North Platte, NE – OSHA issued fines this week to Western Engineering Company Inc for violations found following an employee death. In 2018, a Western Engineering employee suffered fatal injuries after being pulled into an unguarded slat/drag conveyor at the company’s Nebraska asphalt plant.
In a statement, OSHA’s Omaha Area Office Director said that “Employers are required to develop safety and health programs that address known hazards and ensure that safety procedures are followed to prevent tragedies such as this from recurring.”
The confined space violations included failure to develop a confined space entry program; failure to issue safety permits; failure to test atmospheric conditions; and failure to provide air testing and monitoring equipment.
28-year-old Andrew Martinez (of Weslaco, TX) was fatally injured at Western Engineering’s North Platte (NE) facility in November of 2018 when he was pulled into an unguarded slat/drag conveyor on the job. On the day of the event, emergency workers were called to the plant for body recovery. Upon arrival, they discovered the Martinez pinned in the machinery and deceased.
If you have any concerns about safety at your facility, please contact the Industrial Safety Experts at Martin Technical. 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 simplify the complex by offering real-world solutions for Lockout/Tagout, Arc Flash, Electrical Safety, Risk Assessments, Machine Safety, Safety Consulting Services, and Employee Training.
Reynoldsburg, OH – In a fatal workplace accident this month, an employee was crushed between an expandable conveyor belt and a wall of boxes that had been loaded onto a truck at the L Brands facility outside of Columbus (OH).
Two L Brands employees were loading boxes of Bath and Body Works products onto a truck using an expandable conveyor when one became pinned between the machine and the stacked boxes and was crushed. Harvey Beavers was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. OSHA is investigating the fatal workplace accident.
Beavers is reported to have been pinned inside the truck for approximately 10 minutes before he was extricated. CPR was performed, he was transported to the hospital, and later pronounced dead. A co-worker was responsible for placing packages on the conveyer belt into the trailer. That employee reported noticing a red light above the conveyer, signifying a machinery malfunction or stoppage.
According to OSHA, Beavers was pinned facing the wall of boxes with the conveyer pressing into his lower back. The end of the conveyor that was against Beaver’s back contained all controls for moving the conveyer in and out of the trailer, as well as the emergency shut off. With the machine’s controls at his back, Beavers was unable to shut the expandable conveyor down himself and rescuers were forced to spend precious minutes unloading boxes full of product to get to him.
OSHA is actively investigating the fatality. L Brands Inc is a Columbus-based fashion retailer which includes brands like Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works.
Mount Laurel, NJ – Lockout/tagout training and machine guards could have saved the life of 23-year-old Dakota LaBrecque. That’s the finding of federal workplace safety inspectors following a 2017 worker fatality at Springfield Power LLC’s Springfield (NH) biomass plant.
EWP Renewable (doing business as Springfield Power LLC) faces $125,460 in fines following the employee fatality. OSHA has cited EWP Renewable Corp. for 25 safety violations after 23-year-old employee Dakota LaBrecque was pulled into a conveyor and died from his injuries.
In investigating the facility after the worker’s death, federal workplace safety inspectors found that the conveyor and other machinery lacked required safety guarding, and employees were not trained in lockout/tagout procedures to prevent equipment from unintentionally starting.
Springfield Power was also cited for fall hazards; electric shock and arc flash hazards; and a lack of adequate emergency evacuation, fire prevention, and hazardous energy control programs.
Rosemarie Cole, OSHA’s New Hampshire area director, stated that EWP Renewable’s “failure to protect employees resulted in a tragedy that could have been prevented if training was provided and machinery was appropriately guarded.”
OSHA requires equipment specific lockout procedures for each piece of equipment. These lockout/tagout 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. Martin Technical’s Rapid LOTO lockout procedure development program is designed to provide high quality procedures that are easy to follow.
Additionally, OSHA requires that employees be trained on lockout policies and procedures. Proper training ensures that the purpose and function of the lockout/tagout or energy control program are understood by employees and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls are acquired by the workforce.
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 & Safety Consulting Services. Contact a member of our professional safety services team today.
Loveland, CO – OSHA is opening an immediate on-site investigation of the UPS facility in Loveland (CO) after a worker’s arm was severed in an industrial accident involving a conveyor belt last Wednesday morning.
Against protocol, other UPS staff members started transporting the injured man to a hospital in a private vehicle. Emergency dispatchers were able to contact the people transporting the man and an ambulance was able to meet the vehicle holding along the highway. The injured worker was transferred into the ambulance and then taken to a local hospital.
Upon their arrival at the scene of the accident, Loveland Fire Rescue Authority (LFRA) personnel worked to extract the man’s arm from the conveyor belt, and then reunited it with the injured man via ambulance.
Conveyor belt lines at the Loveland UPS Customer Center were stopped after the accident, and the plant was expected to resume its normal evening package sorting operations.
