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December 15, 2016

Major OSHA Fines Total $2.3 Million in November 2016

In November, Federal OSHA investigators released information on 12 enforcement activities with proposed fines of $100,000 or more. These major fines totaled nearly $2.3 million. Fall protection and machine guards were common citations again this month. Here's some details on the top five fines. Many are still pending final decisions.


$526,633 and SVEP following a fatal engulfment at a Nebraska grain bin

Warning suffocation hazard
Working to clear crusted corn from the sides of a grain bin, an employee became engulfed after the wall of corn collapsed and buried him. Rescued by emergency crews, he died of his injuries two days later. OSHA investigators found multiple violations of grain handling standards at Prinz Grain & Feed's facility in West Point. The agency has placed Prinz in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program after finding the company failed to:
  • Issue confined space permits for entry into grain bins and pits
  • Test atmospheric conditions in grain bins and pits before allowing workers to enter
  • Provide training to employees on confined space entry
  • Implement procedures to prevent sudden machine start-up or unintentional operation, a process known as lockout/tagout
  • Provide rescue equipment suited for bin, silo or tanks being entered
  • Train workers in grain handling hazards
  • Issue "hot work" permits
  • Examine powered industrial vehicles prior to use
  • Provide protective equipment for the eyes and face
  • Provide training to employees on the hazard communication standard
View current safety and health citations.   Review grain bin safety tips.

$307,824 for repeat fall hazard violations by an Ohio roofer

OSHA initiated an inspection after receiving a complaint alleging that A&W Roofing employees were working without fall protection. The inspection was also part of the agency's local emphasis program focused on fall hazards in the construction industry.
Inspectors issued willful violations for failure to:
  • Provide fall protection to employees working 35 to 40 feet above the ground on a steep sloped roof
  • Ensure workers on the ground wore hardhats to prevent head injuries from falling objects while employees installed shingles above them
  • Ensure ladders were properly extended to prevent falls
  • Serious violations were issued for not having an effective safety and health program and not providing fall protection training. The company has received similar violations five times in the past two years.
See the citations. (pdf)

$185,194 for willful, repeat fall hazard violations by a Rhode Island roofing company

fall protection trained
OSHA inspectors observed M&M Roofing employees working with inadequate fall protection. The employees were wearing safety harnesses but the harnesses were not connected to any anchor. Inspectors returned twice in the next few days and again found workers' safety harnesses unattached to anchors to prevent them from falling. OSHA cited the company for:
  • One willful violation for inadequate fall protection.
  • Three repeat violations for not training employees about fall hazards; ladders that did not extend at least 3 feet above the next level for required stability; and unguarded open holes in the roof.
  • Two serious violations for inadequate ladder safety training for employees and lack of eye or face protection for employees working with pneumatic nail guns and a leaf blower used for cleaning debris.


$159,631 for machine, silica, fall, noise and other hazards at an Ohio manufacturer

Acting on a complaint, OSHA inspectors found Railtech Boutet Inc. routinely exposed workers to amputation risks and other serious injuries as they serviced and maintained industrial core machine mixers. The company failed to develop lockout/tagout procedures. In addition to the machine hazards, inspectors found the company failed to:
  • Conduct air monitoring for contaminants such as silica
  • Implement a hearing conservation program
  • Install gates and guardrails to prevent falls at ladderway openings and around dangerous equipment.
  • Guard operating parts of mixing equipment
  • Cover electrical junction boxes, unused openings in circuit breaker panels
  • Install an eyewash station near corrosive material
  • Develop a hazard communication program and train employees about hazardous materials in use
  • Store flammable liquid properly

$152,147 for confined space violations after fumes sicken two workers in Louisiana

confined space test atmosphere
An inspection was conducted after two employees of Don M. Barron Contractor lost consciousness and collapsed. The workers were exposed to hazardous gas while entering a sewer system. The company allowed the workers inside a confined space without having tested the space for hazards. OSHA issued citations for six serious violations and one willful violation, including failing to maintain gas testing meters and rescue equipment, and for not training all employees in confined space entry. See the citations. (pdf)

Other major OSHA fines announced in November:

$146,979 for machine guarding hazards after an amputation at an Ohio bakery
$142,865 for exposing workers to dangerous, potentially deadly falls at a Florida contractor
$141,811 for training and machine guarding hazards following a fatality at a New York tree service
$131,836 for multiple, repeat machine safety violations at an Ohio auto glass plant
$124,710 for repeat amputation hazards at an Arkansas steel wire company
See citations. (pdf)
$124,709 for willful violations after a fatal fall at a Washington marine cargo handling company
$117,579 for more blocked exits at an Ohio Dollar General store
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