Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Safety board calls for an OSHA standard on liquid nitrogen

Lack of warning signs for the presence of liquid nitrogen and an asphyxiation hazard at the entrance to the freezer room from the loading dock (left) and clean room (right). (Credit: CSB and Messer)

Washington — Chemical facilities that handle hazardous gases or cryogenic asphyxiants such as liquid nitrogen should maintain atmospheric monitoring and alarm systems and educate workers on hazards.

The recommendations are part of a recently released final report from the Chemical Safety Board on a fatal January 2021 liquid nitrogen release at the Foundation Food Group Inc. poultry processing plant in Gainesville, GA.

Six workers died and four others sustained serious injuries after a freezer malfunctioned and released colorless, odorless liquid nitrogen into the air, displacing the oxygen in the room.

Investigators found that multiple workers who entered the freezer room after their shift started to check on co-workers had never received training on the fatal effects of nitrogen exposure. The facility also lacked air monitoring and alarm devices that might have cautioned workers against entering the room.

“Workers were not aware of the deadly consequences of a liquid nitrogen release – ultimately, trying to save their colleagues led to them sacrificing their own lives,” CSB investigator-in-charge Drew Sahli said in a press release. “This is a known hazard, and better training and communication could have prevented such a tragedy.”

The report offers multiple safety lessons, including:

  • Processes and equipment that involve hazardous materials should be designed robustly enough that the failure of a single component cannot result in a catastrophic incident.
  • Designating competent and resourced staff with responsibility over specific safety programs is key to ensuring effective process safety. Management must be knowledgeable and involved in each of these safety programs to provide effective oversight.
  • Organizations must be cognizant of the hazards posed by the chemicals they handle and should implement effective process safety management systems to control process safety risks.

Further, CSB calls on OSHA to issue a national standard addressing hazards related to the storage, use, and/or handling of liquid nitrogen and other cryogenic asphyxiants. CSB also recommends OSHA include liquid nitrogen in its Regional Emphasis Programs for poultry processing and food manufacturing.

“CSB’s recommendations are important for preventing incidents involving liquid nitrogen and lessening their severity if they do occur,” CSB Chair Steve Owens said in the release. “The hazards of liquid nitrogen must be clearly communicated to workers, and the safety management systems for operations that use liquid nitrogen must be improved.”

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Test your knowledge of carcinogens in the workplace

Photo: Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue

Brussels — How well can you identify carcinogenic risks in the workplace? A virtual training game from a Belgian agency is putting your knowledge to the test.

“In the game, you take on the role of prevention advisor,” the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue says. “You will need to identify potential unsafe situations involving carcinogenic substances in specific work environments (a construction site, a hospital and a factory) and advise your employer.”

Available in EnglishDutch and French, the game is intended to educate participants on the STOP principle:
Substitution: The use of a dangerous substance is avoided by replacing it with one that’s less hazardous to the safety and health of workers.
Technical measures: Taking steps to prevent or reduce the release of carcinogenic or other dangerous substances that may pose a risk to the safety and health of workers. This includes implementing closed systems, extraction systems near the source of the risk or ventilation systems.
Organizational measures: Implementing administrative controls. For example, providing fixed workstations for handling dangerous substances, limiting the number of workers or working time in which a worker may be exposed, ensuring regular maintenance of the workplace and, above all, providing appropriate information and training.
Personal protective equipment: Used when exposure can’t be controlled by any other method.

“Employers, as well as employees, must apply the STOP principle,” FPS Employment says. “This is how to STOP exposure to carcinogenic substances and thus work-related cancer cases.”

McCraren Compliance offers a full range of safety and health training and consulting services. Plus we can help you incorporate well-being into your traditional systems in order to support the Total Worker Health of your workforce.

Call 888-758-4757, email or visit our website

Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

OSHA proposal to update hazcom standard under White House review

GHS Labels

Photo: ArtboyAnimation/iStockphoto

Washington — An update to OSHA’s standard on hazard communication is undergoing a final review, according to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs website.

The final rule was sent to OIRA on Oct. 11. It’s unknown how long the office will take to complete the review – one of the final steps in the regulatory process.

OSHA is seeking to align the hazcom standard (1910.1200) to the seventh revision of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, also known as GHS. The current standard is linked to the third revision of GHS, an update that occurred in 2012.

January 2021 slideshow details OSHA’s proposed changes, which include:

  • Additional clarification of existing regulatory requirements.
  • Incorporating new hazard classes and categories.
  • Improving and streamlining precautionary statements.
  • Increased alignment with other countries, helping facilitate international trade.

Some of the proposed changes cover Appendices A-D. Appendix A would have revised health hazard definitions, including updated chapters on skin corrosion/irritation and serious eye damage/eye irritation.

OSHA notes that, in Appendix B, the flammable gases category 1 “was extremely broad” and essentially covered all flammable gases. In some instances, that led to employers choosing chemicals with higher risks.

Pyrophoric and unstable gases would be placed under category 1A, under the final rule. Appendix B also is expected to include a new chapter on desensitized explosives and “better differentiation between aerosols and gases under pressure.”

In the final rule, Appendix C could contain updated guidance and precautionary statement clarifications on aerosols, desensitized explosives and flammable gases.

Changes to two sections in Appendix D, on Safety Data Sheets, are proposed. Section 9 (physical and chemical properties) would include particle size, and Section 11 would include interactive effects and the use of “SAR/QSAR/read across.”

The final rule may also potentially fix issues with release for shipment, small packages labeling and SDS preparation.

