AES Marine informs safety, health and environmental professionals in the production, manufacturing, construction and service sectors about trends, management strategies, loss prevention, regulatory news and new products that help them provide a safe and healthy workplace.


Company Investigated for Worker's Death
June 27, 2017
A Virginia-based construction company is facing alleged violations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in connection with the death of a worker in Williston earlier this year. Nitz Development and Construction, LLC was issued citations for a training violation and a "struck by hazard" on June 12, Eric Brooks, director of Bismarck's OSHA office, said.

Melvin Lyons, an employee of the company, died February 22 after being hit by a dump truck that was backing up in a construction site off of 26th Street West. Lyons, 70, died of injuries to his legs, an autopsy report from the state medical examiner said. The truck that hit Lyons was moving slowly while backing up in a muddy lot at the site of an expansion project for Life Church Assembly of God, police said. He died a short time after being taken to the hospital in Williston.

His death resulted in an OSHA investigation that included an examination of the work site and interviews with employers and employees. The alleged "Struck by" hazard holds the construction company accountable for not providing enough guidance to employees to safely operate large pieces of machinery in an area where others are working. "What we would expect on a construction site is lots of traffic coming and going...people have to be trained in recognition and avoidance of serious hazards that moving equipment can pose1", Brooks said.

Nitz Development is facing a potential fine of $12,675, but has until July 11 to respond to the allegations by either filing a formal notice to contest the violations in court, pay the fine, or set up a meeting to discuss the findings with OSHA. "Everything is alleged up to this point", Brooks said, adding that so far there's been no word on what action the company plans to take. "As of yet, we have not been contacted by the employer". 



Five Killed After Student Falls Into Sewer
June 26, 2017
A female university student and four employees died in a tragic accident yesterday in the wastewater sewer system at Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF) in Bangkok's Bang Na District. Two students were visiting the poultry food processing facility to study its wastewater treatment system when one of them fell into the pipe system, the company said.

A CPF environment official Chatree Srisankhon, who was assigned to show the students around, jumped in to save the girl and three other workers also went in to help in a vain rescue bid. Parisothat Punnabhum, CPF Senior Executive Vice President for Human Resources, said the wastewater treatment pipe system was a controlled zone and barred to unauthorized persons as it could yield a gas causing unconsciousness.

When police and rescue workers arrived at the scene shortly after the accident, they inserted an oxygen tube into the pipe to safely carry out their search and rescue mission. Thirty minutes later, they found the bodies of two men and two women. The fifth victim, who was still alive, was rushed to Bang Na Hospital, but was later pronounced dead.

CPF issued statements to offer condolences to the victim's families and express it's willingness to take responsibility in providing remedial measures for the families. CPF also insists their standards met occupational safety and health, and environmental requirements, while also strictly implementing measures to prevent accidents.



Drug Addicted Worker Fired Due To Policy Violation
June 21, 2017
In Ottawa, Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal in a case involving an Alberta Human Rights Tribunal by a mining company after testing positive for drug use. In an 8-1 ruling, the court says the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal was right to conclude that the man was fired for breaching the company's drug policy, not because of his addiction.

The policy, which includes support for treatment, requires employees to disclose any dependence or addiction issues before any drug-related incident occurs. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin says while the employee may have been in denial about his addiction, he knew he should not take drugs before work and had the capacity to disclose his drug use to his employer.

"The Alberta Human Rights Tribunal held that Mr. Stewart was not terminated because of his addiction, but for breaching the policy, which required him to disclose his addiction or dependency before an accident occurred to avoid termination", McLachlin wrote. She said she saw no reason to interfere with that finding. "The Tribunal's decision that prima facie discrimination was not established was reasonable," she wrote. "It is therefore unnecessary to consider whether Mr. Stewart was reasonably accommodated."



Heat Exposure and Heat Illness Prevention
June 19, 2017
With temperatures soaring into triple digits on the warmest days, it's imperative for everyone, not just serious athletes, to stay hydrated. Is water really the best way to keep cool? In hot weather, the body works harder to dissipate heat by sweating more. Replenishing by drinking a 1/4 to 3/4 cup of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes is recommended.

If you're staying outside for an hour or less, water is a good choice. But if you're active for more than an hour, you should consider drinking sports drinks. They include simple sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose that can keep you energized during your activity. They also contain small amounts of electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and calcium that may be lost through sweating.

