It was a parent’s worst nightmare. A young boy who had accompanied his father to his family-owned business died after being struck by a forklift while he stood in a parking lot.
Joseph Trafican, 8, died in hospital in Woodland, CA, after a passing forklift struck him. The forklift operator told police he had not seen the child.
The tragic incident occurred at PT Welding, owned by Joseph’s dad, Patrick Trafican. California’s workplace safety agency, Cal-OSHA, says it will not investigate the death, because there has to be a direct employee-to-employer relationship and this incident falls outside Cal-OSHA’s jurisdiction.
A memorial fund has been established at Woodland Christian School, where Joseph was a student.Read More
Standing on a makeshift platform spanning the forks of a lift truck isn’t safe. In California, doing so proved lethal for a 29-year-old worker.
Alejandro Valladares fell headfirst about 30 feet (9.1 meters) into a hole from a plywood platform on a forklift. He had been operating a handheld compactor to push down a piling. The vibration caused Valladares to lose his balance and fall into the deep hole.
Making matters worse was the fact that sandy soil in the hole collapsed onto the worker, leaving only part of one of his legs exposed. It took emergency services workers more than two hours to free his body.
It’s dangerous enough to stand on a platform haphazardly spanning a forklift’s forks, but in this situation the vibration escalated the risk. And the unstable hole was the third hazard that sealed Valladares’ fate.
A worker who needs to be in a raised position to perform tasks should be using a properly designed lifting platform, which is firmly secured to the forks and provides guardrails and other safety features. Proper platforms also allow workers to tie themselves off using safety belts.Read More
Alberta Workplace Health and Safety won’t be laying charges in connection with the death of a 16-year-old worker.
A spokesman for the safety agency told reporters that a prosecutor determined that there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction in the case.
Mitchell Tanner of St. Albert, AB, just north of Edmonton, died at a Rona Building Centre in June 2008 while he and another yard employee were using a forklift. Tanner, who was a passenger on the forklift, died when the machine tipped over. It was only his second day on the job.Read More
In the aftermath of two unrelated worker fatalities at two plants, Ford Canada is paying the price—$850,000 plus a $212,500 victim fine surcharge—one of the largest penalties ever meted out for violations of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Ford Canada pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to take all reasonable precautions in the circumstances to protect the safety of workers.
On Jan 31, 2008, a worker at Ford’s Oakville assembly plant was fatally injured after being crushed between two forklifts. The worker had been standing beside a forklift when a co-worker reversed another forklift into the worker’s path.
An Ontario Ministry of Labour investigation found that the forklift operator did not keep a clear view of the vehicle’s path of travel while reversing.
On Jan. 14, 2009, a worker driving a lift truck carrying an unsecured pallet was killed at Ford’s Bramalea parts distribution centre. While the worker was driving the lift truck down a narrow aisle, the pallet struck a storage rack, crushing the worker between the pallet and the vehicle.
An investigation found that Ford’s material movement policies and procedures were not adequate.Read More
Contractor Issued $61,650 in Proposed Penalties for alleged excavation hazards. OSHA says it found employees working in a trench more than eight feet deep which lacked cave-in protection and a ladder or other safe means of exit, and also had excavated spoils piled at its edge. One willful citation alleging storage of materials at the edge of a trench was issued, along with serious citations alleging a lack of collapse protection and not having an exit ladder in place. Four other-than-serious citations were issued for incomplete injury and illness records. [The Welch Corp., Brighton, MA, May 10, 2010].
US Postal Service Issued Hefty Proposed Fines for alleged electrical hazards. OSHA has cited the US Postal Service in Rhode Island for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards. OSHA alleges that untrained or unqualified workers were performing tests on live electrical equipment and doing so without adequate training, PPE, safety-related work practices and warning signs. They were also allegedly working on equipment that had not been de-energized. In addition, inspections of hazardous energy control procedures were allegedly conducted by employees who lacked the knowledge and training to determine if such procedures were performed correctly. As a result, eight willful citations were issued. Four serious citations were also issued for alleged failure to develop procedures and provide training for locking out power sources to prevent their unexpected startup during servicing, and other related hazards. Proposed penalties total $558,000. [US Postal Service Providence Processing and Delivery Center, Providence, RI, April 30, 2010].
