industry newsletter
twice a year. Please direct any comments or suggestions
to Area Director Charlie Shields, 630-896-8700, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome additional E-mail subscribers.
1. OSHA Leadership - Charles Jeffress
was confirmed as the new Assistant Secretary of Labor
for OSHA by a Senate voice vote on 10/30/97. Mr. Jeffress
was head of the North Carolina state OSHA plan for the
past five years or so, and he knows the OSHA program
inside and out. He was sworn in on November 12, 1997.
In a visit to the Cincinnati OSHA office, he advised
the staff that two high priorities were ergonomics and
safety and health program standard.
2. OSHA Strategic Plan - In conformance
with the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993,
OSHA has developed a five-year Strategic Plan. OSHA
and other agencies must now show Congress results for
budget monies expended. Three hazards (lead poisoning,
silicosis, amputations) and five industries have been
targeted (construction, nursing homes, logging, shipbuilding,
and food processing). The goal is to show a 15% reduction
in injuries/illnesses in these targets in five years.
The Strategic Plan document can be found on the OSHA
home page www.osha.gov under "What's New."
3. Cooperative Compliance Program
- The CCP is here! This is the national version of the
successful Maine 200 and Wisconsin 200 type programs.
Based on lost workday injury/illness rate data gathered
as part of OSHA's data initiative project, the CCP targets
a "Top 500" establishment list for traditional comprehensive
wall-to-wall inspections. Other employers in the program
will be offered the chance to participate by implementing
effective safety and health programs; employers agreeing
to participate will be placed in a lower inspection
priority. In addition, CCP participants who are making
good progress should have a shorter OSHA inspection
with fewer violations and lower penalties.
Here is the CCP schedule:
11/20/97 directive signed
11/21/97 establishment data sent to OSHA
11/26/97 Top 500 inspections can begin
12/5/97 notifications sent to potential
1/5-16/98 outreach sessions for potential
1/30/98 participant agreements due
5/1/98 participant inspections can begin
4. Ergonomics - OSHA continues
to address ergonomics hazards. The Aurora office recently
completed an ergonomics complaint investigation in a
health care facility, with a general duty clause citation
issued concerning hazards associated with resident handling
and transferring. The case was settled at the informal
conference and is significant to us because the employer
agreed to implement an ergonomics program.
Due to a Congressional budget restriction,
the earliest a proposed standard could be published
is October 1998. However, ergonomics is expected to
play a large role in the CCP, as the CCP list has a
number of facilities where ergonomic hazards significantly
contribute to elevated LWDII rates.
5. TB Standard - The notice of
proposed rulemaking for a tuberculosis standard was
published on 10/17/97. Approximately 100,000 establishments
would be covered by this regulation, including hospitals,
long term care facilities, correctional facilities,
hospices, homeless shelters, drug treatment facilities,
facilities where high hazard procedures are performed,
laboratories that handle TB specimens/cultures, emergency
medical services, home health care, and home hospice
care. Social workers, welfare services, teachers, law
enforcement, and legal services working in these settings
or in residences where there is suspected/confirmed
TB are also proposed to be covered. As the first step
in the rulemaking process, OSHA is asking for comments
on the proposal, which are due to the docket office
by 12/16/97. Hearings are scheduled to begin on 2/3/98
in Washington, DC.
6. Forklift operator training standard
- The Semiannual Regulatory Agenda has a final rule
publication date of December 1997 listed. There may
be some slippage of this date, possibly to as late as
June 1998. The final version of the Powered Industrial
Truck Operator Training rule is very similar to the
7. Recordkeeping - The final recordkeeping
rule is scheduled to be published in June 1998, with
an implementation date of 1/1/99.
8. Methylene chloride - This final
rule was published on 1/9/97, and the effective date
for most of the standard has been postponed several
times. The latest extension of start-up dates was published
10/20/97, delaying an effective date for "all other
employers" to 12/21/97, with no change on initial monitoring
and engineering control effective dates. As this is
beginning to be a complicated situation, please see
the Federal Register for full details. Call us for the
Federal Register, or check the OSHA home page under
"Federal Register Notices."
9. Respirator standard - The final
rule is planned for publication in December. A companion
rule on assigned protection factors will not be issued
at the same time, but will hopefully come out in 1998.
