Tuesday, December 13, 2016

SLOW DOWN DURING ADVERSE WEATHER: At least 3 seriously injured in 45-vehicle crash on Interstate 90 in Lake County, Ohio



Nearly 50 vehicles were involved in a large crash on Interstate 90 on Thursday in Lake County. A section of the interstate remained closed Thursday night as cleanup continued. (Lake County Sheriff's Office)

  Cliff Pinckard, cleveland.com
 updated December 09, 2016 at 1:02 PM




MENTOR, Ohio -- Interstate 90 in Lake County reopened all lanes early Friday morning in Lake County, more than 12 hours after a Thursday afternoon crash involving nearly 50 vehicles created havoc on the highway and seriously injured at least three people.

Reports vary on the exact number of people injured in the crash, which occurred at about 2:45 p.m. when a semi-truck jackknifed while heading east between Ohio 44 and Vrooman Road, setting off a chain-reaction involving several vehicles.

Witnesses said there were heavy flurries at the time and road conditions were slick when the truck jackknifed, said Lt. Charles Gullett, post commander for the State Highway Patrol in Chardon.






Earlier: Multivehicle crash closes I-90 in Lake County

Authorities say that about more than 50 vehicles, including semis, are involved in various crashes.

The westbound lanes between Ohio 44 and Ohio 528 reopened just before 2 a.m. Friday. The Lake County Sheriff's Department said on its Facebook page just before 5 a.m. that the eastbound lanes also were open.

The sheriff's department said snow plows from the Ohio Department of Transportation were clearing and salting the eastbound lanes early Friday.


The highway was closed for hours because of the time needed to clear the damaged vehicles from the scene, officials said.

Snow squalls were persisting in the area Friday morning and the sheriff's department is warning people to drive carefully.

A westbound lane was opened near Ohio 528 late Thursday night, but it was kept clear to tow vehicles from the crash site, Gullett said.

Gullett said 20 commercial vehicles, 22 private vehicles and a Greyhound bus were involved in the crash.

He said most of the injured were taken to TriPoint Medical Center in Concord and University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center just south of Chardon. A nursing supervisor at TriPoint estimated 18 patients were treated at TriPoint, West Medical Center in Willoughby and University Hospitals Madison Health Center.

Information from Geauga Medical Center was unavailable late Thursday night.

No citations had been issued as of Thursday evening as the crash remained under investigation and officials continued to speak with witnesses.

Gullett said the crash shows important for drivers to monitor their speeds in adverse weather conditions.

"(Speed) is probably the biggest problem and then you can't slow down," Gullett said.

Travis Lee Cox, 35, sentenced to more than four years in prison after previously pleading guilty to arson


Man gets prison for arson fire
David Unze , dunze@stcloudtimes.com 


3:16 p.m. CST December 9, 2016


A former St. Augusta man was sentenced Thursday to more than four years in prison after previously pleading guilty to arson and illegally possessing a firearm.

Travis Lee Cox, 35, was accused of setting fire to his home at 1680 Forest Glen Circle in January 2014. Investigators learned that Cox and his wife were behind on their automobile, mortgage and utility bill payments and their house was in foreclosure.

Fire investigators determined that the fire started in the basement laundry room. They ruled out appliances, the washer and the dryer and any electrical wiring as causes or contributing factors in the fire, according to the court complaint charging Cox.

A state fire marshal and an investigator for the insurance company determined that the fire was set intentionally. Cox was the last person in the home before the fire was reported.

Investigators found a firearm in the basement of the home that Cox said was his. He was prohibited from possessing firearms because he was convicted of a crime of violence, a burglary in Sherburne County in 2001.

Stearns County District Court Judge Andrew Pearson sentenced Cox to 50 months in prison each on the arson and firearm charges and ordered that they run at the same time. Prosecutors dismissed a charge of insurance fraud as part of the plea agreement.

That charge accused Cox of filing a false claim to collect on the home's insurance policy. The insurance company denied the claim based on investigators' opinions that the fire was intentionally set.

USEPA is finalizing standards for applicators who apply restricted use pesticides that are not available for purchase by the general public, and require special handling.


EPA Finalizes Stronger Standards for Workers Who Apply Riskiest Pesticides
12/12/2016
Contact Information:
Cathy Milbourn (milbourn.cathy@epa.gov)
202-564-7849
CONTACTO EN ESPAƑOL: Lina Younes (younes.lina@epa.gov)
202-564-9924

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Lenexa, Kan., Dec. 12, 2016) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing standards for applicators who apply restricted use pesticides that are not available for purchase by the general public, and require special handling.

“We are committed to keeping our communities safe, protecting our environment, and protecting workers and their families,” said Jim Jones, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “By improving training and certification, those who apply these restricted use pesticides will have better knowledge and ability to use these pesticides safely.”

Today's action will reduce the likelihood of harm from misapplication because the pesticides may only be applied by a certified applicator or someone working under their direct supervision. EPA’s stricter standards would require all people who are certified to apply restricted use pesticides to be at least 18 years of age. These certifications must be renewed every five years.

EPA is requiring specialized licensing for certain methods such as fumigation and aerial application that can pose greater risks if not conducted properly. For further protection, those working under the supervision of certified applicators will now receive training to use pesticides safely and to protect their families from “take-home” pesticide exposure.

EPA expects the benefits of this rule to include fewer acute pesticide incidents to people, reduced chronic exposure, and reduced incidents of ecological harm from pesticide use.

States and tribes may issue licenses to pesticide applicators with an EPA-approved program who can demonstrate the ability to use these products safely. The final action also updates requirements for state programs and for applicators obtaining licenses. Many states already have in place some of the stronger requirements of today’s action.

