A number of serious crane accidents in New York and across the country have prompted these changes. More recently, a crane tipped over and crushed a spectator during a building ceremony in Oklahoma. Other fatal crane accidents have taken place in Nevada, Florida and Texas in just the past few months.
Alaska’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is warning workers to stop using five models of chain saw immediately. The models have a safety problem that could result in serious injuries or death.
The problem: the plastic front handle on these chain saws could break, making the tool hard to control. Workers using them can suffer serious cutting wounds.
The Alaska OSHA alert applies to two brands of chain saw widely used in lumbering, construction, landscaping and other industries. OSHA is “strongly” urging employers to take the chain saws out of use until they can be retrofitted with devices that will make them operate more safely. Using them without the safety kit added can cause injuries or death.
The agency is making employers aware of a recent recall of the chain saws. Manufacturers voluntarily recalled both brands of chainsaw, cooperating with both OSHA and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC. Employers should contact either Alaska OSHA or the manufacturer for information about getting the free safety kit. The kit contains a replacement handle and instructions for installing.
The two brands of chain saw are four Troy-Bilt models and one Craftsman. They are powered by two-cycle gas engines and range from 46 to 55cc. All of the chain saws are fitted with either an 18-inch or a 20-inch blade. The Craftsman is the “Incredi-Pull” model.
Workers have reported problems. In one case, there were severe cuts. One worker told OSHA he had suffered severe bruising and wrist sprain. Another reported burns to the fingers from a hot muffler. All had lost control of their saws after the handles broke.
The CPSC is working with OSHA on the alerts and recalls. CPSC monitors 15,000 products to protect consumers from risks of injury or death. Those deaths and injuries, as well as damage to property, cost about $700 billion a year.
Under state law, each employer is required to post an Alaska OSHA 300 form from February 1 to April 30 of each year. The 2007 OSHA 300 form recaps work-related illnesses and injuries that occurred at the company in the 2006 calendar year.
Alaska is one of 22 states that have opted out of the federal OSHA program. Instead, the state has its own worker safety organization, AKOSHA or Alaska Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In general, AKOSHA policies mirror those of the federal OSHA, although there are some differences. The following states have approved state OSHA plans: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, and Kentucky.
In addition, 3 states have state OSHA plans that cover state and local government employees only. These states are Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, plus the Virgin Islands, which is technically not a state. In those states, businesses, federal agencies, and non-profit organizations are covered by the federal OSHA. Several states, including Kansas, once had state OSHA plans but now fall under federal OSHA jurisdiction.
Under federal regulations, each state OSHA plan must have job safety and health standards that are “at least as effective as” comparable federal OSHA standards. Most states adopt standards identical to federal ones, so there isn’t a huge difference. However, some states including California have exercised the option to promulgate standards covering hazards not addressed by the federal OSHA standards.
In states that have their own OSHA plans such as Alaska, the state conducts safety inspections instead of federal OSHA officials. The state also offers occupational safety and health training and education programs. In addition, most states provide free on-site consultation to help employers identify and correct workplace hazards, just as the federal arm of OSHA does.
To gain OSHA approval for a state safety plan, a state first enters a “developmental plan.” Under the developmental plan, the state must assure OSHA that within three years it will have in place all the elements necessary for an effective occupational safety and health program. These elements include: appropriate legislation; regulations and procedures for standards setting, enforcement, appeal of citations and penalties; and an adequate number of qualified enforcement personnel.
Once a state has completed and documented all its developmental steps, it is eligible for certification. Certification renders no judgment as to actual state performance, but merely attests to the completeness of the development plan.
If you are an employer in Alaska, you could have a chance at your fair share of millions of government dollars. To be exact, the government in the capital of Juneau has up to $1.1 million that can go to employers for their program called the Youth Employment and Training Program.
These grants from the Alaska state government are specifically Denali Training Fund Youth and Alaska’s Youth First Initiatives. The main backer in the government is the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Division of Business Partnerships.
And as any good business man or woman knows, a good partnership between the government and your business can lead to money to help you develop your staff, your business market share in the community, and your relationship with your community.
The key to getting on of these grants is setting up a program that can help Alaska’s youths from age 16 to 24 to develop high quality employment skills in high growth industries. One such industry is the energy industry, which is both one of the state’s major money makers and one of its opportunities for high tech jobs and high growth opportunities.
The state Labor Department hopes to exploit more opportunities for students to learn their chances to develop access to oil, gas, and other mineral resources,, as well as set up students in apprenticeship opportunities in the energy industry and different industries.
Some other industries include information technology such as Web based and computer based technologies, health care, construction, transportation, tourism, seafood harvesting, and higher education.
The state funded up to 10 programs in 2006, and the deadline for this year is already passed (obviously, since the year is almost over). But keep your eyes out for such opportunities for grants next year by checking out the Alaska Labor Department’s Web site.
By law, all employers in Alaska must post Alaska Department of Labor posters. So where can you find them? They should be posted in a place that employees frequent often, such as a break room or lunch room. Basically, they are designed so that employees can be easily informed of their labor law rights. These Alaska Department of Labor posters include individual state and federal labor law notices that are mandated by the State of Alaska.
The state posters address minimum wage, Alaska OSHA, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, sexual harassment, emergency information, and child labor laws. The federal posters include the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Righs Act (USERRA), Equal Opportunity Employment, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and OSHA Job Safety and Health Protection.
Alaska has some pretty comprehensive OSHA laws that are explained on the Alaska Department of Labor posters, but before I elaborate on this I did want to mention that Alaska Department of Labor posters are changed frequently. It’s the law for employers to have a current one posted, and a good idea for employees to check the posters frequently for additions or changes.
So back to the Alaska OSHA-Health and Safety Protection Labor law poster you’ll find on Alaska Department of Labor posters. This law enforces state occupational safety and health regulations. The section provides consultative services and training to public and private sector employers and employees. Programs administered include Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), Asbestos Certification Program, Hazardous Paint Program, and the Blaster Certification Program. There’s a lot of information on this poster, and it’s worth taking some time to read.
At any rate, just wanted to touch base regarding Alaska Department of Labor posters.