Scorecard: July’s Most Notable OSHA Fines
A collection of recent violations cited by OSHA, along with proposed penalties.
Steel Fabricator Issued $132,000 in Proposed Fines for alleged electrical, crushing, laceration and other hazards. OSHA issued
one willful citation alleging failure to supply maintenance employees with PPE to protect them from electrical hazards, arc flash and arc blast while performing diagnostic work on electrical equipment. OSHA also issued one repeat citation alleging that extension cords were being used as a substitute for fixed wiring. Nine serious citations allege that workers were exposed to crushing hazards stemming from failure to label and test the weight capacity of an in-house fabricated lifting device used to lift metal plates weighing up to 900 pounds, along with laceration hazards from the unsafe practice of drop-starting a chain saw. Other serious violations include an alleged lack of leg protection during workers’ use of chain saws, possible falls from standing on raw and fabricated steel products, an incomplete confined space entry program, inadequate egress from a mezzanine and additional electrical hazards. [Cives Steel Co., Augusta, ME, July 9, 2012].
Cleaning Products Manufacturer Cited For 23 alleged serious safety and health violations following complaint to OSHA. The violations reflect hazards related to confined space entry, deficient lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machinery from accidentally starting up, failure to train powered industrial truck operators and make sure that truck modifications are performed with the manufacturer’s prior written approval, insufficient machine guarding equipment, and junction boxes connected with flexible cords instead of being mounted on the wall. Other alleged hazards include unlabeled breakers on a panel, unsafe flammable liquid storage and handling, PPE and respirator deficiencies, a lack of eyewash stations and a lack of fire extinguisher training and hazard communications. Proposed penalties total $124,000 in this case. [Earth Friendly Products, Norwood, NJ, July 5, 2012].
Complaint to OSHA Brings Inspection and Fines to automotive parts maker. OSHA opened an inspection in March 2012 after receiving a complaint alleging hazards. The inspection was conducted under OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations and its Local Emphasis Program on Powered Industrial Trucks. OSHA cited two repeat violations alleging failure to secure compressed gas cylinders and guard the points of operation on the facility’s crimper and bending machines. Four serious citations were also issued for alleged failure to conduct periodic inspections of the energy control procedures, provide training for employees on the lockout/tagout of energy sources, secure racks that are used for storing materials and repair electrical deficiencies. The company manufactures automotive parts for Hyundai Motor Co. Proposed penalties in this case total $43,560. [Pyongsan America Inc., Auburn, AL, July 24, 2012].
Food Processing Company Cited Following Two Workers’ Separate Injuries issued proposed fines totaling $184,000. Anaheim, CA-based Bridgford Food Processing Corp. was cited for willful and repeat violations after a worker suffered amputations of two fingers while operating a vacuum packaging machine. A second worker had been injured operating the same machine only days earlier, suffering deep lacerations and tendon damage to four fingers. OSHA says workers had been using magnets and other tools to override guarding interlock systems on machinery. OSHA cited one willful violation alleging failure to affix lockout/tagout devices to all energy sources and failure to prevent workers from coming in contact with machines’ points of operation. Two repeat citations allege failure to develop and train employees in machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures, while one serious citation alleges improper machine guarding. [Bridgford Food Processing Corp., Chicago, IL, July 24, 2012].
California Battery Recycler Cited for Failure to Protect Workers from overexposure to lead and cadmium at Lancaster, OH, plant. OSHA initiated an inspection Feb. 1, 2012, as part of its Site-Specific Targeting Program, which directs enforcement resources toward industries with high injury and illness rates. OSHA cited 14 alleged serious safety and health violations at the company’s battery recycling facility in Lancaster, OH. The cited violations include allowing workers to be exposed to lead at up to eight times the permissible exposure limit and to cadmium at more than twice the permissible exposure limit during an eight-hour period. Other violations include failure to install engineering controls and implement work practice controls to maintain workers’ exposure at levels below the permissible exposure limits, as well as failure to monitor exposure levels on a periodic basis and repeat monitoring as needed. The company was also cited for failure to evaluate the facility’s ventilation system and implement an effective respiratory protection program. Total penalties of $59,400 have been issued. [Toxco Inc., headquartered in Anaheim, CA, July 9, 2012].
