Arc Flash Hazards Garner Over $.278M in Fines

Hayden, AZ – Three workers burned severely by arc flash hazards found at an Arizona metal smelting and extraction facility triggered an OSHA investigation which lead to this week’s announcement of penalties totaling $278,456.

The federal workplace safety agency released its citation against ASARCO this warc flash hazardseek, claiming two willful violations and one serious violation of electrical hazards standards at the Hayden (AZ) facility.

In its investigation of the arc flash, OSHA inspectors determined that the arc flash occurred after the insertion of a breaker into a 4,160V switchgear. ASARCO was cited for three violations of electrical safety standards: failure to provide the workers with a pre-job briefing before starting work on the energized switchgear, failure to render the electrical breaker inoperable before work began, and failures in providing the employees with arc-flash protective clothing (also known at PPE).

OSHA’s Regional Administrator stated that “arc flash hazards are well known, but can be eliminated when workers are properly trained and protective equipment is provided.”

Not only is electrical safety training required by OSHA, but it’s a vital piece of fulfilling an arc flash analysis or electrical safety program. Once electrical labels are visible, workers need to know how to properly understand the program and read the labels. Employees also need to understand the importance of properly care for their PPE, and how to do so. The need for every worker to understand electrical safety for their equipment and tasks in particular can not be over-stated.

Read more about Arc Flash Analysis and common pitfalls on our website, and contact a member of our Electrical Safety Team today to discuss how Martin Technical can bring awareness to arc flash hazards, get your facility compliant, and increase the safety of your workforce. Martin Technical is the leading provider of practical safety and efficiency services that make industrial plants and facilities better, safer, and more efficient.

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.5M in Fines for Lockout, Training, and Machine Safety Violations

lockout trainingMacon, GA –  22 citations were announced last week for Lockout, Training, and Machine Safety violations found at a Georgia tire plant. The violations were documented as part of an OSHA follow-up inspection at Kumho Tire Georgia.

Three companies face a collective $523,895 in fines for safety violations allegedly found at the Kumho Tire Georgia plant in Macon: Kumho Tire Georgia Inc., Sae Joong Mold Inc., and J-Brothers Inc. The large fine represents 12 serious, nine repeat, and one other-than-serious workplace safety violations.

The 22 citations announced May 29 are the result of violations documented in a Nov 2018 follow-up inspection conducted at the Kumho Tire facility. OSHA has stated that the follow-up inspection was initiated after the agency failed to receive documents from Kumho indicating that it had abated violations found during a 2017 inspection. As a result of this history of violations, OSHA also announced that Kumho Tire Georgia Inc. has been placed in the Severe Violation Enforcement Program (SVEP).

A portion of the violations documented Kumho were for Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) failures. OSHA cited failures to follow hazardous energy-control procedures (also known as Lockout Procedures or LPs) when Kumho employees performed machine service and maintenance duties. Additionally, OSHA found a failure to train employees on the use and benefits of these energy-control or lockout/tagout procedures.

Additionally, there were failures to provide machine guards on some equipment in use at the Kumho plant. OSHA’s Atlanta-East area director stated the dangers associated with these violations: “This employer exposed workers to multiple safety and health deficiencies that put them at risk for serious or fatal injuries.”

Beyond the Kumho violations, OSHA also issued fines of $9,093 to Sae Joong Mold Inc. for using damaged slings and for electrical hazards at the Macon plant. J-Brothers Inc. was the third company named in these citations. J-Brothers portion of the fine was $7,503 for failure to mount portable fire extinguishers and failure to perform annual maintenance on fire extinguishers.

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Amputation Hazards Found at TX Rubber Manufacturer

Houston, TX – OSHA has issued fines over $500,000 for amputation hazards found at a Houston-area rubber products manufacturing facility. Federal workplace safety investigators documented machine guarding failures that could result in employee injury or possible amputation hazards at Custom Rubber Products LLC.

According to OSHA, the rubber fabrication company has “continually failed” to properly guard machinery. As a result of what were deemed “egregious” willful violations, Custom Rubber Products LLC remains on OSHA’s Severe Violator list for continuing to expose workers to amputation hazards and Custom Rubber Products was issued $530,392 in penalties. This amount represents the maximum OSHA can fine based for these health and safety violations.

Custom Rubber Products was cited for four egregious willfull violations for machine guarding and caught-in hazards. The company has been the focus of OSHA investigators since receivingamputation hazards reports of a worker injury in 2014. At that time, OSHA fined Custom Rubber Products for similar hazards. In this 2019 inspection, OSHA officials found that those hazards had not yet been addressed.

