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April 5, 2014

Top OSHA Fines Total Just $612k in March 2014

OSHA issued just four 6-figure citations in March, including some repeat and willful violations. Common citations included machine guarding, lead hazards and fall protection. Here are some details of the cases. Most are still pending final decisions:
$264,360 for 50 safety and health violations at an Atlanta food processor
  • Danger AmmoniaA direct employer and two staffing companies were cited for a variety of violations, including inadequate training for safe ammonia handling, unguarded machines and platforms, damaging noise levels, failure to provide properly fitted PPE, failure to follow the OSHA Process Safety Management Standard, blocked and mismarked exits in hazardous areas, failure to train workers on lockout/tagout procedures, and exposing workers to electrical hazards.
$119,000 for dangerous levels of lead and serious fall hazards at an Ohio building restoration site
  • Danger Renovation Work Contains LeadOSHA initiated an inspection after receiving a referral from a health care provider that found high levels of lead in blood samples from employees. Two companies were issued willful violations for failing to conduct initial exposure monitoring to determine if employees were exposed to lead above the permissible level and failing to provide respiratory protection and personal protective clothing as interim protection before an initial lead exposure assessment was conducted.
  • 15 serious violations included failure to ensure workers wore protective clothing; train workers on lead hazards; provide changing areas and adequate hand-washing stations; and implement a written lead compliance program. The company was also cited for failing to develop a respiratory protection program and to provide fall protection for employees that were working at heights of approximately 13 feet.
$117,000 for machine guarding and fall protection violations at an Ohio flour mill
  • Caution Anyone entering tanks must wear safety beltsThree repeat violations include lack of machine guarding, failing to provide all required information on OSHA injury and illness logs, and exposing workers to falls greater than 7 feet.
  • Ten serious safety citations were also issued for inadequate machine guarding near moving machinery, shafts, fans, pulleys and chains. Other violations included failing to provide fall protection for workers retrieving samples from bins, not marking exits, inadequate forklift training and failing to have covers in place on an electrical junction box.
$112,000 and SVEP for willful amputation hazards at Ohio boiler manufacturer
  • Warning Do not operate without guardsThe company required employees to operate two press brakes and a horizontal boring machine where the machine guards had been removed, resulting in two willful citations for lack of machine guarding. Investigation showed the company had removed the installed guarding.
OSHA may have had a low-dollar month in March, but it started April with a bang, including $2.3 million in fines for asbestos and lead violations at a NY work site that knowingly exposed workers to asbestos and lead (more details next month).
OSHA has created a Stop Falls Web page at with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.

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