Author Archives: Kate Christofferson

Texas Masonry Company Cited for Fall Hazards

DENTON, TX – In March 2021, The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspected a Forth Worth masonry company.  OSHA cited the Texas Masonry Company for fall hazards, as well as silica hazards. OSHA previously cited the company, RRM Masonry and Stucco Inc., for violations in 2018 and 2019.

This inspection took place as part of OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Program for constructionA Texas masonry company was cited for fall hazards, the leading cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry. falls. Falls are the leading cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry.

The Texas Masonry company cited for fall hazards was issued citations for nine repeat and six serious violations. This included the company failing to ensure that scaffolding was properly planked and secured, and provide a ladder for safe egress and inspect scaffolding. The proposed penalties total $216,265.

Area Director Timothy Minor stated in an OSHA press release, “RM Masonry and Stucco has shown repeated disregard for worker safety. Employers should never put profits before the safety of their workers. OSHA will do everything in its power to protect workers and hold serial violators like this accountable.”

According to OSHA’s press release, RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. is a privately-owned construction company with approximately 40 employees.

RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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Ohio Steel Mill Placed in Severe Violator Enforcement Program by OSHA

CANTON, OH – The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) responded to a complaint of unsafe working conditions at Republic Steel in Canton Ohio. Inspectors found the automative steel mill failed to install adequate machine guarding, implement lockout/tagout measures, or train workers on safety procedures. These violations exposed workers to amputation hazards. As a result, OSHA has placed the steel mill in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.The violations of the company exposed workers to amputations hazards, leading OSHA to place it in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Additionally, OSHA has proposed $220,399 in penalties. These penalties are accounted for by one repeat, seven serious, and three other-than-serious safety violations. The company was also cited for similar hazards in 2017.

In their press release, OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts stated, “To avoid amputations and other severe injuries, employers must install safety guards on machines and train workers on how to control hazardous energy and avoid coming in contact with operating machine parts. Republic Steel is well aware of their responsibility to ensure safety procedures are followed, yet once again, they’ve failed to do so.”

According to their website, Republic Steel, the company placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, provides steel bar products for automakers, as well as coils, rods, and wires. They are based in Canton, OHIO, and a subsidiary of Grupo Simec of Guadalajara Mexico.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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OSHA Fines Oregon Winery in Worker Death

Dundee, OR – Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) has investigated the death of a worker at an Oregon winery that occurred on February 1st. OSHA fined the Oregon Winery for the worker’s death. The violations were cited as confined space violations and totaled $11,100 in proposed citations.

The Oregon winery was fined in a worker death in which the worker was found unresponsive in an empty 30,000-gallon wine tank.The worker was found unresponsive on February 1st in an empty 30,000-gallon wine tank. The 39-year-old man was assigned to pump out about 500 gallons of wine remnants into another tank. Low-pressure nitrogen gas was pumped in from the top of the tank to prevent the oxidation of the wine remnants. This resulted in the man’s asphyxiation, according to the investigation.

The investigation cited Corus Estates & Vineyards LLC, a custom crush winery, for nine serious violations. In OSHA Oregon’s press release, Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood stated, “Every workplace death is a tragedy. And confined spaces are unforgiving. Employers must anticipate the risks and ensure that they protect their employees who enter confined spaces. When something goes wrong in such a space, it is already too late to address the problem.”

The specifics of the violations and penalties are laid out below. Oregon OSHA cited Corus Estates & Vineyards for the following serious violations:

  • Not performing initial testing for atmospheric hazards before entry.
  • Not ensuring that a required attendant and entry supervisor was designated for the permit confined space entry.
  • Not developing procedures to ensure employees who are entering permit confined spaces with alternate entry procedures are following those procedures.

Total proposed penalties for the above violations: $7,500

  • Not ensuring that all confined space permits were reviewed after they were canceled. Several of the permits were not filled out and were missing required information.
  • Not making sure all confined space entry permits included information about rescue services and how to contact them.

Total proposed penalties for the above violations: $1,200.

  • Not having permit entry rescue procedures, including the process for contacting rescue services.
  • Not conducting practice entry rescues for presses, tanks, and below-ground permit-required confined spaces.

Total proposed penalties for the above violations: $1,200.

  • Not training employees on recognizing confined spaces or procedures necessary to safely enter a confined space before an employee’s assigned duties changed.
  • Not ensuring that all employees, whose primary language was Spanish, were proficient in their assigned confined space duties.

