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May 16, 2022
OSHA Region 8 begins noise enforcement push

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Region 8, which includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming, will begin the enforcement phase of its Regional Emphasis Program (REP) for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss on May 17. Enforcement begins with the end of a 90-day outreach program.

The REP targets manufacturing industries with high rates of occupational hearing loss in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Utah and Wyoming have their own state occupational safety and health programs.

The industries specifically targeted are food manufacturing, fabricated metal product manufacturing, primary metal manufacturing, and wood manufacturing.

“This regional emphasis program will help ensure manufacturing employers in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota do what is necessary to protect their workers from exposures to excessive noise and prevent permanent hearing loss,” Regional Administrator Jennifer Rous said in an agency statement.

“OSHA hopes the emphasis program will remind manufacturing industry employers to follow required safety standards and alert workers to the related hazards and reduce workplace injuries,” she added.

All other OSHA regional offices, except Regions 9 and 1o, have hearing loss or excessive noise exposure REPs.

Employers cited in North Dakota well explosion

On May 9, OSHA announced it cited KLX Wireline and Brigade Energy following an agency investigation into a drilling site explosion near Grassy Butte, North Dakota, on November 4, 2021, that permanently disabled 1 worker and left 2 others with serious injuries.

OSHA issued 6 willful, 3 serious, and 2 other-than-serious safety violations to KLX Wireline, seeking proposed penalties of $453,982. Brigade Energy was cited for 1 serious safety violation, with a proposed penalty of $14,502.

“These individuals suffered serious injuries simply for doing their job,” Scott Overson, OSHA’s Bismarck, North Dakota, area director, said in a statement. “KLX Wireline LLC’s willful failure to follow federal standards is unacceptable and a violation of their employees’ rights to a safe workplace.”

KLX Energy Services carelessly transported explosive materials and failed to take required precautions to protect workers and the public during blasting operations, according to OSHA. The workers suffered shrapnel injuries when a perforating gun the workers were using to fracture the well bore detonated as workers assembled a blasting cap on it to send down a well.

The agency cited KLX Wireline for failing to equip vehicles transporting explosives with at least two fire extinguishers located near the driver’s seat, ensure safe and consistent disposal or reuse of empty containers and paper fiber packing materials used to wrap explosive materials, and ensure that vehicles were always attended. OSHA inspectors also noted the vehicles lacked safety placards indicating the presence of explosive materials.

South Dakota contractor cited in separate trench inspections

On May 11, OSHA announced it cited a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, contractor after finding workers at risk of being buried under thousands of pounds of soil while they worked in unprotected trenches at separate locations in Tea and Salem, South Dakota.

The agency reported having cited H&W Contracting LLC three times for similar violations since 2019.

OSHA cited H&W Consulting with 1 willful and 3 serious violations at the Tea location, with proposed penalties of $122,838, and 1 willful violation at the Salem location, with a proposed penalty of $95,718.

“Each site had a different foreman, different crew members and a different scope of work. The common thread is H&W Contracting’s continued failure to protect its workers,” Sheila Stanley, OSHA’s Sioux Falls area director, said in a statement.

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