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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Multiple Companies Cited by OSHA for Worker’s Fatalities at Food Group Plant– Gainesville, GA

Gainesville, GA– OSHA of the US Department of Labor cited Foundation Food Group Inc. and three other companies for a total of 59 violations and a combined $998,637 in penalties following its investigation of a liquid nitrogen leak that killed six people working in a Prime-Pak Foods processing plant in Gainesville, GA.

The incident occurred January 28th, after a freezer at the plant malfunctioned, releasing colorless, odorless liquid nitrogen into the air, displacing the oxygen in the room. OSHA said in its report that three maintenance workers entered the freezer room without safety precautions. The three maintenance workers and three other workers died immediately.

companies cited by OSHA for worker's fatalities

OSHA investigated the incident and found that Foundation Food Group and Messer LLC of Bridgewater, NJ, “failed to implement any of the safety procedures or necessary to prevent the accident and found that did not do safety training for employees on the safety procedures they can take to protect themselves, and the methods used to detect the presence or release of nitrogen, the hazards of liquid nitrogen, and emergencies.

“This horrible tragedy could have been prevented had the employers taken the time to use – and teach their workers the importance of – safety precautions,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta. “Instead, six workers died because their employers failed to follow necessary procedures and to comply with required safety and health standards. We hope other industry employers learn from this terrible incident and comply with requirements to prevent similar incidents.”

OSHA cited Foundation Food Group Inc. for 26 violations for the uncontrolled release of liquid nitrogen; the Company also failed to develop, document, and use lockout procedures, nor ensure the procedures were shared between the host employer and contractors. The Company faces $595,474 in penalties.

FS Group Inc., which manufactures equipment and provides mechanical servicing, was also cited by OSHA for eight serious violations for failure to train workers on the physical and health hazards and emergency procedures. The Company also failed to ensure the development and use of specific written lockout procedures and ensure that the host employer and contractors shared information on lockout procedures. FS Group faces $42,325 in penalties.

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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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Fatal Roofing Fall at Amazon Facility in East Norriton, NJ

East Norriton, NJ According to an OSHA investigation, Wilmer Mejía Landaverde, a New Jersey worker building an Amazon warehouse in East Norriton, fell from the structure’s roof. Mejia’s fall was fatal due to his injuries from falling 25 feet.

A Trenton-based construction contractor employed Mejía. Mejía’s brother, Josué, said he and his brother were replacing roofing material before Mejía’s fall; he recalled that his brother removed his safety ties briefly for a water break. Both workers have cablesFall Protection attached while they work. After returning from break, he did not put his cable back on.

According to East Norriton police, the fall occurred at 3:48 p.m. at a construction site on 53 West Germantown Pike. Amazon was not involved in the construction nor are they under investigation.

In a statement, an official from IMC Construction stated: “Despite extensive safety training, inspections, procedures, instructions, safety personnel on-site and mandated safety requirements, the worker was witnessed by his co-workers removing his mandated safety line from his safety harness while on the roof, and within minutes fell.”

Amazon spokesperson Branden Baribeau noted that the East Norriton site is under construction, with no Amazon employees. “We’re saddened by this tragic incident and extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones,” he said. “It is our understanding that OSHA is investigating, and we will work with them as needed.”

OSHA stated it has up to six months to complete the investigation. In addition to the Construction Contractors, the agency said it is also investigating the roofing contractor.

“Falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths,” OSHA experts caution on the agency’s website. “Employers must set up the workplace to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated workstations or into holes in the floor and walls.”

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Bronx Contractor Cited for Scaffolding Accident – Brooklyn, NY

BROOKLYN, NY  A Bronx contractor was cited for a scaffolding accident and a worker’s fall when his arrest harness was not tethered as required by OSHAThe 21-year-old laborer, who was erecting scaffolding, suffered a deadly fall at a Brooklyn building project on November 13th, 2020.

Falls are the leading cause of death and injury when proper safety protocols are not in place. The laborer who was installing a welded frame scaffold fell over 50 feet from the construction site of the seven-story Brooklyn building.

Everest Scaffolding Inc from the Bronx failed to ensure the laborer’s fall arrest harness was attached, as required by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration

“The Company cited the tragedy could have been prevented if Everest Scaffolding had provided appropriate training on fall hazards and ensured workers were using fall protection correctly,” said OSHA Area Director Kay Gee in Manhattan.

OSHA proposed $300,370 in penalties for the two serious safety violations. The Company did not train their workers on Fall Hazards and did not make sure they were using the protection correctly.

The Company Failed to evaluate the feasibility of using fall protection correctly and did not adequately train employees on fall hazards associated with scaffolding work.

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Grain Facility Cited for Injury and Explosion – Adrian, MO

ADRIAN, MO– A local Missouri grain facility has been cited for an injury and explosion from failing to correct critical safety procedures, including potential dust ignition sources at their Adrian grain loading facility.

Due to its negligence, the company suffered a grave explosion that seriously injured an employee and destroyed the main elevator at an Adrian grain loading facility. OSHA citedA West Central Agri Services Grain Facility was cited by OSHA West Central Agri Services for one willful and six serious safety violations totaling $215,525 in OSHA fines.

The U.S. Department of Labor  Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined the explosion could have been avoided if the company set up bucket elevators with monitoring devices that notify workers when a belt is slipping and potentially causing friction – this can ignite grain dust.

Within grain handling facilities, OSHA standards require a storage capacity of over one million bushels, and the company had not updated its dust collection system since its installation in 1974. MFA Enterprises failed to meet safety standards.

The company also did not repair an overhead trolly system used for connecting fall protection devices. The trolly system was out of service at the time of its investigation and noted violations, including a lack of preventive maintenance and a failure to designate hazardous areas existed. The company workers were exposed to fall hazards when walking atop the railcars to open and close the hatches without fall protection which is inconsistent with fall protection training and safety measures.

MFA Enterprises Inc. is one of the region’s oldest agricultural cooperatives and brings together 45,000 farmers in Missouri and adjacent states. Together with working with OSHA’s Grain-Handling Safety Standard focuses on the grain and feed industry’s six significant hazards: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, “struck by,” combustible dust explosions, and electrocution hazard.

“West Central Agri Services failed to follow industry standards and create company policies for safe grain handling, and needlessly put their workers in danger,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille in Kansas City, Missouri. “Grain handling hazards can be avoided by using well-known safety measures that are proven to help prevent workers from being injured or killed.”

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