Total proposed penalties for the above violations: $1,200

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Repeat OSHA Citations For Pueblo Construction Company

PUEBLO, CO – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) performed two follow-up inspections in February 2021 at Key Structures LLC. This led to 13 willful repeat and serious violations. The citations at the Colorado construction company resulted in $222,055 combined penalties.

OSHA identified one willful violation for using damaged scaffolding and one repeat violation for failing to train workers on scaffolding safety. It also identified seven serious violations. The serious violations included: Failure to use fallAn sample image of an apartment building under construction. The citations Colorado construction company resulted in $222,055 combined penalties. protection,unsafe use of ladders and scaffolding, and unsafe storage of compressed gas cylinders.

OSHA issued a press release regarding the citations at the Colorado construction company. OSHA Area Director Chad Vivian in Greenwood Village, Colorado stated “Key Structures’ willful and continued negligence shows an intentional disregard for worker safety. Falls are a leading cause of worker deaths which is why employers must train workers on scaffolding safety and comply with fall prevention standards. Our job [is] to hold them accountable when they don’t.”

Key Structure’s Website states it was formed in 2018 as a subsidiary of the Challenger Group. It focuses on building off-site components for the construction of homes, apartments and townhomes.

Key Structures has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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Grain Facility Exposed Workers to Engulfment Hazards

MONTICELLO, IL – On February 19th, 2021, two workers at Topflight Grain Cooperative Inc. were clearing a bin of debris when the soybeans inside collapsed, engulfing one employee up to their waste. The subsequent investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found the grain facility exposed workers to engulfment hazards. The total proposed penalties amounted to $303,510. A grain facility exposed workers to engulfment hazards within a grain silo.

The agency cited Topflight for four grain-handling violations. This included a willful citation for failing to lockout or de-energize hazardous equipment before allowing workers to enter the bin. OSHA issued another willful violation for failing to post an attendant outside the bin for emergency response. The agency all issued citations for directing employees to work on top of railcars without fall protection and failing to test oxygen levels within before directing employees to work inside the grain bin.

In OSHA’s press release, OSHA Area director Barry Salerno made a statement regarding the grain facility which exposed workers to engulfment hazards. Salerno stated, “Six in ten grain engulfments result in the death of a worker but, like the incident at Topflight Grain Cooperative, they are entirely avoidable. OSHA works diligently with the grain and feed industry to enhance education and safety, but employers must follow industry-recognized standards to protect their workers.”

According to their website, Topflight Grain Cooperative operates 19 grain-producing facilities. These operate across Illinois and process 40 million bushels of grain annually.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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OSHA Finds Bypassed Safety Measures Led to Worker’s Death – Tavares, FL

TAVARES, FL – In Florida, early March 2021, willfully bypassed safety measures led to a worker’s death according to the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA). The worker’s employer, United Signs & Signals Inc. (US&S) was cited with a total of $237,566 in proposed penalties.

On the day of the accident, March 2, 2021, an electrical technician climbed into a trench to splice electrical wires to power streetlights. The worker made contact with live wires and suffered a fatal electrocution.When an electrical technician climbed into a trench to splice electrical wires to power streetlights, bypassed safety measures led to the worker's death.

OSHA determined the company bypassed safety measures that led to the worker’s death. These were failing to de-energize or guard circuits, thus exposing workers to electrical shock hazards. The company was also cited for exposing workers to cave-in hazards, not ensuring a safe means of exiting the excavations, and allowing employees to work in a trench with accumulated water.

OSHA Area Office Director Michelle Gonzalez stated, “A man is dead because of US&S’s willful indifference toward protecting its workers. This terrible loss should remind employers that safety measures are never optional, and the consequences for ignoring them can be fatal.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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Tortilla Factory Cited in LOTO Violation – San Marcos Texas

SAN MARCOS, Texas – A Tortilla Factory was Cited in a LOTO violation. The lockout/tagout violation, or failure to control hazardous energy, was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

A Tortilla Factory was Cited in a LOTO violation. Lockout tackout procedures should be followed to prevent these citations.

OSHA investigated El Milagro of Texas, a tortilla factory in San Marcos, and found the failure to comply, as reported by KVUE ABC News on June 15th, 2021.

The company, El Milagro, failed to comply with LOTO procedures that would prevent the sudden start-up or movement of machines during maintenance and servicing. This citation has resulted in a fine of more than $218,000.

