Nearly 200,000 work sites may be violating OSHA's record-keeping rule
Almost 200,000 work sites did not file their 2016 annual injury and illness log summaries by Dec. 31, 2017, breaking compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) new electronic record-keeping rule, according to www.constructiondive.com. OSHA anticipated 350,000 work sites would file, but only 153,653 work sites filed their summaries in addition to nearly 61,000 work sites that were not required to file electronically but did so.
Form 300A contains a summary of an employer's logged injuries and illnesses kept throughout the year on Form 300. Information on Form 300 includes work-related deaths and injuries or illnesses that cause a worker's loss of consciousness, restricted work activity, transfer to another position, days away from work or medical treatment beyond first aid. Most employers annually are required to file Form 300A electronically, as well as post the form at work sites between Feb. 1 and April 30.
Originally, the electronic reporting rule also required employers to submit Form 300 for publication online, but OSHA received pushback from industry groups affected by the mandate that claimed the provision could reveal proprietary information, including employee work hours. Critics also argued posting injury and illness information without including measures employers took in response could give the public a one-sided view.
In November 2017, OSHA said it would issue a proposal to amend the rule so employers would not have to submit Forms 300 or 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) electronically. In the meantime, employers were expected to file their 2016 annual injury and illness log summaries by the deadline.
Legal experts say the low-compliance rate for submitting Form 300A could be because some employers believed they were exempt based on their company size or industry. In other cases, some employers may have expected the compliance date to be delayed again or decided they would be better off withholding their summaries rather than giving OSHA information the agency could use to plan future inspections. In addition, some employers might not have wanted their summary information to be posted online as the rule mandates.
OSHA may inspect locations for violations of the electronic reporting rule until June 15. For employers not in compliance, the agency could issue other-than-serious violation citations, which carry a maximum penalty of $12,934. Companies that reported technical difficulties when trying to file electronically could be exempt from a citation as are companies that can produce a paper copy of the report or show they have filed their 2017 summaries.
Subcontractor fined after employee's heat-related death
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Southeastern Subcontractors Inc., Middleburg, Fla., for failing to protect employees from hazards associated with working outdoors in extreme heat following the heat-related death of an employee, according to www.osha.gov. The company is not an NRCA member.
In September 2017, a Southeastern Subcontractors employee died from hyperthermia while working at a residential site in Jacksonville, Fla. Hyperthermia occurs when a person's body temperature is abnormally high because his or her body cannot regulate the heat from the environment. OSHA issued one serious citation for exposing employees to heat-related injuries and one other-than-serious violation citation for failing to report a workplace fatality to OSHA within eight hours of its occurrence. Proposed penalties total $22,173.
"Employees exposed to heat on the job—whether indoors or outdoors—are at an increased risk of suffering heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke," says Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's Jacksonville area office director. "Tragedies such as these can be prevented if employers develop and implement a heat-illness prevention program and provide employees with water, rest and shade."
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA cites two employers for fall hazards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited two employers for exposing workers to fall hazards: Jose A. Serrato, an independent roofing contractor in Marietta, Ga., was cited March 16 for exposing employees to fall hazards at a Birmingham, Ala., job site, and Luis Guallpa, d.b.a. Guallpa Contracting Corp., Milford, Mass., was cited March 20 for exposing his employees to falls and other hazards at a Nashua, N.H., work site. Neither company is an NRCA member.
During December 2017, OSHA investigators examined Serrato's job site under the agency's Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction and issued one serious citation and one willful citation to Serrato for exposing employees to fall hazards of about 28 feet and failing to retrain employees who did not demonstrate the skills necessary to recognize fall hazards. Serrato has been cited seven times during the past five years and faces $133,604 in proposed penalties.
"Employers are responsible for ensuring their worksites are free of recognized hazards," says Ramona Morris, OSHA's Birmingham area office director. "This employer has continually exposed employees to fall hazards by disregarding federal safety requirements."
During September 2017, OSHA inspectors observed six of Guallpa's employees working on a roof without fall protection, as well as workers using ladders unsafely and failing to use head protection. OSHA issued two serious citations, two willful citations and one repeat citation to Guallpa for exposing employees to fall hazards of up to 25 feet, ladder and head protection violations, and failing to provide effective training. Proposed penalties total $299,324. Guallpa received citations for similar hazards in 2014 and 2015.
Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.