Ogden, UT – The American Nutrition plant in northern Utah was the site of an employee death last month when Raul Ortiz was killed in a palletizer accident. Ortiz was crushed after entering an energized palletizer elevator in an attempt to restart packaging line equipment at the pet food manufacturing facility.
Raul Ortiz, a 33-year-old packaging line associate, was fatally injured while operating an automatic bag palletizer. The palletizer machine automatically stacks pet food bags onto a pallet for transport. Ortiz was attempting to restart the palletizer when he was injured on the nightshift and died soon after.
It is believed that Ortiz got into the palletizer elevator while the equipment was still energized, becoming fatally injured as the machinery lifted and crushed him onto the top of the elevator.
An investigation has been launched into the accident and the facility was closed for a portion of time. The American Nutrition facility at Ogden produces extruded, real meat, and baked pet food products.
Salinas, CA – Growers Street Cooling has agreed to pay $310,000 in costs and civil penalties as a result of legal action brought by the Monterey County District Attorney following a 2013 worker fatality at the Salinas-based produce-cooling company.
The death of Jose Juan Serrano (30) prompted the Monterey County District Attorney to file a worker fatality action against Growers Street Cooling. Serrano was working on a large piece of machinery at the Salinas facility in 2013 when a piece of equipment fell on him.
On the day of his death, Serrano was applying plastic covering to pallets of strawberries. Prosecutors said a portion of a pallet broke off and became lodged, causing the machine to stop automatically. However, Serrano failed to press the emergency-shutoff switch before dislodging the wood, which caused a large counterweight to fall and kill him instantly.
Serrano had been working for Growers Street Cooling as a machine operator for only 16 days prior to the accident. According to the DA, Serrano was assigned to operate a TransFresh Tectrol – a piece of heavy machine which wraps pallets of strawberries in plastic wrap and uses hydraulics to squeeze the strawberry containers in on the pallet for easier shipping and handling. As the compression occurs, a large counterweight on the opposite end balances the machine.
The day Serrano was killed, he was operating the Tectrol machine alone. When a wooden pallet became lodged inside the machine and caused it to jam, Serrano climbed behind the machine and used a crowbar to release the wood. Unfortunately, he did not de-energize, turn off the machine, or perform any lock-out/tag-out procedures. As soon as the jam was cleared, the machine reactivated and a large counterweight crushed him against the wall.
California state law and federal safety standards require businesses using any kind of heavy machinery to train workers in proper lockout/tagout procedures to minimize accidental injury and death. Lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, thereby helping to prevent the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities. The Monterey DA found that Growers Street Cooling never trained Serrano on lockout procedures before assigning him to operate the machine which killed him.
Additionally, the DA said that Growers Street Cooling did not maintain a written lockout/tagout policy or training program, and charged that they systematically violated worker safety laws. OSHA CFR 29 1910.147 provides regulations on LOTO (LockOut/TagOut) and 25 states have their own approved lockout tagout and worker safety standards. Often times, the most overlooked aspect of a lockout tagout program is failure to provide equipment specific lockout procedures. A general corporate written policy does not meet the requirements of OSHA.
The Monterey County court-ordered injunction requires Growers Street Cooling to maintain and implement written hazardous energy control procedures for all heavy machinery and maintain and implement written training programs for lockout/tagout procedures. Additionally, the Monterey DA ordered the company to conduct annual inspections of its lockout/tagout procedures and not assign employees to operate any machinery unless they are trained about the machine’s hazards. According to the DA, Growers Street Cooling has recently provided proof that compliance is underway.
Watkins, MN – A maintenance worker was killed last week when he became pinned in the industrial machinery he was working on at International Barrier Technology. Rescue workers freed the man from the equipment and began life saving efforts, but sadly, he died at the scene.
The worker was identified as Todd Shoutz, 51, of Litchfield (MN). Shoutz, a maintenance worker at Barrier Technology, was reportedly working on a machine and became pinned in a piece of equipment. Despite the efforts of emergency teams on the scene, the employee succumbed to his injuries after being freed from the equipment.
The International Barrier Technology plant in MN processes building materials to make them fire-resistant.
Athol, ID – An accident is under investigation at the northern Idaho lumber mill where a worker died in an industrial accident last Friday. A 45-year-old man was fatally injured while trying to clear a broken piece of wood from a machine at the Merritt Brothers Lumber Company. Emergency workers were called to the mill just after 6a.m., and the employee was pronounced dead after being taken to a local hospital.
Lockout Tagout safety procedures are imperative in every industry, but the risk of amputation or death in workplace situations common to lumber and paper mills really highlights the importance of having a comprehensive lockout plan in place to prevent the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment during maintenance activities.