OSHA’s acting regional administrator stated that “Employers are required to assess potential hazards, and make necessary corrections to ensure a safe workplace…The inspection results demonstrate workplace deficiencies existed [at Custom Rubber Products which put] workers at serious risk of injury.”

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Materials Handler Killed at CA Steel Plant

Fontana, CA – A fatal workplace accident killed a materials handler at California Steel Industries on May 21, 2019. Cal/OSHA is investigating the cause.

The employee’s name has not been made public. It has been reported that the man became pinned between a belt and a mandrel while he was working at a table at the steel slab processing facility. The mandrel is a cylindrical object which the steel was shaped against as a part of the steel slab processing work done at California Steel Industries’ Fontana plant.

Firefighters were able to extract the man from the machinery within materials handlerminutes of their arrival. The employee was taken to a regional medical center, where he tragically died.

In its efforts to protect and improve the health and safety of California’s workforce, Cal/OSHA will be working with the company to determine the cause of this workplace tragedy.

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Worker Caught in Machinery at CT Aerospace Facility

Glastonbury, CT – An employee at EDAC Technologies had to be rescued after becoming caught in machinery while on the job. The worker was transported via helicopter to receive medical care for serious injuries to his legs as a result of the industrial accident earlier this week.

The injured worker is reported to be a 58-year-old male employed by EDAC Technologies, an aerospace and defense manufacturing facility. According to local police, he became stuck inside an industrial CNC vertical turning center and was seriously injured as a result. It took area firefighters over 30 minutes to extract the worker from the machine, after which he was taken by helicopter to the local hospital for treatment.

Other reports of the accident claim that the worker fell into the industrial lathe machine and “sustained serious injuries to the lower extremities” as a result. At this time,caught in machinery the man’s name and condition have not released and there have been no updates as to the cause of the fall or entrapment that lead to the injury. OSHA has been informed and will be conducting an investigation into the accident.

EDAC Technologies is an aerospace parts company specializing in the manufacture of large diameter, thin-walled cases that are used in aerospace, defense, and turbine industries.

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OSHA Issues Fines Following Machine Operator’s Death

Altoona, IA – The state of Iowa’s division of OSHA has issued fines of $8,781 following its investigation into the events that lead to the death of a machine operator at Summit Products Incorporated earlier this year.

On March 1, 2019, William George Wilson Jr (42) was the victim of a workplace accident at Summit Products’ RV accessories manufacturing facility. Wilson was a machine operator and had worked at the plant for approximately two years. On March 1, however, he was reportedly crushed in a machine and died after being transported to a local hospital.

machine operator

This month, OSHA released its report on the accident which described multiple violations which contributed to the machine operator’s death in March. OSHA’s citation against Summit Products details four serious violations and one “other-than-serious” violation. According to Iowa OSHA, Summit Products did not have procedures in place to control the area in which the accident occurred. The citations also allege that proper machine guarding was absent at the time of the incident. Additionally, Summit Products was found to have incomplete records of work-related injuries and illnesses.

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Air Sampling and PPE Violations Lead to Hefty Fine

air samplingWichita, KS – Air Sampling and PPE violations found at Wichita’s largest employer have generated fines of close to $200,000 for Spirit Aerosystems. OSHA officials allege that the Kansas aircraft manufacturer exposed employees to carcinogenic hazards, failed to conduct periodic air monitoring, and failed to ensure employees were wearing effective equipment that would have protected them from dangerous exposure.

Spirit Aerosystems Inc faces penalties of $193,218 for six violations: two repeated and four serious, including allegations that Spirit failed to monitor levels of the carcinogenic substance after a prior documented violation. OSHA claims that painters at the manufacturing facility were exposed to up to 44 times the permissible exposure level of airborne chromium concentration.

Federal workplace safety inspectors documented failures to implement “feasible engineering controls” which would limit Spirit Aerosystem workers’ exposure to carcinogenic hexavalent chromium during aircraft painting and sanding. Additionally, OSHA found a lack of periodic monitoring or air sampling to detect exposure and respiratory hazards.

Spirit Aerosystems is also alleged to have failed to establish protocols to ensure that employees removed contaminated personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing before exiting affected work areas and that they failed to ensure that worker’s respirators fit properly. OSHA claims that some workers’ facial hair prevented their respirators from making a safe and effective seal.

By failing to prevent exposure to hexavalent chromium during aircraft painting and sanding, OSHA determined that Spirit Aerosystems allowed the accumulation of this carcinogen on surfaces throughout the facility. According to OSHA’s Wichita-Area Acting Office Director, “Inhaling excessive levels of hexavalent chromium can cause asthma, and damage to the kidneys, liver, and respiratory system…It is important for employers to take the appropriate steps necessary to prevent excessive exposure.”

