Mail Facility Cited $170K for a Life-changing Injury

Mail Facility Cited $170K for a Life-changing Injury

GREENSBORO, NC – OSHA cited a mail facility’s distribution center in Greensboro for $170K after a worker suffered a life-changing injury last year. The investigation revealed the mechanic suffered an amputation after coming into contact with a machine that had a safety guard removed. Greensboro Network Distribution Center is a bulk mail processing and distribution center for the company with a programmable network of heavy conveyor lines and other systems that handles packages for delivery.

The Violations and Citations

Following the tragedy, Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the postal service’s facility, which operates as Greensboro Network Distribution Center. Subsequently, the investigation identified repeat and serious safety violations as follows:

  • Failure to ensure that safety guards were in place as required.
  • Allowing conveyor guards to be routinely removed, leaving workers at risk for injury.
  • Did not train staff on working near conveyors or proper methods for safely operating equipment using lockout tagout safety measures.
  • Allowed unqualified workers – workers without adequate training and protective equipment – to perform tests on live electrical equipment.

Therefore, OSHA issued two serious and two repeat citations, totaling $170,918 in proposed fines.

The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.

“The USPS has an obligation to eliminate hazards to ensure safe working conditions and prevent future tragic and life-altering injury. But the company ignored long-established safety standards and put workers at risk,” said OSHA Area Director Kimberley Morton in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Key Takeaways: Training and Proper Lockout Tagout Could Have Prevented the Tragedy

Key takeaways are to ensure proper Lockout Tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures are in place to safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. Establishing a complete and comprehensive Lockout Tagout program that includes precise lockout procedures for all workers is essential. Partnering with certified lockout technicians to enhance efficiency and turnaround time on developing LOTO procedures and placards is also important.

Additionally, routine safety training can prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of workplace safety. Thus, employers must train workers in energy control and the skills required to safely apply, use, and remove energy control devices.

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Resources and Helpful Information on Lockout Tagout

Machine Guarding

Lockout Tagout Procedures 

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Tortilla Factory Cited in LOTO Violation – San Marcos Texas

SAN MARCOS, Texas – A Tortilla Factory was Cited in a LOTO violation. The lockout/tagout violation, or failure to control hazardous energy, was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

A Tortilla Factory was Cited in a LOTO violation. Lockout tackout procedures should be followed to prevent these citations.

OSHA investigated El Milagro of Texas, a tortilla factory in San Marcos, and found the failure to comply, as reported by KVUE ABC News on June 15th, 2021.

The company, El Milagro, failed to comply with LOTO procedures that would prevent the sudden start-up or movement of machines during maintenance and servicing. This citation has resulted in a fine of more than $218,000.

According to KVUE’s article, the tortilla factory that was cited in the LOTO violation by OSHA has also been cited for these violations in 2015 and 2018.

OSHA Area Director Casey Perkins was quoted as saying, “…Energy control and lockout/tagout procedures are vital to protecting workers in manufacturing facilities. OSHA will hold employers accountable when they fail to comply with requirements to prevent worker exposure to dangerous hazards.”

El Milagro of Texas will have 15 business days from the receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.

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Spice Importer Cited by OSHA

JACKSON, AL – A Spice importer has been cited by OSHA. iSpice is a global spice importer located in Jackson, Alabama. OSHA reported on April 23rd that they are citing the company $121,511 in penalties.

The workers were found to be exposed to amputations, struck-by, crushed-by and The Spice Importer Cited by OSHA may have avoided citations by using lockout devices similar to this one. electrical hazards. OSHA found iSpice allowed workers to clean the plant’s mixing machines without employing lockout tagout. They employer also failed to implement energy control procedures, train workers on lockout/tagout, and use machine guarding in regards to a rotating portion of the mixer.

Other hazards included allowing workers to use industrial trucks with a damage seatbelt; failing to ensure drivers were competent to operate the equipment; exposing them to electrical hazards by allowing boxes and outlets that were uncovered or lacked faceplates to be used; and a fan with a splice in the cord to be used.

In their press release, OSHA quoted Area Director Jose Gonzalez, “This employer put their employees at serious risk needlessly by failing to provide training and implement well-known protections. These protections are not optional, they are every workers right.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Martin Technical provides Lockout Tagout services and training to help companies avoid citations such as these and the accidents they can cause.

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OSHA’s Top 10 Safety Violations of 2020

 

The Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) recently announced its top 10 safety violations for the 2020 fiscal year. Every year, OSHA announces its top 10 most frequently cited safety violations. This helps alert employers so they may prevent these hazards before they take place.

 

No. 10: Machine Guarding

Last year Machine Guarding ranked number 9. In 2020 it received 1,313 citations. It’s reassuring to see fewer citations in this standard. But, worker amputations continue to be a concern.

No. 9: PPE and lifesaving equipment related to eye and face protection

The previous year, eye and face protection was in spot number 10, so this citation has increased. This relates to PPE that prevents eye and face injuries including chemical, environmental and other hazards. This can include Arc Flash-related injuries. So, proper Arc Flash labeling programs are critical in ensuring PPE is worn in these situations.

No. 8: Fall Protection Training requirements

Citations were given out for failure to provide proper training materials and programs.

No. 7: Improper Use of Industrial Trucks

The Improper Use of Industrial Trucks held the same ranking as it did last year at 1,932 citations.