“OSHA expects the HCS update will increase worker protections and reduce the incidence of chemical-related occupational illnesses and injuries by further improving the information on the labels and Safety Data Sheets for hazardous chemicals,” the agency stated when it issued the proposed rule in February 2021. “Proposed modifications will also address issues since implementation of the 2012 standard and improve alignment with other federal agencies and Canada.”

McCraren Compliance offers a full range of safety and health training and consulting services. Plus we can help you incorporate well-being into your traditional systems in order to support the Total Worker Health of your workforce.

Call 888-758-4757, email or visit our website

Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

CSB Issues New Safety Alert Focused on the Potential Hazards of Emergency Discharges from Pressure Release Valves

Original article published by CSB
safety alert

Photo property of CSB

Washington, D.C. March 6, 2023 – Today, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) issued a new Safety Alert titled “Hazards Posed by Discharges from Emergency Pressure-Relief Systems.” The CSB’s alert highlights hazards identified with emergency pressure-relief systems from four CSB investigations.  The alert advises facilities that while a discharge from emergency pressure-relief systems can help protect equipment from unexpected and undesired high-pressure events, it can also seriously harm or fatally injure workers and cause extensive damage to a facility if the discharge is not made to a safe location.

CSB Chairperson Steve Owens said, “All four of the incidents highlighted in the CSB’s safety alert underscore the importance of thoroughly evaluating emergency pressure-relief systems to ensure they discharge to a safe location where they will not harm people.”

The four incidents highlighted in the CSB’s safety alert resulted in 19 deaths and 207 injuries. They include:

  • On May 19, 2018, an ethylene release ignited, injuring 23 workers at the Kuraray America, Inc. ethylene and vinyl alcohol copolymer plant in Pasadena, Texas. The CSB’s animation of this event shows how this incident occurred during the startup of a chemical reactor system following a turnaround. High-pressure conditions developed inside the reactor and activated the reactor’s emergency pressure relief system, discharging flammable ethylene vapor horizontally into the ambient air in an area where a number of contractors were working.
  • On November 15, 2014, approximately 24,000 pounds of highly toxic methyl mercaptan were released from an insecticide production unit at the E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) chemical manufacturing facility in La Porte, Texas. The release fatally injured three operators and a shift supervisor inside a manufacturing building. During the early phases of the investigation, CSB investigators identified a number of worker safety issues—separate from the release scenario— including that several emergency pressure-relief systems at the facility were designed to discharge hazardous materials in a way that posed a risk to workers and the public.
  • On May 4, 2009, highly flammable vapor released from a waste recycling process, ignited, and violently exploded at Veolia ES Technical Solutions, LLC, in West Carrollton, Ohio. The incident injured four employees, two seriously.  Following the initial explosion, multiple other explosions occurred that t significantly damaged every structure on the site. Residences and businesses in the surrounding community also sustained considerable damage. The CSB concluded that uncontrolled venting from emergency pressure-relief valves to the atmosphere allowed tetrahydrofuran (THF) vapors to accumulate to explosive concentrations outside process equipment, and the vapors subsequently found an ignition source.

HazCom standard update coming before year’s end? Spring 2022 regulatory agenda released

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication


Photo: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

Washington — An update to OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard could happen as soon as December, according to the Department of Labor’s Spring 2022 regulatory agenda.

Published June 21, the agenda – issued by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs twice a year – provides the status of and projected dates for all potential regulations listed in three stages: pre-rule, proposed rule and final rule.

In this latest regulatory agenda, the HazCom standard update was moved from the proposed rule stage to the final rule stage.

OSHA’s current Hazard Communication standard (1910.1200) is linked with the third edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, also known as GHS. In February 2021, OSHA issued a proposed rule to update the regulations to align with GHS’ seventh edition.

Also listed in the final rule stage is a permanent COVID-19 standard for the health care industry. That’s expected to appear sometime in the fall, OSHA administrator Doug Parker and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh indicated in separate Congressional hearings in the past four weeks.

OSHA’s Infectious Diseases standard, meanwhile, is listed in the proposed rule stage, with a notice of proposed rulemaking slated for May at the earliest.

OSHA’s Emergency Response standard moved from the prerule to the proposed rule stage, and a notice of proposed rulemaking is not expected to appear until at least May as well. That regulation will attempt to “address the full range of hazards or concerns currently facing emergency responders, and other workers providing skilled support,” and provide performance specifications for protective clothing and equipment.

Meanwhile, the agency is reopening the rulemaking record on clarifying parts of its Walking-Working Surfaces standard. The agency planned to correct a formatting error in Table D-2 of that regulation and “revise the language of the requirements for stair rail systems to make them clearer and reflect OSHA’s original intent.”

The regulation was in the final rule stage in the Fall 2021 regulatory agenda, released Dec. 10, but is now back to the proposed rule stage.

OSHA’s attempt to revise Table 1 of its silica standard for construction was moved from the proposed rule stage to the list of long-term actions. That means the agency isn’t expected to perform any work on that standard for at least six months.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration had one change from the Fall 2021 regulatory agenda: A final rule requiring written safety programs for mobile equipment and powered haulage at surface mines or “surface areas of underground mines” could appear in October.

McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Hazardous substance exposure on the job: UN expert presents 15 principles to end risk

Photo: matejmo/iStockphoto

Geneva — United Nations Special Rapporteur Baskut Tuncak is urging governments and businesses around the world to adopt a series of principles intended to protect workers who are exposed to hazardous substances and provide solutions for violations of their rights.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council on Sept. 9, Tuncak presented the 15 principles from his recent report, Principles on Human Rights and the Protection of Workers from Exposure to Toxic Substances. Read more