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March 17, 2014

Top OSHA Fines Reach $2.7 Million in February 2014

OSHA issued 14 6-figure citations in February with total proposed fines topping $2.68 million - including a single half-million fine for machine guarding violations. Repeat and willful violations contributed to the high dollar value of these fines, and machine guarding and LOTO were common citations. Here are some details of the cases. Most are still pending final decisions:
$560,000 for willful machine guard violations at Texas rubber manufacturer
  • Following an incident where a machine operator's arms were crushed, OSHA issued eight willful violations for failing to provide one or more methods of machine guarding to protect workers from hazards created by rotating parts while operating manual lathes and other equipment.
$290,000 and SVEP for training violations following drowning at Florida marine construction company
  • Three willful citations for the employer's failure to: Ensure workers performing underwater diving operations had adequate experience and training to perform the work safely; Provide employees engaged in diving operations with two-way voice communications for emergency assistance; Ensure the designated person-in-charge was trained and had experience with planning, performing and overseeing dive operations safely. This was the company's second fatality in five months.
  • 12 serious violations include failing to provide members of the dive team with CPR training; assess the hazards of underwater conditions to include tidal current, underwater obstructions, limited visibility and marine traffic; and inspect the air compressor, filters or regulators. OSHA also cited seven additional violations.
$279,400 and SVEP for combustible dust, amputation and other hazards at Georgia lumber manufacturer
  • Three willful safety violations failure to implement basic safety procedures that would prevent equipment from starting up or moving during maintenance; caught-in and crushing hazards from unguarded rotating chains and sprocket wheels; and electrical hazards.
  • Two repeat violations for improper housekeeping and unclosed electrical panels, as well as 17 serious safety and health violations, many related to improper lockout/tagout program.