According to OSHA, hexavalent chromium compounds are used as pigments or anti-corrosive agent in paints and other products. Also, they can be used to electroplate chromium onto metal parts. Employees can be exposed to this carcinogen during hot work activities like welding stainless steel or other alloy steels that contain chromium.

In response to these allegations, Spirit made a statement that the company “disputes the accuracy of some of OSHA’s findings,” and will meet with OSHA to discuss the citations and possibility of reduction in the associated penalties.

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Sawmill Fatality Reveals Numerous OSHA Violations

St. Joseph, MO – Following a fatal workplace accident at a Missouri sawmill, OSHA has issued $199,183 in fines for 14 serious and two repeat safety violations at American Walnut Co.

The fatal workplace accident occurred on March 12 of 2018 when American Walnut employee Joshua Hill (38) came into contact with operating equipment. Hill reportedly fell into the chute of a grinder and was killed. OSHA found that Hill was not attached to a tether line when he fell 10 feet into the grinder chute.

Following the sawmill fatality, federal workplace safety investigators identified 14 serious and two repeat safety violations at American Walnut Co. including failure to evaluate job hazards, control hazardous energy, and ensure adequate machine guarding. Additionally, workers were found to have been exposed to hazards associated with falls, ladders, and electrical safety.

Noise hazards observed at American Walnut prompted a separate investigation. OSHA inspectors documented that American Walnut employees were exposed to hazards associated with noise, combustible dust, and chemicals within the St. Joseph (MO) facility.

OSHA’s Kansas City Area Office Director stated tsawmill fatalityhat “Employers must continually evaluate job hazards and ensure safety guards are in use to protect workers from known hazards in their facilities.”

The safety of American workers is always our driving motivation at Martin Technical. Anyone with questions about federal safety standards and/or workplace safety hazards should contact a member of our Industrial Safety Team. Martin Technical is a leading provider of practical safety services that make industrial plants and facilities better, safer, and more efficient. Our experts apply real-world solutions to create effective safety and health programs across this country and beyond.

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Combustible Dust and Other Hazards at GA Peanut Plant

combustible dustLeesburg, GA – Combustible dust is among the many hazards found in the last few years at Great Southern Peanut, LLC. The company was placed on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program last fall for violations documented in 2014, 2016, and again in 2018.

In 2018, the peanut processing plant was issued penalties of $309,505 for serious and repeated workplace safety citations. OSHA inspectors documented failures to develop and implement procedures for confined space entry, provide training on confined space hazards, and also cited Great Southern Peanut for not keeping reduced compressed air to a required level. Additionally, they were found to be in violation of workplace record-keeping requirements.

The finding of one serious violation and one repeat violation at Great Southern Peanut in the fall of 2018, landed it on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. According to OSHA’s Savannah Area Office Director,  Great Southern Peanut “failed to adhere to the terms of a formal agreement to correct workplace hazards identified in a previous inspection, continuing to put employees at risk of serious injury.”

In 2016, the Georgia peanut producer was issued approximately $110,000 in fines for numerous repeated safety violations. OSHA’s 2016 inspection at Great Southern Peanut’s Leesburg (GA) facility was a follow up visit to check in the status of a series of citations identified in 2014. Federal workplace safety inspectors documented 13 repeated concerns, which included hazardous accumulations of combustible peanut dust as well as failure to provide protective guards on platforms and open-sided floors.

Their placement on the Severe Violators Enforcement list means that OSHA may inspect any Great Southern Peanut facility if it has reasonable grounds to believe that similar violations might be found. The severe violators program focuses on “recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.”

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Process Safety Management Failures Lead to Huge Fines

San Angelo, TX – OSHA has found that workers at the Texas Packing Company were exposed to the release of hazardous chemicals like ammonia due to failures to implement a Process Safety Management program, and issued $615,640 in fines as a result.

Federal safety inspectors found the Texas Packing Company in San Angelo (TX) to be an unsafe workplace in an investigation which documented worker exposure to the release of hazardous chemicals. The danger of exposure to chemicals was found to be due to failures to implement a Process Safety Management program.

7 S Packing LLC has been operating the meat packing business process safety managementTexas Packing Company in San Angelo (TX). They now faces up to $615,640 in federal penalties for failures in Process Safety Management as well as failures to provide fall protection, machine and equipment guards, hazardous energy controls (also known as Lockout/Tagout), and failures to implement a respiratory protection program.

OSHA determined the meat-packing facility failed to implement a required safety program known as a Process Safety Management Program. Specifically, the violation documented this month was for Texas Packing’s operation of an ammonia refrigeration unit containing over 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia.

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