Weston, WI – An aluminum manufacturer was cited for Machine Guarding violations by OSHA in Weston, Wisconsin for $159,522 for failure to establish safe machine guarding procedures and failure of training on lockout tagout procedures. The citations for machine guarding led to serious injuries and hospitalization of an employee after being struck by a puller, while the machine was trying to unjam a piece of aluminum.
The large statewide company focuses on aluminum extrusions, fabrication, coating services, plastics painting services, along with warehouse and freighting. The aluminum manufacturer is a multi-million-dollar company with over 600 employees across 4 locations throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Violations and Citations
The aluminum manufacturer has a history of investigations and violations with OSHA citing the company eight different times for safety violations, including past machine safety violations, between 2012-2019. OSHA investigators determined that safety guards were not utilized around an 8-inch extrusion press line, which is intended to prevent employees from direct contact with the puller. Lockout tagout procedures were not utilized preventing further danger to employees.
OSHA concluded the company could have prevented the accident if they had provided adequate lockout tagout safety training as well as installed proper machine safety guards. The investigation concluded the company failed to:
Apply 6 ft chain link safety guards around the 8-inch extrusion press line
Provide training on proper machine safety procedures
These violations of safety procedures resulted in three “serious” violations, totaling $159,522 in penalties.
“Machine guards are designed to protect workers from suffering serious injuries, but they are only effective when used properly,” said OSHA’s Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton. “OSHA will hold this company and others accountable for failing to comply with safety and health regulations put in place to prevent worker injuries.”
In summary, companies must be cognizant of the repercussions of not using safety procedures required by OSHA. With proper safety training and lockout tagout practices, this situation could have been avoided and the release of hazardous energy could have been prevented. Proper safety training will help ensure safe work environments and can avoid on-the-job work injuries. Learn more about safety trainings and proper lockout tagout program compliance and procedures.
In FY 2021, lockout tagout ranked seventh on OSHA’S Top 10 list of most frequently cited standards with 1,670 total violations. Furthermore, within the standard, 1910.147(c)(6), the “periodic inspection” was the third most frequently cited section, with 255 violations. Subsequently, the fourth was standard 1910.147(c)(1), with 162 violations related to lockout tagout procedures, employee training, and periodic inspections. Thus, NIOSH reminds employers of required annual lockout tagout inspections on written hazardous energy control procedures.
The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout Tagout) (29 CFR 1910.147) addresses the practices and procedures to disable machinery or equipment. It is essential to prevent the release of hazardous energy while employees perform servicing and maintenance activities. In sum, the standard outlines measures for controlling hazardous energies, including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, and other energy sources.
Useful Tips and Reminders for Developing and Maintaining a Lockout Tagout Program
Compliance with the lockout tagout standard prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation. NIOSH has offered tips and reminders for developing and maintaining a lockout/tagout program as below:
The written procedures shall include the scope of procedures, intended purpose, names of authorized personnel, rules for shift change, transfer of locks, and specific methods used.
A periodic inspection must include a demonstration of the procedures and be conducted while the authorized employee performs service/maintenance on a machine/equipment.
Each energy control procedure must be separately inspected to ensure the procedure is adequate and properly implemented by the authorized employee.
The inspector must be a knowledgeable lockout tagout authorized employee who isn’t currently performing lockout tagout on the energy control procedure under inspection.
The inspector can’t implement any part of the procedure during the inspection but must observe the procedure implementation for the evaluated equipment or machine. Additionally, the inspector should speak with at least one authorized employee who implements the procedure to ensure a thorough understanding of the procedure.
Lastly, the employer must retrain the employee if the inspection reveals deviations from the written procedures or inadequacies in the knowledge of procedures.
In summary, performing annual lockout audits can be a daunting task without the right knowledge and right tools. Industry subject matter experts with Martin Technical can help organizations identify and fill gaps in their current lockout tagout program. Typically, the evaluations cover ten topics and over 100 investigation points through observation of work processes, documentation, and administration of the program. Upon completion, a report containing compliance status, code references for the deficiencies, corrective actions, and best practices will be provided. There are three Annual Lockout Program Audits as below:
On-Site Audits It is performed by a subject matter lockout expert typically taking two days.
Rapid LOTO Audit App
TheRapid LOTO app is an award-winning self-auditing tool for periodic lockout inspections. The app takes users through each step of their program and provides a variety of reports and tools to improve their lockout program.
Customize Auditing Programs
This inspection program offers various hybrid programs, including software, apps, live inspections, training, and online information. This option is best to create an audit program that best meets any organization’s needs.
