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Vol. 1, No. 3 December 14, 1998
  OSHA News for Industry
  U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA North Aurora, Illinois

New PITS and Confined Space Standards Issued

Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training Standard (PITS)

The final rule was published on 12/1/98, and the standard covers all employers. Employers have been given one year to comply, but before you know it that year will be up. We recommend that you don't wait. Instead, set a date by which you will implement the standard and work to meet that date.

Thanks to the OSHA Training Institute, we have assembled a PITS Starter Kit. This material is included as an e-mail attachment (or in a few cases will be sent as a separate e-mail message). It contains the following:

Highlights of the standard

Text of the standard

Questions and Answers

Fatality Document

Operator Training Outline

Sample Operator Test (test is courtesy of State of Michigan OSHA)

The Aurora office would like to partner with local associations or other groups to conduct seminars on this new standard. If interested, please call or e-mail us.

Confined Space Amendment

Revisions to the 1910 Permit-Required Confined Space Entry standard were published in the Federal Register December 1, 1998. The effective date is 2/1/99. The full text of the revision is available on OSHA's website. Here is a brief summary of the changes:

Paragraph (c)

* make determinations on use of (c)(5) alternate procedures available to employee representative

* employee/employee rep allowed to observe pre-entry atmospheric testing

* employee/employee representative allowed to observe periodic atmospheric testing

* certification that space is safe for entry made available to employee rep

* certification that all hazards in a space eliminated/reclassified to nonpermit available to employee rep

Paragraph (d)

* provision for authorized entrants or their employee rep to observe monitoring/testing of permit spaces, including pre-entry and subsequent testing

* on request of entrant or employee rep, re-evaluate the space in their presence

* immediately provide results of any testing to entrant or their employee rep

Paragraph (e)

* completed permit available to employee representative

Paragraph (k)

Much of paragraph (k) Rescue and Emergency Services paragraph has been revised.

* evaluate prospective rescuer's ability to respond timely

*evaluate prospective rescuer's ability to respond proficiently

*select prospective rescuer based on timeliness and proficiency

* rescue service is informed of hazards and has access to site to practice

* in house rescue teams have protective equipment and PPE training, entrant and rescue training, first aid and CPR training with at least one member having current certification, rescue practice/simulation at least every 12 months

* besides attachment point on back or above head, entrants can have retrieval line attached at another point which presents a profile small enough for removal of entrant.

Paragraph (l)

This is a new paragraph requiring consultation with employees and authorized representatives on development and implementation of the permit space program

* all information required to be developed by the standard is to be made available to affected employees and their representatives.

Nonmandatory Appendix F - Rescue Team or Rescue Service Criteria

Cooperative Compliance Program

The suit against the CCP was heard on 12/3/98, with a court decision expected by Spring 1999.

The following is local speculation and does not represent official agency thought or policy:

Whichever way the CCP court decision goes, we do not expect any change in OSHA's current program mix at least until Fall 1999. Presumably, it will take time for any of the following possible outcomes (a) either party to appeal the decision, (b) OSHA to revise the existing program in conformance with the court's decision, (c) OSHA to make any other changes it believes are necessary, and/or (d) OSHA to incorporate the latest data survey into the program, notify affected employers, and start the process once again.

Interim Targeting Program

This inspection scheduling plan is the alternate inspection targeting system to the Cooperative Compliance Program. The companies on this inspection list have 1996 lost work day injury/illness rates above the national average for their industry type. There is no partnership component under the ITP, and OSHA began wall-to-wall comprehensive safety and health inspections on April 13, 1998. The Aurora office has initiated inspections at 39 of these companies, including three of the four largest employers in our northwestern Illinois territory.

One consistent issue has been employer recordkeeping. Employers have not included all hours worked, falsely inflating their LWDII rate. Temporary employee hours and salaried employee's overtime hours have not been included in company data. For example, one die caster we visited included temporary employee injuries in the information submitted to the OSHA data survey, but did not include at least 15,000 temporary employee hours. When recalculated, their rate was below the die caster industry LWDII rate. Please note that despite their lower LWDII rate, company executives remained convinced of the benefits of a good safety and health program and pledged to continue to work on their program.

