Workplace stress and mental health: OSHA launches webpage

Original article published by Safety+Health

workplace-stress.jpg

Photo: osha.gov

Washington — A new webpage published by OSHA is intended to help employers and workers manage workplace stress while maintaining mental health amid a shifting work climate.

According to NIOSH, nearly 1 out of 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness. World Health Organization data shows that 83% of U.S. workers experience work-related stress, while 54% find that work stress affects their home life.

“Stress can be harmful to our health and increase mental health challenges” that range from temporary grief and anxiety to clinical mental illness and substance use disorders, OSHA says. “While there are many things in life that induce stress, work can be one of those factors. However, workplaces can also be a key place for resources, solutions and activities designed to improve our mental health and well-being.”

The webpage features training resources, outreach materials and analyses of real-world solutions, as well as other information.

The agency says employers can help workers manage stress by:

  • Being mindful of the unique stressors affecting each employee.
  • Identifying factors that may make it harder for workers to get their jobs done and make adjustments, if possible.
  • Creating a safe and trustworthy work culture by making sure workers know they aren’t alone, their employer understands the stress they’re under, there’s no shame in feeling anxious and asking for help is important.
  • Providing access to supportive services such as coping and resiliency resources, as well as workplace and leave flexibilities without penalty.

“Addressing mental health and stress in the workplace is the right thing to do,” OSHA administrator Doug Parker said in a statement. “Stress is a major determinant of both mental and physical health issues and impacts workplace health and safety.”


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Repeated Safety Hazards

Original article published by OSHA

Philadelphia contractor’s history of exposing workers to deadly fall hazardscontinues, US Department of Labor proposes $269K in penalties

Ninth inspection since 2021 finds Max Contractors Inc. workers’ safety at risk

PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia framing contractor faces $269,594 in proposed penalties after the company was again found exposing employees to deadly fall hazards at a residential worksite in the city’s Roxborough section on April 21, 2022.

OSHA inspected Max Contractors Inc. in response to a report that the company was exposing workers to fall hazards while conducting framing work in a residential structure on Carson Street. Inspectors observed workers on the building’s second and third levels working near floor holes and the edge of the building without fall protection, exposing them to falls up to 22 feet.

OSHA cited the company for three serious and six repeat violations for not providing fall protection and protective eyewear while using air-powered nail guns, failing to train employees as required and allowing improper use of ladders. The company was issued proposed penalties of $269,594.

Max Contractors Inc. has a long history of not complying with U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. In eight inspections conducted in 2021, the company was cited for five willful and 21 serious violations for ignoring federal fall protection requirements.

“Max Contractors’ repeated and blatant disregard for its employees’ safety and well-being will not be tolerated,” said Philadelphia OSHA Area Director Theresa Downs. “Falls can cause serious, potentially debilitating injuries and death. OSHA will hold employers like Max Contractors Inc. accountable until they meet their legal obligation to respect workers’ rights to a safe workplace.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 1,008 construction workers died at work in 2020, and 351 of them suffered fatal injuries in falls from elevation.

OSHA’s stop falls website offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about hazards and proper safety procedures.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.


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Preventable Fatality

Original article published by OSHA

Federal workplace safety investigation of Mapleton foundry worker’s fatal fallinto molten iron finds Caterpillar failed to install required fall protection

Just 9 days on the job, 39-year-old employee suffers fatal burns

MAPLETON, IL ‒ On June 2, 2022, a 39-year-old employee of a Mapleton foundry fell and was immediately incinerated in an 11-foot-deep pot of molten iron heated to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. A federal investigation determined that, if required safety guards or fall protection had been installed, the 39-year-old employee’s ninth day on the job might not have been their last.

Caterpillar of Irving, Texas – one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial vehicles and equipment – operates the foundry, which produces cast iron engine components.

Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined the foundry routinely exposed employees to unprotected fall hazards as they worked within four feet of deep ceramic containers of super-heated molten iron. The deceased worker, a melting specialist, was removing a sample of iron from a furnace when they fell into the melting pot.