According to KVUE’s article, the tortilla factory that was cited in the LOTO violation by OSHA has also been cited for these violations in 2015 and 2018.

OSHA Area Director Casey Perkins was quoted as saying, “…Energy control and lockout/tagout procedures are vital to protecting workers in manufacturing facilities. OSHA will hold employers accountable when they fail to comply with requirements to prevent worker exposure to dangerous hazards.”

El Milagro of Texas will have 15 business days from the receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.

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Recycling Plant Cited in Fatal Fall

TOCCOA, GA – A recycling plant has been cited in a fatal fall that occurred on December 2020 in Toccoa, GA. OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has cited Scrap Master Inc. after determining they failed to equip stairs and platforms with guardrails to prevent falls, exposing workers to fall hazards.

The inspection also resulted in citations for failures to mount and mark fire extinguishers, repair powered industrial trucks, provide a training program on powered industrial trucks, develop and utilize specific procedures for employees performing service and maintenance activities on machines, and prevent workers from being exposed to occupational noise levels above the allowable time-weighted average.

In total, OSHA cited Scrap Masters with eight serious and five repeat violations, which resulted in a proposed $164,308 in penalties.

OSHA Acting Area Director Michael Hejazi was quoted as saying, “Implementing required safety procedures can mean the difference between a tragic incident and everyone going home safely to their families.”

The recycling plant cited in the fatal fall, Scrap master Inc. recycles plastic automobile gas tanks, according to OSHA’s press release. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Martin Technical provides fall safety training to prevent accidents such as these.

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Balance in Work and Life for Truesdale

After joining Martin Technical as CRO, Gil Truesdale was featured in a Nov. 2020 publication of his Alma Matter’s Magazine: Charleston Southern University Magazine. The article, which you can read here, discusses Truesdale’s journey to finding balance in work and life.

For 10 weeks that crossed 2016 and 2017, Truesdale served as a juror, and foreman ofGil Truesdale has learned through experience that balance between in work and life is important. that jury, for a murder trial. He found his prior experiences in leadership served him well throughout the proceedings.

The article explains that after the trial, Truesdale left his previous employment and took a six-month sabbatical. He spent time with his family, and listened to them about his nonstop-work lifestyle. In his role at Martin Technical, he experiences a new balance. He still travels. However, as Truesdale states in the article, he is able to “…stop, breathe, recharge, get spiritually refocused, because the tasks are never going to stop.”

The article also mentions charities and boards Truesdale participates in for the public good. These include THRIVE Saves Lives, a group that combats domestic violence, and The Charleston Forum, which provides a dialogue on race. Truesdale extends his caring attitude to those around him, including in the workplace, “If I see someone going through something, I will definitely ask how they are doing.” A Martin Technical cultural value is our employee’s well-being. We didn’t just hire Gil Truesdale for his vast experience within our industry, we also hired him for his contribution to our internal culture, and are grateful to have him on our team.

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Companies Cited in Building Collapse

MANCHESTER, OH – Two companies were cited in a building collapse that caused the death of two workers. On Dec. 9th, 2020, the Killen Power Generation Station’s building collapsed. Its steel beams fell on and killed two workers employed to demolish the facility. According to OSHA’s press release the employees were a laborer cutting steel and a truck driver preparing to move the scrap metal off-site.

Two companies were cited in a building collapse that caused the death of two workers.

OSHA investigated the project and cited two Michigan companies. The two companies were general contractor Adamo of Detroit, and SCM Engineering Demolition Inc. of East China. Both were cited for multiple violations of the general duty clause and failing to inspect the site regularly for hazards resulting from the demolition process.

The two companies cited in the building collapse have combined proposed penalties of $194,012. Adamo is responsible for $181,724 for a range of violations. SCM Engineering faces penalties of $12,288 for three serious violations.

OSHA determined the companies allowed employees to continue working under hazardous conditions without adding shoring, bracing, or other means to steady the structure. OSHA also determined they failed to train employees on identifying potential hazards.

OSHA Area Director Kenneth Montgomery in Cincinnati was quoted as saying, “Some of the most dangerous construction projects are those that involve demolishing buildings. This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer protected their workers with proper planning, training and appropriate personal protective equipment and by complying with OSHA standards.”

Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Martin Technical provides safety training to prevent accidents such as these.

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