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November 6, 2013

Top OSHA Fines in October Exceed $1.2 million

Following the October government shutdown, it looks like OSHA came back with a vengeance. Of 15 published violations in October, eight include proposed fines above $100,000, for a total of more than $1.2 million.

$280,880 for Varied Safety Hazards at New Hampshire Construction Site
Employers from 5 states cited for cave-in, scaffold, electrical, fall and other hazards.
Caution Wear Mask, Danger Wear Respirator
  • 31 willful, serious and repeat violations of workplace safety standards related to cave-in, fall, scaffold collapse, crushing, lead and electrocution hazards. One willful citation, with a $49,500 fine, was issued for allowing a worker to wear a tight-fitting respirator over facial hair while the worker removed lead-containing paint. workers in two excavations that lacked cave-in protection; exposing workers to scaffold collapses due to an inadequately braced scaffold.
  • Serious citations included: assembling and using cranes on unstable ground; a 100-foot fall hazard through an unguarded wall opening; failing to train workers to install fall protection systems; allowing workers to be close to an energized electrical panel; uncovered and unlabeled floor holes; not performing air monitoring and determining lead exposure levels when removing lead-containing paint; not keeping work areas clear of debris; defective rigging equipment; unguarded grinders; failing to protect workers against loose rocks falling into the excavation hole; overloaded outriggers; storing excess supplies on a scaffold and lack of toeboards; exposed live electrical wiring, unlabeled electrical panels and not closing unused electrical cabinet openings effectively; arc flash and blast hazards; not ensuring use of personal protective equipment.
$153,900 for LOTO, Confined Space, Dust and Noise Hazards at New Jersey Concrete Company
  • The willful violation, with a $63,000 penalty, for lack of an established lockout/tagout program.
  • Sixteen serious violations include failure to evaluate the workplace for permit-required confined spaces; failure to provide employee training on energy control procedures; no monitoring, testing or training related to noise exposure above 85 decibels; no respiratory protection program; and silica exposure violations.
$147,600 for Machine Guard Amputation Hazards, LOTO at Ohio Manufacturer
  • One willful violation for failing to guard two mechanical power presses, which created amputation hazards.
  • 15 serious violations include failing to periodically inspect energy control procedures; provide sufficient energy control procedures; train workers in lockout/tagout procedures to control unexpected equipment energization; guard mechanical power presses and riveters; conduct periodic inspections of presses; and train workers on the safe operation of presses.
  • Additional violations involve failing to train and evaluate safe operation of powered industrial trucks; establish safe clearance around electrical boxes; lockout circuits during maintenance to prevent exposure to live electricity; and maintain written de-energizing procedures.
$140,000 and SVEP for Fatal Grain Handling Violations at Wisconsin Ethanol Plant
  • A fatal grain engulfment occurred when a worker entered a grain bin to unclog a floor chute and corn began to flow. The bin held about 140,000 bushels of corn at the time of the incident. A willful violation was cited for failing to lockout conveyors used to empty grain bins, which exposed the worker to the engulfment hazard.
  • Five serious violations of grain handling standards include: failing to guard floor chute openings; prevent exposure to moving grain hazards; prevent workers from entering bins when engulfment hazards exist; and failure to have an observer oversee entry procedures and to certify that all bin entry requirements had been implemented.
  • Seven serious violations of Process Safety Management standards include failing to develop emergency shutdown procedures for the ethanol distillation process; perform inspections and tests on control systems; perform storage of incompatible chemicals in close proximity; and annually certify that operating procedures for the distillation process were current and accurate and to correct deficiencies noted in June 2010 compliance audits.
136,400 for Failure to Abate Silica Dust at Ohio Manufacturer
  • The company failed to abate eight violations cited in 2012, including not implementing engineering controls to prevent exposure to respirable dust containing silica in excess of permissible limits. Other violations include failing to verify workplace hazard assessment; establish an energy control program; provide training on personal protective equipment and fire extinguisher use; and provide workers with information on hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Several electrical safe work practice violations involve failing to mark electrical equipment with ratings, voltage and wattage; use of non-weatherproof enclosures on switches in wet locations; and using portable electrical equipment and cords in areas where workers are likely to contact water or conductive liquids.
  • Two serious violations include failing to provide appropriate respirators and individual exposure records.
$115,400 for LOTO, Fork Truck, Other Training at New Jersey Steel Company
  • Despite previous citations, the company failed to develop and implement a written lockout/tagout program; didn't require fork truck operators to have performance evaluations at least once every three years; and train workers to use portable fire extinguishers.
  • One repeat violation was cited for lack of machine guarding on a press brake.
$115,000 and SVEP for Repeat LOTO, Safety Log and Machine Guarding at Ohio Fabric Plant
  • Three repeat violations cited involve LOTO procedures, periodic inspections of energy control procedures OSHA injury record logs. The same violations were cited in October 2011 at another company location.
  • Seven serious violations include failing to ensure adequate machine guarding, affix locking devices to energy isolation points, ensure adequate training on the control of hazardous energy and provide fire extinguisher training.
$113,400 for Confined Space Violations at Arkansas Trucking Company
  • One willful violation for failing to maintain air monitoring equipment and evaluate permit-required confined space conditions prior to entry.
  • Seven serious violations include: failing to guard open floor holes; failing to stabilize a work platform and use railings or posts to prevent fall hazards; and train workers on confined spaces and hazard communications; failure to implement respirator, confined space and hazard communications programs.

Read more about these and other fines at the OSHA Newsroom.
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