“A worker’s life could have been spared if Caterpillar had made sure required safety protections were in place, a fact that only adds to this tragedy,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Bill Donovan in Chicago. “Producing more than 150,000 tons each year, Caterpillar’s foundry is one of the nation’s largest and they should be acutely aware of industry regulations to protect workers using smelters and other dangerous equipment.”

Federal safety regulations require employers to install guardrails and restraint systems, or to cover or otherwise eliminate the hazard to protect workers from falls into dangerous equipment.

OSHA cited Caterpillar Inc. for one willful violation and proposed fines of $145,027.

“Caterpillar’s failure to meet its legal responsibilities to ensure the safety and health of workers leaves this worker’s family, friends and co-workers to grieve needlessly,” said OSHA Area Director Christine Zortman in Peoria. “We implore employers to review the agency specific regulations to protect workers from falls into equipment in industrial settings.”

Caterpillar Inc. employs more than 800 workers at the foundry, who provide engine components used for construction and mining equipment, off-highway diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and 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.


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OSHA, pipeline safety agency seek input for UN meetings on GHS, transport of hazardous goods

Original article published by Safety + Health

Washington — OSHA has scheduled a virtual public meeting for Nov. 16 in advance of the 43rd session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

In a notice published in the Oct. 24 Federal Register, OSHA requests information and comments as the federal government prepares for the UNSCEGHS meeting – set for Dec. 7-9 in Geneva, Switzerland.

OSHA, along with the U.S. Interagency Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) Coordinating Group, “plans to consider the comments and information gathered at this public meeting when developing the U.S. government positions for the UNSCEGHS meeting.”

OSHA’s meeting will take place in conjunction with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s discussion of proposals ahead of the 61st session of the UN Sub-Committee on Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, set for Nov. 28-Dec. 6.

Comments must be submitted by Dec. 6.


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Electrocution Hazards

Original article published by OSHA

US Department of Labor cites developer, subcontractors for exposing workers to dangerously energized power lines

Litana Development, two subcontractors face $518K in fines

PATERSON, NJ – The U.S. Department of Labor has issued citations to three New Jersey contractors who willfully exposed employees to potentially lethal dangers by allowing them to work near energized power lines at a Paterson worksite.

On April 15, 2022, the local power utility alerted the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration about workers constructing a five-story apartment building too close to nearby power lines. After arriving at the site, OSHA inspectors found employees at risk of electrocution as they worked from a metal scaffold erected within five feet of high-voltage power lines.

OSHA informed the project’s developer, Litana Development Inc. of Wayne and two subcontractors, Prata Construction LLC of Denville – a carpentry contractor – and Elite Brothers Construction LLC of Paterson – a stucco contractor – of the dangers and told them work must not continue. The agency subsequently posted an Imminent Danger Notice in English and Spanish to warn workers at the site about the extreme danger.

On June 23, 2022, the department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor secured a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Newark to enforce OSHA’s Imminent Danger Notice. Attorneys for the department and Litana negotiated a consent injunction, entered on July 5, 2022, to resume work as long as workers remained 11 feet away from the power lines.

On July 15, 2022, OSHA found that work had once again been performed dangerously close to the power lines. On August 2, 2022, the court entered a more restrictive Modified Consent Injunction which provided for third-party monitoring and physical barriers to ensure that workers would be kept safe.

“Litana Development and its subcontractors willfully exposed workers to potentially deadly electrocution hazards by making them work too close to energized power lines,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson in New York. “Despite repeatedly being told of the danger involved with this construction project, the companies ignored warnings and even a court order.”

OSHA issued citations and penalties as follows:

Employer Violations Proposed penalties
Litana Development Inc. Three willful $435,081
Prata Construction LLC One willful, two serious $41,478
Elite Brothers Construction LLC One willful, three serious $41,478

“The U.S. Department of Labor will use all available enforcement tools to protect workers’ safety, and to ensure violations are remedied to prevent tragedies,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York.

View the citations.

The companies have 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.


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.