For the 11th consecutive fiscal year, OSHA’s fall protection(29 CFR 1926.501) remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard. While the Fall Protection Training Requirements(29 CFR 1926.503) was the agency’s seventh most frequently cited standard in FY 2021. In the meantime, fall fatalities from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees. Above all, the BLS data reports that 1,008 construction workers died on the job, with 351 of those falling from elevation. In an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries, organizations should participate in OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down event and activities. The one-week event aims to raise fall hazard awareness and reinforce fall protection training across the country.
All Workplaces Are Encouraged to Hold a Safety Stand-Down
A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. All workplaces should hold a stand-down event or meeting to focus on fall hazards and reinforce the importance of preventing falls. However, participation is not limited to the construction industry, and no business is too small to participate. Workplaces that are not exposed to fall hazards should also leverage this opportunity to promote a positive safety culture. In fact, OSHA recorded that many non-construction employers held Stand-Down events.
In past years, participants included commercial construction companies of all sizes, contractors, general industry employers, the U.S. Military and other government participants, unions, employer’s trade associations, institutes, employee interest organizations, and safety equipment manufacturers.
Additionally, several domestic and international companies working outside of the United States participated in past Stand-Downs, and OSHA hopes to have more international participation this year.
How to Conduct a Safety Stand-Down
Generally, managers should plan a Stand-Down that works best for their workplace schedule. Accordingly, some of the recommended practices in conducting a Safety Stand-Down are as follows:
Conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk.
Inspections of safety equipment, developing rescue plans or discussing job-specific hazards.
Develop presentations or activities that provide information about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals, and expectations. In addition, sharing hands-on exercises, including a worksite walkaround, equipment checks, etc., can also increase retention.
Besides, consider inviting the subcontractors, owners, architects, engineers, or others associated with your project to participate in the Stand-Down for a collaborative effort.
Employers may share information on their Stand-Down events, Fall Prevention Programs, or suggestions with OSHA on how initiatives such as these can be improved. Employers can also download a certificate of participation following the event.
Resources for Preventing Fall Hazards
In summary, employers should provide competent person training and proper supervision in the workplace, ensuring workers are aware of fall hazards. Virtual Reality Fall Protection Training can provide an effective and engaging way to practice and validate fall safety requirements without the real-world consequences. Learn more about VR curriculums developed by industry experts to help raise risk awareness and to help prevent fall accidents.
Sulphur, LA – After a flash fire and subsequent explosion, OSHA initiated an investigation at a chemicals facility in Sulphur, Louisiana. The tragedy occurred during preventive care and maintenance activities, and it seriously injured six workers on Sept. 27, 2021.
According to OSHA’s investigation, the contract employer didn’t instruct each contract employee on the known potential hazards. The incident has exposed workers to fire, explosion, and toxic release hazards related to isolation plug failure at the Quench tower pipe.
Subsequently, OSHA issued citations with 11 serious violations as summarized below, to four employers, and the total penalties amounted to $139,427:
29 CFR 1910.146(c)(8)(iv): The host employer did not coordinate entry operations when both host employer personnel and contractor personnel were working in or near permit spaces. The violation has exposed workers to explosion hazards at the DA-101 Quench Tower.
29 CFR 1910.146(d)(2): Under the permit-required confined space program required by 29 CFR 1910.146(c)(4), the employer did not identify and evaluate the hazards of permit spaces before employees entered. The hazards were associated with isolating the space and the welding space, exposing workers to explosion hazards.
29 CFR 1910.146(f)(7): The entry permit that documented compliance and authorized entry to a permit space did not identify the permit space’s hazards. The company didn’t identify the hazards associated with isolating the DA-101 Quench Tower and welding on the DA-101 Quench Tower. This violation has exposed employees to the explosion hazards
“Employers are responsible for ensuring employees have a safe workplace by having the correct confined space permits and a plan to inspect equipment to prevent serious injuries,” said Area Director Roderic Chube in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “In addition, employers should also ensure that employees are not exposed to an airborne concentration of benzene above the permissible exposure limits.”
In summary, Martin Technical encourages all organizations to provide proper confined space training to their employees. Safety training for employees helps prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of workplace safety. Also, learn more about state-of-the-art VR training with modules on Confined Spaces Virtual Reality (VR) Training. VR training provides safer safety training enabling trainees to experience real-world consequences, all while retaining more of what they learn. Employers can also have their trainees demonstrate and validate their skills remotely using VR training. VR safety training also significantly reduces human error and provides trainee data to track the completion and accuracy of tasks.
STERLING, MA – OSHA cited a multinational manufacturer for $370,000 due to failure to establish and use lockout tagoutprocedures and provide training. Investigators from OSHA determined that the worker in the Sterling facility was sprayed with hot liquid plastic. The accident caused severe burns to the employee who changed a screen on a plastic bag extruder machine.
The company was founded in 1967, and supplies and manufactures products for households, healthcare, personal care, and food and beverage industries. The company serves North and South American, European, and Asian markets with headquarters in Evansville, Indiana. It has 47,000 global employees at more than 295 locations, including the Sterling facility that manufactures plastic bags.