Tonawanda Coke Corp. Cited for 14 Alleged Serious Violations issued $48,500 in proposed fines. A foundry coke producer was cited for allegedly failing to adequately train workers on respirator selection, use, storage and maintenance, failing to ensure the use of protective clothing by workers and failing to implement work-specific procedures in the plant’s respiratory protection program. OSHA alleges the company also did not conduct all required monitoring and perform all required medical evaluations for workers exposed to coke emissions, allowed coke spillage to be shoveled into a heated oven, did not supply positive pressure filtered air to all work cabs and failed to maintain a machine in good working order. Additional charges include failure to label containers of coke-contaminated clothing and allowing food and beverages to be consumed in an area with visible accumulations of coke oven emissions. [Tonawanda Coke Corp., Tonawanda, NY, May 7, 2010].
Alleged Fall Hazards Bring Fines totaling $47,000 A contractor has been cited for three repeat violations and one serious violation related to fall hazards at a Lebanon, NJ, worksite. OSHA investigators watched masonry workers being exposed to fall hazards from heights approaching 25 feet. Repeat violations were cited for failure to adequately plank scaffolding, failure to provide workers with a ladder to ensure safe access to scaffolding and failure to provide a fall protection system for employees working from a scaffold. The serious violation alleges failure to provide workers with a fall arrest harness with a lanyard. [Acies Group LLC, Fairfield, NJ, May 6, 2010].
Sheet Metal Fabricator Cited for Uncorrected and Recurring Hazards issued $106,800 in proposed penalties. OSHA cited Service Manufacturing Group for 12 violations of safety standards in March 2009. The company agreed to correct all hazards but it failed to submit proof of abatement. OSHA then opened up a follow-up inspection and found that eight of the 12 violations had not been corrected. As a result the company was issued eight failure-to-abate notices for uninspected overhead cranes, lifting slings and fire extinguishers, failure to electrically interconnect containers while dispensing flammable liquids, missing gauges that would have ensured proper air velocity in paint spray booths and failure to medically evaluate an employee’s fitness to wear a respirator. The company was also cited for alleged failure to close unused openings in electrical boxes and cabinets, the lack of an educational program on fire extinguisher use and limitations and failure to post in the workplace the citations issued as a result of the earlier inspection. [Service Manufacturing Group Inc., Buffalo, NY, April 28, 2010].
OSHA Cites Lumber Company for Failure to Abate Hazards and proposes $189,730 in fines. OSHA initiated an inspection on Nov. 3, 2009 after the company failed to provide abatement certification within the required timeframe for earlier violations related to failure to provide proper training to workers operating powered industrial trucks, properly guard machinery, install required stair railings, remove debris from underneath machinery, properly complete required OSHA injury and illness logs, and provide an adequate hearing protection program. [Pineville Lumber Inc., Varney, WV, May 6, 2010].
Automotive Supplier Issued $136,000 in Proposed Fines for alleged failure to protect workers against hazards. OSHA opened an inspection in response to a complaint and issued two willful violations alleging failure to provide workers with appropriate hand protection and failure to protect workers from arc welding flash burns. Twelve serious violations were also cited for alleged electrical deficiencies, failure to train or evaluate all workers operating industrial trucks, failure to guard against confined sparks during welding operations, failure to provide lockout/tagout procedures for energy sources and failure to provide proper machine guarding. [Sewon America Inc., LaGrange, GA, May 18, 2010].
Tire Center Cited for Alleged Serious and Willful Violations alleging failure to protect workers. OSHA conducted an inspection after four workers were injured in an agricultural tire explosion. The company was cited for willful failure to provide a cage or barrier to protect workers servicing large agricultural tires, failure to ensure employees worked outside the trajectory path and for exceeding the maximum tire pressure while seating the tire. Serious citations were also issued for alleged failure to ensure safety glasses were worn by workers when servicing tires and failure to have an inline valve pressure gauge. Total penalties of $177,800 are being proposed by OSHA. [Tireman Auto Service Centers Ltd., Maumee, OH, April 27, 2010].
US Postal Service Processing Center Issued $210,000 in Proposed Fines for alleged willful violations. OSHA opened an inspection in November 2009 and cited three willful violations alleging failure to provide required electrical safety training for workers, failure to ensure workers used safety-related work practices while working on electrical equipment and failure to provide workers with appropriate PPE while working on energized equipment. [US Postal Service, Bedford Park, IL, May 10, 2010].