Herb Gibson, area director of the Denver OSHA office, said that “it’s too early to determine the cause and exactly what occurred.” According to OSHA’s website, workers caught in, between, or compressed by industrial equipment comprised 7.2% of all worker fatalities in 2015.
Auburndale, FL – A worker was electrocuted this week as a the result of a lockout mistake while attempting to fix a conveyor at Florida Caribbean Distillers.
Aaron Rowe, 33 years old, was reportedly attempting to fix a conveyor belt and had appeared to turn off the power. However, investigation has revealed that a wire connected to the motor was energized and the lockout/tagout system used to cut off power had been affixed to the wrong circuit breaker.
Lockout/Tagout refers to a system of that safety measures designed to properly shutdown machinery and ensure that those machines will not start up again during maintenance or servicing work. OSHA requires that each piece of equipment must have specific lockout procedures written just for it. The lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source feeding that piece of equipment, which helps to prevent the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.
OSHA requires that lockout programs be audited periodically, and on an annual basis at minimum. A lockout audit requires a review of equipment or machine specific lockout procedures to confirm that each procedure accurately reflects the equipment’s energy sources and to identify any deficiencies. Regular lockout audits and evaluations ensure both compliance and a safe work environment.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports that Rowe was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital about an hour after being shocked. OSHA is investigating the incident.
Florida Caribbean Distillers produces rums, whiskeys and fruit liqueurs.
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.
Seaford, DE – Seaford Ice Inc faces $77,000 in fines after a second worker in three years lost limbs to the same machine. Seaford Ice Inc. was issued nine safety violations on Nov. 18 stemming from the most recent incident.
The alleged safety violations were recorded during repeat inspections of the company’s plant after the May 28 incident in which 20-year-old Jalen Benson of Seaford was breaking ice when he fell into an unguarded screw conveyor. Benson initially was flown to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital before being taken to Christiana Hospital, where his legs reportedly were removed.
The same screw conveyor that injured Benson also amputated another worker’s foot in June 2012, OSHA spokeswoman Leni Fortson said. At that time, OSHA inspectors found a safety guard meant to protect workers from injury had been improperly installed, creating a gap large enough for the worker to fall into the machine.
Seaford Ice was issued five safety violations after that incident and required to pay $4,480 in fines as part of a settlement agreement. Once the deal was reached, OSHA inspectors verified that the safety guard on the screw conveyor had been adjusted to properly protect workers. However, after Benson lost his legs in May, inspectors found the machine’s safety guard had been removed entirely. OSHA officials classify this as a “willful” disregard of employee safety.
In addition to violations related to the screw conveyor, OSHA inspectors also cited Seaford Ice for failing to fully enclose multiple horizontal belts and pulleys used bag ice and dispense bag ties, creating additional amputation hazards for workers who stationed less than 2 feet from the machines. Other violations were issued for electrical hazards and the absence of a lockout/tagout program that would prevent machines from being started accidentally.
Seaford Ice produces and distributes packaged ice products for retail, commercial and industrial uses and sells more than 4 million bags of ice a year to restaurants, hotels and other customers.
Tacoma, WA – Manke Lumber Company Inc., of Tacoma, has been fined by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for 25 serious and 11 general safety and health violations, totaling $87,120.
An investigation began in December of 2014, following the fatal injury of a worker at the facility. Jeffrey Busha died on the job at Manke Lumber when his clothing was caught by a rotating shaft that pulled him into a conveyor as he was trying to loosen jammed lumber. The fatal incident prompted L&I to do a comprehensive safety and health inspection of the entire worksite.
Manke Lumber was fined $6,600 for not safeguarding exposed shafts in four locations, including the conveyor where the worker died. The exposed shafts created the potential for workers to become entangled, which can cause severe injuries, permanent disability and death.
The investigation also found a serious-repeat violation with a penalty of $8,400 for not ensuring that bench grinders were guarded to prevent severe injuries to the hand and face. The company had been previously cited for the violation in 2013.
Additionally, Manke Lumber was cited for serious violations for hazards related to “confined spaces.” Confined spaces are enclosed areas where employees are required to enter to perform maintenance and repair. Examples include hoppers, conveyors and dryers. Entering confined spaces may expose workers to the risk of suffocation, toxic atmospheres, engulfment, entrapment or other harm.
When a confined space has one or more hazardous characteristics that could harm workers, employers must control access to the area and use a permit system to prevent unauthorized entry. Anyone working in or around a permit-required confined space must be trained and there must be safety measures and rescue procedures in place.
The employer was cited for 12 violations for confined space hazards and fined $14,400.
Additional penalties totaling $57,720 were assessed for violations that included failing to guard moving parts on belt sanders, bandsaws, sprocket wheels, and pulleys; exposing workers to falls into unprotected holes and openings in the floor and open-sided elevated areas up to 10 feet; electrical hazards; failing to remove worn and damaged web slings from service; and not storing wood dust properly to prevent fire and/or explosion hazards.