The final rule includes flexibility for states to continue portions of their existing programs that are equivalent to the revised rule. EPA will work with states to review and approve updated certification plans.

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Learn more about Revised Certification Standards for Pesticide Applicators

Sinclair Casper Refining pays $655K in past costs for cleanup at former Thermopolis, Wyo. refinery


Sinclair Casper Refining pays $655K in past costs for cleanup at former Thermopolis, Wyo. refinery
12/12/2016
Contact Information:
Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)
303-312-6654

DENVER- Sinclair Casper Refining Company has paid $655,000 to reimburse the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for response costs incurred at the Empire State Oil Company Refinery Site in Thermopolis, Wyoming. The company entered into a settlement agreement with EPA for the recovery of past costs associated with the cleanup of the site, including the removal of asbestos, in September. EPA received payment last week.

The Thermopolis refinery site operated as an oil refinery from 1920 until 1969. Beginning in 1974, the refinery was razed and equipment was sold and removed from the site by various entities, including Sinclair’s predecessor, Little America Refining Company. During demolition activities, a significant amount of asbestos-contaminated pipe insulation was stripped from equipment and disposed at the site.

EPA assessed the property in 2011 and identified significant asbestos contamination on the ground surface. In November 2013, EPA removed approximately 4,000 cubic yards of asbestos-containing materials and soils from the site. Excavated areas were backfilled with clean native soil from a property near the site and were re-seeded the following spring.

The agreement with Sinclair Casper Refining was entered into under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Recovery Act, also known as Superfund. Funds recovered as part of this settlement agreement will be deposited into the Superfund account used to address cleanup needs at contaminated sites across the United States.

The administrative settlement published in the Federal Register on September 20, 2016 and became effective following a 30-day public comment period.

OSHA fines $40K Mountaire Farms Inc., a Selbyville, DE poultry processor, after worker suffers finger amputation






Dec. 12, 2016
OSHA fines $40K Mountaire Farms Inc., a Selbyville, DE poultry processor, after worker suffers finger amputation
Investigation finds musculoskeletal stressors, other safety hazards
Employer name:
Mountaire Farms Inc.
Inspection site:
55 Hosier Street, Selbyville, Delaware
Corporate address:
P.O. Box 1320, Millsboro, Delaware
Citations issued: On Dec. 2, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to the company's Selbyville poultry processing facility for five serious safety violations, including one issued as a violation of the OSH Act's general duty clause.

Hazard Alert Letters issued: Two hazard alert letters were issued on Dec. 2, 2016.

Investigation findings: OSHA's inspection began on June 3, 2016, after the employer reported that a worker suffered a finger amputation while operating a packaging machine.

Inspectors found serious violations associated with electrical and process safety management hazards, and deficiencies with the procedures meant to prevent accidental machine start-up or movement, known as lockout/tagout, which contributed to the amputation. They also found that workers were exposed to musculoskeletal stressors as they performed tasks requiring repetitive, forceful motion for extended periods of time, and often in awkward positions.

The agency issued one hazard alert letter for medical management practices in place at the facility that prevent appropriate standards of care, increase the likelihood of workers developing serious musculoskeletal disorders, restrict referrals to physicians, and discourage employees from reporting symptoms and injuries.

The other hazard alert letter warned about the company's storage of incompatible chemicals.

Quote: "The combination of musculoskeletal stressors and inappropriate medical management practices at the Selbyville processing facility is harming workers, who are exposed to completely preventable injuries," said Erin Patterson, area director of OSHA's Wilmington office. "Musculoskeletal stressors remain prevalent in the poultry industry and employers must abate those hazards to protect the safety and health of their employees." 

Proposed penalties: $39,762

The citation can be viewed at: https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/MountaireFarmsInc_1152666.pdf

The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission

To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Wilmington Area Office at 302-573-6518.

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.
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OSHA cites, fines Crystal Finishing Systems $172K following fatality investigation when 51-year-old worker dies after being caught between crane hook, load bars








Dec. 12, 2016

OSHA cites, fines Crystal Finishing Systems $172K following fatality investigation when 51-year-old worker dies after being caught between crane hook, load bars

MOSINEE, Wis. - A federal investigation, prompted by the death of a 51-year-old chemical technician at a coatings company's facility in Mosinee, has resulted in multiple safety violations.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued three repeated, four serious and three other than serious safety citations on Dec. 7, 2016, to the Schofield-based, Crystal Finishing Systems' following the agency's investigation into the June 14, 2016, death.

Federal investigators determined the worker suffered fatal injuries when an automated crane pinned him between the crane hook and dip tank load bars as it moved product to different tanks on an anodizing line. The employee was pronounced dead at the scene.

The agency's investigation found Crystal Finishing failed to:
  • Adequately guard machines to prevent workers from coming in contact with operating parts.
  • Protect workers walking working surfaces.
  • Provided adequate personal protective equipment.
  • Train workers about hazardous chemicals in use at the facility.

"A man died tragically, leaving his family, friends and co-workers to suffer an overwhelming loss," said Robert Bonack, OSHA's area director in Appleton. "Crystal Finishing must improve its safety and health programs and procedures to protect workers at all its Wisconsin facilities."

OSHA has proposed penalties of $171,169. View current citations here and here.

Based in Schofield, the company specializes in aluminum extrusion and applies powder coatings to a variety of underlying materials. It also operates a facility in River Falls, in addition to the Mosinee plant.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Appleton Area Office at (920) 734-4521.

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.

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