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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Sawmill Fatality Reveals Numerous OSHA Violations

St. Joseph, MO – Following a fatal workplace accident at a Missouri sawmill, OSHA has issued $199,183 in fines for 14 serious and two repeat safety violations at American Walnut Co.

The fatal workplace accident occurred on March 12 of 2018 when American Walnut employee Joshua Hill (38) came into contact with operating equipment. Hill reportedly fell into the chute of a grinder and was killed. OSHA found that Hill was not attached to a tether line when he fell 10 feet into the grinder chute.

Following the sawmill fatality, federal workplace safety investigators identified 14 serious and two repeat safety violations at American Walnut Co. including failure to evaluate job hazards, control hazardous energy, and ensure adequate machine guarding. Additionally, workers were found to have been exposed to hazards associated with falls, ladders, and electrical safety.

Noise hazards observed at American Walnut prompted a separate investigation. OSHA inspectors documented that American Walnut employees were exposed to hazards associated with noise, combustible dust, and chemicals within the St. Joseph (MO) facility.

OSHA’s Kansas City Area Office Director stated tsawmill fatalityhat “Employers must continually evaluate job hazards and ensure safety guards are in use to protect workers from known hazards in their facilities.”

The safety of American workers is always our driving motivation at Martin Technical. Anyone with questions about federal safety standards and/or workplace safety hazards should contact a member of our Industrial Safety Team. Martin Technical is a leading provider of practical safety services that make industrial plants and facilities better, safer, and more efficient. Our experts apply real-world solutions to create effective safety and health programs across this country and beyond.

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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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Multiple Violations Found at MS Paper Co, $300K+ Fines Issued

Natchez, MS – OSHA has cited paper products manufacturer von Drehle Corporation for multiple workplace safety hazards and issued $303,657 in potential penalties, including one for the maximum amount allowed by law.

OSHA investigators found that the company’s Natchez (MS) facility put employees at risk of injury through exposure to electrical hazards, lack of machine guarding, failure to lockout machinery and control hazardous energy, by exposing employees to the dangers of arc flash, and by allowing slip, trip, and fall hazards.

OSHA’s Area Office Director stated that “employers are required to assess potential hazards, and make necessary corrections to ensure a safe workplace…[This] inspection multiple violations finesresults demonstrate workplace deficiencies existed, putting workers at serious risk of injury or death.”

Von Drehle Corp issued a statement regarding the citations at their Natchez facility: “Employee safety is the utmost important priority for von Drehle, which is why we fully cooperated with OSHA throughout the inspections.”

Von Drehle is headquartered in Hickory, North Carolina, and manufacturers industrial and commercial paper products like tissue and paper towels at facilities in North Carolina, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee.

Employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. OSHA sets workplace safety standards and enforces these conditions on behalf of American workers. Martin Technical supports industry by providing compliance support such as comprehensive Lockout/Tagout and Electrical Safety programs as well as employee training on all aspects of workplace safety. Contact a member of our Safety Team today to discuss how we can be your partner in safety.

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Unsafe Working Conditions at NE Bakery Net Over $122K in Fines

Bellevue, NE – Bimbo Bakeries USA faces $122,625 in proposed penalties for exposing workers to multiple hazards at its Bellevue commercial bakery. Federal workplace safety investigators cited the Bellevue facility for three repeat and three serious violations, since they had cited Bimbo twice before for similar hazards. Violations included lack of machine guarding, failing to provide fall protection and using a damaged electrical panel box.

Industrial machinery must be routinely inspected. Inspection of machinery is based on the grounds that the machine must be safe to use and machinery and equipment must be maintained in good and safe working condition. This includes mechanical parts, safety switches, emergency stops and guards, etc. Effectiveness of electrical components should also be assessed regularly for the safety of workers.

Martin Technical is aware that machine safety solutions must not hinder production or reduce the capacity unsafe working conditionsof a machine and a facility’s production.

During a machine safety inspection, each individual machine is registered. Defects are detected and recorded, photos taken and safety hazard discussed with the staff involved so we attain agreement on any suggested solution. After a machine safety inspection, Martin Technical delivers a report outlining the various deficiencies including photo documentation and a description of necessary changes. Many of our industrial customers use this report as a foundation from which staff can implement safety solutions.

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Renewable Energy Plant Fined for Multiple Hazards

South Sioux City, IA – Electrical, mechanical, and chemical hazards were among the violations found at the Big Ox renewable energy plant following a six month OSHA investigation. The six serious violations issued there represent over $50,000 in fines.

Gas exposure first brought this facility to OSHA’s attention after a contractor working at the facility was hospitalized due to hydrogen sulfide exposure. Just two months later, a maintenance worker was treated and released in another incident of hydrogen sulfide exposure. Earlier this year, another two workers were suffered chemical exposure, and one was hospitalized for chemical burns.renewable energy

Hazardous energy violations were also found at Big Ox Energy while OSHA conducted it’s investigation of the chemical exposure incidents.

OSHA reports show a failure to develop and implement energy control and lockout-tagout procedures for each piece of equipment, including Big Ox’s gas energy mixing system, centrifuge, raw-feed and digester pumps. According to OSHA, employees were exposed to electrical hazards, flowing wastewater, and chemical and mechanical hazards while performing equipment maintenance. Additional citations were issued for failing to ensure each authorized employee affixed his or her own lock or tag to certain devices prior to working on the equipment.

Confined space concerns were also cited. OSHA found a failure to retain confined space entry permits.

Additionally, Big Ox was cited for failure to ensure employees had eye and face protection to keep them safe from hazards like pressurized liquid wastewater. At the end of 2016, a Big Ox Energy employee wearing only safety glasses suffered lacerations, cheek and eye socket fractures, and chipped teeth after being struck by pressurized wastewater and a hose nozzle.

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Safety Violations at AL Auto Parts Plant Net $172K in Fines

Valley, AL – OSHA has proposed penalties in the amount of $171,870 for violations found at Daeil USA Corp, an automobile parts manufacturer located in Valley, AL.

In an investigation, OSHA reported conditions that have created a hazardous working environment for employees of the facility. Daeil was cited for a host of violations including five repeat offenses, ten serious, and one other than serious safety violatiofatal robot accident violationsn at the Valley facility.

OSHA cited Daeil for repeated failures to provide locks to secure robots from accidental activation during maintenance and servicing, ensuring protective screens and shields were in place during welding, and not ensuring that conveyor line stop buttons were colored red. In 2013, Daeil was cited for similar infractions.

The facility in Valley, AL manufactures struts and some other automobile parts for Hyundai and Kia motor vehicles and employs 115.

The ten serious safety violations relate to a negligence on the part of the employer that includes exposing employees to slip hazards from wet floors, and amputation hazards from unguarded machinery.

An OSHA statement reads: “Management at this facility has adopted a productivity-over-safety mentality and repeatedly claims that it is too expensive to address the safety hazards found in the workplace.”

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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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