Violations and Citations
The plastic packaging manufacturer has a history of workplace safety and health investigations. OSHA has inspected the manufacturer in various U.S. locations more than 40 times during the last five years. These inspections include two fatality inspections in New Jersey and Wisconsin; both were related to lockout tagout violations. The manufacturer has contested both inspections.
OSHA concluded that the manufacturer could have prevented the accident if they had complied with the lockout tagout requirements and provided personal protective equipment. Based on the investigation in Sterling, OSHA found that the company failed to:
Establish and use lockout tagout procedures.
Provide training to workers to use lockout tagout procedures.
Eliminate employee exposure to protect workers from the extruder machine while they performed service or maintenance.
Conduct periodic inspections to ensure workers follow the safety procedures.
Provide appropriate personal protective equipment to ensure that employees were protected when servicing the extruder.
Subsequently, OSHA cited the manufacturer for two willful violations and one repeat violation and has proposed close to $370K in penalties.
“Berry Global Inc. could have prevented this worker’s injuries if the company had the required safeguards,” said OSHA Area Director Mary Hoye in Springfield, Massachusetts. “OSHA will hold employers accountable when they knowingly disregard their legal responsibility to provide workers a safe and healthful workplace.”
Berry Global Inc. also meets the Severe Violator Enforcement Program requirements because one of the proposed willful, and the proposed repeat citation, are high emphasis standards of lockout tagout.
However, the company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
WASHINGTON – On March 30th, OSHA published a proposed rule to its occupational injury and illness recordkeeping regulation. The proposed amendment targets to improve the tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses recordkeeping regulation, 29 CFR 1904.41.
The Proposed Rule
The proposed rule requires certain employers to submit injury and illness information to OSHA electronically and report the Annual Summary. Ultimately, the agency uses these reports to identify and respond to emerging hazards and makes aspects of the information publicly available.
In summary, the proposed rule would:
Require establishments with 100 or more employees in specific high-hazard industries to electronically submit information from their OSHA Forms 300, 301, and 300A to OSHA once a year.
Update the classification system used to determine the list of industries covered by the electronic submission requirement.
Remove the current requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees not in a designated industry to electronically submit Form 300A to OSHA annually.
LAstly, require establishments to include their company name when making electronic submissions to OSHA.
In the meantime, establishments with 20 or more employees in specific high-hazard industries would continue to submit Annual Summary via Form 300A to OSHA electronically.
The Benefits of the Amendments
After all, the proposed rule would support OSHA’s mission to protect workers, mitigate workplace hazards, and empower workers by increasing transparency in the workforce.
Additionally, OSHA believes that the electronic submission of establishment-specific and case-specific information will improve workplace safety and health by:
Allowing OSHA to effectively identify workplaces where workers are at most significant risk from specific hazards. Thus, enabling the agency to target its compliance assistance and enforcement efforts accordingly.
Improving the visibility of employers to compare their injury and illness data on hazards within the same industry.
Enhancing the ability of stakeholders to make more informed decisions using recent establishment-specific, case-specific, and injury/illness information.
Lastly, advancing the research related to occupational safety and health.
Comments Due Date and Submission Details
The public can submit comments online using Docket No. OSHA-2021-0006 on the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Refer to the Federal Register notice for more details, and the due date for comments submission is May 30th, 2022. All submissions must include the agency’s name and the docket number for this rulemaking (Docket No. OSHA-2021-0006). OSHA also cautions commenters about submitting private information that will be made available to the public online at https://www.regulations.gov without modification.
CAMDEN, NJ – OSHA initiated an investigation of the auto parts shop after a vehicle lift crushed a worker’s hand in Camden, New Jersey. Following the investigation, the NJ auto parts seller faces $1.26 million in fines for thirty-three workplace safety and health violations. The company sells wholesale and retail parts salvaged from used vehicles through an assembly line process.
The Investigation and Citations
OSHA determined that the company failed to have proper safeguards to protect employees from an accidental machine startup. The agency also identified 33 workplace safety and health violations, including willful, repeat, and serious citations, as below:
Failed to equip employees with personal protective equipment or provide fire extinguisher training.
Willfully did not prevent fires, which frequently happened along the conveyor line when sparking tools ignited gasoline vapors.
Exposed workers to electrical, noise, machine guarding, crushing, and flammable material hazards.
Willfully failed to keep an emergency egress clear.
Did not protect employees from being caught in automobile lifts.
According to OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson, “by disregarding required safety protections, My Auto Store contributed to a worker’s serious and life-altering injury. In fact, the company could have prevented the accident by complying with workplace safety standards and implementing safety programs,” he added.
