Bellevue, NE – Bimbo Bakeries USA faces $122,625 in proposed penalties for exposing workers to multiple hazards at its Bellevue commercial bakery. Federal workplace safety investigators cited the Bellevue facility for three repeat and three serious violations, since they had cited Bimbo twice before for similar hazards. Violations included lack of machine guarding, failing to provide fall protection and using a damaged electrical panel box.
Industrial machinery must be routinely inspected. Inspection of machinery is based on the grounds that the machine must be safe to use and machinery and equipment must be maintained in good and safe working condition. This includes mechanical parts, safety switches, emergency stops and guards, etc. Effectiveness of electrical components should also be assessed regularly for the safety of workers.
Martin Technical is aware that machine safety solutions must not hinder production or reduce the capacity of a machine and a facility’s production.
During a machine safety inspection, each individual machine is registered. Defects are detected and recorded, photos taken and safety hazard discussed with the staff involved so we attain agreement on any suggested solution. After a machine safety inspection, Martin Technical delivers a report outlining the various deficiencies including photo documentation and a description of necessary changes. Many of our industrial customers use this report as a foundation from which staff can implement safety solutions.
Rugby, UK – Acenta Steel Limited has been fined £400,000 for a 2016 industrial accident in which a worker’s leg was crushed in the vice of an industrial band saw. An investigation by the local health and safety team discovered that safety guards fitted to the band saw when it was installed at the factory had been removed.
The Rugby Borough Council prosecuted and found that Acenta Steel had failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment of operating the machine without safety guards. In a written submission to the investigating officer, Acenta stated the safety guards had been removed from the band saw in order to avoid steel being caught on an overhead gantry and that the machine’s sensor rarely needed cleaning.
However, in the course of the investigation, the prosecution observed that the band saw suffered a sensor fault around four times a year. Acenta had having previously stated it was unaware of the problem which suggested to the prosecution that there was a failure to monitor the machine’s performance.
During the hearing, details of the industrial accident were brought to light. Returning to the factory floor after a break, the worker found the band saw’s warning light flashing red, indicating it had stopped working due to a fault. After consulting with a colleague, the worker believed the machine’s sensor had become blocked by steel filings and he climbed on to the band saw to clear it.
Unfortunately, while clearing the sensor, the worker noticed the machine’s vice had started moving and his leg had become trapped. The worker called out to colleagues for help, but by the time the emergency stop button had been pressed to cut power to the machine he had suffered several fractures to his leg.
Acenta Steel Limited pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees.
Salinas, CA – Growers Street Cooling has agreed to pay $310,000 in costs and civil penalties as a result of legal action brought by the Monterey County District Attorney following a 2013 worker fatality at the Salinas-based produce-cooling company.
The death of Jose Juan Serrano (30) prompted the Monterey County District Attorney to file a worker fatality action against Growers Street Cooling. Serrano was working on a large piece of machinery at the Salinas facility in 2013 when a piece of equipment fell on him.
On the day of his death, Serrano was applying plastic covering to pallets of strawberries. Prosecutors said a portion of a pallet broke off and became lodged, causing the machine to stop automatically. However, Serrano failed to press the emergency-shutoff switch before dislodging the wood, which caused a large counterweight to fall and kill him instantly.
Serrano had been working for Growers Street Cooling as a machine operator for only 16 days prior to the accident. According to the DA, Serrano was assigned to operate a TransFresh Tectrol – a piece of heavy machine which wraps pallets of strawberries in plastic wrap and uses hydraulics to squeeze the strawberry containers in on the pallet for easier shipping and handling. As the compression occurs, a large counterweight on the opposite end balances the machine.
The day Serrano was killed, he was operating the Tectrol machine alone. When a wooden pallet became lodged inside the machine and caused it to jam, Serrano climbed behind the machine and used a crowbar to release the wood. Unfortunately, he did not de-energize, turn off the machine, or perform any lock-out/tag-out procedures. As soon as the jam was cleared, the machine reactivated and a large counterweight crushed him against the wall.
California state law and federal safety standards require businesses using any kind of heavy machinery to train workers in proper lockout/tagout procedures to minimize accidental injury and death. Lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, thereby helping to prevent the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities. The Monterey DA found that Growers Street Cooling never trained Serrano on lockout procedures before assigning him to operate the machine which killed him.
