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February 22, 2017

Major OSHA Fines Total $2.8 Million in Mid January, 2017

Although no news releases have been issued by Federal OSHA since the January 20 presidential inauguration, the agency posted details on nine significant fines in the first half of that month. Proposed fines total more than $2.8 million, and common citations include machine guarding, lockout-tagout and fall protection. Here's some info on the investigations. Many are still pending final decisions.

$892,551 for wrongfully discharging an Amtrack safety inspector

Federal OSHA says Amtrak retaliated against a supervisory special agent in its inspector general's office by denying employment and terminating him after he raised concerns about railroad safety, fraud and abuse involving an Amtrak contractor and when he supported a fellow agent's safety concerns during an internal investigation.

"In this case, an employee was terminated for pursuing and reporting safety concerns. The employer's retaliation is unacceptable and illegal," says an OSHA administrator. OSHA has ordering corrective actions including:

  • Reinstate the employee
  • Pay him a total of $892,551: comprised of $723,332 in back wages; $34,218 in interest; $100,000 in punitive damages; $35,000 in compensatory damages; plus reasonable attorney's fees and costs
  • Post a notice to all railroad employees about their FRSA rights.
See more details.

$535,411 for willful medical, PPE and machine guard violations at an Oklahoma truck bed manufacturer

Following a complaint of unsafe working conditions, OSHA's investigation at BigTex Trailer Manufacturing Inc., which does business as CM Truck Beds, found 20 serious violations, one willful and three repeated violations. Inspectors found workers who performed spray painting and powder coating did not receive required medical evaluations and respirator fit tests. OSHA cited willful violation for hydraulic press brakes operated without machine guards in place. In addition, they identified 20 serious violations including failure to:

  • Safely cover floor holes, ensure exits are accessible and labeled properly
  • Properly store compressed gas tanks
  • Properly label chemicals
  • Have a hazardous energy control program in place, and to train workers in its procedures
  • Ensure safe use of powered industrial trucks
  • Inspect and guard chain slings and sprockets as required
Read more here.

$261,890 for asbestos hazards at a Wisconsin medical clinic

A Wisconsin medical clinic failed to tell maintenance workers they were being exposed to hazardous asbestos material - which the company identified in 2008 - and did not provide workers with protective equipment. OSHA investigators found that maintenance employees had disturbed asbestos while conducting maintenance tasks, repairs and installation and removal of materials as they worked on a boiler, in crawl spaces and other areas. OSHA alleges that Monroe Clinic failed to:
  • Provide basic personal protective equipment such as protective clothing
  • Create a decontamination area for employees to remove protective clothing before leaving the worksite
  • Use appropriate work methods to minimize asbestos exposure, such as using wet methods to keep asbestos fibers from becoming airborne and using local exhaust ventilation
  • Provide respiratory protection
  • Conduct exposure assessments
  • Provide medical surveillance to monitor potential exposure
  • Post signage on the boiler room and in other locations warning of known asbestos containing material
  • Inform workers on the location and use of hazardous chemicals in the facility
Read details here.

$235,879 for machine, fall hazards at an Ohio railroad parts manufacturer

A follow-up inspection at SanCasT Inc. found the casting facility and foundry continues to expose workers to machine and fall hazards. OSHA cited the company for similar violations in both 2013 and 2014. In its inspection, OSHA found the company:
  • Failed to develop and implement adequate lockout/tag out procedures and periodically inspect such procedures
  • Exposed workers to live electrical contacts
  • Did not install machine guards
  • Exposed workers to fall hazards because guardrails lacked a top rail and floor holes were not covered
See more here.

$219,242 following repeat injuries on unguarded machinery at a Wisconsin manufacturer

In less than 10 days, two employees at a Green Bay muffler component manufacturer suffered severe injuries as they operated machinery without adequate safety guards and procedures in place at Bay Fabrication. A worker had his left hand crushed by a molding machine on July 21. OSHA found the machine's safety interlock on the door guarding the operating parts was damaged and not functioning properly, which disabled the safety guard and led to the injury. On July 30, another worker suffered the partial amputation of a finger as the molding machine cycled and caught his finger in an unguarded pinch point. They determined the machine was not locked out as required. OSHA also found the company:
  • Failed to guard operating parts on various machines in the facility
  • Improperly installed safety guards on machines that created a hazard for employees
  • Failed to record work related injury on the illness and injury logs
Read more details.

$214,782 and SVEP for potentially deadly fall hazards at an Illinois contractor

An inspection at a home construction site resulted in four willful and two serious safety citations to Barringer Brothers Roofing after roofers were seen working at heights greater than six feet without adequate fall protection. Because Barringer has a history of violations, OSHA placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The agency has cited Robert Barringer III previously doing business under different variations of the name Barringer Brothers. Inspectors also noted other including employees without eye protection using nail guns, and failure to initiate and maintain an accident prevention program. Read more about the action.

$197,752 for excavation hazards at a New York general contractor

Acting on a complaint, OSHA inspectors found employees of Landtek Group Inc. working in an unprotected 10-foot deep excavation. OSHA issued citations for nine violations. One willful violation for exposing workers to cave-in hazards because the excavation lacked proper cave-in protection or safeguards. Serious violations related to failure to prevent employee exposures to fall, atmospheric and explosion hazards. The company also failed to:
  • Have a competent person inspect the excavation
  • Have a written permit space program
  • Train employees on safely performing their job duties and the hazards associated with them
  • Coordinate rescue and emergency services for workers entering a sewer manhole
  • Provide mechanical retrieval equipment in case of an emergency
See more details here.

$174,593 for electrical hazards following a fatal fall at a New Jersey medical center

OSHA inspected Jersey City Medical Center after a worker fell from a ladder as he changed an overhead ballast in a light fixture. The worker later died from his injuries. OSHA issued violations because the facility required employees to change ballasts without the proper lockout/tagout training on practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment to prevent hazardous energy release, as well as other safety hazards and related unsafe practices. Serious violations involved failure to ensure de-energized circuits were locked out, maintain an electrical lockout/tagout program, ensure that only qualified persons worked on live circuits, provide personal protective equipment, and ensure workers did not work on live parts. Read more here

$133,443 for fire, explosion and machine guarding hazards at a Georgia recycling company

Following a complaint, OSHA inspected Nemo Plastics and issued 21 serious and three other-than-serious safety and health violations. OSHA issued serious citations for:
  • Exposing workers to explosion and fire hazards by allowing combustible dust to accumulate
  • Failure to provide employees personal protective clothing
  • Failure to implement a hazardous energy control program to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing
  • Failure to evaluate spaces such as silos to determine if they were permit-required confined spaces
  • Exposing workers to amputations hazards due to missing machine guards
  • Failure to develop a noise monitoring program
The other-than-serious violations include: exposing workers to electrical hazards and failing to post combustible dust warning signs to inform employees of the fire and explosive hazards associated with combustible dust. Learn more here.

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1 comment:

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