ADRIAN, MO– A local Missouri grain facility has been cited for an injury and explosion from failing to correct critical safety procedures, including potential dust ignition sources at their Adrian grain loading facility.
Due to its negligence, the company suffered a grave explosion that seriously injured an employee and destroyed the main elevator at an Adrian grain loading facility. OSHA cited West Central Agri Services for one willful and six serious safety violations totaling $215,525 in OSHA fines.
The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined the explosion could have been avoided if the company set up bucket elevators with monitoring devices that notify workers when a belt is slipping and potentially causing friction – this can ignite grain dust.
Within grain handling facilities, OSHA standards require a storage capacity of over one million bushels, and the company had not updated its dust collection system since its installation in 1974. MFA Enterprises failed to meet safety standards.
The company also did not repair an overhead trolly system used for connecting fall protection devices. The trolly system was out of service at the time of its investigation and noted violations, including a lack of preventive maintenance and a failure to designate hazardous areas existed. The company workers were exposed to fall hazards when walking atop the railcars to open and close the hatches without fall protection which is inconsistent with fall protection training and safety measures.
MFA Enterprises Inc. is one of the region’s oldest agricultural cooperatives and brings together 45,000 farmers in Missouri and adjacent states. Together with working with OSHA’s Grain-Handling Safety Standard focuses on the grain and feed industry’s six significant hazards: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, “struck by,” combustible dust explosions, and electrocution hazard.
“West Central Agri Services failed to follow industry standards and create company policies for safe grain handling, and needlessly put their workers in danger,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille in Kansas City, Missouri. “Grain handling hazards can be avoided by using well-known safety measures that are proven to help prevent workers from being injured or killed.”
PEWAUKEE, WI – A water facility has been cited for a fall injury in the Milwaukee area. A worker was injured in 2020. A guardrail was loosened. The worker then fell and struck his head on a support beam. The accident occurred in a nearly 30-foot deep water test pit.
The water facility cited for the fall injury is Xylem Inc. In OSHA’s press release they explain the company is being cited for nine violations. Eight of the violations are serious, and one willful. The penalties for these violations total $234,054. Over half that amount is due to the willful violation. That violation is for failure to provide fall protection.
Most the remainder of the penalties are made up by confined space safety violations. Xylem is being cited as failing to follow permit-required procedures before entering the water test pits.
The OSHA Area Director stated, “This worker’s injury could have been prevented if appropriate fall protection was provided.”
Xylem Inc. is a water company specializing in wastewater and energy. Xylem employs over 1,600 workers in the US. 57 of these are at their Pewaukee water facility that is cited for the fall injury.
The company has 15 business days from receipt to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
JACKSON, AL – A Spice importer has been cited by OSHA. iSpice is a global spice importer located in Jackson, Alabama. OSHA reported on April 23rd that they are citing the company $121,511 in penalties.
The workers were found to be exposed to amputations, struck-by, crushed-by and electrical hazards. OSHA found iSpice allowed workers to clean the plant’s mixing machines without employing lockout tagout. They employer also failed to implement energy control procedures, train workers on lockout/tagout, and use machine guarding in regards to a rotating portion of the mixer.
Other hazards included allowing workers to use industrial trucks with a damage seatbelt; failing to ensure drivers were competent to operate the equipment; exposing them to electrical hazards by allowing boxes and outlets that were uncovered or lacked faceplates to be used; and a fan with a splice in the cord to be used.
In their press release, OSHA quoted Area Director Jose Gonzalez, “This employer put their employees at serious risk needlessly by failing to provide training and implement well-known protections. These protections are not optional, they are every workers right.”
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.
Martin Technical provides Lockout Tagout services and training to help companies avoid citations such as these and the accidents they can cause.
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.
Commerce, GA- A construction worker at the SK Battery plant in Jackson County, Georgia was declared dead after he sustained injuries from a three story fall.
The accident itself took place November 4, 2020 at the plant’s Formation Building. Reportedly the worker fell through a hole in an air vent 46 feet above the ground, later landing on top of a female worker standing below who also sustained injuries.
Jackson County deputy coroner, Jeff Rogers, said the 34-year-old Augusta man suffered brain injuries and was kept on life support until this weekend. The female worker remains in critical condition but is ultimately expected to survive.
Some workers have told reporters at FOX 5 they worry sub-contractors are sacrificing safety for speed. “You take chances in our trade and you wind up dead,” warned Randy Gregory when FOX 5 Atlanta talked to him in September.
This month’s accident follows other recent injuries at the site. Recently, one worker was hospitalized after he fell through a ceiling, while another allegedly fell through a roof. Fall Protection Training actively addresses the factors that lead to such incidents like these three occurring.
