Ohio Pallet Manufacturer Fined for Lockout/Tagout Violations

ELIDA, OH — OSHA inspectors issued four willful, four repeated, and 19 serious health and safety violations to A & D Wood Products, a wood pallet manufacturer based in Elida, Ohio. Acting on an employee complaint, OSHA investigators found workers at risk of amputation, explosion and other life-threatening hazards due to lockout/tagout negligence.

Employees of A & D Wood Products were found to be routinely exposed to amputation, combustible dust and other dangerous hazards. The company faces proposed penalties of $133,540 and has been placed in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Under hazardous working conditions, employees operated machines without eye protection and without effective safeguards from moving parts amid large amounts of combustible wood dust piled throughout the facility. The force from such an explosion can cause deaths, injuries and destruction of buildings.

Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo, stated: “A & D Wood Products operates a manufacturing shop that exposes workers to real hazards daily, creating an environment that forces workers to make a choice between their lives and their livelihood…With 27 violations, it’s clear the safety and health of its workforce is not a priority for them.”

A & D Wood Products workers were found to be exposed to amputation and other injury hazards because devices were not used to prevent equipment from suddenly starting during service and maintenance, a procedure known as lockout/tagout. Inspectors also flagged electrical safety hazards like cabinets not closed properly to prevent contact with energized wires. A & D Wood Products was cited for similar violations at the facility in November 2011. OSHA issues repeated violations if an employer was previously cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

A & D also failed to provide hearing protection and audiometric testing for employees, which can identify premature hearing loss. Noise-related hearing loss is one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns in the U.S., with an estimated 30 million workers exposed to noise each year. Additionally, OSHA inspectors noted machine guarding and electrical safety violations, poor hygiene conditions and unsafe practices related to forklift operations, including leaving forklifts running and unattended. The company also failed to train employees on fire extinguisher use and about hazardous chemicals and products used in the facility, and provided inadequate personal protective equipment. In total, 19 serious violations were cited.

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NJ Beauty & Pharmaceutical Lab Fined for Safety Hazards

Edison, NJ – OSHA has cited Bentley Laboratories LLC and Joulé Clinical & Scientific Staffing Solutions for allegedly exposing as many as 50 temporary workers to health and safety hazards. Bentley Laboratories manufactures products for the beauty and pharmaceutical industries and Joule Clinical & Scientific Staffing Solutions (headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA) provides staffing services to Bentley Laboratories.

“We see these kinds of violations frequently, especially in the case of temporary workers,” said Patricia Jones, director of OSHA’s Avenel Area Office. “Both the hiring company and the staffing agency are legally responsible for the safety and health of their workers.

In response to a complaint, OSHA initiated an inspection at Bentley Labs in October, 2014. They allege 14 serious violations, carrying $45,000 in potential fines. According to OSHA, Bentley failed to: train workers on chemical hazards; maintain a hearing conservation program for employees exposed to excessive noise; develop procedures and training to control potentially hazardous energy; and properly guard machines to prevent amputations. These types of Lockout/Tagout measures are key to safety in the workplace. If you’ve been in a similar situation and sustained damage due to this kind of negligence, it might be time to get some legal support from someone similar to Las Vegas Workers Compensation Lawyer.

For it’s part, Joulé Clinical & Scientific Staffing Solutions was cited with three serious violations and proposed fines of $8,000 for not having a hazardous communication program or training related to hazardous chemicals and energy-control procedures.

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Lockout/Tagout Accident at Kansas Farm Coop Results in Amputation

Blue Rapids, KS – The Beattie Farmers Union Cooperative of northeast Kansas has been fined $65,900 after a lockout tagout accident in which a worker lost the toes on his left foot after becoming entangled in an auger. The employee was injured in August 2014 while he was cleaning out a grain bin near Waterville. The accident appears to be the result of lockout/tagout neglect on the part of the employer – locking devices were not placed on the augers to prevent them from turning on while workers were in the bin.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Tuesday that OSHA said in a news release that it found one willful, one repeated and three serious safety and health violations at the farm cooperative. The injured employee has not been able to return to work.

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Formed Fiber Faces OSHA Fines for Lockout/Tagout Negligence

Auburn, ME – Formed Fiber Technologies is being fined by OSHA for failure to implement lockout/tagout procedures that would ensure worker safety against such hazards as lacerations, crushed fingers, amputation (or worse) if struck by or caught in unguarded or unexpectedly activated machinery.

Employees at their Maine manufacturing plant use a variety of worker safety lockoutmachines, including robots, to make polyester carpets and thermoformed trunk liners for the automotive industry. An OSHA inspection found workers at risk of injuries because their employer did not ensure proper safeguards on the machines they operate. No injuries have been reported at this time.

Formed Fiber was fined $816,500 by OSHA in 2014 for falsified safety records.