$207,000 for amputation and laceration hazards at Georgia auto parts manufacturer
  • 11 serious safety and health violations for failure to prevent compressed air from being used for cleaning without a means to regulate the pressure; unprotected hot pipes and fittings; failing to develop and implement written lockout/tagout procedures for machinery repair; ensure unblocked exit routes; and develop and implement a hazard communication program for those exposed to formaldehyde.
  • Three repeat violations for exposure to amputation and laceration hazards stemming from a lack of guarding on machine parts, and an additional citation for failing to train temporary workers.
$187,000 and SVEP for repeat machine guarding and other violations at Texas trailer manufacturer
  • Five repeat violations for failing to guard the point of operation on a press brake; close unused openings on electrical panel cabinets; ensure that flexible cords were connected to devices and fittings; ensure workers are not exposed to concentrations of iron oxide fumes in excess of 8-hours; and protect workers from exposure to airborne concentrations of particulates while working in the abrasive blasting and powder coating area.
  • Three serious violations were issued for failing to ensure that cranes with broken safety latches were repaired or removed from service and failing to ensure that powered industrial trucks in need of repair were removed from service.
$163,240 for 26 varied safety violations at Pennsylvania foundry
  • Seven repeat violations included open-sided floors and platforms that were not guarded with standard railings and other safety features; permanent, durable identification was not affixed to alloy steel slings; pulleys were not properly guarded; sprocket wheels and chains were not enclosed; electrical hazards; and pull and junction boxes and fittings were not provided with approved covers.
  • 16 serious violations include: struck-by, fall, amputation, electrical and tripping hazards; Employees operating unrepaired cranes; Lack of frequent and periodic crane inspections and records; Platforms without standard railings and flights of stairs unequipped with at least one handrail; Employees accessing different structure levels without fixed stairs and ladders; Failing to ensure that loads transported by forklifts were secure; Rated load not plainly marked on each side of a crane, and pendant control boxes not clearly marked with identification of functions; and no preventive maintenance program based on the crane manufacturer's recommendation.
$155,430 for machine guarding, electrical and other hazards at Illinois plating company.
  • Five repeat violations involve: Lack of machine guarding on rotating parts; Failing to use relocatable power taps, in accordance with labeling; Not closing unused openings in electrical boxes; Using electrical outlet boxes that were missing basic safety features; Failing to maintain dry walking and working surfaces.
  • Twenty serious citations included unsafe electrical work practices; inadequate machine guarding on table saws, motors, pulleys and belts; and lack of hazardous energy control procedures, using ladders without secure footing and not having an emergency exit for employees in one area of the facility.
$144,000 for cave-in hazards at Massachusetts utilities contractor already in SVEP
  • Two willful citations for workers installing water mains in a trench 6' 8" deep with no cave-in protection and a ladder to exit. Workers were also exposed to falling debris that accumulated above the trench, resulting in one serious citation. The same willful violations were cited in Dec. 2010, and the company has been in the SVEP since 2011.
$138,600 and SVEP for repeat training and LOTO violations at Georgia manufacturer
  • Repeat violations include failing to provide workers with LOTO training and not using a group lockout procedure for each worker to prevent equipment startup; Not including all confined spaces in its workplace evaluation; and failure to utilize a specific written energy control procedure for an area where employees were required to clean debris.
  • Serious violations involve failure to conduct annual inspections of the energy control procedures; exposing workers to caught-in hazards by not locking out all of the energy sources on equipment; and not accounting for all workers before removing locks and energizing equipment that was undergoing maintenance and servicing.
$126,000 and SVEP for willful machine guarding violations at Florida wire mesh manufacturer
  • Eight willful citations include failing to guard machines and assure that machines were shut down with hazardous sources of energy locked or tagged out prior to servicing.
  • 22 serious violations include: floor cluttered with broken pallets; electrical outlet left on the ground wrapped in tape; and a health violation for a bathroom sink that had been clogged for months.
  • One repeat violation for failing to administer an effective hearing conservation program., and four other-than-serious safety and health violations for failing to: mark exits, assure crane operation safety and develop an effective respirator program for employees required to wear respirators.
$112,000 for process safety and chemical hazards at Kansas film plant
  • 17 serious process safety management violations include: failing to update and complete a thorough process hazard analysis; resolve previous process hazard analysis action items; compile and implement written procedures for mechanical integrity; and implement a management-of-change program and provide training for the process safety management manual.
  • Two other serious violations involve exposing workers to fall hazards and failure to provide personal protective equipment.
$109,000 for serious and repeat safety violations at Connecticut wire manufacturer
  • Repeat violations include: failing to train maintenance personnel on the practices of using PPE for electric shock, arc flashes or arc blasts; use fixed wiring, rather than extension cords, to power equipment and prevent blocked access to an electrical disconnect; provide designated workers with annual hands-on fire extinguisher training; and review the hazardous energy control program annually to prevent machine startup during maintenance.
  • Fifteen new serious citations include: failing to prevent the plant electrician from working on live electrical equipment before it was deenergized; provide a program to inspect the hydrogen piping systems for defects or hazards; inspect protective gloves every six months; and store flammable chemicals properly; failing to dispose of flammable rags properly; provide a written chemical hazard communication program; label hazardous chemical containers; guard moving machine parts; prevent excess air pressure for a cleaning hose; provide protective goggles while operating a cleaning hose; provide eye protection for those working with corrosive chemicals; periodically inspect slings used to lift dies; and additional electrical hazards.
$106,650 for machine guarding, PPE, fire hazards at Alabama lumber company
  • Twenty-one serious violations involve failing to provide workers with locks to prevent equipment startup while they were working in and around machinery; provide seat belts on powered industrial equipment and require their usage; and no emergency eyewash and body-wash stations for workers handling corrosive materials.
  • Additionally, the employer exposed workers to noise in excess of the established limits and to amputation and struck-by hazards from unguarded equipment.
$106,000 for machine guarding, other violations at Wisconsin metal stamping plant
  • One willful violation for lack of machine guarding on a metalworking machine, which exposed workers to amputation hazards, and seven serious citations were issued for lack of machine guarding; inadequate lockout/tagout procedures, training and failing to certify periodic inspections of energy control procedures.
  • Six other-than-serious violations involve failing to inspect slings prior to use; lack of employee training on bloodborne pathogens initially and annually; failing to certify powered industrial truck training records; and failing to perform pre-shift inspections of forklifts. Additionally, forklift nameplates were not legible.

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