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(c) 2014 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

OSHA cites Brick, NJ-based contractor for continuing to expose workers to falls and other hazards at Secaucus work site

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Brick-based La Conti Concrete & Masonry Inc. for nine safety and health, including two repeat, violations at a Secaucus work site. OSHA's March investigation was initiated in response to an imminent danger complaint alleging employees were working on the fifth level of a supported scaffold without fall protection. Proposed penalties total $74,830.

The repeat safety violations, with a $53,900 penalty, involve failing to provide safe access to a scaffold and ensure workers were not exposed to a 35-foot fall while working on an unguarded scaffold. A repeat violation occurs when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited for similar violations in 2006, 2007 and 2011.

Six serious safety and health violations, with a $20,930 penalty, include failing to properly store propane tanks; ensure a competent person inspected a scaffold before employees worked on it; establish and implement a written respiratory protection program for workers required to wear respirators, including medical evaluations and respiratory protection training; develop and implement an effective written hazard communication program for workers exposed to hazardous chemicals, including crystalline silica; provide chemical hazard training to employees working with hazardous chemicals; and maintain material safety data sheets. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from dangerous tasks without proper safety measures.

"This employer continues to jeopardize the safety and health of its workers by failing to correct these hazards, which is unacceptable," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace, and will be held legally accountable when they fail to do so."

The company also has received one other-than-serious violation, with no penalty, for failure to provide respirator fit testing and evaluate employees for safe use of powered industrial truck. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

La Conti Concrete & Masonry Inc. employed 34 workers at the Secaucus work site and has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

In April, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced a campaign to provide employers and workers with life-saving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs in an effort to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry. In 2010, more than 10,000 construction workers were injured as a result of falling while working from heights, and more than 250 workers were killed. OSHA's fall prevention campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. More detailed information is available in English and Spanish on fall protection standards at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

Read more about scaffolding
Jun 11, 2012
The willful violations carry a $92,400 penalty and are due to a lack of fall protection for employees working on a scaffold that was not fully planked. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary ...
Feb 19, 2011
OSHA found employees exposed to fall hazards ranging from 27 to 41 feet while working without fall protection on a scaffold that was not fully guarded, climbing atop the scaffold's guardrails and standing on an empty plastic ...
Feb 07, 2012
The serious violations, with $36,960 in penalties, include failing to protect workers from fall and impalement hazards, ensure scaffold platforms were laid correctly, provide proper ladder rung construction, make sure guardrails...
May 23, 2012
"Whether working on a roof, a scaffold or in an aerial lift, all workers must have and correctly use the proper equipment to prevent falls," Kulick adds. In April, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced a new campaign to ...
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For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

The threshold length for fibre-induced acute pleural inflammation: shedding light on the early events in asbestos-induced mesothelioma

Recent research implicates nanoparticles or nanofibres as a potential health hazard:

"Suspicion has been raised that high aspect ratio nanoparticles or nanofibres might possess asbestos-like pathogenicity. The pleural space is a specific target for disease in individuals exposed to asbestos and, by implication nanofibres. Pleural effects of fibres depends on fibre length, but the key threshold length beyond which adverse effects occur has never been identified up to now since all asbestos and vitreous fibre samples are heterogeneously distributed in their length. Nanotechnology advantageously allows for highly defined length distribution of synthetically engineered fibres which enable for in depth investigation of this threshold length. We utilised the ability to prepare silver-nanofibres of five defined length classes to demonstrate a threshold fibre length for acute pleural inflammation. Nickel-nanofibres and carbon nanotubes were then used to strengthen the relationship between fibre length and pleural inflammation. A method of intrapleural injection of nanofibres in female C57Bl/6 strain mice was used to deliver the fibre dose and we then assessed the acute pleural inflammatory response. Chestwall sections were examined by light and by scanning electron microscopy to identify areas of lesion; furthermore cell-nanowires interaction on the mesothelial surface of the parietal pleura in vivo, were investigated. Our results showed a clear threshold effect demonstrating that fibres beyond 4 µm in length are pathogenic to the pleura. The identification of the threshold length for nanofibre induced pathogenicity in the pleura has important implications for understanding the structure-toxicity relationship for asbestos-induced mesothelioma and consequent risk assessment with the aim to contribute to the engineering of synthetic nanofibres by the adoption of a benign-by-design approach."