Worksites have now had about one year since the original CCP letter. We have observed that proactive companies have done a good job and have received few citations. This is what OSHA had envisioned when the CCP was originally developed. A few firms have done little, apparently figuring we would never find the time to visit them. Some of these firms had many problems and received large citations.

Carbon Monoxide

The Aurora OSHA office received six carbon monoxide exposure complaints in mid-November. The contaminant source is almost always forklift exhaust, so please check forklift exhaust emissions for CO. Many mechanics tune engines by ear, which may lead to high carbon monoxide emissions.

One technique OSHA uses during an inspection is to test forklift exhaust gases. Per ACGIH ventilation manual guidelines, CO concentration in exhaust gases should be limited to 2% for gasoline powered lifts and 1% for propane lifts.

We often find 5% CO, which is equal to 50,000 PPM carbon monoxide coming out of the tailpipe. At that carbon monoxide level and with all the doors and windows shut, it doesn't take long for the general room concentration to exceed OSHA's 50 PPM CO limit. When everyone in the shop complains of a splitting headache, has very little energy on a daily basis, goes to bed right when they arrive home and does not get up until the following day to start the cycle over again, you can bet that there are excessive carbon monoxide levels.

Recordkeeping Standard

The new recordkeeping standard is back on track for publication in the first half of calendar year 1999, with an effective date of 1/1/2000.

Silicosis Emphasis Program

This emphasis program focuses on eliminating employee exposures to silica dust in both construction and general industry. In industry, maintenance can be the difference between low dust levels and silica dust overexposure.

In a recent Interim Targeting Program inspection of a copper foundry which used sand casting methods, the company had done a good job of controlling silica dust. All jobs were within the Permissible Exposure Limit for respirable silica dust with the exception of a glove box abrasive blasting operation used to clean dies. The glove box was the last place to expect high silica dust levels due to the glove box enclosure, local exhaust ventilation, and use of garnet abrasive (a low/nonsilica substitute). However, the glove box ventilation pipe was blocked by a pile of abrasive grit causing dust leakage out of the glove box, and 4.7% quartz silica was present in the abrasive. The OSHA lab advised us that since garnet is a mined substance, silica may sometimes be present in the strata (the OSHA lab has seen high silica levels from garnet in the past). Maintenance of the blast cabinet would have prevented the dust exposure.

Lead in General Industry

OSHA's Special Emphasis Program for Lead in Construction is being rewritten to include general industry. It is expected to require the development of general industry lead user lists for outreach and enforcement.


Amputations are still occurring on machines and in particular mechanical power presses. For example, a machine operator lost three fingers when a hinged section of a guard was lifted to clear a die area. When guards are used to protect the point of operation they must prevent entry over, around, or through the guard. The guard must use fasteners not readily removable. Many of our power press citations were for guards not protecting the sides and/or backs of machines, and for guards not secured properly.

U.S. Postal Service

OSHA assumed full enforcement jurisdiction over the U.S. Postal Service and its 890,000 employees on 10/1/98. In the past, we made inspections and issued notices without penalties. From this time forward we will issue citations and penalties in the same manner as the private sector.


Whistleblowers are protected under the OSHA Act, and employees making safety/health complaints to company management, complaints to OSHA, participating on an OSHA inspection, and other activities have legal recourse from retribution. Employees who are fired, demoted, reassigned, or otherwise discriminated against may file a discrimination complaint with OSHA. Most offices in Region 5 have a full time whistleblower investigator.

The OSHA whistleblower investigators cover more than just the OSHA statute, as OSHA has been given authority to cover whistleblower provisions for DOT, EPA, and the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission). These statutes include the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (truck safety and driving hours), AHERA (asbestos in schools), International Safe Container Act (shipping containers), Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, Solid Waste Disposal Act, Clean Air Act, CERCLA, and the Energy Reorganization Act (nuclear power plants).

Process Safety Management

A note for equipment and processes that utilize microprocessors: The millenium is just around the corner. All systems should be checked for Y2K compliance. For those processes covered by the PSM standard, this should be an element for new hazard analyses and for any validations of existing PHAs.