OSHA Proposes $96,500 in Fines for alleged willful and serious violations. OSHA inspected the Packaging Corporation of America in Milwaukee in October 2009 and issued a willful citation for failure to provide adequate PPE to workers responding to a caustic solution spill. Six serious citations were also issued for alleged hazards that included failure to provide proper employee training for a caustic solution spill, failure to implement decontamination procedures for a caustic spill and failure to implement an emergency response plan. The company, which makes corrugated and solid fiber boxes, has been inspected by OSHA more than 40 times and received more than 90 citations within the past 10 years. [Packaging Corporation of America, Milwaukee, WI, April 27, 2010].
Alleged Lack of Fall Protection brings willful citation to Chicago-based firm. Following a November 2009 inspection, OSHA cited National Wrecking Co. for willful failure to provide fall protection to employees working 16 feet above ground level. A serious citation was also issued for alleged failure to protect workers who were exposed to struck-by and caught in-between hazards while working in a hydraulic excavator. OSHA has proposed total fines of $60,000. [National Wrecking Co., Chicago, IL, April 27, 2010].
Painting Company Issued $130,300 in Proposed Penalties for violations related to worker lead exposures. An industrial painting and sandblasting company in Chicago has been cited for willful failure to provide PPE to employees working in and around lead while performing abrasive blasting and painting. Serious citations were also issued for alleged failure to ensure that workers used respirators in accordance with the conditions of certification, failure to prohibit the use of respirators by employees with facial hair and failure to provide a clean changing area for employees. [ERA Valdivia Contractors Inc., Chicago, IL, April 29, 2010].
Inspection Brings Serious, Repeat Citations to Oklahoma worksite. OSHA opened an inspection on Oct. 27, 2009 as part of its Site-Specific Targeting Program. The serious citation alleges 25 safety and 13 health violations. Safety violations include failure to clean settled combustible dust from floors and pipes, failure to place covers on electrical equipment, failure to provide adequate machine guarding, failure to provide fall protection equipment such as standard guardrails and failure to follow manufacturer’s instructions on forklift equipment. Health violations include failure to ensure employees were wearing PPE and failure to follow safety procedures for controlling lead. In addition, a repeat citation was issued for failure to properly install and mount receptacle boxes as listed and labeled for use. The company was cited three years ago for a similar hazard at the same plant following a fatality there. Proposed penalties of $158,780 have been issued. [National Standard Co, Stillwater, OK, April 28, 2010].
Alleged Machine Hazards Bring Willful and Serious Citations to Texas plastics manufacturer. An investigation resulted in a willful violation alleging failure to protect workers from hazards associated with rotating energized machinery and for disabling safety interlocks on the machinery. Serious citations were issued for failure to implement an effective energy control program and failure to provide adequate machine guarding on grinders. Other-than-serious citations were issued for failure to properly certify annual injury and illness records and failure to train employees on the use of respirators. Total penalties of $72,900 have been proposed in this case. [FAST-Houston, Humble, TX, April 30, 2010].
Company Cited in Wake of Workers’ Dallas Cowboys Stadium Fall issued $45,000 in proposed fines. OSHA opened an inspection after two workers slid 260 feet down the side of the dome’s roof before falling into the gutter system. Both workers sustained life-threatening injuries. Birdair Inc. was cited for willful failure to ensure that workers were wearing required fall protection equipment, along with one serious violation of failure to provide workers with training on the hazards associated with falls. [BirdairInc. headquartered in Amhurst, NY, April 26, 2010].
US Postal Service Cited for Allegedly Exposing Workers to Electrical Hazards issued $217,000 in proposed fines. An OSHA inspection resulted in three willful citations for allowing workers to perform testing on live equipment and doing so without adequate training, PPE and safety related work practices. One serious citation was also issued for failure to post warning signs to alert employees about electrical hazards. [US Postal Service, Denver, CO, May 10, 2010].Read More
A loading dock worker was loading drywall onto a flatbed truck when a forklift being operated by a co-worker surged forward, fatally pinning him against the truck.
At another workplace, a textile plant supervisor was operating a forklift truck when another forklift fell from a loading dock, causing the supervisor’s forklift to flip over. He was crushed under the roll cage and died.
And elsewhere, a warehouse worker died after he was crushed between a reversing semi-trailer and a loading dock. Investigators believe that he was likely paying more attention to the contents of the trailer than to where he was standing.
Hazards Abound at Loading Docks
Loading docks are busy places where machine operators and truck drivers must perform a delicate dance around workers on foot.
