Niagara, WI – Wood Fibers Inc. has been placed on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program after consistently failing to comply with safety and health standards. OSHA has issued one willful, four repeat, and three serious safety and health violations based on an October 2015 inspection with proposed penalties totaling $152,460. Failure to implement OSHA’s past recommendations has put employees of the Wisconsin wood pellet manufacturer in danger of amputation, burns, and other life-threatening workplace injuries.
OSHA found employees operated machines without effective safeguards from moving parts, and combustible dust hazards in processing equipment and associated dust collection equipment. OSHA also cited a lack of training on procedures to prevent unintentional machine operation during service and maintenance and electrical safety violations, known as lockout/tagout training and procedures..
Johnson City, NY – An OSHA inspection at the Rob Salamida Co. food manufacturing plant found 11 types of violations amounting to a possible $79,600 in penalties. The investigation was triggered by a workplace incident in September 2015 in which a worker fell into a 3,000 gallon vinegar vat at Salamida’s Johnson City (NY) plant.
While attempting an annual cleaning, a 33-year-old Salamida employee was overcome by vapors in the confined space, fell backwards off a ladder, and lost consciousness in the bottom of the vat. The employee survived the incident after 5 days of hospitalization. The vat was empty at the time, save for 3-4″ of residue collected at the bottom. The employee was wearing a
OSHA reports that the Rob Salamida Co. had improper signage on vinegar vats and that employees were not being given proper respirator training or eye protection, among other citations. The largest penalty is for $56,000 for, claiming, “the employer did not evaluate the workplace for the presence of permit required confined spaces including but not limited to 3,000 gallon tanks containing cider vinegar, distilled white vinegar and red wine vinegar.”
OSHA found that the sauce and marinade manufacturer failed to identify confined space hazards inside the tank, such as oxygen deficiency and acetic acid vapors, and failed to provide air monitoring, ventilation and rescue equipment for employees entering confined spaces, on top of a list of other violations.
OSHA found many other hazards at the Rob Salamida Co. plant: There were no evident procedures, training or devices to lock out machines’ power sources to protect against their unintended startup (lockout/tagout); a lack of procedures to verify and maintain safe entry conditions; the need to post warning signs for confined spaces and train employees on confined safety hazards.
Rockford, IL – Willful violation of lockout/tagout and confined space protections at Behr Iron & Steel resulted in an employee’s death at the recycling company’s South Beloit facility in 2014. This week, Behr representatives were in federal court where they plead guilty to willful violation of US safety standards.
The sentencing date is set for July of this year. Behr Iron & Steel faces a maximum sentence of 5 years’ probation and a maximum fine of $500,000. Additionally, it must pay restitution to the victim in an amount to be determined by the court.
The US Department of Justice charged that the metal scrap processing plant failed to provide lockout and tagout protection and confined space protection as required by OSHA regulations for employees tasked with cleaning a metal shredder discharge pit.
Behr admitted these violations caused the death of employee Alfredo Arrendondo, 39. Arrendondo died after his arm was caught in a moving, unguarded conveyor belt at the facility on March 10, 2014.
The US Attorney’s Office found that shredded metals at the Behr facility fell onto a conveyor belt located underground in a discharge pit approximately 6 feet long and 6 feet wide. Some metals fell off the belt into the pit, and one or two employees were sent down to clean it out daily by shoveling the metals from the floor onto a moving conveyor belt. It was in this area that Arrendondo’s arm was caught and he was killed by the unguarded live machinery.
In the plea agreement, Behr admitted that there was no lock or operable emergency shut off switch in the discharge pit, and the conveyor belt did not have guards to protect employees. Further, the company admitted that employees in the pit were not adequately trained to use the shredder or the conveyor belt, and there were not confined space protections for employees entering the pit.
In accordance with the plea agreement, Behr Iron & Steel must adopt procedures that ensure dangerous machines are properly shut off during maintenance and servicing work, including placing a lock on the power source and a tag on the lock warning that the machine cannot be operated. Additionally, OSHA regulations require safety precautions for workers in confined spaces.
Based in Rockford (IL), Behr Iron & Steel is a subsidiary of Joseph Behr and Sons Inc., a recycling company founded in 1906. the company employs about 450 people at 14 facilities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.
Russellville, AL – A Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. worker lost the first joint of his middle finger while trying to reassemble a chicken-part separating machine at the Russellville (AL) plant. The finger was amputated when the machine unexpectedly started up. OSHA has levied $77,000 in penalties for this September 2015 lockout/tagout accident. Lockout/tagout procedures, policies, and practices prevent this type of unexpected energization of machinery.
OSHA cited Pilgrim’s Pride for failing to document and train workers on specific procedures to keep machinery from starting up during maintenance and repairing procedures, known as lockout/tagout 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, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities. Having equipment specific lockout procedures written for each piece of equipment is required by OSHA. Martin Technical’s Rapid LOTO lockout procedure development program is designed to provide high quality procedures that are easy to follow.
Pilgrim’s Pride received a $7,000 penalty for an electrical cable that was damaged and improperly spliced. The additional $70,000 in fines come from Pilgrim’s Pride being a repeat offender – the Russellville plant was cited for the same violation in 2010, for not training workers on the right way to keep machinery from starting unexpectedly.
At Martin Technical, we genuinely care about people – contact an expert on our Safety & Compliance Team today to discuss how we can assist you, your workers, and your business.
West Chester, OH – Republic Wire, an Ohio cable wire insulation maker, faces proposed fines of $69,300 for numerous violations and failures found by OSHA inspectors. One violation was deemed to be willful.