Deputy coroner Rogers said the investigation by OSHA will determine whether the man who died followed safety procedures and at what fault the subcontractors and company will be held at.
“They’re going back out to the site,” explained the deputy coroner. “They’re interviewing witnesses, employees that were there that saw the accident.”
Ipoh, Malaysia – A worker at a Top Glove factory in Ipoh, Malaysia lost his hand in an accident at the end of October.
The incident occurred at the factory at approximately 5:54 AM when the worker’s hand was severed because it was caught in a rotating shaft of a machine. Reportedly, the worker is in stable condition and was initially treated with first aid at the factory then taken to the hospital.
One of the worker’s colleagues told Free Malaysia Today they have been under pressure as a factory to keep up with the demand of supplying medical PPE/gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2018, A Thomson Reuters Foundation exposed and uncovered that some Top Glove workers were working significantly overtime, logging 12-hour shifts and clocking 90 to 120 hours of overtime a month.
This incident in Ipoh occurred towards the end of 13 shift for this particular worker.
Top Glove has said that the company has complied with Malaysian labor laws. Top Glove is the world’s largest manufacturer of gloves, and the news of this machine incident comes weeks just weeks before it has been reported that as many as 17 employees tested positive for Covid-19 since January.
Nampa, ID- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is currently investigating an explosion that occurred last month at Amalgamated Sugar as an open case.
Jessica Anderson, an Amalgamated Sugar spokeswoman, stated that the explosion occurred in the morning in a sugar beet pulp steam dryer. The cause of the explosion remains unidentified, and the damage reported to the factory is regarded as minimal.
Anderson said that none of the injuries were life-threatening; four were treated with first aid, one worker, William McMilian, was taken to a local hospital for injuries and further examination. McMillian suffered second degree burns on his head and on his back, as well as third degree burns on his arm that possibly will require a skin graft.
The employees were wearing appropriate fire protection gear, according to Anderson, though McMillian said that the protective gear did not stop the injuries from occurring.
“We are still investigating the situation, and will release more details as they become available,” Anderson told the Idaho Press.
This is not the first accident occurring at Amalgamated Sugar’s Nampa facility; over the past 35 years, four people have died at the factory. The most recent death happened in 2009 with the death of worker Mario Munoz, 45, whose body was discovered in an auger. The company ultimately paid $18,900 in fines in an OSHA settlement in the case of this 2009 death.
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.
Creve Coeur, MO- OSHA cited a Missouri contractor for violations of trenching and excavation standards after an employee suffered severe injuries when a 20-foot trench collapsed during an excavation at Creve Coeur Sanitary Sewer Trunk.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Unnerstall Contracting Company LLC, based in Pacific, Missouri, for three willful and four serious violations. The penalties amounted to $224,459.
The company was cited for failing to use adequate trench protective systems, permitting employees to ride in the bucket of hydraulic excavators, allowing water to accumulate in the floor of the trench, failing to provide a safe means of egress from the trench, failing to protect workers from struck-by hazards, and failing to place excavated soil piles an adequate distance from trench edges.
OSHA has since placed the company in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the OSHA 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.
These penalties and citations embody a number of safety topics and issues, some of which could be prevented and resolved by proper management training.
Savar Upazila, Bangladesh- In 2013 of this week, the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh collapsed, killing more than 1,100 garment workers, primarily young women, and injuring 2,500 others.
It was the largest industrial accident since 1984, when a gas leak at a factory in Bhopal, India, killed more than 3,500 people and exposed thousands more to toxic fumes.
Images of the Rana Plaza collapse caught the world’s attention and became a catalyst for corporate action on factory safety.
This led over 220 international brands to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a unique binding agreement that set up a monitoring and remediation system in the factories where the mostly European brands sourced from. Other brands, primarily from North America, joined the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
Today, more of those buyers recognize that factory safety is important and that they will be held to account, and are being more transparent about publicly listing where they source their products.
Factories covered by the Accord and the Alliance are safer in part because they underwent a series of inspections, had plans to fix the problems identified, and those that didn’t comply were not allowed to work with member companies.
During those inspections, a litany of problems were identified. These included structural flaws, blocked fire exits, and a lack of fire doors and proper fire alarm and sprinkler systems. About 84 percent of those problems at Accord factories have been addressed, and 90 percent of issues at Alliance factories have been remediated. The Accord terminated 96 of its roughly 800 suppliers, and the Alliance 168 of its roughly 2,000. Millions of workers have been trained on safety procedures and safety committees have been formed at many factories.
We do our part in furthering training, education, and prevention of such tragedies.