Additionally, the DA said that Growers Street Cooling did not maintain a written lockout/tagout policy or training program, and charged that they systematically violated worker safety laws. OSHA CFR 29 1910.147 provides regulations on LOTO (LockOut/TagOut) and 25 states have their own approved lockout tagout and worker safety standards. Often times, the most overlooked aspect of a lockout tagout program is failure to provide equipment specific lockout procedures. A general corporate written policy does not meet the requirements of OSHA.
The Monterey County court-ordered injunction requires Growers Street Cooling to maintain and implement written hazardous energy control procedures for all heavy machinery and maintain and implement written training programs for lockout/tagout procedures. Additionally, the Monterey DA ordered the company to conduct annual inspections of its lockout/tagout procedures and not assign employees to operate any machinery unless they are trained about the machine’s hazards. According to the DA, Growers Street Cooling has recently provided proof that compliance is underway.
Orange, TX – An employee at Arlanxeo’s Orange (TX) plant suffered non life-threatening burns on the job last week when the small bleed valve he was working on ignited. The worker was flown by helicopter to a hospital that specializes in burn treatment.
Local fire personnel helped create a landing space for the helicopter following the medical emergency at the industrial rubber plant.
The bleed valve in question was connected to a process line. Despite the ignition, the plant is operating normally. ARLANXEO stated that they “will be further investigating this incident…with Health and Safety personnel.”
Arlanxeo is a multi-national synthetic rubber company which specializes in performance elastomers at their Orange (TX) facility.
Watkins, MN – A maintenance worker was killed last week when he became pinned in the industrial machinery he was working on at International Barrier Technology. Rescue workers freed the man from the equipment and began life saving efforts, but sadly, he died at the scene.
The worker was identified as Todd Shoutz, 51, of Litchfield (MN). Shoutz, a maintenance worker at Barrier Technology, was reportedly working on a machine and became pinned in a piece of equipment. Despite the efforts of emergency teams on the scene, the employee succumbed to his injuries after being freed from the equipment.
The International Barrier Technology plant in MN processes building materials to make them fire-resistant.
Random Lake, WI – A Lakeside Foods employee had her arm amputated above the elbow Monday in an industrial accident at the Wisconsin food packager. The 30-year-old victim was taken by Fight for Life to Froedert Hospital.
OSHA has several standards in place to control amputation hazards in American workplaces. Approximately 3 million workers service equipment and these employees face the greatest risk of injury on the job. OSHA states that “Safeguarding is essential for protecting employees from needless and preventable injury. A good rule to remember is: Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded.”
Safeguards that control amputation hazards include machine guarding, lockout/tagout procedures and programs, application of ring guards, and installation of audio or visual awareness devices, among others.
According to OSHA, “a hazardous energy control program is a critical part of an overall strategy to prevent workplace amputations during machine servicing and maintenance activities, such as during the setting up of machines for production purposes, bypassing guards to clear jams or lubricate parts, and inspecting, adjusting, replacing, or otherwise servicing machine parts. Machine amputations occur when an employer does not have or fails to implement practices and procedures to disable and control a machine’s energy sources during machine servicing and maintenance work.”
Compliance with federally mandated lockout/tagout standards 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. In a study conducted by the UAW, 20% of the fatalities that occurred among their members between 1973 and 1995 were attributed specifically to inadequate hazardous energy control procedures.
Lakeside foods produces frozen and canned vegetables at the Random Lake (WI) facility.
Perth, Australia – First Quantum, a British Columbia-based mining company, has been fined $65,000 by a court in Perth for safety failures that led to a preventible arc flash incident dating from 2011. Unfortunately, First Quantum had identified the potentially deadly workplace danger months before an employee was hurt.
First Quantum Minerals employee Shane Russell suffered burns from an arc flash while working inside an electrical substation at its now-closed Ravensthorpe nickel operation in the southern portion of Western Australia. Mr. Russell was struck by a potentially fatal electrical discharge, suffering burns to his left hand and left side of his face. Russell was hospitalized but did not ultimately suffer any permanent injury.
