Bluebonnet Foods Faces $104K in Fines

bluebonnet lockout hazardous energySan Antonio, TX – Bluebonnet Foods is facing serious fines following an OSHA investigation that uncovered 21 serious violations, including violations of hazardous energy control. Fines for the San Antonio food business could total $104,000.

OSHA cited Bluebonnet for several electrical, amputation, struck-by and chemical hazard infractions. Investigators determined that Bluebonnet failed to establish procedures for control of hazardous energy sources (known as Lockout/Tagout); install of emergency eyewash stations, provide protective equipment (PPE); provide safety data sheets; and failure to provide effective training on chemicals used.

Bluebonnet Foods makes slow-roasted, fried and grilled meats for retail and food industries under the name Good Heart Specialty Foods.

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CT Foundry Fined for Electrical Safety Failures

electrical safetyGroton, CT – PCC Structurals has been cited for numerous serious violations of federal electrical safety standards. The metal-castings manufacturer, creator of steel components for the aerospace, energy industries, and commercial ventures, faces more than $100,000 total in fines from two OSHA investigations in the first quarter of 2016.

Inspectors identified hazards including a lack of protection for workers around electrical equipment, exposed live electrical parts, lack of emergency eyewashes, inadequate safety glasses, flammable liquids improperly stored, and unsecured compressed gas containers. Not everyone is confident to buy electrical parts through sites like Octopart and have a go at fixing electrical issues. With that being said, there is always an option to leave it to the professionals, who can get this done in the safest way possible.

As noted by OSHA, these types of workplace hazards can lead to fires, explosions, amputations, hearing loss, and other employee endangering industrial accidents.

Martin Technical could save you hundreds of hours developing an Electrical Safety Program & Plan. With an extensive background in electrical safety and training, our experts can recommend detailed topics and language specific to your facility that should be included in your Electrical Safety Program. Contact an expert on our Safety & Compliance Team today.

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WI Packaging Company Faces $83K in Safety Fines

Green Bay, WI – Services Plus, Inc., of Green Bay, WI, has been cited for six OSHA violations and fines of more than $83,000. These citations include one “willful” five “serious” violations.

OSHA investigators claim that Green Bay packaging manufacturppe willfuler failed to install guards and use recommended safety procedures to protect workers from moving parts of machinery. These procedures are known as Lockout/Tagout. Amputations and other serious injuries can result from failure to implement proper Lockout/Tagout procedures in a facility.

In addition, OSHA inspectors report that Services Plus did not assess the workplace to determine if personal protective equipment should be provided; did not require employees to use appropriate equipment to protect hands against burns; did not install electrical equipment properly; and improperly used flexible electrical cords.

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OSHA Fines Genpak for Lockout/Tagout Failures

Middletown, NY – Genpak L.L.C. has been cited for two repeat, six serious and one other-than-serious safety violations. The New York food packaging manufacturer faces $103,100 in proposed fines after two employees were seriously injured in separate workplace safety incidents last summer at Genpak’s Hope Hull (AL) facility.

OSHA conducted two investigations after learning of the injuries – one in June 2015, in which an employee suffered a partial finger amputation while trying to clear a machine jam; and the other in July 2015, when a worker was severely burned after the forklift he was using ignited butane vapors, creating an explosion inside a shipplockout/tagout failuresing trailer, according to the statement.

In response to the June 2015 lockout/tagout accident, Genpak was cited for failing to implement specific procedures to prevent machines from starting up during maintenance. Citations for failures related to servicing and exposing workers to fall hazards from unguarded platforms were issued against the July 2015 accident.

These 2016 violations are unforutnately similar to those the company was cited for in 2011 and 2012.

Additionally, Genpak was cited for failing to use an explosion-proof forklift in an area filled with flammable gas, exposing workers to being struck by improperly stacked boxes, and not protecting workers from electrical deficiencies.