Industrial Chemical Producer Cited for 12 Serious Violations issued $117,100 in proposed penalties. After receiving an employee complaint involving a company facility in Houston, TX, OSHA conducted an inspection and cited several serious alleged violations. They include failure to compile process safety information on instruments used as safeguards and on relief system design, ensure that recognized and good engineering practices are used, follow recommended process hazard analysis procedures and inspect and test equipment identified as safeguards. One repeat citation alleges failure to review and certify operating procedures on an annual basis to ensure that current practices are being followed. A similar violation was cited in 2010. [Arkema Inc., King of Prussia, PA, July 11, 2012].
Texas Recycling Company Cited following two workers’ severe burn injuries. OSHA cited 14 alleged serious violations after two workers were injured in a combustible dust explosion. Workers were sorting materials on the output conveyor when combustible dust generated by a nearby ring mill pulverizing machine caused an explosion. OSHA cited alleged violations that included failure to provide approved and adequate dust collection and fire suppression systems for the ring mill, training for and certification of forklift operators, specific lockout/tagout and confined space entry procedures and adequate housekeeping for the control of combustible dust accumulations. The company was also cited for failure to implement a hearing conservation program, failure to ensure work surfaces were free of lead deposits and failure to implement a respiratory protection program. Proposed penalties total $60,060. [Electronic Recycling and Trading Co., Austin, TX, July 9, 2012].
Well-Drilling Company Cited for Alleged Repeat and Serious Violations issued $71,500 in proposed fines. OSHA opened an inspection after receiving a complaint about unsafe working conditions at a Jacksboro, TX worksite. Three repeat citations were issued for alleged failure to provide an auxiliary escape line, ensure all guardrails are installed to prevent falls of more than four feet and ensure the usage of PPE such as flame-resistant clothing in the event of a flash fire. One serious citation alleges failure to ground a shale shaker trailer. [Horizontal Well Drillers, Purcell, OK, July 25, 2012].
Meat Packing Plant Fatality Brings Willful Citations and $195,100 in proposed fines. OSHA opened an inspection after a worker became caught in a machine and was asphyxiated on Jan. 18, 2012. The company was issued two willful citations alleging improper machine guarding and failure to supply sufficient lockout devices for all servicing and maintenance employees to secure the energy sources of mechanical equipment. Nine serious violations include failure to train workers on protecting themselves from hazards associated with loose clothing around moving equipment, failure to conduct periodic inspections of energy control procedures and failure to properly train workers in energy control procedures. Other serious violations allege failure to prevent unauthorized alterations to forklifts, maintain legible data-plates for forklifts, train and evaluate the competency of powered industrial truck operators, keep powered trucks that need repairs out of operation, regularly inspect forklifts and correctly use electrical cords and cables. [Hastings Acquisition LLC, operating as Nebraska Prime Group, Hastings, NE, July 16, 2012].
Agricultural Tank Manufacturer Cited by OSHA After Follow-up Inspection facing $116,270 in proposed fines. A follow-up inspection took place in January 2012 to determine whether hazardous conditions continued to exist after an inspection one year earlier resulted in citations for permit-required confined spaces violations. The follow-up inspection brought one willful citation alleging the presence of entrapment, engulfment and hazardous atmospheric conditions without an employer permit-required confined space program. Workers entered tanks to weld the bottom to the cylinder, attach ladders and aeration fans, and apply sealant in the finishing area. Four repeat citations allege failure to provide a permit-required confined space hazard evaluation prior to employee entry, provide appropriate equipment for making permit-required confined space entries, test and monitor permit-required confined space conditions prior to entry and train workers on entering permit-required confined spaces. Two serious citations allege a lack of worker training to establish proficiency in permit-required confined space procedures and a lack of determination regarding exposure of employees to the chemical hexavalent chromium. [Bushnell Illinois Tank Co., operating as Schuld/Bushnell, Valley, NE, July 25, 2012].