However, the company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Martin Technical, Inc., a leading subject matter expert in providing industrial plants and facilities with simplified safety solutions and consulting services, will be participating as a Gold Sponsor at the NFMT National Facilities Management and Technology Conference March 29-31, 2022, in Baltimore, MD. Industry experts will be present to educate facility professionals on how Martin Technical can make the complex simple by applying solutions for training, electrical maintenance, inspections, lockout tagout, confined space, and OSHA services.
Martin Technical will be highlighting the latest, most comprehensive, and practical safety training offerings, including blended learning training and strategies to guide organizations in building the most robust training program.
NFMT will also be hosting world-class conference sessions, including Martin Technical’s Chief Operating Officer, Donny Snyder, addressing the topic Maintaining Electrical System Health, Efficiency, and Safety. This topic will be presented during NFMT’s product zone speaking event on Thursday, March 31, at 11:30 AM ET.
Martin Technical is inviting workplace safety professionals to register as a Pro Level Access guest at no charge using promo code PROALUM. Guests are encouraged to visit Martin Technical at booth #715 during the conference.
GREENSBORO, NC – OSHA cited a mail facility’s distribution center in Greensboro for $170K after a worker suffered a life-changing injury last year. The investigation revealed the mechanic suffered an amputation after coming into contact with a machine that had a safety guard removed. Greensboro Network Distribution Center is a bulk mail processing and distribution center for the company with a programmable network of heavy conveyor lines and other systems that handles packages for delivery.
The Violations and Citations
Following the tragedy,Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the postal service’s facility, which operates as Greensboro Network Distribution Center. Subsequently, the investigation identified repeat and serious safety violations as follows:
Failure to ensure that safety guards were in place as required.
Allowing conveyor guards to be routinely removed, leaving workers at risk for injury.
Did not train staff on working near conveyors or proper methods for safely operating equipment using lockout tagout safety measures.
Allowed unqualified workers – workers without adequate training and protective equipment – to perform tests on live electrical equipment.
Therefore, OSHA issued two serious and two repeat citations, totaling $170,918 in proposed fines.
The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
“The USPS has an obligation to eliminate hazards to ensure safe working conditions and prevent future tragic and life-altering injury. But the company ignored long-established safety standards and put workers at risk,” said OSHA Area Director Kimberley Morton in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Key Takeaways: Training and Proper Lockout Tagout Could Have Prevented the Tragedy
Key takeaways are to ensure proper Lockout Tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures are in place to safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. Establishing a complete and comprehensive Lockout Tagout programthat includes precise lockout procedures for all workers is essential. Partnering with certified lockout techniciansto enhance efficiency and turnaround time on developing LOTO procedures and placards is also important.
Additionally, routine safety training can prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of workplace safety. Thus, employers must train workers in energy control and the skills required to safely apply, use, and remove energy control devices.
APPLETON, WI – OSHA cited an Appleton-based contractor twice in six months for exposing workers to deadly fall hazards.
In June 2021, OSHA cited the company during an inspection at a Neenah job site and proposed $21,140 in penalties. The citation included failing to provide workers with fall protection equipment and training and a ladder extending at least 3 feet above the landing surface.
Despite the consequences of the June citation, OSHA has issued one willful, one repeat, and one serious violation six months later. The proposed penalties total $49,722, based on OSHA’s observations of six roofers atop a two-story Algoma duplex on Nov. 2, 2021.
The Contractor’s History of Exposing Workers to Fall Hazards
The pair of recent inspections continues the company’s history of failing to protect its roofing workers. In 2017 and 2018, OSHA cited the company for similar hazards at other job sites. The company has neither paid OSHA penalties assessed in June 2021 nor complied with requirements to provide abatement information.
“Apple Roofing Solutions continues to show a flagrant disregard for the safety and well-being of its workers and the law. Fall hazards make roofing work among the construction industry’s most dangerous jobs. It is also OSHA’s most frequently cited hazards,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton. “This company seems willing to ignore the dangers of falls and the potential for serious injuries, debilitation, or worse. OSHA will hold Apple Roofing Solutions, and other employers like them, accountable for failing to meet the legal requirements to provide safe working conditions.”
Fall Protection Remains OSHA’s Most Frequently Cited Standard
For the 11th consecutive fiscal year, OSHA’s fall protection (29 CFR 1926.501) remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard. At the same time, the Fall Protection Training Requirements(29 CFR 1926.503) was the agency’s seventh most frequently cited standard in FY 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports in 2020 that 1,008 construction workers died on the job, with 351 of those falling from elevation.
Thus, employers should have a competent person training and supervising the workplace, ensuring workers are aware of fall hazards.
In summary, Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by scheduling regularworkplace fall protection training. The training provides an effective and engaging way to practice and validate safety requirements without stopping production. In addition, learn more aboutVR curriculums developed by subject matter experts created to raise risk awareness and provide training for preventive measures against fall accidents.