Author Archives: Kate Christofferson

Company Cited for Workplace Death

CHIPPEWA FALLS, WI – A company has been cited for a workplace death in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Berry Global, a plastic fabrication company, has been issued $40,959 in fines regarding the death of one of its employees due to an accident at their plant.

The accident occurred October 5th 2020. According to local news the 54-year-old man received a laceration to the head when he was struck by a piece of machinery. Police reviewed a video of the incident and determined it was an accident.

As of press time, OSHA’s inspection report for the case cites as all violations Lockout/Tagout. Martin Technical offers Lockout Tagout services to prevent accidents such as these.

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Florida Contractor Cited for Fall Hazard Violations

BUNNELL, FL – A Florida contractor was cited for fall hazard violations, totaling over $61k. Fall safety is often the number one cited Safety Violation of the year. OSHA released this announcement on April 7th, 2021.

OSHA stated this citation was part of its Regional Emphasis Program for Fall in Construction. The contractor cited for fall hazard violations, P & S Service Group Inc. has repeat violations for failing to ensure employees use fall protection while working from heights greater than 6 feet. The company was cited for a similar violation in October, 2017. The 2021 violation totals $61,575.  P & S, a framing and and sheathing contractor, has 15 days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference, or contest the findings before OSHA.

According OSHA’s press release, and BizJournals.com OSHA Area Director Michelle Gonzalez in Jacksonville, Florida stated “This employer has repeatedly disregarded the safety of their employees despite previous OSHA violations. Employers must ensure that workers are protected from these well-known hazards.”

In partnership with PIXO VR, we offer fall protection training through Virtual Reality training.

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OSHA Cites Maine Auto Body Plant for Violations

Waterville, Maine – OSHA has cited a Maine auto body plant for safety violations. These violations total nearly $400k. They are the direct result of an inspection opened Oct. 1st 2020 in response to a complaint.

Shyft Group Duramag LLC, formerly known as F3 MFG Inc., faces $393,992 in proposed fines. These fines are due to not addressing hazards that placed employees at risk, OSHA cited two willful and 10 serious violations.

OSHA Area Director David McGuan in Augusta, Maine, stated “Management’s knowledge of these hazards and their failure to correct them led us to cite these conditions as willful violations.”

As stated in OSHA’s Press Release: OSHA also cited the Maine auto body plant for violations regarding failure to:

  • Guard employees against struck-by and crushing hazards from homemade attachments used on auto lifts and provide adequate training to employees.
  • Guard machinery to prevent employees from coming in contact with machines’ operating parts.
  • Conduct a hazard assessment to determine what personal protective equipment is required for employees and to select appropriate protective equipment for employees.
  • Provide appropriate protective goggles for workers and other persons near a welding area that lacked noncombustible or flameproof screens or shields.
  • Establish and implement a respiratory protection program, medically evaluate employees’ ability to wear respirators, fit-test employees before using respirators, train employees on respirators and adequately maintain and store respirators.
  • Securely anchor machines to prevent them from moving.
    Refrain from using flexible cords and/or cables as a substitute for fixed electrical wiring and adequately guard electrical openings.

Martin Technical offers a variety of training programs and audit and compliance programs to ensure your facility is meeting standards.

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OSHA’s Top 10 Safety Violations of 2020

 

The Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) recently announced its top 10 safety violations for the 2020 fiscal year. Every year, OSHA announces it’s top 10 most frequently cited safety violations. This helps alert employers so they may prevent these hazards before they take place.

 

No. 10: Machine Guarding

Last year Machine Guarding ranked number 9. In 2020 it received 1,313 citations. It’s reassuring to see fewer citations in this standard. But, worker amputations continue to be a concern.

No. 9: PPE and lifesaving equipment related to eye and face protections

The previous year, eye and face protection was in spot number 10, so this citation has increased. This relates to PPE that prevents eye and face injuries including chemical, environmental and other hazards. This can include Arc Flash related injuries. So, proper Arc Flash labeling programs are critical in ensuring PPE is worn in these situations.

No. 8: Fall Protection Training requirements

Citations were given out for failure to provide proper training materials and programs.

No. 7: Improper Use of Industrial Trucks

The Improper Use of Industrial Trucks held the same ranking as it did last year at 1,932 citations.

No. 6: Lockout Tagout (Control of Hazardous Energy)

Lockout Tagout went down from number #5 in the year prior. In 2020, it held 2,065 violations. Improper training and procedures are often to blame. Martin Technical offers LOTO training to prevent accidents and citations of this very kind.

No. 5: Improper use of Ladders

2,129 citations were given for the Improper use of Ladders in 2020.

No. 4: Scaffolding

Scaffolding moved from #3 to #4 in 2020 with 2,538 citations.

No. 3. Respiration Protection

This standard had 2,649 citations in 2020, moving from #5 to #3. This is both due to lack of fit testing and program management.

No. 2. Improper Implementation of Hazard Communication

Hazard Communication relates to the evaluation and clear identification of hazardous chemicals in the work place. Related citations in 2020 numbered at 3,199.