10. Fall Protection in General Industry
- In construction employment, harnesses will be mandatory
on 1/1/98 and belts will be prohibited for fall arrest.
We are frequently asked, "Does general industry have
a similar requirement?"
Fall protection regulations for industry
have not been updated and do not explicitly address
acceptable means of limiting fall forces. In the absence
of regulations to limit fall forces, Aurora OSHA will
use the fall protection equipment manufacturer's guidelines
to determine if acceptable protection is in place. For
example, we have issued citations for warehouse employees
order picking from elevated storage racks from a forklift
platform, walking off the platform into the racks with
no fall protection. Under the general duty clause we
have required fall protection systems limiting fall
arresting forces to manufacturers' recommendations of
900 pounds for a body belt and 1800 pounds for a harness.
Almost all the manufacturers use these numbers, for
they are the same as the OSHA construction standard
and the ANSI standard. Had the order picker worn a deficient
fall arrest system in this example, we would cite 1910.132(c)
for inadequate personal protection for the work to be
11. Silicosis Emphasis Program
- We are continuing this program in FY-1998, focusing
on eliminating employee exposures to silica dust in
both construction and general industry. So far, most
of the Aurora inspections have been on construction
job sites, with excessive silica exposures from tuckpointing,
masonry block cutting, concrete cutting, and jack hammering
found. A $17K citation was issued to one tuckpointing
(power grinding) firm with silica exposure 800 times
the permissible limit.
In OSHA Region 5, the greatest number
of industrial silica overexposures have been in foundries,
clay refractory manufacture, wall and floor tile manufacture,
stone cutting, and metal finishing. The metal finishing
exposures were from sandblasting on metal. The Peoria
office found one sandblasting operation 300 times the
permissible limit; this operation was able to correct
the problem by substituting aluminum oxide for sand
and by automating/enclosing/ventilating the process.
12. Power Press Guarding - This
national program aims to improve press guarding and
reduce amputations and injuries. Locally, we have investigated
a few amputations in the past five years, but inspections
under the emphasis program are revealing more amputation
cases than before. Inspection of targeted employers
began 7/1/97. Frequent findings in the first few months
of OSHA inspections include lack of press inspections,
deficient point of operation guarding, and unprotected
We continue to do power press presentations
for various organizations and have an excellent, knowledgeable
speaker in George Yoksas. Employer/employee associations
please call if interested (Aurora's northwestern Illinois
We recommend you take the following actions
on power presses:
a. Review the point of operation guarding
on the power press. If barrier guards are used, be sure
that the openings in the guards conform to table O-10
of 1910.217 and that no one could reach over, under,
around, or through the guard. Be sure the fasteners
for the guards are adequate and not easily removed.
These are some of our most frequent machine guarding
b. Guard foot pedals from unintended
activation! Most companies are able to fabricate their
own foot pedal guards. It is important that at least
three sides be guarded.
c. Establish and implement a power press
inspection program. All parts of the press must be inspected
periodically. Most companies do this on a monthly or
quarterly basis. The clutch/brake mechanism, anti-repeat
and single stroke mechanisms must be inspected at least
d. On all power presses, check the distance
from the two hand control or trip to the point of operation.
We use a hand speed constant of 63 inches per second
to determine the safe distance. You can evaluate this
factor through measurements made by a stop time meter
for part revolution clutch presses, or by using the
formula in 1910.217 for full revolution clutch presses.
You can be certain that OSHA will ask you how you located
the two hand controls/trips on your power presses. Most
companies have no idea if their systems are located
a safe distance from the point of operation.
e. It may be prudent for companies with
older power press safety packages to evaluate their
systems. Early this year we investigated a press accident
in which an employee lost three fingers on a press where
a 1975 control reliability/brake monitoring/light curtain
13. EZ Trial
- We had our first hearing by EZ Trial in October. A
company can elect this streamlined court proceeding
for easier, less expensive litigation of OSHA citations.
This EZ Trial case was scheduled quickly; after
being contested on 7/16/97, the hearing was held two
months later on 10/15/97. Department of Labor Solicitors
prepared for this hearing the same as they would for
any hearing, except there are no discovery procedures
under EZ Trial. The company represented itself without
an attorney, and the hearing was in a regular courtroom
with a court reporter. We received the decision favorable
to OSHA on 11/21/97. The "Serious" trenching violation
was affirmed, and the penalty the judge assessed was
actually higher than OSHA's earlier settlement proposal.