New Respirator Standard Questions and Answers

Q. I hear that there has been a delay in enforcing the respirator standard. Is this true?

A. No, there is no delay in enforcing the standard. The effective date of the standard was 10/5/98, and the standard is fully in effect. However, due to a request from small business, a 10/13/98 memo instructed field staff in an interim enforcement policy until 1/5/99.

Under this policy, for new standard requirements in which there is no corresponding old respirator standard requirements, an unclassified violation with no penalty will be issued. If the employer is not in compliance with the old standard, citations/penalties will be issued under new standard provisions.

Q. Who is licensed in Illinois to perform respirator medical determinations?

A. This answer is for Illinois businesses only. According to our inquiry of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, there are three job classifications qualified to perform the medical evaluation under the new respirator standard in Illinois. These health care professionals include Physicians, Physician's Assistants, and Nurse Practitioners. While others may administer the questionnaire, we have been told that these three are the only jobs permitted to make the determination/diagnosis.

Q. If we give respirator users a physical exam, do we need to have them complete the medical questionnaire?

A. No, the questionnaire does not need to be completed as long as the medical exam covers the items in the questionnaire.

Q. A full face respirator will be used by the employee exposed to 15 times the permissible exposure limit (PER). Is qualitative fit testing acceptable for this full face respirator use?

A. No. The use of qualitative fit testing has not been scientifically verified for the higher fit factor of the full face respirator. Quantitative fit testing of full face respirators is required when they are worn in atmospheres above 10 times the PER. For additional information on fit testing, see the table in the respirator directive (the same table is in the Small Entity Compliance Guide).

Q. What requirements are there for voluntary use of dust masks (filtering facepieces)?

A. Employees voluntarily using filtering facepiece dust masks must be given a copy of Appendix D of the 1910.134 standard. In addition, the employer must ensure that the use of the mask does not create a hazard (the main hazard being keeping the employee from wearing masks thrown on the floor or otherwise contaminated which causes dermatitis on the employee's face). A written program and medical exam are not required for voluntary use of filtering facepiece/dust masks.

Q. The new standard requires filter change schedules for gas and organic vapor cartridges. Where do I get information on determining how often to change cartridges?

A. The respirator manufacturer is the best source; check with your supplier. Some of the major manufacturers have programs to assist you in calculating how long a filter should be worn before being changed. Look for the safety and health pages of both www.mmm.com (3M) and www.msanet.com (MSA). North has a printed service life estimation table for simple estimations and has a CD to assist you in making calculations.

The OSHA Salt Lake Technical Center has put some draft information to help get you started on cartridge life calculations on the OSHA web site (www.osha-slc.gov/SLTC and click on the Respiratory Protection Technical Advisor). This site also includes a section on selecting appropriate respirators.

Recent Fatalities

Warehouse fall - Employee using elevating forklift to do inventory fell from 20 foot high storage rack and was found on the floor at the end of the shift. He died of the fall injuries a week later.

Drowning - Employee loading a grain barge tripped and fell into the Illinois River. A second employee tried to grab him but could not locate him. The deceased employee was not wearing a personal flotation device.

Drowning - Laborer dismantling a tug boat fell into the water and drowned.

Drowning - Employee lost footing while releasing stern lines of a vessel, and he fell into the water. Deceased was not wearing a flotation device.

Serviceman fall - Air conditioner serviceman fell through a plastic skylight cover 20 feet to his death.

Run over - Dump truck operator exited the truck to secure a valve while the truck was still moving. As the operator stood on the truck gas tank he slipped off, and was run over by the wheels.

Emergency Response at Freight Shippers

Over the past year we have investigated cases involving chemical spills and leaks at freight shippers. These companies usually have no exposure to chemicals because the packages are sealed, but when containers break there can be real problems if there is no plan to handle the spill.

For example, last year a forklift broke open a bag of powdered material in a freight forwarding facility. There was no determination of what the material was, and the most junior employee was assigned to sweep and clean up the mess. This powder was spread all over the facility, and after the cleanup employee finished he was covered with powder from head to toe. Only after the cleanup took place did the company figure out that the material was a lead powder. By then the plant was contaminated and the employee was exposed to prodigious amounts of lead.