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Georgia Automotive Manufacturer Faces OSHA Fines

Suwanee, GA – PAI Industries, Inc. faces close to $56,000 in federal OSHA fines following an inspection by investigators for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The auto parts manufacturer was issued 14 citations for serious violations following an OSHA inspection in the fall of 2014. The inspection was part of a regional The Change in OSHA Lockout Update osha finescanvassing of automotive industries, according to a press release from the U.S. Labor Department.

OSHA cited PAI for not ensuring machinery could not accidentally start up during maintenance and servicing, an industry practice known as Lockout/Tagout. Additional violations included not requiring eye protection; exposing workers to trip and fall hazards; not providing a workplace free from recognized hazards; failure to implement a noise monitoring program; and not ensuring fire extinguishers were properly mounted and labeled.

“The results from this on-site enforcement inspection illustrate the need for OSHA’s focus on the automotive parts industry,” said William Fulcher director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “Employers can’t only rely on OSHA to identify hazards; they must be proactive in protecting the health and safety of their workers.”

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OSHA Fines WI Furniture Maker $1.76 Million

Arcadia, WI – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration levied a historic $1.766 million dollar fine this week against Ashley Furniture Industries, based in Wisconsin. Investigators documented numerous and repeated serious violations at the facility, landing Ashley Furniture on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program list for “employers who have demonstrated indifference to their OSH Act obligations by willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.”

The plant employs 4,500 and in the past 3 years has seen over 1,000 worker injuries. Workers were not adequately protected against moving machinery, most of it woodworking machinery. Lack of training and accidents with tools, blades, and saws have resulted in multiple amputations. The OSHA report and $1.76 million dollar penalty allege that Ashley Furniture “failed to safeguard against woodworking machines unintentionally starting when workers were making tool and blade changes,” which is also known as lockout tagout or control of hazardous energy.

Additional citations were issued for “not training workers on safety procedures and hazards present when servicing machinery; lacking adequate drenching facilities for workers exposed to corrosive materials; electrical safety violations; and not equipping all machines with easily-accessible emergency stop buttons.” OSHA categorizes these violations as serious since physical harm resulted from a hazard they estimate that the “employer knew or should have known [to] exist.”

“We rarely issue a fine that is more than $1 million,” commented U.S. Labor Department Assistant Secretary David Michaels. “Having 1,000 work injuries in three years is proof positive that safety in this plant needs tremendous ­improvement.” U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez stated: “Safety and profits are not an ‘either, or’ proposition. Successful companies across this nation have both.” For its part, Ashley Furniture denies the findings, stressing that they are allegations only.

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Worker Suffers Electric Shock and Burns in WI

PLEASANT PRAIRIE, WI –A 24-year-old temporary maintenance employee suffered severe burns from electrical shock while on assignment for Parallel Employment Group of Wisconsin Inc. Working at the Arvato Digital Services LLC distribution center in Pleasant Prairie, the employee came in contact with an energized electrical source and suffered electrical shock. This caused severe burns and left the employee unable to work for more than four months after the May 19th incident.

An investigation OSHA cited both companies for failure to train employees in electrical safety-related work practices, including wearing electric arc flash and shock protection equipment.

OSHA cited Arvato Digital Services for one willful and 10 serious safety violations, carrying proposed penalties of $124,000. Parallel Employment Group, was cited for four serious violations and faces penalties of $26,000. Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control and responsibility for temporary employee safety and health.

“Workers should not conduct maintenance and trouble-shooting without shutting down electrical sources and wearing personal protective equipment. Those actions can prevent severe injuries like those suffered by this worker,” said Chris Zortman, OSHA’s area director in Milwaukee. “Both temporary staffing agencies and host employers must train and equip their employees properly.”

OSHA’s investigation found the worker, who had been employed for about eight months, had inadvertent contact with electrical equipment while trouble-shooting an electrical failure on a heat-sealing machine.

Arvato Digital Services failed to implement electrical safety practices for employees, which resulted in one willful violation. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Arvato Digital Services and Parallel Employment Group were cited for failure to train temporary employees in electrical safety and exposing workers to operating machinery parts on conveyers and press equipment. These serious violations exposed workers to electrical shock and amputation.

Additionally, Arvato Digital Services failed to require personal protective equipment for employees working near exposed, energized electrical parts. The company also did not develop procedures to de-energize circuits and equipment safely or ensure stored energy capacitors were grounded. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The citations from OSHA included electrical safety, arc flash, lockout, and machine guarding citations, as follows:

PPE -OSHA 29 CFR 1910.132(d)(l): The employer did not assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present,or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of personal protective equipment (PPE):

Lockout / Hazardous Energy Control Program – OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147(c)(4)(i): Procedures are not developed, documented and utilized for the control of potentially hazardous energy when employees were engaged in activities covered by this section:

29 CPR 1910.147(c)(6)(i): The employer did not conduct a periodic inspection of the energy control procedure at least annually to ensure that the procedure and the requirement of this standard were being followed:

Machine Guarding 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(l): Machine guarding was not provided to protect operator(s) and other employees from hazard(s) created by in going nip points, and unguarded conveyor belts:

View the Citation Here

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WorkSafeBC fines Canadian Casino in Lockout Fatality

WorkSafeBC fined Great Canadian Casino 75,000 in relation to a fatal accident in November of 2011 that claimed the life of a worker at River Rock Casino Resort’s show theatre.