Toxicol. Sci. (2012)doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfs171First published online: May 12, 2012
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For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Read more about nanotechnology
Sep 20, 2011
U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative. Nano.gov: size of the nanoscale [http://www.nano.gov/nanotech-101/what/nano-size External Web Site Icon ]. U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative. Nano.gov: Nanotechnology and ...
Aug 25, 2009
... following the publication of the September issue of the “European Respiratory Journal, the first medical case series of workers with serious disease that the study authors associate with exposure to nano-sized particles has ...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Aerial spraying pesticides to fight mosquitoes raises concerns over compensability for exposures

Based on reports from the  United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) arial spraying of pesticides has been mandated in Texas because of the number of reported cases of West Nile Flu. Questions are now being raised as to the availability of workers' compensation benefits for workers who suffer illnesses flowing from the consequences of pesticide exposures.

The arial spraying of Dallas County commenced last night  with two planes being utilized, and will be continuing over the next few evenings in order to battle the mosquito population that is spreading the disease. The population is being requested to remain indoors to avoid exposure.

The state of Texas is not the only area in the United States where West Nile Flu is now spreading and preventive measures are being taken to stem the potential of an epidemic of illness. Throughout United States during 2012 there has been an increase in the amount of cases it being reported. See the CDC map above.

In most jurisdictions, workers' compensation benefits are available as a result of occupational exposures. There is the potential for a surge of claims as the network of benefits programs remains unprepared, especially in its beleaguered state. More preparation needs to be undertaken to handle such potential consequences such as a West Nile epidemic.

Read other blog posts about flu

Sep 15, 2009
The 2009 influenza pandemic (flu) has created a new framework of acts and regulations to respond the World Health Organization's (WHO) phase 6 pandemic alert. Governmentally imposed employment disruptions resulting...
Oct 24, 2009
As the US flu vaccination program rolls out, the numbers are also growing for those who have reported adverse consequences from the H1N1 vaccine. The victims and their families are also lining up for benefits available in ...
Apr 24, 2009
The CDC has reported that Swine flu has impacted the US in the past: "Like seasonal flu, swine flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Between 2005 until January 2009, 12 human cases of swine flu were ...
Nov 27, 2009
The OSGA directive closely follows the prevention guidance issue by The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent the spread of H1N1 flu. The purpose of the compliance directive is "to 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sodium Dichromate Exposure - Court Rules Lawsuit by Former National Guard Proceeds

Former soldiers from the Indiana National Guard, the West Virginia National Guard and the British Air Force will be permitted to proceed with their claim against KBR, Inc. and Halliburton Co. for injuries and they allege arose out of their exposure to sodium dichromate while working at the Quarmat Ali water treatment plant in Iraq.

Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore, US District Court Judge, ruled that, "The sodium dichromate at Quarmat Ali was toxic, present in the environment, and used to treat water for oil well operations.  It was thus an environmental and industrial hazard."

The soldiers, in 2003, provided military protection to civilian teams who were working to restore operations as part of the Project Restore Iraqi Oil (RIO) on behalf of the United States. The soldiers in a  complaint filed in 2010 allege that they were exposed to sodium dichromate which, when mixed with water, acts as an anti-corrosive agent. The chemical is known to be an irritant and a carcinogen.

The court rejected KBR's request that the case be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. the Court ruled that it did have jurisdiction over the matter since a "political question" was not raised and the activities alleged did not fall under the combatant activities exceptions in the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).  The Court declared in its Order, "... that KBR's actions may thus be evaluated under traditional tort standards."

Sgt. Mark McManaway, et al., v. KBR, INC., et al, Civil Action H-10-1044 (So.D. TX 2012) Decided August 16, 2012.

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Click here to read more about burn pit claims for benefits and lawsuits.
Click here to request further information 
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More articles about exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan

Aug 11, 2012
The Social Security Administration has added to its list of compassionate allowances a pulmonary condition that has been identified as arising out of exposures to burn pits fumes and dusts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jan 31, 2010
Burn Pit Litigation Expanding to Over 43 Lawsuits. It has been reported that lawsuits, on the behalf of injured US troops and civilian contractors, who were exposed at US bases to burn pit fumes, have multiplied. There are now...
Feb 20, 2010
Veterans are beginning to speak openly about the toxic exposures they were subjected to at the burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan and the serious health problems that they now are experiencing. Organized groups of disabled ...
Sep 09, 2010
Federal Court Allows Burn Pit Claims to Proceed Against Halliburton & KBR. A Federal Court Judge has ordered that claims against military contractors, KBR (Kellogg Brown and Root) and Halliburton, may proceed.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Flavoring 2,3-pentanedione Reported to Cause Respiratory Harm

Photo Credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos
Popcorn flavoring has been reported hazardous to your health and a new report indicates that
2,3-pentanedione should be added to that list.