Along with being congested, loading docks may also be poorly lit, slippery, cramped, crowded with debris, riddled with blind spots and crisscrossed with ramps, stairways and uneven surfaces.
Some of the hazards include:
Training is Vital
If you haven’t been trained in loading dock safety, you probably won’t be aware of all the hazards and you will be vulnerable to injury. However, having undergone training won’t prevent an injury if you let your mind wander and lose track of your surroundings. In the busy atmosphere of a loading dock you literally could be one step away from disaster.
And even if you know where you are, others may not. You need to be wearing reflective clothing to keep yourself highly visible.
How to Stay Safe on a Loading Dock
These tips can help keep you safe on a loading dock:
Loading docks are busy places. Workers need to be trained on how they can protect themselves. They also need to stay focused on what’s going on around them at all times.Read More
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part series on forklift safety. Part one last month related circumstances surrounding some forklift-related workplace deaths, while this month’s story will examine best practices.
Part one of this series last month spoke to the importance of ensuring that forklift operators are properly trained and qualified and that their training is kept current.
Here are several additional suggested safe work practices for forklift operations from Alberta Employment and Immigration:
1. Forklifts fitted with rollover protective structures (ROPS) must have seatbelts or other restraining devices designed to prevent the operator from being thrown out of the ROPS when operating the forklift. These restraints must be used by operators whenever forklifts are in operation.
2. No part of a load may pass over any worker.
3. No load may exceed the maximum rated load capacity and all loads must be handled in accordance with the height and weight restrictions on the forklift’s load chart.
4. When a load is in the raised position, the controls must be attended by an operator.
5. If an operator does not have a clear view of the path, he or she must seek assistance from a signaler who has been instructed in a code of signals for managing traffic in the workplace.
6. Loads should be carried as close to the ground or floor as the situation safely permits.
7. Loads that could tip or fall and endanger a worker must be secured.
8. Where there is a potential for suspended loads to shift, all immediate zones below must be barricaded to prevent potential worker exposure to falling objects.
9. Supervisors must ensure that operators stack materials vertically and in a stable manner so they will not fall onto a walkway if bumped.
10. If forklifts are required to enter or exit a vehicle to load or unload, the vehicle must be immobilized and secured against accidental movement.
11. Forklifts shall not be used to support, raise or lower a worker unless the work is carried out in a fork-mounted work platform that complies with the occupational safety and health code. Workers on the platform must comply with fall protection requirements.
12. Barriers, warning signs, designated walkways or other safeguards should be provided where pedestrians may be exposed to the risk of collision with a forklift.
13. Employers must maintain sufficient air quality in areas where internal combustion engine powered forklifts are used, to control carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide hazards.
14. If attachments are used, forklift operators must receive specific training on how to safely use the different types of attachments for their forklifts.
15. No part of the operator’s body should extend beyond the side of the forklift while it is in operation.
16. Passengers are not allowed in the forklift when it is in operation unless the forklift is specifically designed with a passenger seat.
17. If the movement of a load or any part of the forklift creates a danger to workers, the employer must ensure that workers never remain within range of the moving load.
18. If workers cannot use designated walkways, then safe work procedures must be used to protect workers who enter areas where forklifts are operating.
19. Whenever possible, employers should restrict pedestrian access to areas where forklifts are operating.
20. The forklift operator is responsible for the safety of all other workers in the vicinity.
21. Workers in the vicinity of a forklift must be aware of the forklift’s path of travel and avoid contact with the forklift at all times.
22. If a forklift operator believes that moving the load would be unsafe, he or she must exercise the right to refuse unsafe work.
23. Where applicable, forklift operators must use appropriate PPE such as safety footwear, protective eyewear, gloves, hardhats and hearing protection.
24. Operating controls on equipment must be properly identified to indicate the function and nature of those controls.
25. Unattended forklifts must be secured against accidental movement and forks, buckets or other attachments should be in the lowered position or be firmly supported.
26. All load weight information, either through manifest or appropriate calculations specified by competent persons, should be made readily available to the forklift operator before the start of lifting operations.Read More
Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part series on forklift safety. Part two next month will delve into specific best practices for operators.
Nearly 100 workers across North America die every year as a result of forklift incidents on the job, with 42 percent of the deaths involving lift trucks tipping over and 25 percent involving workers being crushed between a forklift and another surface.