Australia’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety said there was no “hard barricade” behind the isolator to prevent accidental contact with uninsulated live bus bars. The department found an internal investigation conducted by First Quantum into an incident in early 2011 and an internal report that identified the danger of working on the motor control center without full isolation. According to that internal document, the potential consequence of an arc flash re-occurrence was identified as being “major” and the likelihood was “possible.”
Ada, OH – The Wilson Sporting Goods football factory has been fined a total of $65,187 following the partial amputation of a worker’s finger. The accident revealed six lockout violations at the facility, wherein there was a failure to properly cut power before workers replaced machine parts or performed equipment maintenance.
OSHA reported that the amputation that brought Wilson to their attention occurred while the employee performed troubleshooting activities on equipment when it was not properly locked out. Federal investigators found that maintenance employees were exposed to potential amputation injuries when equipment was not locked out prior to die and belt changes. Additionally, OSHA cited Wilson’s football factory for not ensuring that workers were trained in an energy control program.
OSHA requires that employees be trained on lockout policies and procedures. Training is done to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control program are understood by employees and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls are acquired by employees.
Proper application of lockout-tagout and hazardous energy control are among OSHA’s Top 10 “Most Often Cited Violations” and Top 10 “Most Serious Violations” lists. Many companies have written lockout policies but lack equipment specific procedures. Lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, helping to prevent the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, and/or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.
Lockout procedures posted on equipment provide workers with the specific steps to properly isolate energy sources for their safety and the preservation of machinery. OSHA bases Lockout/Tagout fines on each piece of equipment, and fees for violations have recently increased and can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Around 3 million workers service equipment and these employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. It is estimated that compliance with the federal lockout/tagout standard prevents 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. A study conducted by the United Auto Workers found that 20% of the fatalities that occurred among their members between 1973 and 1995 were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control procedures specifically, lockout/tagout failures.
Chicago, IL – OSHA is investigating a Bway facility in Chicago for multiple reports of employee injuries on the job. Federal agents received four separate reports of injured workers at the container manufacturer. Bway has been placed on the Severe Violator list and faces more than $500,000 in fines following an investigation of injuries which included three amputations and one worker who had two bones broken in his hand after it was crushed by a piece of equipment.
Bway was cited for five repeated violations and five serious violations. This indicates that the company had received similar violations in the past five years, and that the violations could have caused death or serious harm.
OSHA reports that in the past five years 15 workers have suffered injuries that resulted in amputation in the course of their work at Bway’s Chicago facility. Bway has been repeatedly cited for failing to disable and de-energize machines and failing to train workers on how to safely lockout machinery. OSHA has inspected Bway facilities 32 times in the last five years, and they received citations in 18 of those inspections.
Dickson, TN – On August 25, Dickson Electric Systems substation supervisor Zach Spicer suffered second-degree burns to his face and neck in an arc flash incident at the DES Old White Bluff Substation.
According to the victim’s sister-in-law, Spicer “was accessing a breaker cabinet, high voltage side when contact or an arc formed, causing an electrical fault that released heat and energy…He remembers stammering around and seeing everyone’s expression looking at him.”
Two days after the burns, doctors determined that Spicer had not lost his eyesight and during the skin graft surgery they were able to not only save his right hand, but also his fingertips.
Spicer remains at the Vanderbilt Medical Center Burn Unit where he has undergone three surgeries and numerous procedures.
A second Dickson Electric Systems employee also suffered severe burns to his face and neck in the incident. He was released the evening of the accident and is recovering at home.
An Arc Flash is an electrical explosion caused by a fault condition or short circuit when either a phase to ground or phase to phase conductor is connected and current flows through the air. Arc flashes cause electrical equipment to explode, resulting in injury or death to workers and destruction of electrical equipment.
Temperatures can exceed 35,000° F. For reference, the surface of the sun is 9000° F. These extreme temperatures rapid heat and expand surrounding air – the extreme change in pressure is known as an arc blast. The arc flash and blast will likely vaporize all solid copper conductors. These conductors expand up to 67,000 times their original volume when vaporized. The arc flash and blast produce fire, intense light, pressure waves, and flying shrapnel.
When an arc flash happens, it does so without warning and is lightning quick. The result of this violent event is usually destruction of the equipment involved, fire, and severe injury or death to any nearby people. Proper safety and protection measures must be taken to limit the damage from an arc flash which include conducting an arc flash study, short circuit study, and NFPA 70E electrical safety training.