Preventable Drowning Fatality

Original article published by OSHA

US Department of Labor cites Florida company for numerous safety failuresafter investigation into how 22-year-old diver working in canal drowned

Erosion Barrier Installations Corp. failed to train divers on emergency procedures

MARGATE, FL – Working at the bottom of a Margate canal on April 4, 2022, a young diver was removing sand with an industrial vacuum to restore an embankment project when sediment above collapsed onto him, leaving the 22-year-old worker trapped until he drowned.

A U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation found the diver’s employer – Erosion Barrier Installations Corp. of Davie – did not follow required safety standards and issued citations related to the following violations:

  • Failing to train divers in dive-related physics and physiology.
  • Not training dive teams on equipment use, techniques and emergency procedures required to perform underwater tasks safely.
  • Not ensuring that all dive team members are CPR-trained.
  • Failing to require that an experienced dive team member supervise dredging operations in a canal with zero-visibility.
  • Failing to have an emergency aid list at the worksite.
  • Performing underwater dredging in a canal without a standby diver.
  • Not providing employees with harnesses capable of distributing the pull forces over divers’ bodies.

OSHA proposed $46,409 in penalties to address the two willful and 10 serious violations.

“Erosion Barrier Installations Corp. ignored safety standards, and a young worker has died. The company could have prevented this tragedy by ensuring dive team members had the experience and training needed before allowing them to do this dangerous work,” explained OSHA Area Office Director Condell Eastmond in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Commercial divers face a variety of hazards, and employers must not allow a dive to start until all workers’ safety is assured. The risks and the cost of failure are too great.”

OSHA also cited the company in April 2011 due to a fatal diving incident.

Operating throughout Florida and the Southeast, Erosion Barrier Installations Corp. provides shoreline and seawall restorations, erosion and retaining wall repair, dredging, culvert cleaning and pipe inspections. The company offers services to residential, commercial and local government customers.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


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.

US Department of Labor to hold virtual meeting to solicit public input on OSHA whistleblower program improvements

Original article published by OSHA

Photo property of OSHA

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, to solicit public comments and suggestions related to OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program.

This is the tenth in a series of meetings on how the agency can improve the whistleblower program.

Open to the public, the meeting will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET via telephone and virtually via Teams. The agency will provide Spanish language translation during the meeting. Those interested in joining or participating in the meeting must register in English or Spanish by Oct. 12, 2022. There is no fee to register.

OSHA is seeking comments on:

  1. How can OSHA deliver better whistleblower customer service?
  2. What kind of assistance can OSHA provide to help explain the agency’s whistleblower laws to employees and employers?

Submit comments at the Federal eRulemaking Portal and identify using Docket No. OSHA-2018-0005. The deadline for submitting comments is Nov. 2, 2022. Read the Federal Register notice for details.


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.

Demolition Fatality

Original article published by OSHA

Demolition company in fatal Government Center garage collapse in Bostonfaces nearly $1.2M in fines for willfully exposing workers to hazards

JDC Demolition Co. Inc. failed to train workers adequately, ignored worker’s safety concerns

BOSTON – A heavy equipment operator doing demolition on the eighth  floor of the Government Center garage in downtown Boston died on March 26, 2022, when the partially demolished floor collapsed, and the 11,000-pound excavator and its operator fell 80 feet. It was the employee’s first day on the job.

An inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Brockton-based contractor JDC Demolition Company. Inc. failed to adequately train its workers on the demolition plan and safety management system to help them recognize and avoid unsafe conditions.

Specifically, on the morning of the collapse, another heavy equipment operator, who had started demolition on a concrete beam on an upper floor bay, told the foreman they had concerns about the floor’s safety. Despite the employee raising safety concerns to the foreman, a second employee was assigned to operate the excavator. That worker, the deceased, never received a safety briefing and was not trained to follow the engineer’s demolition plan.

OSHA also found that JDC Demolition deviated from the demolition plan by imposing unsafe loads, in the form of heavy equipment, on the partially demolished seventh, eighth and ninth floors. The demolition plan prohibited the placement of heavy equipment on partially demolished floor bays.

As a result, OSHA cited the company for eight egregious-willful violations, two serious violations and one other than serious violation of workplace safety standards and proposed a total of $1,191,292 in penalties. The willful citations address the training and loading violations; the serious and other than serious violations are regarding the inadequate accident prevention program, uncovered floor holes and insufficient recordkeeping.

