Journal of Chemical Health & Safety, September-October issue
Nov29

Journal of Chemical Health & Safety, September-October issue

Here’s what was in the September-October issue of the Journal of Chemical Health & Safety. The theme of the issue was implementation of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s Laboratory Standard, drawn from a symposium held at the Fall 2015 ACS meeting in Boston. Editorial: The Lab Standard at 25, by Harry J. Elston Strategy of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research to influence laboratory safety among its funded researchers, by Steve Rupkey (Argonne National Laboratory) Reflections of a former OSHA official on the laboratory standard, by Fred Malaby The impact of OSHA’s Laboratory Standard on undergraduate safety education, by Robert H. Hill Jr. (Battelle) Where are we with lab safety education: Who, what, when, where, and how?, by Kenneth P. Fivizzani Should science departments have their own safety personnel? – An assessment of a centralized approach, by Kamilah Hylton (University of Technology, Jamaica) Laboratory safety: Engaging 600+ research groups, by Stephanie Tumidajski (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) The Laboratory Safety Standard at 25: Implementation of the Standard through the Chemical Hygiene Plan and the Chemical Hygiene Officer – Is it trickling down?, by Miriam Weil (Boston Children’s Hospital) Process dynamics and safety, by Dennis C. Hendershot (AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety) Enhance, don’t interfere, by Neal Langerman (Advanced Chemical...

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University of Hawaii fine lowered 40% for lab explosion
Oct12

University of Hawaii fine lowered 40% for lab explosion

From my story at C&EN: The University of Hawaii last week settled its case with the Hawaii Occupational Safety & Health Division (HIOSH) regarding a laboratory explosion in March. The settlement reduces the number of violations from 15 to nine and the fine from $115,500 to $69,300. … The settlement agreement combines similar violations, including two regarding laboratory exits and, separately, four centering on an inadequate chemical hygiene plan. The reduction in overall number of violations, which were assessed the maximum state penalty of $7,700 each, resulted in the reduced fine. The agreement also revised some wording in the violation descriptions. Go read the story for more, including a list of the violations identified by HIOSH. The settlement agreement is posted here, and a copy of the original citation document with changes marked is...

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University of Hawaii faces $115,500 fine for lab explosion
Sep27

University of Hawaii faces $115,500 fine for lab explosion

From my story at C&EN: The University of Hawaii faces a total $115,500 fine for 15 workplace safety violations after a laboratory explosion in March on the university’s Manoa campus. Postdoctoral researcher Thea Ekins-Coward, who worked for the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, lost one of her arms in the explosion. You can read the rest here, including a full list of the citations. All of the citations were labeled as “serious” and given the maximum state penalty of $7,700 each. Federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) watchers will look at that $7,700 number and wonder why it’s so low. Earlier this year, OSHA increased its maximum penalty for a serious violation to $12,471. States that operate their own occupational safety and health plans are required to match or meet the federal civil penalties. Hawaii has not yet updated its civil penalties because the federal guidance was issued too late in the Hawaii legislative session this year, Hawaii Occupational Safety & Health Division spokesman William G. Kuntsman says. For more about the OSHA fine increases and other ways the agency is looking to strengthen consequences for companies that endanger workers, see my story from earlier this year, “Chemical employers to face tougher worker safety...

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OSHA updates eye and face protection standards
Apr06

OSHA updates eye and face protection standards

Effective April 25, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has new requirements for eye and face protection. From the agency’s press release: The rule updates references in OSHA’s Eye and Face Protection Standards to recognize the ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, while deleting the outdated 1986 edition of that same national consensus standard. OSHA is also retaining the 2003 and 1989 (R-1998) versions of the ANSI standard already referenced in its standard. In addition, the final rule updates the construction standard by deleting the 1968 version of the ANSI standard that was referenced and now includes the same three ANSI standards referenced above to ensure consistency among the agency’s standards. Here’s a piece from Occupational Health & Safety magazine about the development of the ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010...

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Chemical Safety Board releases information about DuPont fatal methyl mercaptan leak
Oct15

Chemical Safety Board releases information about DuPont fatal methyl mercaptan leak

At the end of last month (when I was consumed by finishing a cover story on another topic), the U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board released its interim recommendations to DuPont regarding the company’s release of 24,000 pounds of methyl mercaptan last year. The incident killed four employees at DuPont’s La Porte, Tex., facility. CSB also released an animation of the incident: In June, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration classified DuPont as a “severe violator” for “demonstrated indifference towards creating a safe and healthy workplace by committing willful or repeated violations, and/or failing to abate known hazards,” OSHA...

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Unequal risk
Jul21

Unequal risk

I’m out of the office this week, so here’s some reading: The Center for Public Integrity’s multi-part series called “Unequal Risk,” focusing on worker chemical exposures. A few examples: Slow-motion tragedy for American workers The impenetrable world of Mark Flores, the disabled son of a woman who was exposed to lead and methanol when working at an electronics company pregnant A history of OSHA: After 44 years, halting progress on workplace...

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