The brand usually doesn't matter because major ones such as Gatorade and Powerade contain roughly the same amount of sugar and electrolytes. If you're planning to exercise for one or two hours, you should aim for about 30 grams of carbohydrates per hour; if it is more than two hours, 30 to 60 grams is preferable. For those who don't want to pay for sports drinks, the same affects can be achieved by eating a few pieces of dried fruit. As for electrolytes, people's usual diets often contain enough salt to replenish during the day, even with exercise.

Thirst is a good guide for knowing how much to drink. People should generally have about five full bladders of urine a day that is the color of light lemonade. Dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, managed by the Centers for Disease and Control. Those outside in the sun should monitor their body for signs of dehydration, which include lightheadedness, clammy or flushed skin, fatigue, nausea, and a rapid heartbeat.

If you think you might be suffering from heat exhaustion, find a shady area to sit down and drink juice, a sports drink, or water with fruit. But beware, over hydration,  though rare, can happen. Drinking about two to three cups of water every 10 minutes can result in over hydration. Symptoms include headache and lightheadedness. Everyone is cautioned to acclimatize to the weather before doings strenuous amounts of exercise. While working during the summer hours from cooler areas, you should increase their physical activity incrementally.  


Can You Lose Your Job for Commenting on Facebook or Twitter?
June 7, 2017
Recently, journalists expressed strong displeasure on Sunday with two coworkers for inflammatory comments posted on Twitter in the aftermath of the London terror attack. Journalists have reported to worldwide media as well as their organization's management, stating the coworker's statements "were appalling" and "it is a terrible comment". However, the two journalists were commenting on religious opinions tweeted to the general public while away from work.

Following the attack in London, which left at least seven dead and scores more wounded, one of the coworkers tweeted, "There would be no deadly terror attacks in the U.K. if Muslims didn't live there". Prominent officials (actors, politicians, and celebrities) have commented since the initial tweet. Immediately responding, actor Pej Vahdat replied, "You're a real moron". Leaving the journalist to reply back, "You're an Indian", incorrectly identifying the ethnicity of the actor who is actually Iranian-American.

What is not clear, is can employers use your comments, your opinions made on public forums like Facebook and Twitter against you in the workplace? This is currently being debated at a local Texas university where one student was removed from his part time job following an anti-Islamic and discriminatory remarks he had posted on his Facebook account which was then forwarded on to his Twitter account. Coworkers read the tweets and argued that they created a hostile work environment having to directly work with someone who openly discriminates against race and religion. How far will this debate go?


You Get What You Pay For!
June 6, 2017
All too often nowadays, we find that many services are outsourced to third party vendors, from specialized, technical, and professional consultation. For example, do you file your own taxes, or do you go to an accountant or service provider? It would be very difficult for you to explain to the Department of Treasury or Internal Revenue Services (IRS) when a mistake is discovered. It would be very disappointing to pay someone to prepare your tax documents and then find out that they files the paperwork all wrong. Yet, that is the sort of thing that happens when you go the bargain basement route for professional services.

In your workplace, which types of services (specialized, technical, or professional) are outsourced to third party providers? From accountants to mechanics, administrators to managers, you want to spend extra to get someone who knows what they are doing. It could cost more upfront money in the long run, however you will also skip the aggravation and stress that would come from scrambling to clean up the mess created by a cut-rate professional.

Two expensive commodities in life are cars and houses. Obtaining a cheap product may be affordable, but why? In most cases, affordable is a short-handed term for "cutting corners" or "low quality". You can even have a "newly constructed product", which can still be of low quality. Again, going cheap on products could make for a poor operating process. Plus, your purchase may be a lousy investment that you can no longer reuse or resell. Always remember, cheap and affordable may end up costing you more than you think!


Samsung Electronics Back in Court, Workers Develop Rare Disease
May 31, 2017
A South Korean court has recognized a former worker at Samsung Electronics semiconductor factory who is suffering from the rare disease of multiple sclerosis, as having a work-related condition. It is the first time that multiple sclerosis has been recognized as a work-related condition on the semiconductor production line at Samsung Electronics. "Even in the case of rare diseases whose causes have not been completely determined, when the elements mentioned in current medical research as causing or aggravating the disease are present in the work environment or in the work process, the disease should be recognized as being work-related", the court said.

Yesterday, Honorable Kim Yong-Seok, presiding judge in the second administrative division of the Seoul High Court, overruled the lower court and sided with the plaintiff, with the defendant, who contracted multiple sclerosis after working for two years at Samsung's semiconductor factory in Gihueng, Gyeonggi Provincce. Kim had asked the court to force the Korea Worker's Compensation and Welfare Service (KCOMWEL) to reverse its decision not to cover Kim's medical expenses.

