Purpose

It is the purpose of this policy to:

  • Set forth the basic rules and regulations of The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) which affect the Research Foundation, its Project Directors and employees.
  • Provide the framework for compliance with the Act.
  • Provide a safe and environmentally healthy workplace for all employees.

Applicability

This policy is applicable to all personnel engaged in projects administered by the Research Foundation of The City University of New York.

Background

Testimony and documentary evidence produced in Congressional hearings revealed staggering personal losses resulting from work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. In addition, there is a substantial burden imposed on interstate commerce by causing losses in production and wages, medical expenses and disability payments. Congress declared it to be its purpose and the policy of the nation, "to assure, so far as possible, every working man and woman safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources." In 1970, Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The Congress, determined that the provisions of the Act be effectively and uniformly administered and complied with, provided for an enforcement program which includes: (1) a prohibition against giving advance notice of any inspection and sanctions for any individual violating this prohibition and; (2) penalties to be imposed on employers, and their agents in serious cases, for violations of the Acts requirements.

Summary of the Act

The following extract of pertinent sections and definitions embodied in the Act are provided in order to obtain compliance with a minimum of effort.

As used in this policy, the term Project Director includes the President of the Research Foundation and directors of individual projects. The Project Director is the representative of the employer for purposes of compliance with this policy.

Administration

Administration and enforcement of the Act are vested primarily in the Secretary of Labor. The Secretary is responsible for both promulgating and enforcing job safety and health standards.

Job Safety and Health Standards

In general, these standards consist of rules for avoidance of hazards which have been proven by research and experience to be harmful to personal health and safety. It is the obligation of all employers and employees to familiarize themselves with those standards which apply to them and to observe them at all times.

General Duties of Employer and Employees

Employer (Project Director):

  • Each employer has the general duty to furnish employment and a place of employment free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or harm.
  • To comply with standards, regulations and orders issued under the Act.

Employee:

  • Each employees has the duty to comply with these safety and health standards and all rules, regulations and orders issued pursuant to the Act which are applicable to his or her own actions and conduct.

Complaints of Violations

Any employees (or their representatives) who believe that a violation of a job safety or health standard exists which threatens physical harm, or that an imminent danger exists, may request an inspection by sending a signed written notice to the Department of Labor.

Enforcement

In enforcing the standards, Labor Department safety inspectors may enter without delay, and at any reasonable times, any establishment covered by the Act to inspect premises and equipment and to question privately employer, or employees, or agents thereof. The Act permits the employer and a representative authorized by his employees to accompany the inspector during the physical inspection.

Violation

Where an investigator reveals a violation, the employer is issued a written citation describing the specific nature of the violation. All citations fix a reasonable time for abatement of the violation and each citation must be prominently posted at or near the place of violation referred to in the citations.

Notification of Penalty

The Labor Department will notify an employer within a reasonable time after issuance of a citation by certified mail of the penalty, if any, which is proposed to be assessed. The employer then has 15 working days within which to notify the Labor Department that he wishes to contest the citation. If he fails to notify the Labor Department within such time that he intends to contest the citation or proposed assessment, it shall be final provided no employee filed an objection to the time allowed for abatement of the hazard.

Failure to Correct Violations Within Allowed Time

When time for correction of violation is allowed and employer fails to abate, the Secretary of Labor shall notify employer by certified mail of such failure and of proposed penalty. Such notice and assessment shall be final unless employer contests same by notice to the Secretary of Labor within 15 days.

Penalties for Violations

  • Willful and repeated violations of the Acts requirements by employers may incur monetary penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation.
  • Citations for serious violations incur mandatory monetary penalties of up to $1,000 for each violation while penalties in the same amount may be incurred where non-serious violations are cited. Note: A serious violation exists where there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result.
  • An employer who fails to correct a violation for which a citation has been issued within the period described therein may be penalized up to $1,000 for each day the violation persists.
  • A willful violation by an employer which results in the death of an employee is punishable by the fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to six months. A second conviction doubles these criminal penalties.
  • Criminal penalties are also included in the Act for making false official statements and for giving unauthorized advance notice of any inspection to be conducted under the Act.

Protection Against Harassment

No person shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee because he (she) exercises a right under the act or files a complaint or other proceedings (or because he (she) testifies or is about to testify under the act). Any employee who believes he (she) was discharged or discriminated against in violation of this provision may, within 30 days of such illegal action, file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor.