"Flavorings-related lung disease is a potentially disabling disease of food industry workers associated with exposure to the α-diketone butter flavoring, diacetyl (2,3-butanedione). To investigate the hypothesis that another α-diketone flavoring, 2,3-pentanedione, would cause airway damage, rats that inhaled air, 2,3-pentanedione (112, 241, 318, or 354 ppm), or diacetyl (240 ppm) for 6 hours were sacrificed the following day. Rats inhaling 2,3-pentanedione developed necrotizing rhinitis, tracheitis, and bronchitis comparable to diacetyl-induced injury. To investigate delayed toxicity, additional rats inhaled 318 (range, 317.9—318.9) ppm 2,3-pentanedione for 6 hours and were sacrificed 0 to 2, 12 to 14, or 18 to 20 hours after exposure. Respiratory epithelial injury in the upper nose involved both apoptosis and necrosis, which progressed through 12 to 14 hours after exposure. Olfactory neuroepithelial injury included loss of olfactory neurons that showed reduced expression of the 2,3-pentanedione–metabolizing enzyme, dicarbonyl/L-xylulose reductase, relative to sustentacular cells. Caspase 3 activation occasionally involved olfactory nerve bundles that synapse in the olfactory bulb (OB). An additional group of rats inhaling 270 ppm 2,3-pentanedione for 6 hours 41 minutes showed increased expression of IL-6 and nitric oxide synthase-2 and decreased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor A in the OB, striatum, hippocampus, and cerebellum using real-time PCR. Claudin-1 expression increased in the OB and striatum. We conclude that 2,3-pentanedione is a respiratory hazard that can also alter gene expression in the brain."

Click here to read: Respiratory and Olfactory Cytotoxicity of Inhaled 2,3-Pentanedione in Sprague-Dawley Rats, American Journal of Pathology, Spet. 2012.

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For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
Read more about flavorings
Aug 04, 2012
A new study raises concern about chronic exposure of workers in industry to a food flavoring ingredient used to produce the distinctive buttery flavor and aroma of microwave popcorn, margarines, snack foods, candy, baked ...
Jun 21, 2012
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is now providing information to healthcare providers to assist them to identify and treat flavoring-related lung disease. Workers who breathe flavoring chemicals...
Dec 22, 2010
This Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB) is addressed to employers and workers involved in the manufacture of "flavorings," (as defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 21 CFR 101.22) in flavoring, ...
Sep 06, 2010
A jury in the Chicago area awarded a local factory worker $30.4 Million for a pulmonary illness resulting from exposure to popcorn flavoring, diacetyl. The verdict is considered to be largest ever in the US for an individual claim ...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

OSHA proposes $82,500 in fines to chemical manufacturer for workplace hazards at Newark, NJ, facility


The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cardolite Corp. with one willful and 13 serious health and safety violations for exposing workers to chemical and other hazards at the company's Newark facility. OSHA initiated its March investigation in response to a complaint and also as part of the agency's national emphasis program on process safety management for covered chemical facilities. Proposed penalties total $82,500.

"Process safety management prevents or mitigates a catastrophic release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in chemical processes," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "By not complying with PSM requirements, Cardolite jeopardized the safety of its chemical operators and others working at the site by exposing them to dangerous fire hazards. This negligent behavior will not be tolerated."

The willful violation is failing to monitor employees' formaldehyde exposure at six-month intervals. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. The citation carries a $44,000 penalty.

The serious violations include failing to ensure that workers are not overexposed to formaldehyde, implement effective engineering controls and work practices to reduce formaldehyde exposure, provide medical surveillance to workers overexposed to formaldehyde, ensure that process safety information is accurate and in place, provide a hazard analysis of the facility in the event of a chemical release and its impact, provide refresher training to chemical operators on the epichlorohydrin process, inspect and test epichlorohydrin piping within the process building, and identify deficiencies in process safety management compliance audits. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The citations carry $38,500 in penalties.

