ATLANTA — Now that the Biden administration has taken over power in Washington, it is anticipated that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will take on a much stronger enforcement-driven focus.
This is particularly true in light of the strong union influence that is going to be found at the Department of Labor with the addition of Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor, Jim Frederick as Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA and Joseph Hughes as Deputy Assistant Secretary for pandemic at OSHA.
These three individuals all have strong ties to the international labor movement. As a result, it will be prudent of all employers, especially those in the industrial laundry industry, to be prepared for enhanced enforcement inspections by OSHA over the next four years.
This article outlines the top 10 violations cited by OSHA during inspections at laundry service facilities (NAICS Code Number 812320) and examines the primary requirements of each of the cited standards.
In Part 1, we covered violations one through five. Numbers six through 10 of the top 10 most frequently cited violations are as follows.
6. 1910.335 – ELECTRICAL SAFEGUARDS FOR PERSONAL PROTECTION
Under this standard, employers are required to provide and require the use of electrical protective equipment that is appropriate for the specific part of the body to be protected for the work being performed. Protective equipment has to be maintained in a safe, reliable condition and shall be periodically inspected or tested as required.
The employer is also required to ensure that when working near exposed energized conductors or circuit parts, each employee is utilizing insulated tools or handling equipment if the tools or handling equipment may come in contact with such conductors or parts.
Also, employers are required to provide protective equipment for the eyes or face when there is a danger of injury to the eyes or face from electrical arcs, flashes or flying objects.
Finally, protective shields or protective barriers, as well as insulating material, are required to protect employees from shocks, burns or other electrically related injuries when the employees are working near exposed energized parts that might be accidentally contacted or where dangers of electrical heating or arcing may occur.
7. 1904.39 – RECORDKEEPING AND REPORTING
Under this standard, all employers who have at least one employee must report to OSHA within eight hours after the death of any employee as a result of a work-related incident.
In addition, all employers must notify OSHA within 24 hours after the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees or an employee’s amputation or an employee’s loss of an eye as a result of a work-related incident.
For to reporting a fatality, the employer only needs to report the fatality if the fatality occurs within 30 days of the work-related incident. Concerning reporting in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye, it is only required to be reported those that occurred within 24 hours of the work-related incident.
8. 1910.22 – WALKING-WORKING SURFACES GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
Under this standard, all employers are required to keep all places of employment, passageways, storerooms, service rooms and walking-working surfaces in a clean, orderly and sanitary condition.
Also, all floors and any walking-working surfaces must be maintained in a clean, and to the extent feasible, dry condition. In addition, all employers must ensure that each walking-working surface can support the maximum intended load for that surface.
All employers are required to provide and ensure for each employee’s use, a safe means of access and egress to and from walking-working surfaces. To that end, the standard requires that all walking-working surfaces be inspected regularly as necessary and maintained in a safe condition.
9. 1910.23 – LADDERS
Under this standard, employers are required to ensure the ladder surfaces are free from punctures and laceration hazards and that they are used for the purpose for which they were designed.
Also, employers must ensure that ladders are inspected before initial use in each work shift and more frequently as necessary to identify any visible defects that could cause injury to an employee.
Employers are required to immediately tag any ladder with structural or any other defects with “Dangerous – Do Not Use” and remove it from service until repaired.
Portable ladders are not to be loaded beyond the maximum intended load, and they must be used only on stable and level surfaces unless they are secured or stabilized to prevent accidental displacement. Also, portable ladders used to gain access to upper landing surfaces must have side rails extended at least three feet above the upper landing surface.
10. 1910.178 – POWERED INDUSTRIAL TRUCKS
Under this standard, employers are not allowed to modify or make additions that affect the capacity of safe operations of the powered industrial truck without the manufacturer’s prior written approval.
Battery-charging installations shall be located in areas designated for that specific purpose. Also, the employer is required to ensure that the charging facilities have provided for necessary flushing and neutralizing spilled electrolytes, as well as fire protection and protecting the charging apparatus from damage by trucks. When charging the battery, acid shall be poured into the water, but water cannot be poured into acid.
Additionally, brakes of highway trucks shall be set and wheel chocks placed under the rear wheel to prevent the truck from rolling while they are boarded by a powered industrial truck.
The standard details specific operator training, which includes safe operations before an employee is permitted to operate a powered industrial truck. Powered industrial truck operator training shall consist of both classroom training and on-the-job observation by a qualified individual.
Trainees cannot operate powered industrial trucks unless under the direct supervision of a person who has knowledge, training and experience to train operators and evaluate their competency. Refresher training, including an evaluation of the effectiveness of training, must be provided to ensure that the operator has the knowledge and skill needed to operate the powered industrial truck safely.
Retraining must be provided when an employer observes an operator operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner, is involved in an accident or near-miss incident, or when the evaluation reveals the operator is not operating the truck safely.
Evaluations of each powered industrial truck operator shall be conducted at least once every three years under the standard. The employer is required to certify that each operator has been trained and evaluated and the certificate must include the name of the operator, the date of the training, dates of evaluation and the name of the person performing the training evaluation.
In addition to the above-identified most frequently cited OSHA violations in the laundry service industry, employers in this industry should be also aware that there is a specific OSHA standard dealing with laundry machinery and operation (1910.264).
This standard applies to moving parts of equipment used in laundry and to other conditions peculiar to this industry. Specifically, it requires that each washing machine shall be provided a means of holding open the door that covers the inner and outer cylinders or shells while being loaded or unloaded.
Also, each dryer shall be provided means for holding open the door or cover of the inner and outer cylinders or shells while being loaded or unloaded. The same requirement is also required for each shaker or clothes tumbler of the double-cylinder type.
These requirements do not apply if the linens are loaded into an open-end of the revolving cylinder and are automatically discharged at the opposite end.
In addition, this standard requires that all steam pipes that are located within 7 feet of the floor or working platforms and which an employee may come in contact shall be insulated, covered with heat resistant material or otherwise properly guarded.
This standard requires that the employer shall ensure that their employees are properly instructed as to the hazards of their work and be instructed in safe practices by either bulletins, printed rules or verbal instructions.
Finally, the standard requires that no safeguards, safety applications or other devices shall be removed or made ineffective except to make immediate repairs or adjustments.
As the Biden administration begins, it is critically important that all employers in the laundry industry be fully compliant with the safety requirements cited above.
Being prepared to handle an OSHA inspection and knowing all of your rights provided under the Act can protect employers from receiving a significant number of citations and penalties from a most likely enforcement-driven OSHA.
Miss Part 1 with OSHA’s laundry violations one through five? Click HERE to read it.