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Arc Flash Fire Injures AZ Bowling Alley Worker

Prescott, AZ – A worker was replacing blanks when an electrical arc occurred at a bowling alley in Prescott, AZ. Fire officials found evidence of a catastrophic failure in an electrical panel the employee had been servicing.electrical arc

The electrical arc propagated a flame and destroyed the front of the breaker panel, starting a fire. The employee was able to recover from the arc explosion and grabbed a fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire. He suffered burns to his hand, as well as singed facial hair, and was transported to a local hospital.

Fire department officials reported that the fire was extinguished and had not extended from the breaker panel. Responders shut down all power to the building until an evaluation and repair of the electrical system could be accomplished.

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Employee Injury at GA Mat Manufacturer Generates $51K in Fines and 9 OSHA Violations

Calhoun, GA – Apache Mills, Inc. was cited for nine safety violations on October 1, 2015. OSHA investigators audited the Calhoun, GA floor mat manufacturing facility following report of an employee injury. OSHA uncovered hazards and failures in electrical safety, machine safety, and worker’s exposure to electric shock and arc flash. Proposed penalties total $51,000.

OSHA received a report that a 42-year old maintenance technician at Apache Mills was hospitalized earlier this year after his left hand was injected with fluid from a leaking hydraulic line on a press. The employee was performing maintenance on the machine when the accident occurred. The machine was not in a zero-energy state. Lockout/tagout procedures should have been in place to prevent the accidental start-up or movement of machinery during maintenance.

Additional OSHA citations were issued for inadequate worker training on safe electrical practices, not providing personal protective equipment to safeguard workers from electrical arc or flash burns, and not ensuring proper guarding of machinery.

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Flooring Company Accused of Concealing Production Line, Facing nearly $250K in Fines

Norfolk, NE – MP Global Products LLC faces $244,000 in fines and has been placed on OSHA’s severe violator list after allegedly concealing an entire production line and possibly a group of employees during an OSHA inspection.

OSHA Investigators said they found several machines throughout the facility that lacked safety guards, exposing workers to potential injury. They also said they found numerous electrical safety hazards, including exposed electrical wires and damaged electrical boxes

MP Global Products has been cited for more than two dozen safety violations, including two willful and 22 serious violations after a 65-year-old temporary worker last spring caught his left hand in a machine, amputating one finger and severely injuring another, federal authorities said

During the investigation, the Norfolk (NE) flooring company allegedly attempted to conceal hazardous equipment and threatened workers with dismissal if they expressed safety concerns to federal inspectors. OSHA representatives were investigating an accident that resulted in the loss of a worker’s finger.

When inspectors arrived at MP Global Products LLC, the company allegedly “shut down an entire production line, turned the lights off and herded employees into the backroom where they were instructed to remain quiet during OSHA’s inspection,” Jeff Funke, OSHA’s Omaha director said. Funke alleged the company’s actions were a “willful attempt to prevent inspectors from discovering numerous machine safety violations in the plant.”

Al Collison, the company’s founder, owner and president, said the firm plans to dispute OSHA’s claims when it meets with authorities Sept. 15. “There are a lot of allegations that are not accurate,” he told The World-Herald. “That particular line was not running that day. We did not ‘herd’ people into another room. We don’t have environments dangerous to employees. We’ve been in business for 40 years.”

MP Global uses recycled materials to manufacture products for use beneath laminate, tile and hardwood flooring.

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Case Farms Goes on OSHA’s Severe Violator List, Fines over $860,000

Winesburg, OH – Case Farms chicken producing and processing company has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration after the agency issued more citations and $861,500 in fines this week.

Case Farms is the leading supplier of chicken to national fast food and supermarket brands. In its inspection, OSHA found that Case Farms employees “are exposed to the dangers of amputation, electrocution, and hazardous falls on a daily basis.”

Case Farms was issued two willful, 20 repeat, 30 serious, and three other-than-serious safety and health violations. The violations stem from an inspection in February that found amputation hazards, lack of personal protective equipment, and numerous violations of electrical safety standards, among other violations.

In a press release, Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA stated:“Case Farms is an outrageously dangerous place to work. In the past 25 years, Case Farms has been cited for more than 350 safety and health violations. Despite committing to OSHA that it would eliminate serious hazards, Case Farms continues to endanger the safety and health of its workers. This simply must stop.”

