DRUMMONDS, TN – U.S. Department of Labor finds a Mississippi concrete products manufacturer and distributor had ignored safety measures following a fatal accident investigation. Investigators determined the manufacturer’s employee was engulfed in rock while trying to repair a rockhopper of a mobile concrete plant. The industrial accident caused the death of a 67-year-old worker at a Drummonds worksite in April 2021. The OSHA investigation has found Mississippi Limestone Corp. could have prevented this tragedy if the manufacturer had followed federal workplace requirements. Mississippi Limestone Corp. faces $118K in proposed penalties.
OSHA’s Citation and Penalties
OSHA cited the manufacturer for not evaluating the workplace to determine that spaces, such as the rockhopper, were permit-required confined spaces. Investigators also found the company failed to establish a written permit space program for workers and didn’t provide adequate training. Additionally, the manufacturer failed to implement an energy control program for workers conducting maintenance on the plant.
OSHA also cited Mississippi Limestone Corp. for willfully exposing workers to fall hazards by not installing a stair rail system. The company also failed to evaluate each powered industrial truck operator and remove unsafe vehicles from service as required. “Mississippi Limestone’s failure to comply with safety and health requirements exposed workers to life-threatening hazards that led to the loss of a man’s life,” said OSHA Area Director William Cochran in Nashville, Tennessee. “Putting workers’ safety and health in jeopardy should never be an option. OSHA will hold employers accountable and ensure they meet their legal obligation to protect workers on the job,” Cochran continued.
Additionally, OSHA issued a notice to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with one serious violation for exposing workers to amputation, asphyxiation, and crushing hazards. Mississippi Limestone Corp. performs contract-based manufacturing for the U.S. Army Corps in connection with the Mississippi River Corps of Engineers Channel Improvement program. Under Executive Order 12196, federal agencies must comply with the same safety and health standards as private sector employers covered under the OSH Act. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.
Fall Protection is OSHA’s Most Frequently Cited Standard for the 11th Consecutive Year
OSHA recently revealed its top 10 most frequently cited standards for the 2021 fiscal year using preliminary data. This information is valuable for businesses to identify common exposures that affect their workforce and provide them with the necessary information to plan for compliance programs. Although several standards swapped positions, the criteria that make up the Top 10 Violations remained unchanged from FY 2020. Fall Protection remained OSHA’s most frequently cited standard for the 11th consecutive fiscal year in a row.
Dundee, OR – Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) has investigated the death of a worker at an Oregon winery that occurred on February 1st. OSHA fined the Oregon Winery for the worker’s death. The violations were cited as confined space violations and totaled $11,100 in proposed citations.
The worker was found unresponsive on February 1st in an empty 30,000-gallon wine tank. The 39-year-old man was assigned to pump out about 500 gallons of wine remnants into another tank. Low-pressure nitrogen gas was pumped in from the top of the tank to prevent the oxidation of the wine remnants. This resulted in the man’s asphyxiation, according to the investigation.
The investigation cited Corus Estates & Vineyards LLC, a custom crush winery, for nine serious violations. In OSHA Oregon’s press release, Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood stated, “Every workplace death is a tragedy. And confined spaces are unforgiving. Employers must anticipate the risks and ensure that they protect their employees who enter confined spaces. When something goes wrong in such a space, it is already too late to address the problem.”
The specifics of the violations and penalties are laid out below. Oregon OSHA cited Corus Estates & Vineyards for the following serious violations:
Not performing initial testing for atmospheric hazards before entry.
Not ensuring that a required attendant and entry supervisor was designated for the permit confined space entry.
Not developing procedures to ensure employees who are entering permit confined spaces with alternate entry procedures are following those procedures.
Total proposed penalties for the above violations: $7,500
Not ensuring that all confined space permits were reviewed after they were canceled. Several of the permits were not filled out and were missing required information.
Not making sure all confined space entry permits included information about rescue services and how to contact them.
Total proposed penalties for the above violations: $1,200.
Not having permit entry rescue procedures, including the process for contacting rescue services.
Not conducting practice entry rescues for presses, tanks, and below-ground permit-required confined spaces.
Total proposed penalties for the above violations: $1,200.
Not training employees on recognizing confined spaces or procedures necessary to safely enter a confined space before an employee’s assigned duties changed.