Similarly, the Chicago North OSHA office had an EZ Trial
about a month earlier than Aurora's first case, and
the Repeat violation was affirmed at full penalty.
14. Carbon Monoxide - Winter means
carbon monoxide overexposure season to OSHA industrial
hygienists. Factory doors and windows are shut and ceiling/wall
exhaust fans are turned off, leading to an indoor buildup
of combustion products.
OSHA offices get numerous complaint calls
every year concerning excessive carbon monoxide exposure.
Furnaces are often suspected as the source of carbon
monoxide, but this is rarely the case. Our typical complaint
investigation is at a warehouse or factory with a number
of gasoline or propane powered forklifts operating.
Forklifts may be poorly maintained, be older units with
poor engine seals, or be tuned by ear not by an emissions
device. Telltale health symptoms include numerous employees
experiencing severe headaches, nausea, and low energy
levels every day.
In some cases the carbon monoxide exposure
is enough to send employees to the hospital and shut
down the facility. We already had one call in October
where a local firm sent about 50 people complaining
of headaches and nausea to the hospital. Blood gases
were done on some individuals, and carboxyhemoglobin
results were as high as 20-22%. In the past, OSHA has
used carboxyhemoglobin measurements to calculate carbon
monoxide exposure, and has based citations on this data.
Often the exposures have averaged 100 - 200 PPM for
the day (the 8-hour average limit being 50 PPM).
The potential fixes are many: carbon
monoxide detectors, preventive maintenance on forklifts,
additional fresh air ventilation, tune up performed
using emissions measuring devices, install carbon monoxide
detectors in combination with automatic ventilating
units when CO levels exceed a certain threshold, electric
forklifts, install catalytic converters on the lifts
(in theory catalytic converters could cause oxides of
nitrogen and other air contaminant problems, but in
practice we have never seen this happen), and rebuild/replace
We recommend that you take the initial
step of determining the exposure in your establishment.
Take some carbon monoxide measurements in your facility,
or better yet, install carbon monoxide detectors. In
addition to preserving the health and morale of your
employees, you may save potential medical bills, plant
shutdown, and media coverage from sending a group of
workers to the hospital.
15. Waubonsee Safety Day - We are holding
an industrial safety and health seminar at Waubonsee
Community College in Sugar Grove, IL on March 25, 1998.
Our target audience is small business, and 25 different
one hour sessions aimed at an introductory/intermediate
level will be given. Please call John Newquist or Julie
Evans at 630-896-8700 if interested. Cost is only $10
FREQUENTLY CITED SERIOUS VIOLATIONS
AURORA AREA OFFICE
FISCAL YEAR 1997
1. 1910.212(a)(1) general machine guarding
2. 1910.1200(h) hazard communication training
3. 1910.1200(e)(1) hazard communication program
4. 1910.151(c) body shower/eyewash
5. 1910.212(a)(3)(ii) point of operation guarding
6. 1910.215(b)(9) grinder safety guard
7. 1910.23(c)(1) guardrails on platforms
8. 1910.147(c)(4)(ii) specific lockout procedures
9. 1910.147(c)(1) lockout program
10. 1910.147(c)(7) lockout training
Explanation of Aurora Frequently Cited
General: Taken as a group, our citations
were concentrated in three main areas - machine guarding,
lockout, and hazard communication. Are your programs
in good shape in these areas?
1. General machine guarding - This standard
is used for a variety of machine hazards, including
rotating lathe chucks, unused portions of metal saw
blades, feed rolls, head and tail pulleys on a conveyor,
hold downs on shears, and reciprocating parts projecting
into work areas.
2. Hazard communication training - Since
hazard communication is covered on every inspection,
this type of violation is cited frequently. This standard
took effect 11 years ago. Many companies did training
years ago, but have not done much since and missed training
3. Hazard communication program - Deficiencies
are a combination of two things. Employers have lost
programs that they implemented years ago, and a number
of companies we inspected for the first time did not
have a program. This program deficiency appears high
on our list because it is often grouped as a serious
violation with hazcom training or material safety data
4. Body shower/eyewash - This is almost
always cited for the lack of an eyewash, not a shower.