In an August 1998 case, an air freight shipper had a cylinder fall and start leaking. The employee worked to upright the cylinder, and then went to the office to report the hissing cylinder. The supervisor immediately called an ambulance because the employees lips had turned blue. The supervisor then looked up the shipment papers (it was a nitrogen cylinder), called the fire department, and evacuated the plant.

Lessons learned:

Point 1: Figure out what you have before you try to clean it up. There's a big difference between a spill of shampoo and a spill of a toxic material such as lead. Even "nontoxic" materials such as nitrogen can present an asphyxiant hazard due to oxygen displacement.

Point 2: Evaluate the spill/leak only if you have the expertise. In addition to a written plan, you will need training, air sampling instruments, and protective gear. For OSHA requirements, see the emergency response standard 1910.120(q)(1).

Point 3: Sometimes the best action is to evacuate the area per a 1910.38(a) emergency action plan, then call in an outside expert to evaluate and clean up the spill. The company with the lead spill wished they had done this. It would have cost money up front, but would have protected employees and saved much more money later on.


State Consultation 10 Hour Course

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs/On-Site Consultation Service has a good deal for you! They are now offering an OSHA 10 hour course for $25. These courses are held four times a year, with the next course scheduled for February. Please contact the Chicago office at 312-814-2337 for details.

Sauk Valley Safety Day

The Aurora office is holding an industrial safety and health seminar at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, IL on March 24, 1999. Our target audience is small business, and 25 different topics will be covered. This meeting will feature speakers from OSHA, state consultation, OSHA Training Institute, and private consultation practice. Our 1998 conference at Waubonsee Community College was a sell out with 400 participants, and many turned away due to space limitations. Cost is $15 per person which includes refreshments and lunch.

We will mailing the course matrix by early February. If interested in receiving this mailing, please call us at 630-896-8700 or e-mail misette.kobler@aurora.osha.gov. Registration and fees will be handled by Sauk Valley Community College.

Modern Metals Power Press Seminar

Part of a recent power press citation case settlement required the employer to set up a power press seminar for other employers in the Rockford, Illinois area. Modern Metals has tentatively scheduled this seminar for March 2, 1999. Presenters will include Modern Metals management representatives, George Yoksas (OSHA), consultant Dave Malter, attorney Mark Lies, state consultant Rita Mosley, and others. Admission fee will be $25. Let us know if you are interested in attending.

Construction Safety Conference

The Construction Safety Council is hosting it's 9th annual conference on 2/10-12/99 in Rosemont, Illinois. In our opinion this is the biggest and best construction safety and health conference in the nation, and construction representatives from all over the country attend this conference. This year the event is moving into expanded facilities at the Rosemont Convention Center. Call the CSC at (800) 552-7744 for more information.

True Story

Is there ever a good time for an OSHA inspection? How about this one: The safety director for a large manufacturing plant was on vacation when two of our inspectors arrived to begin a complaint inspection and wall-to-wall Interim Targeting Program inspection. Plant staff hunted the safety director down, locating him at the doctor's office. He was given the telephone report of OSHA inspector presence as he was lying down, hooked up with the leads for an EKG. The doctor indicated there was only a slight spike in the EKG when the safety director accepted the call!


1 1910.1200(h)   hazard communication training



machine guarding






specific lockout procedures



point of operation guarding



hazard communication program



power press inspection record



lockout program



general duty clause



power transmission guard

Explanation of Aurora Frequently Cited Serious Violations

1. Hazard communication training - Since hazard communication is covered on every inspection, this violation is investigated and cited more frequently.

2. 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, and reciprocating parts projecting into work areas.

3. Eyewash - Small squirt bottles do not contain adequate volume of liquid to flush the eyes. We look for a 15 minute supply of flushing solution (an ANSI standard requirement). Plumbed eyewashes and freestanding units having a 15 minute eye flushing supply are both acceptable.

4. 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.

5. Point of operation guarding - This is a general standard covering all types of machines. Hydraulic presses were the machines most observed with inadequate or no point of operation guarding.

6. Hazard communication program - Deficiencies are a combination of two things. Employers have lost programs that they implemented in the 1980s, 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 sheets.

7. Power press inspection record - No press inspection with certification records of the person conducting inspection, date of inspection, and identifier of machine inspected.

