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February 24, 2016

January 2016 OSHA Fines Total $1.5 Million

OSHA proposed just 11 significant fines in January, totaling $1.53 million. Common citations included fall hazards, machine guarding and lockout / tagout violations. Here are details from some cases, which may still be pending final decisions.

$188,760 and SVEP for fall hazards at a Massachusetts contractor

fall protection required
OSHA inspectors found employees risked falls of more than 26 feet from an unguarded roof and an improperly constructed and erected ladder-jack scaffold. Additional hazards found at the site included lack of safe access to the roof and scaffold, not inspecting the scaffold and its components for defects, failing to remove nails and debris from the work area and lack of head protection and safety glasses. The company has a history of OSHA violations, and was cited for two willful, seven repeat and seven serious violations.

$171,870 for willful amputation hazards at an Alabama auto parts manufacturer

The company received one willful, five repeated, 10 serious and one other-than-serious safety violations including failure to develop, document and utilize specific procedures to prevent multiple types of machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing. Citations include failure to provide locks to secure robots from accidentally activating during maintenance and servicing; exposing workers to slipping hazards from wet floors and amputation hazards from unguarded machinery. Additionally, the employer failed to develop a noise-monitoring program and did not provide an eyewash station for workers that handled corrosive materials. Other violations include failing to provide workplace injury logs to OSHA within four hours.

EXIT$162,800 for exit route and other hazards at a Texas retail store

The retailer was cited for failing to keep exit routes clear and unobstructed and for failing to keep working space clear around the electrical panel. The company also received two repeat violations for failing to keep the store aisles clean and clear, and ensuring that portable fire extinguishers were mounted and accessible. One serious violation was issued for failing to clearly mark an exit route. 

$155,000 and SVEP for chemical and PPE hazards at a Texas seafood distributor

Following inspection of the plant's anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system, OSHA issued citations for 11 serious and three repeat violations and also placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. 11 serious violations include failing to: refit workers for hearing protection and training, test ammonia detectors and implement an emergency response plan for potential release of anhydrous ammonia, and provide annual fit tests for respirator use. Repeat violations were issued for varied Process Safety Management issues.

$152,460 and SVEP for fall, scaffold and PPE hazards at New Hampshire roofing company

hard hat area
A complaint of unsafe conditions at a roofing job led OSHA inspectors to find roofers working at heights over 20 feet without fall protection or proper ladder safeguards. Two days later, inspectors returned and found the same hazards again. As a result, OSHA cited two willful violations of workplace safety standards. OSHA issued repeat violations for failing to provide fall protection for employees working on scaffolds; Lack of hard hats and eye protection; Failure to guard the operating parts of an air compressor against contact. OSHA also issued four serious citations for: Scaffolding located too close to a live, 240-volt electrical line; Inadequate scaffold access; and Using ladders on scaffold platforms

$140,000 and SVEP after a trench collapse at a Pennsylvania bridge repair company

After an employee died in a trench collapse, OSHA investigators determined the employee was working inside a trench, approximately 12-15 feet deep, when the trench wall collapsed. The worker was in the trench shoveling soil off the base of an abutment wall because it was not reachable by an excavator. The company has an extensive OSHA history of violations dating back to the early 1970s.

Other fines proposed in January include:

  • $121,000 for machine guard / amputation hazards at an Ohio manufacturer
  • $119,000 for lockout / tagout violations and fall hazards at a New York recycling operation
  • $115,500 for repeated fall hazards at a Florida roofing company
  • $103,100 for explosion, amputation and fall hazards at an Alabama manufacturer
  • $100,000 for repeat safety hazards at an Georgia food processor
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