HARTFORD, CT – Following a tragic electrocution accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspected PM Engineered Solutions Inc., a metal fabrication company. The agency found that the manufacturer lacked safeguards to protect employees against electrocution, mechanical, chemical, fall, and other electrical hazards. OSHA cited PM Engineered Solutions Inc. with 40 serious and eight other-than-serious violations and is seeking $236,201 in proposed penalties.
Failing to Develop Lock Out Procedures and Providing Training
OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to develop procedures to lock out the water heater’s power source during maintenance. In addition, the company failed to check energy control procedures periodically and provide lockout training to the deceased employee. The purpose of lockout/tagout, also called hazardous energy control, is to prevent the unexpected startup or release of stored electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, or other energy sources in machines and equipment that can result in severe injury or death to workers.
“This employee lost his life due to the employer’s failure to implement required energy control procedures. Of equal concern is the broad cross-section of hazards throughout the facility left uncorrected. They expose employees to being crushed, caught in moving machine parts, burned, chemical exposures, falling and being unable to exit the workplace promptly in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or explosion.” Dale Varney, OSHA’s Hartford, Connecticut, area director, said in an agency statement.
Additionally, OSHA has also identified other hazards during its inspection of the plant as listed below:
- 62 instances of inadequately guarded machinery, including mechanical power presses, forges, hydraulic presses, and grinding machinery.
- Numerous electrical safety violations, including exposed live electrical parts, uncovered electrical boxes, flexible cords used in lieu of permanent wiring, and material stored in front of electrical panels.
- Open or unlabeled tanks and containers of hazardous chemicals.
- Improperly located or designed collection systems for combustible dust.
- Lack of personal protective equipment for employees.
- Unsecured or improperly stored compressed gas cylinders.
- Lack of a permit-required confined space program for employees who regularly entered a machine pit.
- Uninspected damaged, and unmarked chain slings.
- Uninspected, inadequate and improperly altered powered fork trucks.
- Failure to periodically evaluate fork truck operators’ performance.
- Missing or inadequate exit signage.
On August 30, 2021, the agency also cited PM Engineered Solutions for failing to electronically file its annual OSHA 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses for the previous year.
The company has 15 business days to comply, request a conference, or contest before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout), the General Industry is among the Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards
OSHA’s lockout/tagout and machine guarding standards are among the agency’s top 10 most frequently cited standards in FY 2021. The lockout/tagout standard (29 CFR 1910.147) was cited 1,698 times in fiscal year (FY) 2021; while Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212) was cited 1,113 times.
In summary, establishing a complete and comprehensive Lockout Tagout program that includes clear and precise lockout procedures for all workers is imperative. Specifically, partnering with certified lockout technicians and safety experts allows faster and more accurate turnaround time on developing LOTO procedures and placards. Routine safety training can prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of safety in your workplace.
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Resources and Useful Information
- Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards: https://www.osha.gov/top10citedstandards
- To Search the top violations of an industry with a specific NAICS code, see https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/citedstandard.html
- To search and view the industry profile for violations of any specific OSHA standard, see https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/industryprofile.html