OSHA Fines Las Vegas Contractors amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Las Vegas, NV-  Mortenson-McCarthy, a joint venture between M.A. Mortenson Co. and McCarthy Building Cos. is building the 65,000-seat stadium to host games of the Raiders and University of Nevada Las Vegas football teams, with games beginning this August.

The joint venture in charge of construction at the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium is facing a fine for a “serious” but unnamed violation by Nevada regulators, levied on June 23rd, 2020.

The amount of the fine, $13,494, is the maximum penalty for a serious OSHA violation. Repeat violators can face a fine of $134,937 for each violation.

A report from OSHA provided details of the violation, detailing two incidents regarding lack of social distancing amid strict coronavirus protocols put in place by the state of Nevada. The report included 35 photos capturing instances in which people were working in close proximity to each other. There were reported to be some 2,600 workers on the job.

On April 2nd, OSHA noted employees at the site were not abiding by the 6-feet minimum social distancing requirement, noting that two 65-foot boom lifts were operating, each of which had three men per basket in violation of the two-person-per-basket regulation.

Additionally, 30 employees were seen working in very close proximity doing concrete-related work, possibly laying rebar, in one corner of the work site. Mortenson-McCarthy has since reported dozens of stadium workers have been infected with COVID-19.

Does this OSHA fine come as a shock or surprise to you or your company? What is your group of workers doing to stay safe and healthy during COVID-19? Martin Technical provides safe, reliable, and approved products sourced by our PPE experts.

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OSHA Fines AL Hardwood Business after Worker Death

OSHA worker deathSelma, AL- Miller & Co. Inc. is facing $218,192 in OSHA penalties for failing to protect their employees from struck-by hazards and improper machine guarding after a worker was injured, resulting in their death.

Founded in 1923, Miller & Co. Inc. is an Alabama-based hardwood business producing lumber and flooring. A piece of wood fatally struck a worker who was attempting to clear a jammed machine, which then prompted an investigation.

OSHA cited Miller & Co. Inc. for failing to lockout equipment prior to beginning maintenance, ensuring machines were properly guarded and training employees on lockout/tagout procedures. Specifically, OSHA cited Miller & Co. Inc. with the following two citations: Willful – 29 CFR 1910.147 (c)(4)(i) and Serious – 29 CFR 1910.147 (c)(7)(i).

Jose Gonzalez, Mobile, Ala. area director, said in a statement, “Employers are required to identify safety hazards, implement safety measures and train workers on the proper use of safety equipment. Tragedies such as this can be prevented if employers comply with workplace standards, as required by law.”

Martin Technical extends our sympathy towards the family and circle of the worker that lost his life to this accident. Reflecting on the statement above,  tragedies can and should be prevented- which is why our mission to improve workforce safety is driven by people who care about the greater good.

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MO Contractor Fined $224K after Trench Collapse, Employee Injury

Creve Coeur, MO- OSHA cited a Missouri contractor for violations of trenching and excavation standards after an employee suffered severe injuries when a 20-foot trench collapsed during an excavation at Creve Coeur Sanitary Sewer Trunk.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Unnerstall Contracting Company LLC, based in Pacific, Missouri, for three willful and four serious violations. The penalties amounted to $224,459.

The company was cited for failing to use adequate trench protective systems, permitting employees to ride in the bucket of hydraulic excavators, allowing water to accumulate in the floor of the trench, failing to provide a safe means of egress from the trench, failing to protect workers from struck-by hazards, and failing to place excavated soil piles an adequate distance from trench edges.

OSHA has since placed the company in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the OSHA 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.

These penalties and citations embody a number of safety topics and issues, some of which could be prevented and resolved by proper management training.

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Produce Company Fined in Worker Death

McAllen, TX- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined  $6,148 against Plateros Produce for the November poisoning death of a 32-year-old worker.

The worker, Luis Reymundo Pierda Martinez, passed away on Nov. 18 possibly due to the inhalation of aluminum phosphate and pesticide vapors, according to OSHA. The exact cause of Martinez’ death is pending toxicology tests.

The incident is reported saying the man was placing aluminum phosphate tablets and pesticide fumigators throughout the warehouse on Nov. 18. He then went to sleep at the warehouse and employees returning on Monday found him dead in the office.

The federal agency issued the two fines on May 14. OHSA fined Plateros Produce $4,048 for an initial penalty and $2,100 for a current penalty, according to the agency’s records. That being said, OSHA still categorizes this as pending, and is not closed.

Our thoughts are with Martinez’s family and loved ones. Tragic incidents like this remind us of the importance of education, training, and preventative safety measures companies and warehouses must take to save lives.osha produce fine

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OSHA Fines over 500k in Texas Explosion

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined the TPC group $514,692 for willful violations linked to the explosions and fire November 27 at the Port Neches, Texas plant.

An investigation found that the cause of explosions and fires was from the formation of a vapor at the base of a butadiene finishing tower which then ignited. The initial blast and then fires injured three workers and caused widespread damage to the surrounding community and civilians. The blast prompted evacuations that impacted near 50,000 people in the surrounding communities.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a statement that it cited TPC for three willful violations by not developing and implementing procedures for emergency shutdown and not inspecting and testing process vessel and piping components. Because of these willful violations, TPC faces $514,692 in civil OSHA fines.