No. 1: Fall Protection

Fall Protection has been the number one citation for 8 years, with 5,424 citations in 2020. In partnership with PIXO VR, we offer fall protection training through Virtual Reality training allowing a “hands on” experience of a a previously inaccessible training experience.

Going Forward

These top 10 alone make up a total of 24,239 citations. What will you do to prevent citations, injury, and deaths in your facility in 2021?

If your safety program needs a tune up, contact Martin Technical today. We look forward to earning your business. Call us at 866-234-6890, email Sales@MarTechnical.com, or contact us here.

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Improve Your Facility’s Mask Choice

Improve Your Facility's Mask ChoiceWe are halfway into President Biden’s 100-day Mask Challenge. As a manager, you ensured your employees met mask regulations long before the challenge was issued. They learned to express certain emotions to each other using only their eyes months ago, this isn’t new to them, or to you.

When cloth masks were first encouraged for public & industrial use by the CDC, better alternatives were in short supply. Even medical staff reported the reuse of disposable PPE just to ensure they had minimal protection. In an impressively short period of time, that has changed.

It’s time for the industrial sector to improve its mask choices. In conjunction with vaccinations, the continued use of PPE is going to be critical. To reinforce these efforts, the industrial sector can make a significant contribution to reducing the spread (and keeping their workers healthy) with one simple effort: Improve employee mask choices.

At Martin Technical, we know safety. We began sourcing FDA approved masks and making them available for medical facilities and businesses early in the pandemic. We want to keep you informed of the best options. Not sure where to start? Learn more about the hierarchy of masks below.

 

The Hierarchy of Masks: A Full House of Safety

While any mask is better than no mask, peak mask use it isn’t as simple as throwing a bandana over your nose and mouth. Both filtration and fit are important. An additional key factor is to use disposable masks, disposing of the product based on CDC/WHO guidelines. Companies can improve employee compliance by providing your facility with 5-packs of masks, i.e. one work-week.

For Medical Providers

The N95: Our High Ace

At this time, the CDC recommends N95’s be reserved for Medical Staff. The N95 is NIOSH approved, with a 95%+ filtration and an excellent fit when donned properly. These should be used by trained staff, regularly exposed to high-risk situations and populations. The public and non-medical facilities are discouraged from purchasing these masks, not only to reserve them for medical use, but to avoid accidental purchase of counterfeit products.

For Non-Medical Users

The KN95: The King/Queen of Masks

For non-medical users, KN95 will be your top choice. Your employees won’t be missing out on filtration efficiency or fit with this mask. KN95s are similar to the N95 in appearance, have the same efficiency of 95%+, and can fit equally well when donned properly. The FDA approves them for use in place of N95’s for medical staff when necessary.

Unlike the N95 as this time, KN95 are encouraged for public use. However, when purchasing KN95’s, managers should be cautious. Always buy through a trusted seller or reseller. Avoid online sellers that don’t have safety as their core focus in their business, as these can often be home to counterfeit products. Martin Technical has these masks available in bulk, coming in packs of 5. You can contact us here to receive a quote. Always purchase from a company you trust when sourcing your masks.

3-Ply Surgical Earloop: Your Knight in Shining Armor

Underneath the KN95, 3-Ply Surgical Earloop masks are an excellent second choice for industrial and daily mask use. They sport a similar filtration efficiency to KN95 and N95, however they tend to fit less well than KN95. However, when KN95 aren’t available, Earloops are your best option. Like the KN95, there has been an increase in counterfeit products due to demand of these masks. Purchase through a trusted source when buying these masks.

Cloth: Your Jack of All Trades

Cloth masks were our first defense against this pandemic. Early on, when the above options weren’t available, we used these to prevent spread. However, cotton face masks are only estimated to have 50% filtration efficiency.  Cloth masks are and always will be better than no mask. However, whenever possible, we should use the above options over these to reduce the spread of the virus.

Improve Your Mask Use

Commit to improving your facility’s mask use today. Rather than have workers provide their own cloth masks, contact a trusted company to source KN95 or Surgical Earloop masks today. You can easily receive a quote for KN95 or Surgical Earloop masks by contacting Martin Technical at 866-234-6890 or emailing Sales@MarTechnical.com

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Confined Space Violations Results in Two Deaths

Hugo, OK – A series of confined space violations have resulted in two deaths, according to an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This occurred in Hugo, Oklahoma, on August 12th, 2020. As reported in an OSHA press release, one employee entered a natural gasoline rail car to clean the space. When the employee became unresponsive, a second attempted to rescue the first. This employee became unresponsive as well. Later, both workers were pronounced dead at a local hospital.Tank Rail Cars on a track with industrial buildings in the background on a clear day. This is an example image of the type of confined space the employees may have dealt with.

The rail company involved is Trinity Rail and Maintenance Service Inc. Trinity Rail is one of the largest rail car service providers in the United States. They are facing $419,347 in proposed penalties. OSHA has cited them for 11 serious violations and two willful violations due to the accident.