Cardolite Corp., which employs about 70 workers at its Newark location, develops and manufactures products based on cashew nutshell liquid for the coating, friction material and adhesive markets. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Parsippany office; telephone 973-263-1003. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

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 ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Read more about Formaldehyde
Aug 16, 2012
"Johnson & Johnson, which makes a range of personal care products like baby shampoo, acne cream and antiwrinkle lotion, announced plans Wednesday to remove a host of potentially harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde, ...
Oct 03, 2011
After a long period of deliberation the mostly unregulated cosmetic industry's own trade association, through its reviewing agency, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel (CIR) has declared formaldehyde and ...
Apr 19, 2011
"In fact, those chemical concoctions are loaded with formaldehyde, which numerous prestigious health bodies, most recently, a National Academy of Sciences panel, have labeled a human carcinogen. Formaldehyde is also a ...
Sep 08, 2011
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited two Florida manufacturers and two Florida-based distributors of hair products containing formaldehyde for 16 health violations involving ...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Should Genetic Medical Information Be Given to Workers’ Compensation Insurance Companies?

Federal law provides that employers with 15 or more employees
 cannot discriminate against employees because of genetic information.
Guest Blog by Leonard T. Jernigan, Jr. of the North Carolina Bar 

Under a 2009 Federal law called GINA (the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act), employers with 15 or more employees cannot discriminate against employees because of genetic information. That information may include a past or present medical history (for example: breast cancer, diabetes, depression, or colon cancer) of family members. GINA prohibits disclosure of this sensitive information by employers and prohibits the employer from even making a request for such information. If they have this information, it must be kept in a file that is separate from the regular personnel file.

The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) has made regulations, effective January 10, 2011, to enforce this federal statute and allows an action for damages, including punitive damages, reinstatement and back pay, and reasonable attorney’s fees.

In the workers’ compensation setting, this information is sometimes gathered by medical experts conducting independent medical exams, by nurse case managers who may seek to find out any and all medical information about the injured worker’s family as well as the injured worker, or by family physicians who have made non-work-related entries in the medical records. However, GINA has allowed an exception to the overall thrust of the legislation by stating that if the information is relevant to the workers’ compensation claim, it can be disclosed. The legislation gives no definition of the term “relevant” and makes the interaction between the health care provider, the carrier, the employer and the employee complicated, to say the least. Lawyers who represent employees and employers should be aware of GINA and protect sensitive genetic information from disclosure, and claimants should make sure their physician is aware of it as well.

Other posts to read
Aug 29, 2011
"Because only a small fraction of asbestos-exposed individuals develop malignant mesothelioma1, and because mesothelioma clustering is observed in some families, we searched for genetic predisposing factors.
May 12, 2010
A lawsuit was filed under the recently enacted Genetic Information Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) on behalf of a woman who underwent a prophylactic double mastectomy after testing positive for breast cancer. GINA took ...
Dec 15, 2009
Genetic predisposition to occupational illness and disease presents a complex issue in workers' compensation claims and health technology assessment. New methods now permit the identification of individuals who have ...
Jun 13, 2012
... that a truck driver may suffer cardiovascular disability as a result of exposure to carbon monoxide even though the employee had other pre-disposing risk factors including smoking, obesity, and a genetic predisposition.

Johnson and Johnson Cleans Up Its Act : Removing Formaldehyde From Adult Products

"Johnson & Johnson, which makes a range of personal care products like baby shampoo, acne cream and antiwrinkle lotion, announced plans Wednesday to remove a host of potentially harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde, from its line of consumer products by the end of 2015, becoming the first major consumer products company to make such a widespread commitment."


More Blog Articles on Formaldehyde

Oct 03, 2011
After a long period of deliberation the mostly unregulated cosmetic industry's own trade association, through its reviewing agency, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel (CIR) has declared formaldehyde and ...
Apr 19, 2011
"In fact, those chemical concoctions are loaded with formaldehyde, which numerous prestigious health bodies, most recently, a National Academy of Sciences panel, have labeled a human carcinogen. Formaldehyde is also a ...
Sep 08, 2011
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited two Florida manufacturers and two Florida-based distributors of hair products containing formaldehyde for 16 health violations involving ...
Apr 11, 2011
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is issuing a hazard alert to hair salon owners and workers about potential formaldehyde exposure from working with some hair smoothing and ...