Not ensuring that all employees, whose primary language was Spanish, were proficient in their assigned confined space duties.
Total proposed penalties for the above violations: $1,200
BROOKLYN, NY– A Bronx contractor was cited for a scaffolding accident and a worker’s fall when his arrest harness was not tethered as required by OSHA. The 21-year-old laborer, who was erecting scaffolding, suffered a deadly fall at a Brooklyn building project on November 13th, 2020.
Falls are the leading cause of death and injury when proper safety protocols are not in place. The laborer who was installing a welded frame scaffold fell over 50 feet from the construction site of the seven-story Brooklyn building.
“The Company cited the tragedy could have been prevented if Everest Scaffolding had provided appropriate training on fall hazards and ensured workers were using fall protection correctly,” said OSHA Area Director Kay Gee in Manhattan.
OSHA proposed $300,370 in penalties for the two serious safety violations. The Company did not train their workers on Fall Hazards and did not make sure they were using the protection correctly.
The Company Failed to evaluate the feasibility of using fall protection correctly and did not adequately train employees on fall hazards associated with scaffolding work.
MANCHESTER, OH – Two companies were cited in a building collapse that caused the death of two workers. On Dec. 9th, 2020, the Killen Power Generation Station’s building collapsed. Its steel beams fell on and killed two workers employed to demolish the facility. According to OSHA’s press release the employees were a laborer cutting steel and a truck driver preparing to move the scrap metal off-site.
OSHA investigated the project and cited two Michigan companies. The two companies were general contractor Adamo of Detroit, and SCM Engineering Demolition Inc. of East China. Both were cited for multiple violations of the general duty clause and failing to inspect the site regularly for hazards resulting from the demolition process.
The two companies cited in the building collapse have combined proposed penalties of $194,012. Adamo is responsible for $181,724 for a range of violations. SCM Engineering faces penalties of $12,288 for three serious violations.
OSHA determined the companies allowed employees to continue working under hazardous conditions without adding shoring, bracing, or other means to steady the structure. OSHA also determined they failed to train employees on identifying potential hazards.
OSHA Area Director Kenneth Montgomery in Cincinnati was quoted as saying, “Some of the most dangerous construction projects are those that involve demolishing buildings. This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer protected their workers with proper planning, training and appropriate personal protective equipment and by complying with OSHA standards.”
Both companies have 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 safety training to prevent accidents such as these.
CATHEDRAL CITY, CA – OSHA has fined contractors for a fatal accident in which a metal gate collapsed and crushed a 41-year-old construction worker. The metal gate weighed 3,000 pounds and was located near the casino’s loading dock.
The accident occurred on December 7th 2020 at Agua Caliente Casino Cathedral City, according to OSHA’s press release. OSHA’s investigation that followed found the project’s contractors failed to conduct inspections to discover hazards, instruct employees on how to recognize workplace dangers, and install caution signs to warn workers about potential hazards. The three contractors, Penta Building Group, No Limit Steel and The Raymond Group, face $64,169 in combined penalties.
OSHA Area Director Derek Engard was quoted as saying “Required oversight and communication related to workplace safety and health could have prevented this tragic loss of life. This case is a painful reminder of why employers must make complying with workplace safety standards a priority.”
CHIPPEWA FALLS, WI – A company has been cited for a workplace death in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Berry Global, a plastic fabrication company, has been issued $40,959 in fines regarding the death of one of its employees due to an accident at their plant.
The accident occurred October 5th 2020. According to local news the 54-year-old man received a laceration to the head when he was struck by a piece of machinery. Police reviewed a video of the incident and determined it was an accident.
As of press time, OSHA’s inspection report for the case cites as all violations Lockout/Tagout. Martin Technical offers Lockout Tagout services to prevent accidents such as these.
Hugo, OK – A series of confined space violations have resulted in two deaths, according to an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This occurred in Hugo, Oklahoma, on August 12th, 2020. As reported in an OSHA press release, one employee entered a natural gasoline rail car to clean the space. When the employee became unresponsive, a second attempted to rescue the first. This employee became unresponsive as well. Later, both workers were pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The rail company involved is Trinity Rail and Maintenance Service Inc. Trinity Rail is one of the largest rail car service providers in the United States. They are facing $419,347 in proposed penalties. OSHA has cited them for 11 serious violations and two willful violations due to the accident.