Where corrosives are used, problems include lack of
a 15 minute supply of flushing solution (an ANSI standard
requirement) or an unacceptable route from exposure
to eyewash such as around conveyors or through doors
to the eyewash.
5. Point of operation guarding - Hydraulic
presses, shear blades, pneumatic powered machines, roll
formers, injection molders, riveters, and press welders
are some of the machines that were cited for inadequate
or no point of operation guarding.
6. Grinder safety guard - There are lots
of abrasive wheel grinders out there that do not have
a tongue guard or an improperly adjusted tongue guard.
7. Guardrails on platforms - Many sites
have frequently accessed storage areas located on top
of foremen's offices in the middle of the plant. Few
of these have guardrails to protect an employee from
8. Specific lockout procedures - The
standard requires that lockout procedures specific to
the machine or the type of machine be developed. Many
companies have generic programs but have failed to evaluate
energy source hazards, develop procedures, and communicate
this information to employees.
Five years ago, a company in our territory
with a generic lockout program had a fatality. After
examining the deficiencies in that program and our enforcement
efforts, we determined that we needed to emphasize energy
source evaluations and specific lockout procedures for
a machine/class of machine. We have not had a lockout
fatality since that time, but have investigated amputations.
Also, in our opinion the eight point
exception to procedures in 1910.147(c)(4) is extremely
difficult to meet, and we have been able to successfully
argue this point with employers.
9. Lockout program - As with hazard communication,
some of the companies we inspected for the first time
had no program whatsoever.
10. Lockout training - This is often
cited for production employees who are exposed to machine
hazards while setting up or unjamming machinery. On
our inspections, we have observed line employees and
maintenance staff exposed to energy source hazards without
locking out. Some of these citations were for injuries
MOST PENALIZED VIOLATIONS
AURORA AREA OFFICE
FISCAL YEAR 1997
Standard Initial penalty
1. 1910.23(c)(1) guardrails on platforms
2. Section 5(a)(1) general duty clause $97K
3. 1910.120(q)(1) chem emergency response plan $71K
4. 1910.147(c)(8) unauthorized employee lockout $59K
5. 1910.212(a)(1) general machine guarding $62K
6. 1910.147(c)(7)(I)(a) lockout training $28K
7. 1910.1200(h) hazcom training $25K
8. 1910.212(a)(3)(ii) point of operation guarding $24K
9. 1910.147(c)(4)(ii) specific lockout procedures $23K
10. 1910.151© body shower/eyewash $20K
Comments about the high penalty items:
General comment - For the Aurora office,
proposed penalties totaled $1.04 Million for the year
for general industry employers (construction proposed
penalties were about the same, a total of $1.1 Million).
Often, the top penalized items in industry were due
to high proposed penalties on willful violations.
1. Guardrails - Fall protection for platforms
came close to 10% of all penalties. One violation issued
as willful accounted for $70K. Fall protection is a
priority for general industry as well as construction.
A couple years ago the Aurora office had more general
industry fall fatalities than construction fall fatalities.
These fatal industry incidents occurred between heights
of four and ten feet; often the death was caused by
the employee striking his head on nearby machinery during
2. General Duty clause - One $70K violation
for a molten metal hazard constituted most of this penalty
total. There were 11 general duty violations, and the
only patterns discernible were for fall hazards (three
violations) and molten metal hazards (two violations).
3. Hazwoper Emergency Response plan -
Only a couple of these violations were issued. The high
penalty total was because one of these was a $70K willful
4, 6, and 9. Lockout - Lockout violations
in the top ten penalized list totaled $110K. Using other
data not shown in the table, all lockout penalties for
the office totaled $158K, or about 16% of our total
proposed general industry penalties. This is a real
area of emphasis, see previous discussion for frequently
cited violation table.
Numbers 5 and 8. Machine guarding - These
violations were in the top ten penalty total because
of the number issued and higher gravity of this type
of item. The average penalty was about $1200.
Number 7. Hazard Communication training
- There were lots of these, but the average penalty
was low (around $400 each).
Number 10. Body shower/eyewash - See
explanation in Frequently Cited section.
Comments, suggestions for future articles,