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October 17, 2016

OSHA Issues $4.7 Million of Major Fines in September 2016

Keep guards in place
Federal OSHA investigators issued $4.7 million in 23 major fines in September, up from $3.7 million in August. Fall protection, machine guarding and lockout/tagout citations were common, and Dollar General stores make the list once again. Here are some details of the top citations (over $100,000) reported in September, which may still be pending final decisions:

$704,000 and SVEP for fall, amputation, electrocution and other hazards at a Georgia auto parts plant
Acting on a complaint and as part of the Regional Emphasis Program on Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry, OSHA inspected HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc. and cited the company and a staffing agency it employs with 24 safety violations. The staffing agency had approximately 300 temporary employees assigned at the time of the inspection. OSHA issued 12 repeat citations for failure to:
  • Develop, implement and utilize written procedures to prevent machinery from starting-up during maintenance or servicing.
  • Conduct periodic inspections of the energy control procedures at least annually.
  • Train employees performing work on hazardous energy sources.
  • Protect employees from thermal skin burns due to contact with hot metallic surfaces.
  • Ensure the repair or replacement of electrical equipment for safe operational condition.
  • Protect workers from laceration and amputation hazards due to unguarded machine parts.
Inspectors also cited eight serious violations for exposing workers to fall hazards, not providing electrical protective equipment and failing to train workers about electrical hazards related to their activities. Four serious citations were issued for exposing workers to fall hazards, not providing training on hazardous energy sources, exposing employees to amputation, laceration and electrical live parts. Citations for the two companies can be viewed here and here.
$411,540 and SVEP following a suffocation at a Nebraska grain elevator
Never enter bin while equipment is operating sign
As he cleared soybean debris a 41-year-old elevator superintendent suffocated when his lifeline tangled in an unguarded and rotating auger. Cooperative Producers Inc. was cited for three egregious willful and three serious violations. From 2011 to 2015, federal inspectors cited the Nebraska farmer-owned cooperative and joint venture CPI-Lansing LLC six times for violating grain-handling safety standards. Investigators determined three workers, including the superintendent, had been standing over the unguarded auger using a pole in an attempt to dislodge soybean debris in a grain bin that contained more than 50,000 bushels of soybeans sloped 12 to 20 feet up its walls.
OSHA found that CPI failed to:
  • Disconnect a subfloor auger before allowing workers to enter.
  • Test atmospheric conditions in grain bins before allowing workers to enter.
  • Implement procedures to prevent sudden machine start-up or unintentional operation, a process known as lockout/tagout.
  • Install adequate machine guarding to avoid contact with moving parts.
View current citations here.

$338,881 for repeat forklift and electrical hazards by a Chicago airport cargo handler
For the third time in less than three years, forklift operators employed by Alliance Ground International were exposed to struck-by and electrical hazards. Acting on a complaint and as part of the agency's Regional Emphasis Program on Powered Industrial Vehicles, inspectors also found the company failed to:
  • Remove damaged forklifts from service.
  • Inspect forklifts on a shift-by-shift basis.
  • Use manufacturer recommended parts when repairing forklifts.
  • Maintain fully charged fire extinguishers.
  • Inspect fire extinguishers monthly.
  • Maintain electrical equipment to prevent employer exposure to open panels and exposed wiring.
View citations here.
$317,477 for willful health and safety hazards at a Pennsylvania chicken processor
OSHA initiated an inspection after receiving a report that a worker suffered a thumb amputation while operating a mixing machine at Birdsboro Kosher Farms. In its inspection, OSHA found a deficient system for protecting workers from the hazards associated with the unexpected start-up of machinery and issued the willful citations. The serious violations included uncovered floor holes, a deficient hearing conservation program, inadequate egress signage, the company's failure to secure compressed gas cylinders, a failure to provide sanitary personal protective equipment or specialty foot protection at no cost to employees, and failure to post permit-required confined space signs. View citations here and here.

