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OSHA Certification Updates you should know about Posted by on

? OSHA no longer issues replacement cards for training that occurred more than three (3) years ago. Also there is a
$25.00 fee for replacing lost/misplaced OSHA cards.
? Some governmental jurisdictions are now requiring that workers renew their OSHA training every four (4) years in
order to work in that jurisdiction (e.g. State of Connecticut).
? OSHA 30 Certification is required for foremen and stewards performing work under the Boston and Eastern Area of
Massachusetts CBA. It is also a graduation requirement for apprentices in the Massachusetts and Boston
Apprenticeship programs.
? OSHA 10 Certification is required for apprentices and journeymen performing work under the Boston and Eastern Area
of Massachusetts CBA.
? OSHA 10 Certification is required by Massachusetts General Law for all who work on public construction sites.
? OSHA 10 is a stand-alone course and cannot be applied to OSHA 30 Certification.


TAGS: Osha, Safety, Training



Replacement OSHA cards Posted by on

Members who have lost their OSHA certification cards should contact their local training program to obtain replacements. Members who are not able to produce their OSHA card could be prevented you from working.

OSHA has guidelines for obtaining replacement cards that members should be aware of." From page 15 of the linked document:

"Replacement student course completion cards will not be issued if the training took place more than three years ago. Trainers must provide their name, the student??s name, the training date, and the type of class to receive a replacement. Only one replacement may be issued per student. A fee may be charged by the Authorizing Training Organization to replace a course completion card."


TAGS: Osha, Training



OSHA stepping up penalties for "severe violators" Posted by on

OSHA has announced that it is significantly increasing penalties against employers who commit severe or repeated offenses. A directive issued in late April, outlines increased inspections and enforcement for the "Severe Violator Enforcement Program." The program is the result of a year-long work group, which determined that existing penalties were "too low to have an adequate deterrent effect."

According to an OSHA press release: "The current maximum penalty for a serious violation, one capable of causing death or serious physical harm, is only $7,000 and the maximum penalty for a willful violation is $70,000. The average penalty for a serious violation will increase from about $1,000 to an average $3,000 to $4,000. Monetary penalties for violations of the OSH Act have been increased only once in 40 years despite inflation. The Protecting America's Workers Act would raise these penalties, for the first time since 1990, to 12,000 and $250,000, respectively. Future penalty increases would also be tied to inflation."

"For many employers, investing in job safety happens only when they have adequate incentives to comply with OSHA's requirements," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Dr. Michaels. "Higher penalties and more aggressive, targeted enforcement will provide a greater deterrent and further encourage these employers to furnish safe and healthy workplaces for their employees.""


TAGS: Osha, Safety



Step one: diagnose the problem Posted by on

Efforts by Union Carpenters or other advocates to uncover bad deeds often run into a wall of ignorance or denial. But two prominently featured stories on Boston.com today shine a bright light on some significant issues in the construction industry and elsewhere that clearly need some attention.

The first relates to public work being awarded to contractors despite their previous violations of various laws and their failure to disclose those violations as required by law.

The story focuses on stimulus money given to companies for paving projects, but the lack of oversight is clearly a problem that carries into other projects at the state and local level. At it's worst, the problem is intentional, as awarding authorities ignore likely or confirmed violations of prequalification or bidding laws in order to hire the contractor that simply has the lowest price.

A clear example of this can be found in Hanover, where the town awarded a public school project to Callahan Construction, despite multiple warnings from the Attorney General's office that the company had misled the town. At issue there was the company's attempt to prequalify for the project by taking credit for similar work that was done by another company. Though they claim to be a successor, they did not disclose financial problems they would've been required to include in documents if that were the case.

The second is about the massive settlement Wal-Mart just reached with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This time out, the company is paying $40 million to almost 90,000 workers for illegally lowering workers pay by refusing to pay overtime, manipulating time cards and making workers skip legally mandated breaks.

Yes, 90,000 workers. Hardly a mistake with paperwork. And don't make the mistake of thinking Wal-Mart is being a good corporate citizen by settling the suit; it was filed in 2001!





OSHA proposes $118k+ for fall hazards in CT Posted by on

OSHA has proposed in excess of $118,000 in fines for a Tennessee-based contractor working in Torrington, Connecticut. The fines are the result of "15 alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards," according to the OSHA press release.

"OSHA's inspection found employees working on scaffolding, in an aerial lift and on the roof at the 492 East Main St. worksite, were exposed to falls of up to 22 feet. The inspection also identified electrical, overhead and chemical hazard communication deficiencies at the worksite."
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"Specifically, 4 Brothers, which also operates as VP Stucco Co. Inc., was issued six repeat citations, with $84,000 in proposed penalties, for no fall protection for employees in an aerial lift; lack of guardrails on the scaffold; employees climbing the scaffold's side and cross braces; employees not trained to recognize scaffold hazards; no protective helmets; and failing to have the scaffold erected and dismantled under the supervision of a competent person. OSHA cited the company in 2007 and 2008 for similar hazards at worksites in Concord, N.H., and Plainville, Conn.

"The Torrington inspection also resulted in nine serious citations, with $34,650 in proposed penalties, for employees working on a roof without fall protection; an improperly supported scaffold; unguarded walkways between scaffolds; using an ungrounded extension cord to power a mixing drill; and lack of a hazard communication program, training, material safety data sheets, and protective gloves for employees working with cement and hazardous chemicals. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
Emphasis added.





Audit: Bush safety program a failure Posted by on

Confirming what many in the field already knew, an audit by the Labor Department found that under the Bush administration, a highly touted OSHA program didn't do what it was supposed to, even before it was curtailed last year.

From a Washington Post story:

A special government program to improve worker safety in hazardous industries rarely fulfilled its promise, a Labor Department audit concluded yesterday, and over the past six years, dozens of deaths occurred at firms that should have been subjected to much tighter federal safety enforcement.

This on the heels of a report by the Government Accountability Office that the Labor Department's Wage and Hour division doesn't work very well at all and that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission violates their own employees' rights to overtime pay.

More vindication for those who sported 01.20.09 bumper stickers.