Multiple sclerosis is an extremely rare disease, only occurring in 3.5 out of 100,000 people (and 1.4 out of 100,000 in their twenties) in South Korea, and the exact cause of the disease has not been determined. For these reasons, KCOMWEL argued, it is not a work-related disease.

The court concluded that Kim's multiple sclerosis was work-related because the three factors thought to cause the disease applied to the defendant: inadequate exposure to sunlight, exposure to organic solvents and heavy metals, and working in shifts. "Considering that the defendant acquired the disease earlier than the average of incidence (38.3 years) and that four people have come down with the disease on the job at Samsung Electronics, the work environment probably triggered the disease or at lease caused it to develop faster than normal", the court declared. 
 


Regulatory Rollback for Oil and Gas Industry
May 29, 2017
In efforts to rollback regulatory restrictions in the oil and gas industry, President Trump has made a significant appointment to the federal agency responsible for regulatory oversight for the U.S. offshore oil and gas industry. A former Louisiana state official, Scott A. Angelle, has been named to head the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). BSEE is part of the Department of Interior, which has regulatory oversight over oil and gas operations on the United States outer continental shelf. Mr. Angelle is well known in the oil and gas industry in Louisiana and to Louisiana politics.

Mr. Angelle was the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) from 2004 to 2012. Prior to that, he was a prominent petroleum land owner. More recently, Mr. Angelle served as Commissioner to the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) until his recent appointment to BSEE. He also made a run for Governor of Louisiana in 2015 and served as the Lieutenant Governor in 2010.

Mr. Angelle was instrumental in assisting the Gulf Coast following the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010, by aiding in efforts to have the federal government lift the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Angelle was appointed as Director of BSEE by President Trump. He will be assisting the Trump Administration in carrying out plans to implement regulatory rollbacks for the oil and gas industry.



Ohio Company Facing $280K in Fines
May 24, 2017
Republic Steel, an automotive steel manufacturer in Canton, Ohio faces $279,578 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after agency investigators found workers at its Canton plant are exposed to machine hazards and lead.

The investigation revealed one maintenance worker suffered severe injuries after being struck by an unguarded machine, and at least seven workers were exposed to excessive levels of lead, which can cause serious health issues. "Companies must continuously monitor their facilities to ensure health and safety procedures are adequate and effective in protecting workers from injuries and illness on the job", said Dorothy Dougherty, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.

The Department of Labor initiated two separate investigations following a 64 year old maintenance worker who suffered a fractured pelvis after being stuck by equipment due to the company's failure to properly isolate the equipment, as well as allegations of employee exposure to lead. The investigation revealed serious safety and health violations during these allegations.
  •The company failed to implement engineering controls to lower exposure to steel dust particles;
  •The company failed to prohibit employees from eating in areas where lead exposure was possible;
  •The company failed to affix locking devices to machine operating parts during maintenance; and,
  •The company failed to replace damaged guard and stair rails.


Is OSHA Closed For Business?
May 22, 2017
The nation's top workplace safety regulator has directed companies to submit their injury records. However, with the impending deadline less than two months away, there is still no website set up for these workplaces to comply. OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017 deadline for submission of their complete 2016 Form 300A electronically.

"Because the secretary of labor is not allowing OSHA to post this website, it means tens of thousands of employers will be in violation of the law", said David Michaels, who headed OSHA under President Barack Obama and is now a professor at the George Washington University's Milken Institute of Public Health.

The current law, which went into effect on January 1, 2017, are to be phased in over two years. Employers must electronically submit data from their injury and illness logs by July 1, 2017. In addition, companies are barred from retaliating against workers who report such incidents. However, the agency's website states, "OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions at this time". This has left employers asking where to send their information.

Several industry groups have organized together to challenge the new requirements in federal court, in both Oklahoma and Texas. In January, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Home Builders, and other industry groups sued OSHA in a U.S. District Court in Oklahoma, arguing that the new rules would force employers to disclose private information. In Texas, industry groups have argued in federal court that the anti-retaliation provisions are unjustified. In March, the Department of Justice's attorneys filed requests for both cases to allow for a regulatory review by the Trump Administration. The review is apparently, ongoing.















 



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AES Marine Consultants, LLC
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Office:  (210) 430-3469
Fax:  (210) 568-6145
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