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Electrocution Death in NY Aluminum Factory

Scriba, NY — Peter Clark Jr., 54, of Tully, who died while working at the Novelis Inc. aluminum factory in Oswego County on the morning of May 15th, appears to have been accidentally electrocuted, according to local deputies.

He was pronounced dead at the scene after being electrocuted while working as a contractor at the Scriba factory, said the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office.  The deadly accident is being investigated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), Ridley Electric, and the Novelis plant all together, as parts of the accident remain unclear and risks and causes are not yet publicized.

The Novelis plant in Oswego County is the county’s largest manufacturer and employs over 1,100 people. Within the 1.7-million-square-foot facility, workers make rolled aluminum that is used in vehicle body panels for automakers like Ford.

While details of the aluminum factory accident remain unclear, electrocution can be caused by a number of risks and inefficiencies.

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Seven Years Later: The Rana Plaza Factory Collapse

Savar Upazila, Bangladesh- In 2013 of this week, the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh collapsed, killing more than 1,100 garment workers, primarily young women, and injuring 2,500 others.

It was the largest industrial accident since 1984, when a gas leak at a factory in Bhopal, India, killed more than 3,500 people and exposed thousands more to toxic fumes. 

Images of the Rana Plaza collapse caught the world’s attention and became a catalyst for corporate action on factory safety.  

This led over 220 international brands to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a unique binding agreement that set up a monitoring and remediation system in the factories where the mostly European brands sourced from. Other brands, primarily from North America, joined the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

Today, more of those buyers recognize that factory safety is important and that they will be held to account, and are being more transparent about publicly listing where they source their products. 

Factories covered by the Accord and the Alliance are safer in part because they underwent a series of inspections, had plans to fix the problems identified, and those that didn’t comply were not allowed to work with member companies.

During those inspections, a litany of problems were identified. These included structural flaws, blocked fire exits, and a lack of fire doors and proper fire alarm and sprinkler systems. About 84 percent of those problems at Accord factories have been addressed, and 90 percent of issues at Alliance factories have been remediated. The Accord terminated 96 of its roughly 800 suppliers, and the Alliance 168 of its roughly 2,000. Millions of workers have been trained on safety procedures and safety committees have been formed at many factories.

We do our part in furthering training, education, and prevention of such tragedies.

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Workers Avoid Injury in Maine Paper Mill Explosion

Jay, ME- Malfunctioning machinery sent wood fiber and other debris shooting into the sky after a massive explosion at a paper mill in Jay, Maine, Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

All employees at the mill have since been accounted for and no injuries were reported.

At 12:06 p.m., Jay police and fire officials received reports of an explosion at a paper factory operated by Pixelle Specialty Paper Solutions at 300 Riley Rd., Davis said. Pixelle spokeswoman Roxie Lassetter said a rupture in the pressure valve of a digester, which creates pulp from wood chips to be used in the paper, caused the explosion.

Lassetter said none of the 165 employees who were inside the building were near the explosion. Some employees and people close to the plant were treated at the scene for minor respiratory issues from the debris in the air, but no one was taken to the hospital, she said.

Lassetter said the blast sent water, wood fiber, and chemicals used during the pulping process into the air during the blast. Environmental officials from the state will assess the area for any hazards, she said.

Pixelle has yet to determine the extent of the damage. Fire officials and representatives from the company will start to assess the site Thursday morning, though Lassetter said the area of the blast has sustained “significant damage.”

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OSHA fines Company 150k after Employee Amputation

Lawrence Township, NJ- BWay Corp.—doing business as Mauser Packaging Solutions—received a citation from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for workplace safety and health hazards after an employee suffered an amputation on Sept. 26, 2019, at its Lawrence Township facility. The company now faces $151,329 in penalties.

OSHA inspected the facility after being notified that an employee was cleaning a machine when the amputation occurred. The agency cited BWay Corp. for failing to use lockout/tagout procedures to protect employees from hazardous energy. OSHA cited the company for similar violations at multiple facilities between 2016 and 2019.

“Workers servicing or maintaining machines are at risk of serious injury, including amputations, if hazardous energy is not properly controlled,” OSHA Marlton Area Office Director Paula Dixon-Roderick said in the statement. “This company must correct the hazards identified to protect workers’ safety.”

The company had 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.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. 

OSHA fines NJ Company 150k after Employee Amputation

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At Hard Rock Hotel, OSHA cites ‘Willful’ and ‘Serious’ Safety Violations

New Orleans, LA-  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found numerous safety violations at the site of the 18-story Hard Rock Hotel construction site in New Orleans, which partially collapsed in October, killing three and injuring dozens.

The top floors of the high-rise building on the edge of the French Quarter collapsed unexpectedly on the morning of Oct. 12, sending debris cascading into the streets and injuring workers and bystanders. The bodies of two of the workers killed in the accident remain trapped in the rumble.

OSHA fined 11 contractors on the project for life-threatening violations, with the largest fines imposed against Heaslip Engineering. Heaslip Engineering, based in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, was found to have committed both “serious” and “willful” violations and was fined $154,214.

OSHA’s findings included that “floor beams on the 16th floor were under-designed in load capacity” and “structural steel connections were inadequately designed, reviewed or approved,” the latter a “willful” violation.hard rock hotel

OSHA defines a “serious” violation as one that could “cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm.” A “willful” violation is one where “the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.”

Besides the 11 previously stated, other contractors working on the Hard Rock Hotel project were cited for safety violations that included a lack of training, not providing protective equipment and failing to keep exits clear.

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