Borough receives OSHA citation for chemical labeling

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information including the details of the OSHA citation and discussion of the citations with borough employees.” 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough purchased access to an online system for chemical safety information after a fire station failed a safety inspection.

After an Aug. 26, 2014 Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection showed deficiencies in the Bear Creek volunteer fire station, the borough faced a fine and a citation for insufficient Hazard Communication and for failing to install a railing on the edges of a raised platform. Alaska Occupational Safety and Health issued two fines — $700 for the railing, $525 for the Hazard Communication, for a total of $1,225.

The Material Safety Data Sheets that the borough is required to maintain, which describe the dangerous qualities of chemicals such as bleach, were incomplete, resulting in the Hazard Communication fine. Safety Director Brian Smith said the issue occurred because the fire department was still in transition between facilities after its relocation into a new building in May 2014.

No accidents had been reported at the Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Department facility because of the railing, according to OSHA data. Both the fines were deleted and the citations revoked in March 2015.

Hazard Communication is the most commonly cited issue for Alaska waste disposal issues, and the second more commonly cited in all inspections nationally after Fall Protection, according to OSHA. Violations can occur when information on a hazardous material is incomplete, missing or unclear. It has been a consistently highly-cited violation, according to Scott Ketcham, area director of the Anchorage Area Office of OSHA. The requirements have been revised several times to make it clearer to employees, and OSHA now requires pictograms and 16 specific sections of explanation on hazardous materials to make it easier for employees to understand the risk.

The department revised the standards most recently in 2012. Ketcham said the update is expected to communicate more effectively with workers of low literacy because of the pictograms and to save employers money from fewer accidents and resulting worker’s compensation and time off.

“Hazard Communication citations within OSHA have been consistently in the top 10 most commonly cited hazards issued nationwide for many years,” Ketcham said. “I have been in OSHA for almost 20 years and it has been in the top 10 every year I have been in OSHA.”

However, the citation inspired the borough to purchase an online system to increase the availability of the MSDS information. The borough authorized the purchase of a program called MSDSOnline in July for $9,624 in 2015 and $8,749 in both 2016 and 2017 to be implemented throughout the borough and the school district. 

Borough employees and Kenai Peninsula Borough School District employees will be able to view the chemicals stored at each location and the related MSDS.The borough is currently working on constructing a compliance structure for the material recording before implementing the program, according to Smith. Once up and running, the program will eliminate paper and make communication easier from the central offices to the outer parts of the borough, he said.

“Because the borough is so geographically spread out, the program allows us from a central office to see every location,” Smith said.

 

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer speaks during a press conference announcing the administration’s push for changes to the state’s election system on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kevin Goodman, State of Alaska)
Just 2 Alaska lieutenant governor candidates say 2020 presidential vote was fair

Alaska’s lieutenant governor will oversee the 2024 presidential election

Kenai Peninsula School District Superintendent Clayton Holland stand near the entrance to the district’s Soldotna offices on Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Academics, staff recruitment among district priorities for upcoming school year

The superintendent is ready to see KPBSD return to the district’s pre-COVID-19 academic performance

Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)
Personal use harvest reports due Monday

Northern Kenai fishing report

Evelyn Cooley competes in the barrel race at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Aug. 12, 2022, in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Music, magic, daredevils and pigs

Kenai Peninsula Fair brings an assortment of activities to Ninilchik

Signs direct voters at the Kenai No. 3 precinct on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)
Signs direct voters at the Kenai No. 3 precinct for Election Day on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Local candidates report support from state PACs

Labor unions and the National Education Association are among the groups putting money into Kenai Peninsula state election races

Signs and examples on the recycling super sack at the Cook Inletkeeper Community Action Studio show which plastics are desired as part of the project in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 11, 2022. Plastics from types 1, 2, 4 and 5 can be deposited.(Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Local nonprofit accepting plastics for synthetic lumber project

The super sack receptacles can be found on either side of Soldotna

This July 28, 2022, photo shows drag queen Dela Rosa performing in a mock election at Cafecito Bonito in Anchorage, Alaska, where people ranked the performances by drag performers. Several organizations are using different methods to teach Alaskans about ranked choice voting, which will be used in the upcoming special U.S. House election. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Groups get creative to help Alaska voters with ranked voting

Organizations have gotten creative in trying to help voters understand how to cast their ballot, as the mock election featuring drag performers shows

A school bus outside of Kenai Central High School advertises driver positions on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Staff shortage, gas prices change school bus routes

The changes do not apply to the district’s special education students

The cast of “Tarzan” rides the Triumvirate Theatre float during the Independence Day parade in downtown Kenai, Alaska on Monday, July 4, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
The show goes on as Triumvirate seeks funding for new theater

The troupe has staged shows and events and is looking to debut a documentary as it raise funds for new playhouse

Most Read