OSHA requires that equipment specific lockout procedures be written for each piece of equipment. These lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, which helps to prevent the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.
Lockout/Tagout procedures should be developed that outline how to isolate any prime movers, and machinery and equipment whose energy sources include mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, electrical, thermal or other. Lockout procedures are to be developed in compliance with OSHA CFR 29 1910.147 and with any state program requirements.
A written lockout/tagout policy (LOTO) is one of 5 key lockout program components required by OSHA and ANSI. The written lockout policy governs the lockout program for the company and provides references for implementing and following a successful safety program. Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) and Hazardous Energy Control refers to the same standard of preventing unexpected start up or movement of equipment. The terms are used interchangably, although “Lockout” is more universally used in the United States as it is the term OSHA uses, while ANSI uses “Control of Hazardous Energy ” in their standard, which is used more often by non-US entities.
Violations of lockout-tagout (hazardous energy controls) are on OSHA’s Top 10 “Most Often Cited Violations” and Top 10 “Most Serious Violations” lists. While many companies have general written policies, they are lacking the equipment specific procedures which provide workers with the specific steps to properly isolate energy sources. Fines for lockout violations are based on each piece of equipment, and can add up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The #1 most cited OSHA regulation for manufacturing is Lockout-Tagout (LOTO). LOTO fines from OSHA increased over 65% from 2010 to 2011.
Approximately 3 million American workers service equipment – these employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. Compliance with the lockout/tagout standard (29 CFR 1910.147) prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation. In a study conducted by the UAW, 20% of the fatalities that occurred among their members between 1973 and 1995 were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control procedures specifically, lockout/tagout procedures.
Call a professional on our Safety and Compliance team today to discuss how Martin Technical can bring our expertise and experience to your facility. We genuinely care about people, and are dedicated to getting every one of your employees safely to the best part of their day: getting home!
Monaca, PA – Workers were killed and injured by toxic fumes while working in a confined space at the Bruce Mansfield Power Station in Beaver County (PA) last week. Two contractors died after inhaling toxic fumes in an underground pit, and three workers above the pit were overcome by toxic gas and hospitalized. If toxic fumes become present in your workplace then you should find a solution to stop workers being killed or injured.
The contractors worked for Enerfab Corp. and were in a ‘confined, well-type’ area. The two workers in the pit, removed an elbow joint in a pipe which released hydrogen sulfide gas into the air in the confined space. 34-year-old Kevin Bachner and 42-year-old John Gorchock, both of Pittsburgh (PA), died.
Many workplaces contain areas that are considered “confined spaces” because while they are not necessarily designed for people, they are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. A confined space also has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is therefore very dangerous in an emergency. Confined spaces require special signage, safety protocols, and equipment.
The Mansfield Power Station, located about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, is FirstEnergy’s largest coal-fired plant and remains operational. 350 people are employed there.
Helena, AL – An employee of ABC Polymer Industries was killed on the job this month. Eva Saenz, 45, was sucked into an industrial machine after getting caught in the roller at the Alabama plastics factory.
According to Shelby County Coroner Lina Evans, it appeared that Saenz “was working next to the rollers and bent down to cut some of the plastic…with a box cutter and actually got pulled up into the rollers.” Upon their arrival, fire medics determined that the victim was deceased and the Shelby County Coroner’s Office was notified. Coroner Evans said Saenz was pronounced dead at the scene from blunt force injuries incurred in the industrial machinery.
The ABC Polymer Industries factory in Helena (AL) makes extruded polypropylene products including, bulk bags, synthetic snow, fibrillated yarns, and specific fibers for concrete. According to their website, ABC Polymer is one of the largest suppliers in North America of flexible intermediate bulk containers and polypropylene concrete fibers.
Frankfort, KY – Two employees of Montaplast were killed in separate incidents last fall while maintaining molding machines at the auto parts manufacturing facility.
Angela Mitchell, 35, and Benjamin Cermak, 23, died days apart, both while performing maintenance on molding machines. Mitchell, was killed after a portion of an overhead crane struck her in the head while she was attempting to change a mold in an injection molding machine. Cermak was electrocuted while troubleshooting an incorrectly wired “pigtail” unit adapter that controlled the hydraulics of an injection molding machine.
Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Office of Occupational Safety and Health (KOSH) has issued Montaplast fines totaling $21,000. “Serious” fines were issued for the plant’s use of swivel hoist rings that were stressed beyond capacity and were found to have not been regularly inspected. These rings failed during the mold change that killed Angela Mitchell.