But there are plenty of other ways to die or be injured around forklifts, according to a report on best practice guidelines for forklift operations from Alberta Employment and Immigration. Consider these examples:
Alberta Employment and Immigration says employers whose work involves the use of forklifts should implement a comprehensive health and safety program. It should include a hazard assessment; training and information; management, supervision and internal responsibility, including forklift selection, safe operating procedures, forklift maintenance and modification, facility design and prevention of injuries to muscles, joints and bones.
The hazard assessment should also identify how workers who operate or work around forklifts may be harmed, taking into account the equipment that will be used, the jobs to be done and the workplace environment.
The assessment needs to include a written report specifying existing and potential hazards associated with forklift operations, which can be used to train workers.
Employers must ensure that workers operating forklifts are competent and qualified to do so by observing their skills before assigning them to perform work with forklifts.
“A competent operator knows how to operate the particular class of forklift assigned, understands the hazards associated with the work involved and is capable of operating the forklift in a manner that protects his or her own health and safety, along with the health and safety of others in the workplace,” according to Alberta Employment and Immigration.
Refresher training should be given to forklift operators who:
Freight Carrier Issued $76,000 in Proposed Fines following worker’s injury at a freight terminal in Pawtucket, RI. An OSHA inspection found several instances where forklifts were operated incorrectly, resulting in collisions and an injury. Employees were not wearing attached seatbelts while operating forklifts and forklift operators did not receive required refresher training. As a result, the company was cited for seven serious violations. The inspection also found that defective forklifts were not removed from service and no assessment had been made to determine the PPE needed for forklift operators who changed liquefied petroleum gas tanks. OSHA previously had cited New England Motor Freight for similar hazards at two other company terminals. As a result, two repeat citations were issued. Eight other-than-serious violations were also issued for inadequate and incomplete recording of injuries and illnesses. [New England Motor Freight Inc., Elizabeth, NJ, Dec. 13, 2010].
Contractors Cited for Alleged Cave-in Hazards issued $154,700 in proposed penalties. OSHA has cited three companies contracted to install a grease trap and piping for a supermarket under construction in Salem, NH. An OSHA official observed employees working in an unprotected eight-foot-deep excavation that also lacked a ladder or other safe means of egress. Joseph P. Cardillo & Son Inc. of Wakefield, MA, was cited for willful failure to provide cave-in protection and a ladder and issued $105,000 in proposed fines. Majestic Mechanical Contractors Inc. of Tewksbury, MA, was issued willful citations alleging similar hazards and issued $42,000 in proposed fines. Domenick Zanni Sons Inc. of Reading, MA, was issued two serious citations carrying $5,600 in proposed penalties. Cardillo and Majestic were also issued three other-than-serious citations for inadequate recordkeeping. [Joseph P. Cardillo & Son Inc, Wakefield, MA, Majestic Mechanical Contractors Inc., Tewksbury, MA, and Domenick Zanni Sons Inc., Reading MA, Dec. 9, 2010].
Stainless Steel Fabricator Fined $71,000 for alleged repeat and serious violations. OSHA says it found workers performing service and maintenance on various machines without adequate training in hazardous energy control and without having affixed lockout devices to machines before performing service and maintenance. In addition, brakes on mechanical power presses were not guarded to prevent employees from becoming caught in moving parts. OSHA had cited the same company for similar hazards in 2007. Three repeat citations carrying $42,000 in proposed fines were issued for these alleged recurring hazards. Six serious citations carrying $29,000 in proposed penalties were issued for alleged failure to conduct periodic inspections of energy control procedures, failure to label steel lifting slings with their lifting capacity and other required information, failure to keep inspection records for lifting slings, unguarded moving machine parts, misused electrical equipment and an exposed electrical conductor. [Cannon Industries Inc., Rochester, NY, Dec. 8, 2010].
Theater Cited for Alleged Asbestos, Fall and Crushing Hazards issued $51,000 in proposed fines. An OSHA inspection found that theater employees and outside contractors had not been informed of the presence of asbestos-containing and potentially asbestos-containing materials in the theater’s promenade area and in nearby electrical closets. In addition, an exit door was stuck and a portable fire extinguisher was not mounted. Four repeat citations were issued for those alleged violations. Three serious citations were issued for alleged fall hazards when the stage was raised above the orchestra pit, for potential crushing/struck by hazards when the stage was lowered into the pit and for the use of temporary wiring when permanent lighting should have been used in the promenade area. [David H. Koch Theater in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Manhattan, NY, Dec. 2, 2010].
