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June 19, 2015

OSHA Issues 20 Fines for $3.8 Million in May

danger keep hands clear of machine
OSHA released details on 20 significant fines in May, 2015. Proposed fines total $3.8 million, compared to $2.8 million for just 17 cases in April. The top five fines contributed about half of the total. Common citations included machine guarding, LOTO, grain bin and fall hazards. Here are some details:

$822,000 and SVEP for repeat machine guard violations at a Pennsylvania manufacturer

Following a July 2014 amputation incident, OSHA issued 10 willful violations based on the company's repeated failure to guard machines and to provide annual audiometric tests.
Additionally, OSHA cited three willful, four serious, and seven other-than-serious violations for electrical hazards, noise protection, and recordkeeping violations. Despite numerous federal inspections, warnings, fines and promises to stop putting workers at risk, the company has experienced some 40 serious injuries since 2000. These injuries include serious lacerations as well as crushed, fractured, dislocated and amputated fingers. Since 2000, OSHA has issued more than $1 million in fines to the company.
Read the citations here and here (pdf).

$477,900 and SVEP for 50 repeat and serious LOTO and health violations at an Oklahoma manufacturer

lockout tagout safety tagsOSHA cited five repeat and 45 serious violations on a range of health and safety issues, including inadequate protection of workers from machinery, a lack of respiratory equipment and training for hazardous chemicals. The company had no procedure to prevent machines from starting during maintenance or service, and failed to maintain written fire protection and emergency management plans. OSHA levied a $218,500 penalty for the repeated violations, and an additional $259,400 for the serious violations. Citations can be viewed here and here (pdf).

$223,454 and SVEP after a diver fatality with an Indiana pond cleaning company

OSHA reviewed the death of a 23-year-old diver who drowned in 2014 when his air supply depleted while SCUBA diving. Inspectors found the employer failed to provide the worker with a reserve air tank, line-tending and continuous visual contact. OSHA identified two willful, four repeated and 11 serious safety violations by the company. Divers were not provided with two way communication devices, a guard at the end of a suction hose, a standby diver, and depth gauges for surface-supplied air. The company failed to assess conditions before diving operations began and provide a safe practices manual and did not train the dive team in CPR, pressure test hoses or maintain equipment. It also failed to provide a manual resuscitation mask, first-aid equipment or quick-release dive weight belts. This is the second such accident in 5 years.
View current citations here and here (pdf).

$193,200 and SVEP following a grain bin fatality in Wisconsin

do not enter this bin while it is being loaded or unloadedIn November 2014, an experienced employee was trying to unclog a sump when he was engulfed by corn and died in a grain bin. After inspection, OSHA investigators identified two willful and eight serious safety violations at the dairy cooperative. The employer did not follow safety standards for entering grain bins; failed to deactivate a drag conveyor; and allowed the worker to be in the bin while the corn was moving. The company also violated confined space regulations by failing to have an attendant trained in confined space rescue while inside the grain bin. Confined space and energy control procedures were not implemented or enforced throughout the rest of the feed mill.
See current citations here.

$165,000 for repeat exit route citations at a Connecticut retailer

Following a complaint, OSHA inspectors found emergency exits and hallways blocked by store inventory with boxes unsafely stacked. Boxes were stored in a hallway leading from the retail space to an emergency exit, which reduced the exit to 23 inches of passable space. Required space for exits is a minimum of 28 inches. Additionally, the emergency exit routes were obstructed by piles of boxes as high as 10 feet. Boxes were stored unstably and could fall and injure workers. OSHA has conducted 37 inspections of company stores in the past five years and cited the retailer 12 times for similar hazards
Citations can be viewed here. An OSHA QuickCard with emergency exit route information is available here

$161,100 for toxic hazards at a Wisconsin storage tank manufacturer

Danger toxic chemicalsWorkers welding stainless steel and other alloy steels containing chromium metal at a Wisconsin bulk storage tank manufacturer were exposed to hazardous levels of hexavalent chromium. Following up on a complaint, OSHA inspectors identified two willful and 12 serious safety violations. The company failed to implement engineering controls to reduce and monitor exposure levels among workers and also found amputation and struck-by hazards because machines lacked safety mechanisms. Numerous electrical safety hazards were also identified, and workers were found operating damaged powered industrial vehicles.

$154,000 and SVEP for willful disregard of fall hazards after a fatality at a Florida roofing contractor

A Florida roofer crashed through a skylight without an adequate safety cage and plunged more than 24 feet to the ground below. He was admitted to an area hospital in critical condition and later died of his injuries. OSHA issued two willful citations for allowing employees to work at heights greater than 6 feet without guardrails or fall protection and for not installing protective systems on the skylights. Two serious citations were issued for failing to ensure the edge of the roof was marked and for not installing skylight protection systems capable of supporting a worker's fall.

$152,200 for fall and other hazards at a Florida construction site

safety belt and lifeline requiredOSHA inspections found repeated and serious safety violations at a condo construction site, resulting in fines against nine contractors involved in the build. Citations included: not protecting workers from falling from heights up to 35 feet; poor housekeeping; not maintaining an accident prevention program; not providing fall protection; improper ladder use; allowing employees to work without head protection and eye protection; failing to cover exposed rebar ends; failing to install a handrail on a stairway; not developing a hazard communication program when employees were working with products that contained silica dust; allowing workers to access a landing that was not protected with a guardrail system; not ensuring the scaffolding system was fully planked; exposing employees to a 23-foot fall from an aerial lift; and permitting employees to work from a scaffold without fall protection.

Other Fines Included:
  • $147,000 for PPE violations after arc flash burns at a New York steel plant
  • $134,000 for amputation hazards at an Ohio hose manufacturing plant
  • $125,030 for unsafe scaffolding by five contractors at a Georgia worksite
  • $122,100 for blocked emergency exits at a Delaware discount retailer
  • $121,000 for blocked exits, stacked boxes at same retail chain in Illinois
  • $121,000 following a fatal mezzanine collapse at a New Jersey demolition site
  • $118,400 for fall hazards at an Ohio metal component manufacturer
  • $114,100 for machine and amputation hazards at an Illinois stamping plant
  • $114,000 for electrical hazards at a Texas propane facility
  • $109,900 for machinery, chemical and fire hazards at an Illinois tube manufacturing plant
  • $106,400 for lack of PPE that led to a fatality at a Missouri electrical manufacturer
  • $102,900 for grain bin dangers, other hazards at an Ohio grain elevator
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