Additional fines were issued for not using a “lockout-tagout” safety procedure during mold changes. State safety investigators also documented that no personal protective equipment was used during mold changes.
Montaplast makes precision plastic parts and systems for interior and exterior automotive engine components. With 750 employees, Montaplast is Franklin County’s largest private employer.
North Charleston, SC – The KapStone Paper mill was the site of an employee death earlier this week. The local coroner’s office reports that Lawrence Shiner, 60, died as the result of an accident that occurred while he performed maintenance at the facility Sunday night.
One person was killed and another injured while performing maintenance work in an operating area that was offline for repairs. The injured worker was hospitalized, but has since been released.
The accident is being investigated by OSHA.
At Martin Technical, our team of machines safety specialists combines the talents of electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, maintenance professionals and safety professionals from the US and Europe to provide our customers with optimal solutions for machine safety and lockout/tagout.
Our multi-functional teams, view safety not just from an engineering perspective, but also from a production line and maintenance perspective, giving our customers the best combination of safety and efficiency. We recognize that while machines must be safe to use, they must also not hinder production or reduce the capacity of the machine.
Contact a safety professional today to discuss the safety needs of your facility.
Columbus, WI – Proper lockout devices and lockout/tagout training could have prevented the tragic death of a 17-year-old at a WI repair shop. That’s OSHA‘s finding following investigation into an accident at GD Roberts & Co. on June 27, 2016. On that day, Dusty Babcock was pinned beneath a machine that hadn’t properly been de-energized. Babcock died of his injuries six days later.
OSHA has issued 16 serious safety and health violations and one less-serious violation to G.D. Roberts and has proposed penalties of $119,725.
Federal safety inspectors have reported that Babcock was clearing scrap below a loading table for an operating laser-cutter system when the machine lowered, trapping him
beneath it. OSHA found that GD Roberts failed to ensure procedures were followed that lock out the machine to prevent unintentional movement. GD Roberts Co. also failed to train its employees properly in lockout/tagout safety procedures.
Multiple safety violations were found at the facility, including the failure to conduct periodic inspections of machine safety procedures and the failure to affix lockout devices to isolate energy prior to allowing employees to enter machine-hazard areas.
OSHA requires equipment-specific lockout procedures be written and visible for each piece of equipment. These lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, helping to prevent the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities. Lockout/Tagout procedure include the isolation of any prime movers, machinery and equipment from mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, electrical, thermal or other energy sources.
Millions of American workers service equipment on a daily basis and these employeesface the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. Compliance with state and federal lockout/tagout standards prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year.
Rockford, IL – Willful violation of lockout/tagout and confined space protections at Behr Iron & Steel resulted in an employee’s death at the recycling company’s South Beloit facility in 2014. This week, Behr representatives were in federal court where they plead guilty to willful violation of US safety standards.
The sentencing date is set for July of this year. Behr Iron & Steel faces a maximum sentence of 5 years’ probation and a maximum fine of $500,000. Additionally, it must pay restitution to the victim in an amount to be determined by the court.
The US Department of Justice charged that the metal scrap processing plant failed to provide lockout and tagout protection and confined space protection as required by OSHA regulations for employees tasked with cleaning a metal shredder discharge pit.
Behr admitted these violations caused the death of employee Alfredo Arrendondo, 39. Arrendondo died after his arm was caught in a moving, unguarded conveyor belt at the facility on March 10, 2014.
The US Attorney’s Office found that shredded metals at the Behr facility fell onto a conveyor belt located underground in a discharge pit approximately 6 feet long and 6 feet wide. Some metals fell off the belt into the pit, and one or two employees were sent down to clean it out daily by shoveling the metals from the floor onto a moving conveyor belt. It was in this area that Arrendondo’s arm was caught and he was killed by the unguarded live machinery.
In the plea agreement, Behr admitted that there was no lock or operable emergency shut off switch in the discharge pit, and the conveyor belt did not have guards to protect employees. Further, the company admitted that employees in the pit were not adequately trained to use the shredder or the conveyor belt, and there were not confined space protections for employees entering the pit.
In accordance with the plea agreement, Behr Iron & Steel must adopt procedures that ensure dangerous machines are properly shut off during maintenance and servicing work, including placing a lock on the power source and a tag on the lock warning that the machine cannot be operated. Additionally, OSHA regulations require safety precautions for workers in confined spaces.
Based in Rockford (IL), Behr Iron & Steel is a subsidiary of Joseph Behr and Sons Inc., a recycling company founded in 1906. the company employs about 450 people at 14 facilities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.