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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Serious Safety Violations Found at IN Bottling Plant

Lapel, IN – Three serious safety violations were found at the Owens-Illinois Bottling facility in Lapel, Indiana. The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) issued $13,500 in fines for safety violations inspectors which it determined could have led to serious worker injury.

In an investigation last fall, IOSHA found serious safety violations including insufficient employee training and failure to lockout an electrical box while it was in the process of being repaired.serious safety violations

The serious safety violation related to Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) states that lockout “procedures were not developed, documented and utilized for the control of potentially hazardous energy,” during machine maintenance at Owens-Illinois’ Indiana bottling plant.

Additionally, Owens-Illinois was found to have failed to properly train employees on lockout/tagout and machine safety. OSHA requires that employers provide training to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control or LOTO programs are understood by employees.

The third serious safety violation concerned unused openings in electrical boxes, raceways, and other electrical equipment which were not closed when IOSHA conducted their investigation. Safety inspectors cited Owens-Illinois for failure to protect employees and equipment from exposure to electrical hazards.

Electrical safety, Lockout/Tagout, and training on both of these important components of workplace safety are at the heart of Martin Technical’s suite of safety services. Martin Technical is a leading provider of practical safety and efficiency services that make industrial plants and facilities better, safer and more efficient. Our experts can help simplify the complex by applying real-world solutions for Lockout/Tagout, Arc Flash, Electrical Safety, Risk Assessments, Training, Machine Safety, and Safety Consulting Services. Please call a member of our Industrial Safety Team today to discuss how to improve safety and efficiency at your facility.

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Moving Parts Injure 2 at AL Packaging Plant

Mobile, AL – OSHA has issued fines of over $75,000 to an Alabama packaging manufacturer for failing to protect employees from the hazards of moving parts. Ampac Mobile Holdings LLC (operating as ProAmpac) was found to have been exposing employees to caught-in and struck-by hazards at their Mobile (AL) facility. Federal workplace safety investigators are charging $75,156 in penalties for inadequate machine guarding and lockout/tagout procedures violations.

OSHA was alerted to the Ampac/ProAmpac facility after an employee suffered a severe hand injury as a result of getting caught in a piece of equipment. In a moving partsseparate accident, an Ampac employee’s finger was lacerated when struck by moving machine parts.

In the course of their investigation, OSHA determined that Ampac failed to use proper machine guarding measures, and failed to control hazardous energy by implementing effective lockout/tagout procedures.

Unfortunately, these two accidents could have been prevented. As OSHA’s Acting Mobile Area Office Director stated, “A comprehensive safety and health program, includ[ing] an evaluation and correction for amputation hazards, could have identified and prevented these injuries.”

An estimated 3 million American workers service equipment in the course of their jobs. These employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not effectively implemented. Compliance with the federal lockout/tagout standard prevents approximately 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Additionally, it has been estimated that workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.

For these reasons and more, please contact a Lockout and Machine Safety Expert at Martin Technical today if you have any concerns about the safety of equipment and employees at your facility.

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Machine Guarding Failures Lead to Employee Death at IN Facility

Jeffersonville, IN  – Two serious violations of machine guarding standards were found in the course of an investigation into an Indiana employee’s death. In Februrary of this year, a worker was killed at the Jeffersonville (IN) Valmont Coatings metal finishing plant. This month, the Indiana office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued fines totaling $14,000 for two serious violations of machine guarding standards they found in the course of their investigation of the Indiana production facility.

49-year-old Marion Fletcher was killed at the Jeffersonville (IN) facility on February 20th while reportedly wearing a long-sleeved shirt with “unrestrained” hair at the time of the accident. OSHA found that the machinery Fletcher was operating was not properly employee deathguarded to prevent employees from getting caught during its cycle.

Emergency crews arrived at the Valmont facility in response to a call about an industrial accident and an unconscious and unresponsive worker. Fletcher showed no signs of life when he arrived at the hospital, despite the best efforts of emergency responders. Marion Fletcher had reportedly been employed by Valmont for nine months prior to the fatal accident.