Case Farms issued the following statement in response: “We do not agree with the negative characterizations that have been made about our company and our employees” by OSHA. The company said it has 930 employees at the Winesburg facility, and its last lost-time injury there was on Sept. 16, 2014.

Despite this safety record, an OSHA representative said the agency’s investigation determined that “the company was aware of the dangers, but continued to expose workers to serious and potentially fatal injuries.”

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Arc Flash at Los Alamos National Lab Injures Nine

Los Alamos, NM – An electrical worker at the Los Alamos National Laboratory was knocked off a ladder in an arc flash incident, and remains hospitalized. Working in a radiological lab building on May 3, Julian Trujillo accidentally touched a live wire in a ceiling. The man is badly burned but in stable condition, at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. Trujillo and eight co-workers were injured that day when an electrical arc flash occurred while the crew was maintaining a substation.

A series of electrical incidents and accidents at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have drawn scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Energy. Los Alamos National Security LLC, is a consortium that oversees the nuclear weapons research facility under contract with the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

The Energy Department’s Office of Enterprise Assessments will review potential violations in connection with recent electrical incidents, and a federal Accident Investigation Board will examine the May 3 incident as well as past accidents.

“The lab takes electrical safety very seriously, and is taking steps to strengthen safety culture,” lab spokesman Kevin Roark said. “We will work closely and cooperatively with the NNSA Office of Enforcement on their hazardous energy assessment investigation.”

Since 2003, the lab has had at least 11 electrical incidents, some with injuries.

• In March, at Technical Area 55, “an employee received an electric shock while tracing a 277-volt lighting conduit in the ceiling. The employee received a burn to his hand,” according to a lab accident report. All electrical maintenance work was shut down for two days, according to Roark.

• The NNSA investigated four electrical safety events at LANL between October 2010 and January 2011, according to documents. Two involved subcontractors, at least one of whom received a high-voltage electrical shock while doing maintenance on a power supply. Two other events involved Los Alamos National Security workers. “These incidents exposed workers to serious shock, thermal burn and arc-flash hazards,” according to an NNSA notice of violation issued to Los Alamos National Security.

• In 2007, the lab had three electrical equipment failures. No injuries were reported, but one building was evacuated.

• In 2006, a subcontract electrician using a cordless drill to drive in a self-tapping screw to the back of a control center hit a 480-volt system and caused an arc flash. The worker suffered a minor injury.

• In 2003, two subcontractors working on a decontamination project unknowingly came within inches of a live 13.2-kilovolt switch, violating safe-distance standards. Neither subcontractor was injured, but if an electrical arc had occurred, “it would have triggered an explosion and plasma fireball” that would have “incinerated anything within 15 feet,” according to a lab performance report.

• Also in 2003, a lab machinist shocked his upper arm on a welder cart that had been wired incorrectly by a subcontractor. He had minor injuries.

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2 Dead in Australian Electrical Maintenance Accident

Morley, Australia – 2 energy workers were killed and 2 seriously injured this week in an explosion at Morley Galleria shopping center located in a suburb of Perth, Australia. Alan Cummins, age 30, was killed at the scene and Matt Hutchins, 22, died in Royal Perth Hospital shortly after the accident.

Employees of High Energy Solutions were performing routine maintenance near an electrical transformer. The exact cause of the explosion is as of yet unknown, but under investigation. Industry experts suspect that an arc flash blast caused the accident. The survivors are in intensive care recovering from burns and smoke inhalation at the Royal Perth Hospital. It has been reported that the injured are in critical condition, with burns to 60-80% of their bodies.

The mall was evacuated and closed temporarily due to power outage and emergency responders working to determine the extent of the accident and damage. Adjacent roads were also temporarily shut down.

In a statement released by High Energy Service Pty Ltd, general manager Brad Mitchell said: “This is a truly tragic day and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased persons and those of the injured employees… We will be fully co-operating with all the relevant authorities in their investigations and will be conducting our own investigation. Our focus at this moment is supporting those injured people and their families and our other employees.”

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