HENDERSON, TX – Following a fatal injury suffered by an 86-year-old worker, the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA opened an investigation. The worker had fallen from a stack of pallets at W.D. Townley and Son Lumber Company Inc. The manufacturer has been family-owned and operated since 1943, with its private fleet of commercial transportation equipment.
OSHA Cited the Manufacturer Exposed Workers to Hazardous Energy Sources
The federal investigation at this Henderson sawmill and pallet manufacturer found the company exposed workers to hazardous energy sources and a lack of machine guarding.
“Sawmill operations can be hazardous work, but it should not be life-threatening,” said OSHA Area Director Basil Singh in Dallas. “W.D. Townley and Son Lumber Company Inc. showed a complete disregard for their employees’ well-being. OSHA will hold employers accountable when they neglect their legal responsibility to provide workers with a safe workplace.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citationsand penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Proper Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. Employers must train workers in the purpose and function of the energy control program. In addition, workers have to be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to safely apply, use, and remove energy control devices.
TAVARES, FL – In Florida, early March 2021, willfully bypassed safety measures led to a worker’s death according to the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA). The worker’s employer, United Signs & Signals Inc. (US&S) was cited with a total of $237,566 in proposed penalties.
On the day of the accident, March 2, 2021, an electrical technician climbed into a trench to splice electrical wires to power streetlights. The worker made contact with live wires and suffered a fatal electrocution.
OSHA determined the company bypassed safety measures that led to the worker’s death. These were failing to de-energize or guard circuits, thus exposing workers to electrical shock hazards. The company was also cited for exposing workers to cave-in hazards, not ensuring a safe means of exiting the excavations, and allowing employees to work in a trench with accumulated water.
OSHA Area Office Director Michelle Gonzalez stated, “A man is dead because of US&S’s willful indifference toward protecting its workers. This terrible loss should remind employers that safety measures are never optional, and the consequences for ignoring them can be fatal.”
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.
Gainesville, GA– OSHA of the US Department of Labor cited Foundation Food Group Inc. and three other companies for a total of 59 violations and a combined $998,637 in penalties following its investigation of a liquid nitrogen leak that killed six people working in a Prime-Pak Foods processing plant in Gainesville, GA.
The incident occurred January 28th, after a freezer at the plant malfunctioned, releasing colorless, odorless liquid nitrogen into the air, displacing the oxygen in the room. OSHA said in its report that three maintenance workers entered the freezer room without safety precautions. The three maintenance workers and three other workers died immediately.
OSHA investigated the incident and found that Foundation Food Group and Messer LLC of Bridgewater, NJ, “failed to implement any of the safety procedures or necessary to prevent the accident and found that did not do safety training for employees on the safety procedures they can take to protect themselves, and the methods used to detect the presence or release of nitrogen, the hazards of liquid nitrogen, and emergencies.
“This horrible tragedy could have been prevented had the employers taken the time to use – and teach their workers the importance of – safety precautions,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta. “Instead, six workers died because their employers failed to follow necessary procedures and to comply with required safety and health standards. We hope other industry employers learn from this terrible incident and comply with requirements to prevent similar incidents.”
OSHA cited Foundation Food Group Inc. for 26 violations for the uncontrolled release of liquid nitrogen; the Company also failed to develop, document, and use lockout procedures, nor ensure the procedures were shared between the host employer and contractors. The Company faces $595,474 in penalties.
FS Group Inc., which manufactures equipment and provides mechanical servicing, was also cited by OSHA for eight serious violations for failure to train workers on the physical and health hazards and emergency procedures. The Company also failed to ensure the development and use of specific written lockout procedures and ensure that the host employer and contractors shared information on lockout procedures. FS Group faces $42,325 in penalties.
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.
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.
Lincoln, CA- One man was killed and another worker was injured at the Sierra Pacific Industries location in downtown Lincoln on the afternoon of Sept. 18, 2020. Sierra Pacific Industries is the second-largest lumber producer in the United States.
The two were working on an commercial-sized air compressor at the industrial plant when it allegedly exploded.
This accident is currently under a California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CAL/OSHA) investigation, and it is believed that the company will have a better understanding of what took place which caused the accident and death once the investigation is finished.
“Lincoln Police personnel interviewed witnesses and documented the scene, and will turn everything over to Cal OSHA investigators,” Public Safety Chief Doug Lee was quoted saying.
Milo Fryer Jr., 34, of Lincoln, was named as the man who lost his life because of this accident. The other worker was not identified in the local news reports but was released from the hospital.
Scriba, NY — Peter Clark Jr., 54, of Tully, who died while working at the Novelis Inc. aluminum factory in Oswego County on the morning of May 15th, appears to have been accidentally electrocuted, according to local deputies.
He was pronounced dead at the scene after being electrocuted while working as a contractor at the Scriba factory, said the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office. The deadly accident is being investigated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), Ridley Electric, and the Novelis plant all together, as parts of the accident remain unclear and risks and causes are not yet publicized.
The Novelis plant in Oswego County is the county’s largest manufacturer and employs over 1,100 people. Within the 1.7-million-square-foot facility, workers make rolled aluminum that is used in vehicle body panels for automakers like Ford.
While details of the aluminum factory accident remain unclear, electrocution can be caused by a number of risks and inefficiencies.