View the JDC Demolition Company Inc. citations.

“JDC Demolition Company Inc. knew the heavy equipment on the partially demolished floors were over the weight limits and still allowed a worker, unaware of the hazards, to do demolition work,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton in Boston. “This willful and egregious disregard for safety cost a workers’ life and exposed other employees to potentially fatal hazards.”

OSHA also cited John Moriarty and Associates Inc., the demolition  project’s general contractor, for four serious violations, with $58,008 in proposed penalties, for failing to ensure that:

  • Partially demolished precast concrete floors were of sufficient strength to support the imposed load of mechanical equipment.
  • Employees were trained to recognize and avoid overloading of floors during demolition.
  • Cover or secure floor holes.
  • A competent person had adequately inspected the jobsite during demolition.

View the John Moriarty and Associates Inc. citations.

Both employers have 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.


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.

Severe Violator Enforcement Program Updated

Original article published by OSHA

Program focuses on employers who repeatedly disregard workers’ safety, health

WASHINGTON – To strengthen enforcement and improve compliance with workplace safety standards and reduce worker injuries and illnesses, the U.S. Department of Labor is expanding the criteria for placement in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

The new criteria include violations of all hazards and OSHA standards and will continue to focus on repeat offenders in all industries. Previously, an employer could be in the program for failing to meet a limited number of standards. The changes will broaden the program’s scope with the possibility that additional industries will fall within its parameters.

Since 2010, the Severe Violator Enforcement Program has focused on enforcement and inspection resources on employers who either willfully or repeatedly violate federal health and safety laws or demonstrate a refusal to correct previous violations. In addition to being included on a public list of the nation’s severe violators, employers are subject to follow-up inspections.

“The Severe Violator Enforcement Program empowers OSHA to sharpen its focus on employers who – even after receiving citations for exposing workers to hazardous conditions and serious dangers – fail to mitigate these hazards,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Today’s expanded criteria reflect the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to ensuring OSHA has the tools it needs to ensure employers protect their workers or hold them accountable when they fail to provide safe and healthy workplaces.”

Specifically, the updated criteria include the following:

  • Program placement for employers with citations for at least two willful or repeated violations or who receive failure-to-abate notices based on the presence of high-gravity serious violations.
  • Follow-up or referral inspections made one year – but not longer than two years – after the final order.
  • Potential removal from the Severe Violator Enforcement Program three years after the date of receiving verification that the employer has abated all program-related hazards. In the past, removal could occur three years after the final order date.
  • Employers’ ability to reduce time spent in the program to two years, if they consent to an enhanced settlement agreement that includes use of a safety and health management system with seven basic elements in OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs.

The updated program instruction replaces the 2010 instruction, and remains in effect until canceled or superseded.

Read Assistant Secretary Parker’s blog on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.


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.

OSHA awards more than $11.7 M in grants to educate workers, employers on workplace safety, health

First published by OSHA

Harwood grants focus on targeted training, hazard awareness, creating safety training programs

 WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $11,746,992, in grants to support worker and employer education to make workplaces around the nation safer and healthier.

Administered by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program is making grants to 90 nonprofit organizations in fiscal year 2022 for education and training on hazard recognition and injury prevention, workers’ rights, and employers’ legal responsibilities to provide safe and healthful workplaces.

Named for late Susan Harwood, former director of OSHA’s Office of Risk Assessment, the grants are awarded in the Targeted Topic Training, Training and Educational Materials Development, and Capacity Building categories. During her 17 years with OSHA, Dr. Harwood helped develop federal standards to protect workers from bloodborne pathogens, cotton dust, benzene, formaldehyde, asbestos and lead in construction.

OSHA grants are awarded to non-profit organizations, including community and faith-based groups, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor-management associations, Native American tribes, and local and state-sponsored colleges and universities. Target trainees include small-business employers and underserved vulnerable workers in high-hazard industries.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education and assistance.

A list of fiscal year 2022 Susan Harwood Training Grant Program awards follows this release.


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.