According to the most recent WorkSafeBC report detailing administrative penalties for health and safety violations, the worker was part of a team changing a motor on the show theatre’s automated seating system. When the motor was removed, the brake holding the seats in their upright position came off, sending the unsecured seats moving downward, striking the worker who fell through a gap in the floor to the concrete floor some 10 feet below. The employee died of his injuries.

“WorkSafeBC’s investigation found that the firm failed to securely cover or guard an opening in the floor that was a danger to workers. It also failed to secure equipment parts against inadvertent movement, which was a high-risk violation of lockout procedures required by the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation,” the report said.

“This was extremely tragic, extremely traumatic for the people involved,” Great Canadian Casino spokesperson Chuck Keeling said Friday morning. “This was something that was pretty jarring.”

Keeling said Great Canadian has been “fully cooperative with WorkSafeBC in terms of rectifying the oversights that led to this tragic consequence.”

Great Canadian “fully accepts” the report’s findings, Keeling said, and the company has “adopted all of their recommendations.”

According to WorkSafeBC’s report, the violations “show that the firm failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training and supervision needed to ensure their safety. This in turn was a repeated violation.”

The $75,000 fine was leveled against Great Canadian on Sept. 3.

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Worker Killed by Auger Leads to Citation for Landscaping Company

Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has cited a landscaping company for multiple safety violations related to the death of a worker last July. A nineteen-year-old worker was killed by a rotating auger while working inside the hopper of a bark-blower truck at a residential jobsite. The blower and auger were energized at the time the worker was clearing a jam.

The employer has been cited for two willful and 14 serious violations, with penalties totaling $199,000. The employer has also been identified as a severe violator and will be subject to follow-up inspections to determine if the conditions still exist in the future.

“The loss of this young man’s life is a tragedy that could have been prevented if the employer had followed basic safety and health rules that protect workers from moving machinery,” said L&I Assistant Director Anne Soiza. “We hope this citation and the penalties serve as a deterrent so that nothing like this ever happens again.”

The L&I investigation found that the employer’s workers were regularly assigned to clear jams in the bark-blower truck hoppers while the hoppers were operating. This exposed them to three very hazardous elements: a floor conveyor belt, two rotating-screw conveyors (angled augers) and a rotating stir rod. Exposure to any of these parts of the equipment could potentially result in entanglement, causing severe crushing injuries or death.

Working in and around this type of extremely hazardous equipment requires lockout/tagout safety procedures to prevent machinery from starting up or moving during service or maintenance by workers.

The employer was cited for two willful violations. The first was issued for not ensuring lockout/tagout procedures were regularly used; it carries a penalty of $56,000. The second willful violation was issued for not training the employees in the proper use of those critical procedures; it carries a $52,000 penalty.

Additionally, working in the hopper of bark-blower trucks exposed workers to confined space hazards. Confined spaces, like hoppers, are areas large enough to accommodate a worker, but aren’t designed for continuous employee occupancy and have limited ways to enter or exit.

Twelve of the serious violations cited were for failure to implement safe work practices when entering a permit-required confined space. Two other serious violations were cited for not having an effective accident prevention program and for failure to document lockout/tagout procedures. Each of these violations carries a $6,500 penalty.

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Lockout Injury in NJ Bottling Plant – Temp Worker Disabled

HIGH SPRINGS, FLA. — Ice River Springs Water Co. Inc., a water bottling plant in Florida, was fined $84,000 by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration following an accident that permanently disabled a contingent worker.

The worker was clearing a jam in a machine used to package cases of bottled water on pallets when the machine started up, pinning him between the elevator and the palletizer conveyor, permanently disabling him. The worker had been on the job for 12 days.

An OSHA investigation found Ice River’s High Springs facility allowed workers to bypass two machine safeguards when entering the palletizer’s safety cage. OSHA cited the water-bottle manufacturer for three safety violations, two serious and one willful; fines total $84,000.

Serious. Failure to conduct an annual inspection of lockout/tagout procedures and for not training workers to recognize hazardous machinery or implement proper maintenance controls.

Willful. Failure to ensure workers were protected from moving machine parts during service or maintenance.

“It is critical that Ice River Springs and TempForce understand OSHA’s newest initiatives to protect temporary workers, which must include shared responsibility by the host employer and the temporary staffing agency. These initiatives include taking effective steps to ensure that each temporary worker is sufficiently trained and monitored to safeguard them from the hazards of their new work environment” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville.

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