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May 8, 2013

OSHA Issued $2.5m of Fines in April

Last month OSHA issued 34 fines averaging $72,000 each, for a total of nearly $2.5 million. That's down from the March total of nearly $3.2 million. Seven April fines were 6-figure amounts. Machine Guarding and Fall Protection were common citations, and several companies received "willful" violations.

1. $589,000 for Machine Guarding:

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  • Seven willful violations for machine guarding, including failing to guard blades of slitter machines and nip points of feed tables.
  • Three repeat violations for machine guarding and the other for lack of fire extinguishers.

2. $219,000 for Machine Guarding, LOTO:
  • Four repeats, including one for machine guarding, and three for LOTO, including lack of lockout tagout program and safety training.
3. $175,000 for Machine Guarding violations, resulting in death:
  • Two willfuls for machine guarding, including exposing workers to struck-by, pinned-under and burned-by hazards from hot metal racks and hot aluminum products weighing up to 8,000 pounds, and failing to provide safe clearance for workers operating in ovens where aluminum extrusions are treated.
4. $133,000 for Emergency Response and Process Safety Management violations following accidental ammonia release:
  • Inadequate process safety management program, including failure to develop safe operating procedures for the refrigeration system, adequately inspect its preventive maintenance procedures for refrigeration piping and storage vessels, and implement an emergency response plan.
5. $121,480 for Fall Protection, Power Tools, PPE violations (roofing fall protection):
  • One willful: Failure to provide and/or ensure proper use of fall protection.
  • Three repeats, including lack of fall protection training, failing to extend ladders at least 3 feet above landing surface, and power tools— letting workers use pneumatic nail guns without eye and face protection.
6. $115,500 for Fall Protection violations following a fall that paralyzed a worker:
  • Three willful violations for failure to ensure the integrity of the roof structure, not providing and ensuring proper use of fall protection, and lack of fall protection training.
7. $110,440 for Trenching / Excavation and PPE violations:
  • Three willfuls for failure to provide adequate cave-in protection to workers in excavations deeper than 5 feet.
  • Three repeat violations for failure to provide excavation safety training, establish a safety and health program, and ensure that workers exposed to struck-by hazards wear head protection.
In March, OSHA issued six 6-figure fines totaling nearly $1.3 million. PPE violations were a common theme, contributing to two-thirds of cases and $618,000 of the top fines.

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