$256,545 for fall hazards at a Cleveland auto parts plating facility
JFall Protection Requiredust weeks after a machine operator with no fall protection or PPE suffered third-degree chemical burns to his left foot after falling into an acid-etching tank, OSHA posted an imminent danger notice at A-Brite Plating when they found workers climbing atop the same acid tanks. A-Brite Plating failed to report the initial injury, as required. OSHA cited one willful and eight serious safety and health violations, including failure to: Develop a confined space program, despite requiring workers to climb into tanks to clean them on a routine basis; and Implement machine safety procedures to protect workers from operating parts during service and maintenance. View the current safety and health citations.

$218,502 additional fines for repeat electrical, crushing and respiratory hazards at a New York metal parts processor
OSHA inspected after the employer failed to provide evidence that they corrected violations cited during previous inspections. Inspectors found York Metal Toll Processing failed to:
  • Ensure electrical equipment used in a powder coat booth conformed with electrical standards.
  • Properly guard live electrical parts to prevent contact with energized circuits.
  • Safely remove powder coat via exhaust ducts to a powder recovery system.
  • Adequately train workers performing inspections and maintenance on power presses.
  • Inspect mechanical power presses.
  • Ensure lockout/ tag out procedures were specific to equipment in the facility.
  • Perform annual lockout/ tag out procedure inspections.
  • Train employees who wear respiratory equipment, and provide medical evaluations to ensure that they can wear a respirator safely.
  • Provide proper ventilation for welders working in spaces less than 10,000 cubic feet.
  • Inspect steel slings used for hoisting.
  • Maintain passageways and aisles in passable condition.
The citations can be viewed here, here, and here.
$218,244 for repeat machine hazards at an Ohio foundry
For the fifth time since 2013, investigators were called to an Ohio aluminum foundry to investigate a serious worker injury. OSHA cited the company for two repeat, and two serious violations of machine safety standards, as a result of the injury. General Aluminum allowed workers to service the mold table without powering it down or locking out machine parts to prevent workers from coming in contact with gravitational energy from moving machine parts. The company routinely failed to follow proper procedures to fully power down equipment to prevent sudden movement or starts from gravitational, hydraulic and electrical energy sources. View the current citations here.
$214,633 for 27 safety hazards at a West Virginia saw mill - despite 40 prior violations
Fasten seat belt when using forklift
OSHA issued the three willful, nine repeat, 12 serious and three other-than-serious violations to Wayne Lumber and Mulch. Inspectors cited willful violations for failure to properly guard a chop saw and provide standard railing and handrails.
The agency issued repeat citations including:
  • Lack of an effective hazard communication training plan.
  • Exposing employees to electrical hazards, inadequate machine guarding, lack of a conveyor or exhaust system to remove combustible sawdust and shavings.
  • Failing to have lockout/tagout procedures in place to prevent accidental machine start-up or movement.
  • Inspectors also identified several serious violations, including:
  • Exposing workers to crushing and rollover hazards while operating machinery without manufacturer-installed seatbelts.
  • Failing to provide employees with protection from falls up to 10 feet above the ground.
  • Not providing proper eye, hand and flashback protection, and barriers and warning signs.
  • Allowing workers to use damaged welding cables.
In addition, the agency issued other-than-serious citations for failure to report an employee amputation, provide educational training program for employees on firefighting and fire extinguisher use, and to place a valve protection cap on an acetylene bottle. View all the citations.
$212,629 for fall and other hazards by a Florida contractor
OSHA issued citations to Carlson Enterprises for two willful, one serious and one other-than-serious violation. OSHA initiated the inspection as part of its Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction. Willful citations were issued for failure to provide employees with a fall protection system when working at heights up to 9 feet and not ensuring employees wore eye protection equipment when using powered nail guns.
OSHA also issued a serious citation for not inspecting fall protection equipment for damage or other deterioration prior to using. View citations here.

$199,107 for willful fall hazard violations at two Florida construction sites
OSHA conducted two separate inspections of Chris Sawdo Construction job sites and observed employees installing roofing sheathing without fall protection, and initiated inspections under the agency's Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction.
OSHA issued two willful, one repeat and one serious safety violation for failure to protect workers with a fall protection system when working from heights up to 20 feet, not properly extending a roof access ladder above the landing surface, and failing to set-up a roof access ladder with the proper angle. OSHA has cited the employer previously six times since 2004 for willful, repeat and serious violations for a lack of fall protection and ladder safety. View citations here and here.

Other significant fines announced in September:

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