Philadelphia Paper Manufacturer Investigated Following Worker’s Death issued 39 serious citations. OSHA opened an investigation after learning that a worker had been crushed by a paper hopper during loading operations. Serious violations allege failure to remove hazards from aisles, an inadequate lockout/tagout program that exposed workers to hazardous energy, inadequate machine guarding, electrical hazards, blocked fire exits, an ineffective pest control program, a lack of PPE to protect workers against burns, inadequate exposure control for bloodborne pathogens and a lack of runway guardrails. Other-than-serious citations were issued for failure to provide hearing conservation training, effectively inform workers of the dangers related to confined spaces and failure to record employee injuries. Proposed fines totaling $86,100 were issued. [Newman and Co., Philadelphia, PA, Dec. 9, 2010].
Company Fined Heavily for Alleged Hazardous Dust Exposure and failure to provide adequate breathing protection and training. US Minerals LLC, headquartered in Dyer, IN, was issued numerous health and safety citations carrying $396,000 in proposed fines. Six willful citations relating to a company facility in Coffeen, IL, allege that workers were exposed to levels of hazardous dust at concentrations exceeding the permissible exposure limit, failure to implement a written respiratory protection program or to mandate that employees wear respirators, failure to implement engineering controls to reduce harmful dust exposures and failure to develop and utilize energy control procedures. Seven repeat citations allege failure to follow permit-required confined space entry rules, failure to provide fall protection, failure to provide required training on energy procedures and failure to provide guards on mechanical powered equipment. Ten serious citations include alleged failure to assess the need for adequate PPE, inadequate eye protection, failure to develop procedures and practices for permit-required confined space entry, the lack of a written hazard communication program, inadequate information and training on dust containing silica and failure to cover floor holes and enclose electrical boxes. [US Minerals LLC., Coffeen, IL, Dec. 7, 2010].
Steel Manufacturer Cited for Two Willful and Four Serious Violations facing $156,000 in proposed fines. OSHA conducted an inspection and issued citations for willfully exposing workers to fall hazards and willfully failing to complete periodic inspections of overhead cranes within the past 12 months. The serious citations allege operation of cranes with severe cracks in brake assemblies, failure to provide proper illumination on ladder ways and stairways, failure to keep floor areas and walkways free of debris and failure to maintain equipment. [Republic Engineered Products Inc., Canton, OH, Dec. 6, 2010].
Worker’s Death Leads to Inspection and Willful and Serious Citations for Illinois company. OSHA opened an inspection after a worker was killed while operating a laser cutting machine at the company’s Newton, IL, plant. The manufacturer of grain dryer equipment was cited for willful failure to have guards in place on its automatic laser cutting machine. GSI Group LLC also received two serious citations alleging failure to use lockout/tagout procedures while performing various operations on the laser cutting machine and failure to effectively close an electrical box opening. The company faces proposed fines of $78,500. [GSI Group LLC, Assumption, IL, Dec. 8, 2010].
Company Issued $360,000 in Proposed Fines for alleged cave-in hazards. OSHA issued willful citations alleging that Gerardi Sewer & Water Co. failed to properly protect workers from trench cave-ins, the result of four separate inspections conducted under the OSHA Trenching and Excavation Special Emphasis Program. OSHA standards mandate that all excavations five feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Employees were found to be working at varying depths from 5.9 to 8 feet without cave-in protection during the inspections. Repeat citations alleging that employees failed to wear hardhats and high-visibility vests and failure to provide a safe means of access and egress for employees working at an excavation site were also issued, along with serious citations alleging failure to ensure that water accumulations were removed from trenches at two worksites. [Gerardi Sewer &Water Co., Norridge, IL, Dec. 21, 2010].
Ceramic Products Manufacturer Issued $91,500 in Proposed Fines after worker suffers a permanent arm injury. OSHA cited the company with willful failure to establish and enforce energy control procedures and to have guards in place on tube cutters. Serious citations were issued for failure to train employees on lockout/tagout procedures for energized equipment, failure to provide appropriate PPE for employees working on electrical equipment and failure to ensure that electrical parts were de-energized when employees were working on them. [Industrial Ceramic Products, Marysville, OH, Dec. 10, 2010].