No. 6: Lockout Tagout (Control of Hazardous Energy)

Lockout Tagout went down from number #5 in the year prior. In 2020, it held 2,065 violations. Improper training and procedures are often to blame. Martin Technical offers LOTO training to prevent accidents and citations of this very kind.

No. 5: Improper use of Ladders

2,129 citations were given for the Improper use of Ladders in 2020.

No. 4: Scaffolding

Scaffolding moved from #3 to #4 in 2020 with 2,538 citations.

No. 3. Respiration Protection

This standard had 2,649 citations in 2020, moving from #5 to #3. This is both due to lack of fit testing and program management.

No. 2. Improper Implementation of Hazard Communication

Hazard Communication relates to the evaluation and clear identification of hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Related citations in 2020 numbered at 3,199.

No. 1: Fall Protection

Fall Protection has been the number one citation for 8 years, with 5,424 citations in 2020. In partnership with PIXO VR, we offer fall protection training through Virtual Reality training allowing a “hands on” experience of a previously inaccessible training experience.

Going Forward

These top 10 alone make up a total of 24,239 citations. What will you do to prevent citations, injury, and deaths in your facility in 2021?

If your safety program needs a tune-up, contact Martin Technical today. We look forward to earning your business. Call us at 866-234-6890, email Sales@MarTechnical.com, or contact us here.

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OSHA fines Company 150k after Employee Amputation

Lawrence Township, NJ- BWay Corp.—doing business as Mauser Packaging Solutions—received a citation from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for workplace safety and health hazards after an employee suffered an amputation on Sept. 26, 2019, at its Lawrence Township facility. The company now faces $151,329 in penalties.

OSHA inspected the facility after being notified that an employee was cleaning a machine when the amputation occurred. The agency cited BWay Corp. for failing to use lockout/tagout procedures to protect employees from hazardous energy. OSHA cited the company for similar violations at multiple facilities between 2016 and 2019.

“Workers servicing or maintaining machines are at risk of serious injury, including amputations, if hazardous energy is not properly controlled,” OSHA Marlton Area Office Director Paula Dixon-Roderick said in the statement. “This company must correct the hazards identified to protect workers’ safety.”

The company had 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Area Director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. 

OSHA fines NJ Company 150k after Employee Amputation

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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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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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Partial Amputation at Window Maker Prompts OSHA Fines

partial amputationHialeah, FL – OSHA has cited CGI Windows and Doors for federal workplace safety violations that include willful failures in machine guarding which will cost PGT Industries fines proposed to total $398,545. OSHA investigated the Florida window and door manufacturer following reports that an employee had suffered a partial finger amputation while using an unguarded punch press at their facility outside of Miami. CGI Windows and Doors is owned by PGT Industries.

OSHA cited PGT for two serious violations and two other-than-serious violations, however the bulk of the fine was for the willful violation of machine safety standards. In their announcement, OSHA stated that PGT Industries “knowingly disregarded machine guarding requirement intended to protect employees from caught-in and amputation hazards.” The Willful violation constitutes $258,672 of the proposed fine. In this case, OSHA applied the maximum fine allowed by law for the violations that can cause life-altering injury.

Federal workplace safety inspectors found guards absent on eight punch presses, a drill press, and a table saw at the CGI Windows and Doors facility. Three other punch presses were documented as having guards that didn’t cover enough area to protect workers.

The serious and other-than-serious citations were for hazards including failing to implement a program to inspect mechanical power presses and correct unsafe conditions; exposing employees to electrical hazards; failing to make sure employees wore hearing protection; and failing to develop specific procedures to verify the control of hazardous energy an industrial safety practice known as Lockout Tagout.

In response to OSHA’s announcement and the associated penalties, PGT asserted that they “share OSHA’s goal of ensuring the safety of each and every one of our team members.”

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Employee Loses Arm While Cleaning Machinery

Elysburg, PA – OSHA has proposed $112,523 in penalties after finding that lockout/tagout failures lead to an employee’s arm being amputated while cleaning machinery.

OSHA has cited Toy Factory TX LLC for workplace safety violations after investigating the circumstances that lead to an employee’s arm being amputated while cleaning machinery earlier this year. OSHA has proposed $112,523 in penalties for the company’s failure to develop acceptable procedures to prevent the release of hazardous energy; failure to apply lockout devices; and failure to train employees on lockout/tagout procedures.

OSHA’s local area office director stated that Toy Factory’s “failure to use appropriate machine locking devices resulted in a serious injury that could have been prevented.” Machine locking devices are an important part of an industrial Lockout/Tagout program. Lockout devices are mechanical means of locking a machine in a position that prevents energization of a machine, equipment, or a process. Energy-isolating devices cleaning machineryare applied to machinery during maintenance or while employees are otherwise servicing equipment to prevent unexpected startup and thereby avoid employee injury.

Nearly 3 million workers service equipment and these employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. Compliance with the federal lockout/tagout standard prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.

Federal workplace safety inspectors determined that Toy Factory TX LLC (doing business as The Toy Factory LLC) failed to develop acceptable written lockout/tagout procedures, failed to apply lockout devices, and failed to train employees on lockout/tagout. OSHA requires that employees be trained on lockout policies and procedures. Appropriate training ensures that the purpose and function of the energy control program are understood by employees and that employees gain the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls.

The Elysburg (PA) facility is one of several owned by Texas-based Toy Factory TX which manufactures stuffed toys intended for use as rewards and prizes at amusement parks, entertainment game centers, and crane machines.

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