OSHA began investigating Republic Wire after a 30-year-old line operator’s left pinky finger was amputated by a machine last November while the employee was welding two copper cables.
Lebanon, TN – Lockout training and written procedures could have saved the life of Carlex Glass America worker Catherine White.
White, 51, of Lebanon (TN) died in an industrial accident last week after suffering a severe head injury at the Carlex Glass America plant. Local police reported that the employee had encountered problems with a work station printer. According to police, White “put her head inside the machine in an attempt to address the issue when the printer suddenly initiated its work cycle, most likely due to White inadvertently activating the machine’s sensors as if the next windshield had entered the machine.” During the process, White suffered a severe head injury. Paramedics arrived shortly afterward and pronounced her dead.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce is investigating the fatal industrial accident.
White had worked for Carlex Glass America for just under 18 years. Most recently, she worked as a production technician operating equipment used to manufacture windshields.
As fines for OSHA violations are set to increase in 2016, the time for workplace safety training is now. Some estimate an up to 80% increase in OSHA fines, giving businesses yet another incentive to invest in employee safety training.
For the first time in 25 years, fines for workplace safety violations are due to increase following passage of a new bill signed by President Obama. OSHA is reviewing the legislation and will determine the new fine structure by the time the new budget is in place in July. Estimates for increased fines include $12,600 for Serious violations up to $126,000 for Repeat violations. These new penalties take effect August 1, 2016.
As we all know, numerous incidents of safety oversights and intentional worker endangerment have resulted in employee injury or death. OSHA has clearly outlined safety standards to protect workers. Employees at all levels of an organization are encouraged to complete a comprehensive safety training course to protect themselves and co-workers from worksite dangers.
Furthermore, businesses should establish written safety protocols that outline how to identify, prevent, and report workplace safety hazards. Employers with existing safety protocols should review and revise them to ensure they meet the latest OSHA standards.
St. Mary’s, OH – Quality Ready Mix Inc. has been cited for six safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $51,920 in fines at the company’s Van Buren cement silo hopper. Issues with confined space, training, and lockout tagout were found by OSHA investigators.
According to OSHA, the company did not comply with new confined space regulations, including setting confined space procedures and the training of employees on such procedures. Additionally, Quality Ready Mix failed to protect workers from operating parts of machinery by using locking and blocking devices, provide fall protection for employees working from heights, and protect workers from electrical hazards.
These failures resulted in one willful, three repeat, and two serious OSHA safety violations. Kimberly Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo, said “it is disappointing when employers are cited for repeated violations because it demonstrates that they do not take safety seriously.”
WALLINGFORD, CT – R+L Carriers Shared Services LLC, located in Wallingford, CT is facing fines nearing $87,000 for serious OSHA violations. According to an OSHA press release, employees faced dangerous chemicals, fire and explosion hazards when they tried to contain a chemical spill without proper training and protective equipment in October of 2014.
OSHA investigators found that a 55 gallon drum of tetrahydrofuran being carried by a forklift from a truck accidentally punctured. R+L employees attempted to contain the spill by using absorbents and cordoning off the area. OSHA’s investigation found that company management lacked an emergency response plan and none of the employees were trained as first responders.
The investigation also found that the emergency plan did not include procedures for timely reporting on emergency events, no respiratory protection was provided, and there was no qualified person on-site to oversee the response. Additionally, it was also found that the forklift was not operated properly.
OSHA said they found two repeated and four serious violations in the course of investigation. The two repeated violations came from similar hazards cited by OSHA during a 2011 inspection of R+L Carriers Shared Services Chicago division.
Robert Kowalski, OSHA’s area director in Bridgeport, said “These workers were essentially defenseless. They did not know how to evaluate the hazards involved, what personal protective equipment to use and what steps to follow to contain the spill safely. Worse, no one present at the terminal did,” and “These deficiencies in emergency response by R+L Carriers put its employees at risk of death or serious injury.”
BRISTOL, CT – Covanta Energy Bristol Inc faces more than $90,000 in proposed fines for fostering a hazardous workplace. Violations of workplace health standards included allowing combustible dust to accumulate on exposed surfaces and failing to determine the level of employees’ exposure to ash containing toxic metals. Additionally, the employer didn’t provide adequate training and “protective and protective clothing for an employee performing testing on live electrical parts;” had “inadequate safeguards for employees working in confined spaces;” and did not provide enough eyewash for “employees working with batteries.” The plant also had “fall, fork truck, air pressure and mechanical hazards,” according to the OSHA inspection.
The plant located in Bristol, CT burns garbage to produce energy and can process 650 tons of solid waste a day. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration began an inspection in October in response to a complaint about workplace safety and health violations.
“Covanta Energy Bristol Inc. needlessly exposed its employees to the hazards of electrocution, fire, falls, slips and trips, crushing, being trapped or overcome in a confined space, eye injuries and cancer, lung or kidney damage,” Terence McEvily, OSHA’s acting area director in Hartford, said in a statement. “It must take effective steps to eliminate these hazards and prevent them from happening again.” OSHA cited the plant for 16 “serious violations of workplace safety and health standards.”
A Covanta spokesman said the company had not yet received the citations from OSHA but looks forward to resolving the issues, stating: “The health and safety of employees is our first priority at Covanta so we take the assertions in the OSHA press release very seriously…We look forward to working cooperatively with OSHA to gain a thorough understanding of the concerns.”