Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA) Penalties
In the 2017 the Vermont Legislature amended 21 VSA §210 of the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Act (VOSHA) to increase the penalties for VOSHA violations, similar to the federal OSH Act penalty increase. The legislation directed that the penalties be annually adjusted to reflect an increase in the Consumer Price Index, to remain consistent with the federal OSH Act. 21 VSA §210(a)(9). Penalty increases are calculated by the US Department of Labor which is to notify VOSHA each December. The increase is effective January 1 of each year after VOSHA publishes the new penalties.
This year VOSHA did not receive the federal OSHA penalty increase in time to publish prior to January 1st. Because of this, VOSHA has determined that the Vermont penalty increase will be effective for investigations commenced after February 1st, 2018.
VOSHA Penalty Adjustments for 2018
Mandatory Reporting of Injuries/Illnesses to VOSHA
(1) Within eight (8) hours after the death of any employee as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the fatality to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Department of Labor.
(2) Within twenty-four (24) hours after the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees or an employee’s amputation or an employee’s loss of an eye, as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of
an eye to OSHA.
(3) You must report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye using one of the following methods:
(i) By telephone or in person to the OSHA Area Office that is nearest to the site of the incident.
(ii) By telephone to the OSHA toll-free central telephone number, 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742).
(iii) By electronic submission using the reporting application located on VOSHA’s public Web site at http://labor.vermont.gov/vosha-injuriesillnesses-report/
As of June 1, 2015, chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers are required to provide a common approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category.
Examples of label pictograms.
Beginning in December, distributors may only ship containers labeled by the chemical manufacturer or importer if the labels meet these requirements.
The June 1 deadline was established when OSHA aligned its Hazard Communication Standard in 2012 with the global standard for chemical product labeling. The provisions for labeling offer workers better protection from chemical hazards, while also reducing trade barriers and improving productivity for American businesses that regularly handle, store, and use hazardous chemicals. The updated standard also provides cost savings for American businesses that periodically update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered under the standard, saving businesses millions of dollars each year.
The new format for Safety Data Sheets requires 16 specific sections to ensure consistency in presentation of important protection information. For more information, see OSHA’s Hazard Communication webpage.”
Attention Vermont Employers:
This is a reminder that as of July 1, 2014, Vermont employers are required under Vermont State law (21 VSA, 691 a), to post a notice advising their employees where they may access and review your company’s safety records.
To assist you with compliance efforts, the Vermont Department of Labor has developed a form that will assist you. This poster is downloadable at Posting of Safety Records [PDF].
For all other required Workplace Posters and available to you please visit: Publications.
Farmers join UVM Extension Associate Dean, government officials at Sept. 28 launch
MORRISVILLE, Vt.—For the first time, Vermont farmers have access to a program that makes tractor safety
equipment affordable and simple to order. The University of Vermont (UVM) Extension announces today the
Vermont Rebates for Roll Bars program, one of two programs of its kind in the United States. It reimburses farmers 70 percent of the cost of their rollover protection kit—a roll bar and seatbelt—up to a savings of $765, and provides help to farmers with identifying and pricing the appropriate rollover kits for their tractors.
According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, a farmer is 800 percent more likely to die while working than individuals in other jobs. The leading cause of these deaths is tractor overturns. The Northeast has the highest rate of tractor overturns in the country. The most recent tractor rollover fatality in Vermont was Bruce Bakaian, who died in Wheelock on July 31.
To launch his program, farmers and administrators of Vermont Rebates for Roll Bars will gather at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 28 at Under Orion Farm at 1009 Ducharme Road in Marshfield. UVM Extension Associate
Dean Richard LeVitre, Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee and Department of Health Commissioner Wendy
Davis will speak in support of this new effort.
“I grew up on a dairy farm in southern Vermont and know how careful you have to be, especially on side hills,” says Will Ameden, owner of Under Orion Farm in Marshfield, a 250-acre diversified organic farm. “I was also an EMT for 12 years, so I’ve seen first hand the result of not having proper rollover protection on your tractor.”
Vermont’s program is administered by the Northeast Center for Agricultural and Occupational Health (NEC), the organization behind a similar program in New York that has successfully accomplished a ten-fold increase in tractor rollover protection installation since the program’s inception in 2007. Cost and difficulty ordering the appropriate equipment were identified by NEC as the two key barriers to getting rollover protection on tractors.
“The Vermont Rebates for Roll Bars program will save lives and reduce serious injuries in Vermont as farmers step forward to participate in the program,” says Dean of UVM Extension Doug Lantagne. “Rollover protection devices on tractors are highly effective in protecting farmers if they take the steps to install and use them on their equipment.” A roll bar and seatbelt are 99 percent effective in preventing death and serious injury in the event of a rollover.
“Our farmers are the backbone of our economy and communities,” says Secretary Allbee. “The work they do
provides us with fresh, quality foods and milk and maintains our open, working landscape that we as
Vermonters enjoy every day and that draws visitors to our state each year. But there are many inherent risks that our farmers face everyday. The Vermont Rebates for Roll Bars program helps to mitigate the risks of tractor rollovers and will certainly help to decrease injuries on the farm. Leading sponsor, Cooperative Insurance Companies, has committed $45,000 to the program over the next three years. UVM Extension is seeking additional funding from other public and private sources.
Vermont tractor owners may call toll-free 877-ROPS-R4U (877-767-7748) for more information or to register for a rollover kit.
Snow storage under or near power lines creates a serious risk to employees and the
general public. The Vermont Department of Labor, in conjunction with Vermont electric
utilities provides the following precautions to prevent serious injury or death.
Typical overhead power lines in Vermont are not insulated and are between 7,200 and
69,000 volts. If you pile snow under or near the power line you create a potential
electrical hazard that could seriously injure, burn or kill a person. Maintain a minimum
10 foot clear distance between the workers, their tools and equipment including snow
removal equipment and overhead power lines up to 50,000 volts. Over 50,000 volts
maintain a minimum clear distance of 10 feet plus 4 inches per every additional 10,000
Snow Removal near or under power lines should be a thought out planned process with
Safety the #1 concern. For Specific Safe Snow Removal Practices Near or Under Utility
Power Lines contact your local electric power company.