Among the confined space violations were, “…that the company failed to require a permit to allow entry into the rail car, ventilate the space, monitor hazards inside a confined space and complete entry permits for work inside a confined space…”

As OSHA points out in their press release, confined space work is dangerous. Following standards is the difference between making it home safe at the end of the day, or not. Martin Technical encourages all employers to train their employees in confined space safety. We also encourage training in any standards relevant to your industry. Safety training for your employees helps to avoid accidents such as these.

 

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Nevada OSHA Investigates Death of Quarry Worker

Henderson, NV – The Nevada Occupational Safety and Hazard Association (Nevada OSHA) is investigating the death of Harry Kenneth Peterson III, as reported by The Las Vegas Review Journal. Last week, the fire department was called to a rock quarry described as the Viento Puntero Pit.

A generalized image of a rock crusher as it crushes large chunks of rock into smaller pieces

Fire Department Chief, Shawn White, reported what he was told by emergency crews. Crews were informed that Peterson had been helping others move a rock crushing machine to another area of the work site.

When part of the machine was apparently jammed, Peterson tried to fix it and was caught in the machine. Rescue workers said it was not clear how he became stuck. White reported Peterson had head and chest injuries. When rescue crews arrived, Peterson had already been removed from the machine.

When emergency crews arrived, Peterson was breathing and transported to to Sunrise Trauma. On Friday, Peterson succumbed to his injuries at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

The death has been ruled an accident. The Fire Department has contacted Nevada OSHA to investigate the work site death. A related police report was released Wednesday. It did not contain details about the incident, except that it did not appear to be a result of a criminal act.

Nevada OSHA’s spokeswoman, Teri Williams, described Peterson’s employer as Las Vegas Paving Corp. The company lists their services on its website, including: asphalt placing, aggregate crushing & material supply, Design-Build. James Barker acts as Las Vegas Paving Corp’s general counsel. He did not comment out of respect for the family and because of the ongoing investigation.

Martin Technical encourages employers to conduct thorough training in all necessary regulations to prevent accidents such as these. Lockout Procedure Development and Lockout Tagout Training are a critical part of any industrial safety program.

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Nitrogen Leak Kills Six, Injures 11 in Poultry Plant Accident

Gainesville, FL – On January 28th a deadly nitrogen leak took the livesAn example photo of industrial liquid nitrogen cannisters of six workers at Foundation Food Group poultry plant located in Gainesville, Florida. The leak occurred during unplanned maintenance on a processing and freezing line. The line was installed about a month prior, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s report on January 30th.

In addition to the six dead in the nitrogen leak, there were 11 injuries, one more individual was sent to the hospital, and 130 other workers were forced to evacuate. Katherine A. Lemos, CEO & chairwoman of the CSB stated the investigation “…may take up to several years.” New information is still coming forward, and will continue to do so as Lemos suggests.

What We Know Currently

In the CSB’s report from January 30th, it was detailed that there was a release of liquid nitrogen. This rapidly converted to a gas. Because the gas form of liquid nitrogen is heavier than air, it forced the oxygen out the room.

How the liquid nitrogen was released was not detailed. The CSB is currently working to isolate the exact location of release inside the plant. Additional damage to the plant was avoided when a manger turned off an external isolation valve after the leak began.

Other details noted in the report included: Tools were found on the ground near the equipment. The plant receives 2-3 18-wheel truckloads per day of liquid nitrogen. Manufacturers of interior equipment are being looked into, and the supplier of liquid nitrogen was noted in the report.

Going Forward

The CSB lacks the authority to issue fines or criminal charges. However, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also investigating the leak. The CSB has noted its investigations will include examinations and evaluations of multiple factors. The will include training as well as operations and procedures. Martin Technical encourages all industries and professionals to keep all employees up to date on training, as well as safety procedures and operations such as Lockout Tagout. Keep your team informed on all regulations and industry standards to prevent accidents such as these.

Read more coverage from NPR, New York Times, and USA Today

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OSHA Fines Bush Brothers for Death of Worker

Eau Claire, WI –

Bush Brothers and Company in Eau Claire, WI, is facing OSHA citations and fines after the death of one of its employees at an Augusta canning factory in July 2020.

On the day of the accident, it was originally reported by WQOW-18 that Augusta PoliceAn image of the outside of a Bush Brothers factory. Shipping truck loads are in front of the factory and mountains lay in the background. responded to a call to the factory just before 9:30 a.m. on July 27th, where a 58 year old woman had reportedly suffered work related traumatic injuries. Medical measures were taken to save her life, however she was pronounced dead at the scene.

As of January 21st, WQOW-18 has reported that the employee was Mary Falk of Eau Claire, WI. OSHA has investigated the death and filed a “serious” class citation against the company, which carries a fine of $12,145. Bush Brothers is accused of failing to store material so that it remains stable against sliding and/or collapse, which falls under Standard 1910.176(b) – Handling materials – general.

At Martin Technical, we encourage safety training in all standards relevant to your work place to prevent accidents such as these.

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