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April 3, 2013

OSHA Fines in March 2013 - Six 6-figure Fines for PPE

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A review of news releases posted at OSHA.gov shows OSHA issued six 6-figure fines in March totaling nearly $1.3 million. PPE violations were a common theme, contributing to two-thirds of cases and $618,000 of these top fines. Here are some details of the cases, which are still pending final decisions:

1. $369,000 for Machine Guarding, Electrical, Lead violations:
  • Six repeat safety violations were cited for failing to mount and identify fire extinguishers, provide machine guarding, ensure safe work practices when exposed to electrical hazards, ground pins from electrical equipment, and train workers on recognizing electrical hazards. Two repeat health violations were cited for lead exposure
  • 18 serious violations were cited for lack of machine guarding; improper storage of acetylene and oxygen cylinders; electrical hazards; lack of load ratings on hook lifting devices; allowing operators to carry loads traveling over people creating a struck-by hazard; improper storage of respirators; failing to provide appropriate personal protective equipment and require its use; and keep the tables in the lunch room clean and free of lead accumulation.
2. $281,100 for Boiler violations resulting in 2 deaths:


  • Six repeat citations were cited for failing to ensure that boiler equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices; ensure operating procedures addressed consequences of deviation from operating limits, including steps to avoid deviation from operating limits; provide training at least every three years on the practice of igniting boiler burners; establish and implement written procedures for testing and inspecting the shutdown and gas train interlocks for the boiler; and implement a management of change procedure when modifying boiler operating procedures.
  • 15 serious citations include failing to ensure the process safety information includes equipment design codes and standards; failing to ensure the process hazard analysis addressed purging the boiler burner firebox; and loss of burner pilot/flame, prolonged fuel gas flow and failing to develop and implement operating procedures that address initial start-up of the boiler burner.
3. $184,500 for PPE, other violations:
  • Two willful violations, with a $112,500 penalty, include not providing and enforcing the use of protective gloves when workers handle products containing nicotine and eye protection when handling corrosive chemicals and concentrated nicotine.
  • Sixteen serious violations, carrying $72,000 in penalties, include failing to select and require appropriate hand protection for workers exposed to toxic chemicals, prohibit food consumption in toxic-exposed work areas.
4. $164,700 for Health, PPE, Electrical, Hazcom, LOTO, other violations:
  • 39 serious safety and health violations including electrical hazards, obstructed and improperly marked exit route, allowing employees to potentially be struck by traffic while transporting laundry bins from one building to another while crossing a public street; failing to provide a cover and guardrails for open pits; provide a handrail for the stairway; evaluate the workplace for permit-required confined spaces; post signs informing workers of confined spaces; and develop a written confined space permit program.
  • Other violations include failing to establish an energy control program for performing maintenance/servicing work; train power industrial truck operators; take powered industrial trucks in need of repair out-of-service; insulate or cover steam pipes less than 7 feet from the floor; properly guard machines; implement a hearing conservation program for workers exposed to noise levels at 88 and 89 decibels; ensure safety goggle usage; provide an unblocked eyewash station; develop a written hazard communication program; and provide hazard communication training.
5. $160,000 for Hearing Conservation, PPE, Confined Spaces, LOTO, other violations:
  • 37 serious safety and health violations cited involve failing to establish an audiometric testing program; protect propane tanks from vehicular traffic; provide personal protective equipment for employees; conduct monthly inspections of self-contained breathing apparatuses; evaluate hazards in the workplace to determine if any spaces were permit required confined spaces; identify mechanical hazards in the offal pits prior to employees entering; provide training for employees entering offal pits; develop energy control procedures for augers, chillers, scalders, cookers and dumpers; and provide lockout/tagout training of energy sources to all affected workers. Other violations include obstructing exit routes, not having exit signs visible, a lack of machine guarding on several pieces of equipment and exposing workers to shock, struck-by, burn, crushing, tripping, falling, slipping and amputation hazards.
  • Six other-than-serious safety and health violations include failing to post the approved floor load capacity for the parts supply area above the maintenance office; post not-an-exit sign in the evisceration room and steam cook area; have cover plates on electrical boxes; allow a metal duplex receptacle and flexible cord to be used instead of permanent wiring; and not labeling containers of chlorinated sanitizer and refrigeration oil.
6. $108,900 for Respiratory Protection, PPE, Hazcom violations:
  • Repeat violations, with fines of $74,250, include failing to train, fit-test and provide medical fitness evaluations for workers who wear respirators, provide hazard communication training and certify that a hazard assessment had been conducted to determine what personal protective equipment was needed to perform the work safely.
  • Seven serious violations, with fines of $34,650, were cited for failing to conduct initial noise monitoring and administer a hearing conservation program for workers exposed to high noise levels; provide employees with eye and hand protection when working with chemicals; determine hexavalent chromium exposure levels; provide protective clothing and information to workers exposed to hexavalent chromium; train forklift operators; and provide fire-resistant shields during welding operations.
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