For it’s part in the accident, Valmont was issued two violations. Each safety violation was deemed “serious” and carries a penalty of $7,000. Valmont specializes in hot-dip galvanizing and protective coatings for steel.

The importance of machine guarding and employee safety training cannot be overemphasized. Accidents such as this serve as an unfortunate reminder for us all. Please call an industrial safety specialist at Martin Technical today if you have any concerns about the safety of machines in your workplace.

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Willful Lockout Violations Found at LA Noodle Factory

willful lockout violationsLos Angeles, CA – An amputation at an LA noodle factory prompted a Cal/OSHA investigation resulting in $305,685 in fines for two employers. The amputation occurred in 2018 when a temporary worker was cleaning machinery and lost two fingers at JSL Foods Inc.

The injured man was a temporary worker placed at the JSL food manufacturing facility by Priority Workforce. The worker was cleaning a dough rolling machine when his left hand was pulled partway into the moving rollers, amputating two fingers on Oct. 2, 2018.

Cal/OSHA found JSL liable for one willful repeat serious violation and one willful repeat serious accident-related violation for failing to follow lockout/tagout procedures. JSL Foods has been fined $276,435 in proposed penalties for a total of seven violations. According to Cal/OSHA, JSL Foods was cited twice in 2015 for the same violations.

Three additional serious violations were cited against Priority Workforce, the employer who assigned the temporary worker to JSL Foods. Cal/OSHA found Priority Workforce failed to establish, implement, and maintain an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program, failed to ensure employees were effectively trained, and failed to ensure machinery was adequately guarded.

According to Cal/OSHA, their investigation found that “the machine had not been adequately guarded to prevent fingers from entering pinch points, [nor had it been] de-energized and locked out to prevent movement while the worker was cleaning it…Neither employer had trained the worker to follow lockout/tagout procedures before cleaning the equipment.”

Lockout/tagout procedures (also known as LOTO) provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment. Workers who are trained in lockout can use these procedures and practices to prevent injuries that might otherwise occur when machinery or equipment starts up unexpectedly during cleaning or maintenance work. Martin Technical’s certified lockout technicians and safety experts work together to provide your safety team with the most effective and accurate lockout program in the industry.

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Amputation Due to Lockout Failures Nets $160K in OSHA Fines

Picayune, MS – OSHA has fined Heritage Plastics $159,118 after finding willful violations of federal workplace safety standards during an investigation triggered by an amputation accident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration documented failures in lockout/tagout, failures to train employees on LOTO, and failures to install machine guards at the MS PVC conduit, fittings and pipe manufacturer.

A Heritage employee lost four fingers in November of last year when a mixing machine unexpectedly started while the worker was removing material from itamputation due to lockout. OSHA found that the accident was preventable and concluded that it was due to a failure to use a lockout device or properly train its workers on lockout/tagout (LOTO). Heritage was also cited for failing to install adequate machine guarding.

Lockout/tagout is a workplace safety system designed to prevent the startup of machinery or equipment that may result in worker injury. Lockout (or LOTO) procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment. To be compliant with federal energy control standards, employers must establish a lockout program and follow procedures for affixing appropriate lockout or tagout devices to energy isolating devices. Taking steps to prevent the unexpected energization, start up, or release of stored energy prevents employee injury. 
Training employees on the exact protocol to control hazardous energy is a fundamental part of a successful lockout program. Employee must be trained to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control program is understood, and so that they possess the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of energy control/lockout devices.
A statement made by OSHA‘s Jackson (MS) Area Office Director emphasized how this accident could have been prevented: “Proper safety procedures, including the effective lockout of all sources of energy, could have prevented this employee’s serious injury…Employers must take proactive steps to develop and implement energy control procedures to minimize risk to their employees.”

Contact a member of our industrial safety team today to discuss how Martin Technical can improve accident prevention measures at your facility.

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