8. Lockout program - As with hazard communication, this program is also investigated on each inspection.

9. General Duty Clause - There was no pattern to general duty clause violations. See section listing examples of our general duty clause citations at the end of the newsletter.

10. Power transmission guarding - This standard concerns guarding of pulleys. There are three conditions seen: (1) there was no guard at all, (2) the guard was removed and not reinstalled (and often the guard is sitting by the machine), and (3) a partial guard covered one side of the pulley, but not the other



Penalty listed is aggregate proposed penalty for the year.
1910.147(c)(7)(I)  lockout training  $211K 



machine guarding 




LO procedures  




general duty clause 




lockout program  




hazard commun. training  




lockout evaluation 




power press training  




pwr press full rev/no single stroke 

power press inspection


Comments about the high penalty items:

Lockout, machine guarding, and power press guarding are the big penalty issues. They accounted for most of the willful violations issued by the Aurora Office last year.

Lockout items 1, 3, 5, and 7 totaled $499K, 36% of the total proposed penalty for the office. We issued seven willful violations under the 1910.147 standard last fiscal year.

Power press items 8, 9, and 10 accounted for $167K of the total. Nine 1910.217 willful violations were issued by Aurora last fiscal year.

1. Lockout training - Authorized and affected employees were not trained in LOTO procedures.

2. Machine guarding - covered in Frequently Cited section. One willful violation was issued.

3. Lockout specific procedures - covered in Frequently Cited section. Written lockout procedures did not outline the step by step procedure for each individual machine that may be locked out.

4. General duty clause - There was no pattern to these. See the following section on general duty clause violations.

5. Lockout program - covered in Frequently Cited section.

6. Hazard communication training - covered in Frequently Cited section

7. Lockout evaluation - Lockout procedure evaluation is an annual on-the-job evaluation of employees performing lockout. We have not seen this being done at too many companies.

8. Power press training - There was one willful violation issued for lack of power press training. A guideline for operator training can be found in OSHA compliance directive CPL 2-1.24.

9. Power press full revolution/no single stroke - Full revolution press had no single stoke mechanism. Check this by holding down the actuator of a full revolution press (foot pedal, buttons, etc.). See if the press does only one stroke. If the full rev press continues to operate stroke after stroke while the actuator is held down, the single stroke mechanism is not working.

10. Power press inspection - Weekly inspection per standard was not conducted - antirepeat, etc. This penalty total included one willful.


Fall protection: Two citations were issued. One citation was issued for an unsteady makeshift platform in a pigment plant, and another one for improperly worn fall protection (lanyard attached to front D-ring of the harness, instead of attached to the back D-ring) at a dairy tanker service area.

Pipe threading machine - Machines were operated without a constant pressure footswitch ("deadman switch"). We know of two past cases where employees' clothing got caught on a burr on the end of the rotating pipe. In one case the employee was working alone, and after getting caught was rotated/ beat around for eight hours before someone found him; this employee was so badly injured he was off work for eight months. The second case was fatal. Both of these machines used only a toggle switch, which the entangled employee could not reach to turn the machine off.

Saw magnetic restart switch - Radial saw operated without a device to prevent the saw from restarting after interruption of the power supply. (General duty clause is only used for saws other than used for woodworking.)

Elevator enclosure - Freight elevator was not completely enclosed and hands/feet could get wedged between car and shaft wall.

Tuberculosis - Deficient TB control program at a drug rehab center.

Hoists - Overhead hoists used to pull a load sideways. Hoists also pulling a load that was still secured to the machine.

Boiler maintenance - no boiler maintenance and operation program (boiler relief valve was venting steam and no action taken).

Hot caustic - Employees exposed to leaks and spill of hot caustic from failed process equipment.

About Our Newsletters

OSHA News for Industry is issued twice a year. Aurora OSHA Construction News is issued approximately four times a year. Our mission is to give you quality information you can use, and we try to write as if we are talking to you about our experiences and information. The idea is to tell you what OSHA is doing so you know how to comply, or you know how to advise your clients. We hope you benefit from this information.

If you have comments, suggestions for future articles, or questions, please contact:

U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
344 Smoke Tree Business Park
North Aurora, IL 60542

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