Among the confined space violations were, “…that the company failed to require a permit to allow entry into the rail car, ventilate the space, monitor hazards inside a confined space and complete entry permits for work inside a confined space…”
As OSHA points out in their press release, confined space work is dangerous. Following standards is the difference between making it home safe at the end of the day, or not. Martin Technical encourages all employers to train their employees in confined space safety. We also encourage training in any standards relevant to your industry. Safety training for your employees helps to avoid accidents such as these.
Henderson, NV – The Nevada Occupational Safety and Hazard Association (Nevada OSHA) is investigating the death of Harry Kenneth Peterson III, as reported by The Las Vegas Review Journal. Last week, the fire department was called to a rock quarry described as the Viento Puntero Pit.
Fire Department Chief, Shawn White, reported what he was told by emergency crews. Crews were informed that Peterson had been helping others move a rock crushing machine to another area of the work site.
When part of the machine was apparently jammed, Peterson tried to fix it and was caught in the machine. Rescue workers said it was not clear how he became stuck. White reported Peterson had head and chest injuries. When rescue crews arrived, Peterson had already been removed from the machine.
When emergency crews arrived, Peterson was breathing and transported to to Sunrise Trauma. On Friday, Peterson succumbed to his injuries at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
The death has been ruled an accident. The Fire Department has contacted Nevada OSHA to investigate the work site death. A related police report was released Wednesday. It did not contain details about the incident, except that it did not appear to be a result of a criminal act.
Nevada OSHA’s spokeswoman, Teri Williams, described Peterson’s employer as Las Vegas Paving Corp. The company lists their services on its website, including: asphalt placing, aggregate crushing & material supply, Design-Build. James Barker acts as Las Vegas Paving Corp’s general counsel. He did not comment out of respect for the family and because of the ongoing investigation.
Gainesville, FL – On January 28th a deadly nitrogen leak took the lives of six workers at Foundation Food Group poultry plant located in Gainesville, Florida. The leak occurred during unplanned maintenance on a processing and freezing line. The line was installed about a month prior, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s report on January 30th.
In addition to the six dead in the nitrogen leak, there were 11 injuries, one more individual was sent to the hospital, and 130 other workers were forced to evacuate. Katherine A. Lemos, CEO & chairwoman of the CSB stated the investigation “…may take up to several years.” New information is still coming forward, and will continue to do so as Lemos suggests.
What We Know Currently
In the CSB’s report from January 30th, it was detailed that there was a release of liquid nitrogen. This rapidly converted to a gas. Because the gas form of liquid nitrogen is heavier than air, it forced the oxygen out the room.
How the liquid nitrogen was released was not detailed. The CSB is currently working to isolate the exact location of release inside the plant. Additional damage to the plant was avoided when a manger turned off an external isolation valve after the leak began.
Other details noted in the report included: Tools were found on the ground near the equipment. The plant receives 2-3 18-wheel truckloads per day of liquid nitrogen. Manufacturers of interior equipment are being looked into, and the supplier of liquid nitrogen was noted in the report.
The CSB lacks the authority to issue fines or criminal charges. However, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also investigating the leak. The CSB has noted its investigations will include examinations and evaluations of multiple factors. The will include training as well as operations and procedures. Martin Technical encourages all industries and professionals to keep all employees up to date on training, as well as safety procedures and operations such as Lockout Tagout. Keep your team informed on all regulations and industry standards to prevent accidents such as these.
Bush Brothers and Company in Eau Claire, WI, is facing OSHA citations and fines after the death of one of its employees at an Augusta canning factory in July 2020.
On the day of the accident, it was originally reported by WQOW-18 that Augusta Police responded to a call to the factory just before 9:30 a.m. on July 27th, where a 58 year old woman had reportedly suffered work related traumatic injuries. Medical measures were taken to save her life, however she was pronounced dead at the scene.
As of January 21st, WQOW-18 has reported that the employee was Mary Falk of Eau Claire, WI. OSHA has investigated the death and filed a “serious” class citation against the company, which carries a fine of $12,145. Bush Brothers is accused of failing to store material so that it remains stable against sliding and/or collapse, which falls under Standard 1910.176(b) – Handling materials – general.
At Martin Technical, we encourage safety training in all standards relevant to your work place to prevent accidents such as these.