Linen Processing Facility Faces $126,400 in Proposed Penalties following inspection. OSHA found workers operating forklifts without wearing seatbelts, along with wet floors in passageways, aisles and laundry work areas. OSHA issued serious citations alleging failure to provide fall protection for employees working at an elevation of 16 feet, failure to provide an adequate number of locks and enforce lockout procedures during machine servicing to prevent injuries from unexpected activation of machinery and failure to ensure that a fiberglass ladder was set up and used correctly. Repeat citations were issued for alleged failure to keep flooring dry, cover floor holes, provide machine guards, provide illuminated exit signs and clear exit access, provide properly identified locks for machine servicing and provide working and easily accessible portable fire extinguishers. [Texas Linen Co. Ltd., Austin, TX, Dec. 9, 2010].
Substantial Fine Proposed Against Texas Company for allegedly overexposing workers to hexavalent chromium. The company was issued one alleged willful, 30 alleged serious and two alleged repeat citations carrying $261,500 in proposed fines, after OSHA responded to a complaint of workers experiencing headaches and nosebleeds from exposure to hexavalent chromium during chrome plating and cleanup operations. A willful violation was issued for failure to ensure that employees’ airborne exposure to hexavalent chromium did not exceed OSHA’s permissible exposure limit of five micrograms per cubic meter of air. The serious violations allege failure to train workers on OSHA’s hexavalent chromium standard, failure to implement proper hygiene practices and housekeeping procedures and failure to have high-temperature alarms on hardening and tempering tanks. The repeat citations allege failure to provide adequate point of operation guarding on lathes and failure to ensure containers used for dipping and coating operations were marked and labeled. [Weatherford International Ltd., Longview, TX, Nov. 23, 2010].
Beverage Manufacturer Issued $52,250 in Proposed Fines for alleged failure to provide forklift training to workers. OSHA opened an inspection Sept. 10, 2010 and cited the employer for willful failure to properly train workers in the use of forklifts. Several serious violations were also cited, including failure to provide guardrails on elevated working areas, failure to provide proper housekeeping by placing miscellaneous items on a stairway and electrical deficiencies, including a lack of enclosures or guards to prevent damage to electrical components, exposed live conductors and blocked and unlabeled electrical disconnects. [Frio Distributing Co., Hondo, TX, Dec.1, 2010].
Company Issued $273,000 in Proposed Fines for three alleged willful and 35 alleged serious violations. OSHA issued the abrasive blasting and roofing materials manufacturer willful citations alleging failure to provide fall protection for open-sided platforms, failure to provide conveyors equipped with emergency stops or pull cords and failure to provide adequate fall protection for the bulk load out area. The serious citations issued allege failure to provide covers on chute floors, failure to remove damaged portable metal ladders from service, failure to ensure compressed gas cylinders were properly secured, failure to provide fire extinguishers where combustible and flammable materials were stored and failure to develop and document machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures for equipment. [U.S. Minerals Inc., Galveston, TX, Dec. 2, 2010].
Petrochemical Company Issued 12 Serious Citations alleging an inadequate process safety management system and deficient lockout/tagout procedures to prevent the accidental startup of machinery. Proposed penalties of $75,600 have been issued for the company’s alleged failure to incorporate operating procedures for all safety devices in the company’s operating guide, failure to adequately train employees in safe operating procedures, failure to properly shut down process equipment, failure to identify and isolate all energy sources to the equipment and failure to ensure lockout/tagout of energy isolating devices such as line valves prior to employees performing equipment maintenance. [Huntsman Petrochemical LLC, Houston, TX, Dec. 1, 2010].
Company Issued $60,000 in Proposed Penalties for allegedly serious electrical hazards. OSHA cited the company after investigating an incident in which two workers were subjected to electrical shock. A Next Step Burwell LLC worker received an electrical shock after being instructed to clean out a charge electrical wiring cable tray in which a combination of rain water and corn stalk dust had been allowed to accumulate. Subsequently, a subcontracted employee was fatally electrocuted after being asked to check the cable tray. The company was issued a willful citation alleging failure to de-energize live parts when an employee may have been working in the vicinity. Serious citations issued include alleged failure to inform subcontracted employees of lockout/tagout procedures to prevent accidental startup of machinery, failure to ensure that an adequate group lockout system was employed, allowing an unqualified person to work on or around energized circuits or equipment, a lack of guardrails on the floor area where the cable tray was accessed and failure to guard or cap a rotating shaft that presented an entanglement hazard. [Next Step Burwell LLC, Burwell, NE, Dec. 1, 2010].