Responsibilities

Project Director

  • Ensure that job safety and health standards which apply to their projects are instituted and observed at all times. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Use of protective equipment.
    • Proper storage and handling of hazardous materials.
    • Elimination of electrical system hazards, particularly frayed or bare wires, loose conduit, broken or damaged switch plates, and open panel covers.
    • Proper guards on all fans.
    • Clear aisles and good floor conditions; any floor openings properly protected.
    • Compressed air cylinders in safe condition (visual inspection for corrosion, dents, pitting, etc); have pressure relief devices; limit of 30 pounds air pressure for cleaning purposes.
    • Fire extinguishers maintained in a fully charged and operable condition; kept in designated places at all times when not being used; conspicuously located where they will be readily accessible and immediately available.
    • Exits marked by readily visible signs and suitably illuminated.
    • Clear means of egress.
    • Use of radioactive materials - consult Research Foundation memorandum dated January 2, 1973 in local Grants Office.
  • Prepare an inventory of toxic flammable, and hazardous chemicals, liquids, gases and other substances. Determine and effect necessary controls including:
    • Storage and handling procedures and needs.
    • Caution labels.
    • Personal protective equipment.
    • Emergency first aid for overexposure.
    • Control of fire and explosion possibilities.
    • Need for neutralizing and removing spills.
    • Establishment of true contents of hazardous substances.
    • Have a procedure and guaranteed funding for effective disposal of hazardous waste by a licensed contractor.
    • Ensure that there are employees in the project who possess the required level of hazardous material responder training.
  • Remove or cause to be removed from work areas all recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Make periodic inspections of facilities to insure continued compliance with OSHA standards.
  • Train employees in safety measures, equipment operation, use of protective equipment and hazardous materials, fire protection and obtain their compliance with regulations.
  • Supervise both employees and work areas.
  • Complete the N.Y. Workmen's Injury Report (Form #C-2) immediately upon the occurrence of any work-related injury or illness requiring medical treatment and/or involving loss of consciousness or death. Excepted are those injuries of such minor nature as to require only first aid treatment. Forward the Injury Report without delay, to the Research Foundation's OSHA Coordinator.
  • In the event of an inspection:
    • Be courteous and check credentials.
    • Notify the Research Foundation OSHA Coordinator  so that OSHA records can be made available for inspection.
    • Tour premises with the compliance officer and discuss violations or citations, if any.
    • After inspection, notify Research Foundation whether or not there are any violations of standards found during inspection.
    • Take immediate action to correct violations. Note: The federal compliance officer will probably visit your premises without advance notice, as he is authorized to do.
  • Examine all new equipment and materials when received to be sure OSHA requirements are met.

Employee Responsibilities

  • Read the OSHA poster at your jobsite.
  • Comply with any applicable OSHA standards.
  • Follow all established safety and health standards and rules.
  • Wear or use prescribed protective equipment.
  • Report Hazardous conditions to your project director.
  • Report any job-related injuries or illnesses to the Research Foundation Department of Employment Policy & Practice (212/417-8601) and seek treatment promptly.
  • Cooperate with the OSHA compliance officer conducting an inspection if he inquires about conditions at your job site.
  • Use your rights under the act responsibly.

Research Foundation OSHA Coordinator Responsibilities

  • When the N.Y. State Injury Report submitted by a project director indicates it is a recordable injury the Coordinator will do the following:
    • If the injury results in a fatality or hospitalization for five or more employees, report same to the Secretary of Labor within 48 hours.
    • Complete the required OSHA forms for each such recordable injury. Details of form preparation follow.
  • The Coordinator will be the intermediary between the Project Director and the OSHA Regional Office. In this capacity, he will be responsible for the following:
    • Keeping up to date on OSHA requirements.
    • Obtaining and providing information with Project Directors required for compliance with OSHA.
    • Acting as a clearing house for OSHA materials, pamphlets, posters, etc., and making same available to Project Directors as required.
    • Notify Legal Affairs to negotiate such matters as citations, penalties and abatement of violations when necessary.
  • The Coordinator will ensure the maintenance of the following records and make them available for inspection whenever required.
    • OSHA Form #200- Log of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses
      • Each recordable injury and illness must be entered within two working days.
      • Logs must be kept current on a calendar year basis and be retained for 5 years after year to which they relate.
      • OSHA Form 100 is to be used as basis for preparation of OSHA Form 102.
    • OSHA Form #101- Supplementary Record of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (N.Y.S. Injury Report C-2)
      • OSHA Form 101 supplements OSHA #100 and serves as a more detailed record of each recordable occupational injury or illness. (Recordable injuries are those which involve medical treatment, loss of consciousness, restriction of work or motion, transfer to another job, death. Minor injuries requiring only first aid treatment are excluded).
      • Records must be kept 5 years. 
    • OSHA Form #102- Summary of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses
      • The summary is to be prepared within one month following end of year.
      • It must be posted in a place accessible to employees and remain posted for 30 consecutive calendar days.
      • This form is to be prepared on a CUNY college location basis (rather than on a University-wide or project basis). A Foundation-wide summary will also be compiled for posting in the Central Office. The college based form will be posted at a designated central location at each college.
  • OSHA Poster
    • The Coordinator will ensure that an OSHA poster is posted at the designated location at each CUNY unit where Research Foundation employees generally congregate (lounge, bulletin board, etc.)
  • Purchase Orders 
    • The Coordinator will review all purchase to ensure that equipment, materials, construction and services purchased will be in compliance with the Federal Law

Operations Auditor Responsibilities

  • As an integral part of each operations audit, inspect project facilities for any apparent violation of OSHA standards.
  • Report findings, including negative report to the OSHA Coordinator.

NYS Right to Know Law

The New York State Right To Know Law requires that employees be informed of the presence at the worksite of certain hazardous substances. You may direct employees with questions about such materials to the OSHA Officer at your campus.