Company Cited After Cameraman Dies on Race Course in Colorado. OSHA opened an investigation after a cameraman fell from an elevated all-terrain scissor lift and died at the Thunder Valley Motocross race course near Lakewood, CO. It was determined that guardrails had deliberately been removed from the lift and the company was issued a willful citation for that hazard. Serious citations were issued for alleged failure to provide training to employees on the proper operating procedures of all-terrain scissor lifts and exposing employees to crushing and amputation hazards by not having established a lockout program for performing modifications on the lifts. Proposed penalties totaling $91,000 were issued. [Lucas Oil Production Studios, Corona, CA, Dec. 15, 2010].Read More
Every year across North America, an estimated 275 deaths and 20,000 lost-time injuries are associated with the use of mobile equipment.
Canadian industrial electricians and business partners Rick Shervey and John DaSilva don’t like those numbers and they are doing something about it.
Their company, Pro-Active Safety Systems Technologies Inc. (PSST), which started in Prince George, British Columbia and is now based in Penticton, BC, has developed a wireless collision avoidance system for forklifts and other mobile equipment, aimed at preventing worker fatalities and injuries.
“John and I saw the need for it because we saw and heard of so many people getting injured or killed,” says Shervey.
When a forklift operator is at the controls, he or she is concentrating on moving loaded pallets in and out of tight spaces, often with only inches between the edges of a pallet and racking.
If a worker suddenly steps into the path of the forklift, the preoccupied operator may not see him or her, let alone be able to stop quickly enough to avoid running into that person.
“All the training in the world won’t stop these incidents from happening,” says Shervey. “It only takes a second of inattention in these areas and you are dead.”
Employing highly advanced radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, Shervey and DaSilva’s invention can detect an impending collision and alert both the machine operator and workers on foot before contact occurs.
Workers wear lightweight vests equipped with the same technology and when they get close to moving forklifts they will feel a vibration and hear an alarm emanating from their vests.
Shervey says there is a critical range of one to five meters (three to 16 feet) where there is the greatest risk for a collision between pedestrians and forklifts. Their system is accurate to a distance of less than one meter. It provides 360 degrees of protection to a vest-wearing worker, regardless of light conditions.
“The PSST system provides warnings out to 150 meters, but the zone sizes are determined by machine speeds,” he says.
Much the same as people tend to ignore car alarms, because they have heard them far too often, Shervey says workers often don’t pay attention to the beeping sound of a reversing forklift.
Their system is different, in that it provides a positive personal warning to workers on foot and a real time alert to the machine operator, telling him or her how many meters away the worker is from the machine.
Although the system employs the technology to either throttle back the speed of a forklift passing through high-traffic areas or apply the brakes to stop it, Shervey says “liabilities limit us from taking control of the forklift away from an operator.”
The collision avoidance system not only protects workers on foot, it also can be configured to warn operators when they are moving too close to posts, doors, loading dock edges or containers of hazardous materials.
Shervey says he initially tried to utilize sensors and photocells, but that system didn’t work effectively. DaSilva suggested using radio frequency identification instead. The partners’ prototype system used a lawn tractor and they then moved on to using a forklift.
The business partners recently demonstrated their invention to Signal Mutual Indemnity Association Ltd. in Dallas, TX, which underwrites more than 200 companies in the stevedoring, ship repair and offshore industries. Representatives of 22 firms from across the US were there to watch a demonstration of the collision avoidance system.
Kevin Fisk, a senior developer with PSST, says he expected company officials would be given only a short time to speak about and demonstrate their invention, since their presentation wasn’t scheduled until well into the afternoon.
“But we were there for between 2 ½ and three hours,” says Fisk, adding that the attendees were full of curiosity and questions.
Shervey says PSST has 11 patents, including one worldwide patent, pending on its system, which it hopes to have ready for sale sometime in 2011.
Fisk estimates it would cost approximately $4,000 to install the technology on one forklift and provide two vests. Installing it on larger machine types would cost more, based on the coverage required.
“PSST is currently searching for a suitable partner to work with us to launch this product in North America,” says Shervey, adding that anyone wanting more information can visit www.psst1.ca
According to Shervey, the potential applications of the collision avoidance system go well beyond keeping forklifts and workers on foot apart. It has been designed for virtually any type of mobile equipment in a variety of industries and could also be used to shut off fixed pieces of industrial machinery if workers moved too near to it.