Mount Laurel, NJ – Lockout/tagout training and machine guards could have saved the life of 23-year-old Dakota LaBrecque. That’s the finding of federal workplace safety inspectors following a 2017 worker fatality at Springfield Power LLC’s Springfield (NH) biomass plant.
EWP Renewable (doing business as Springfield Power LLC) faces $125,460 in fines following the employee fatality. OSHA has cited EWP Renewable Corp. for 25 safety violations after 23-year-old employee Dakota LaBrecque was pulled into a conveyor and died from his injuries.
In investigating the facility after the worker’s death, federal workplace safety inspectors found that the conveyor and other machinery lacked required safety guarding, and employees were not trained in lockout/tagout procedures to prevent equipment from unintentionally starting.
Springfield Power was also cited for fall hazards; electric shock and arc flash hazards; and a lack of adequate emergency evacuation, fire prevention, and hazardous energy control programs.
Rosemarie Cole, OSHA’s New Hampshire area director, stated that EWP Renewable’s “failure to protect employees resulted in a tragedy that could have been prevented if training was provided and machinery was appropriately guarded.”
OSHA requires equipment specific lockout procedures for each piece of equipment. These lockout/tagout 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. Martin Technical’s Rapid LOTO lockout procedure development program is designed to provide high quality procedures that are easy to follow.
Additionally, OSHA requires that employees be trained on lockout policies and procedures. Proper training ensures that the purpose and function of the lockout/tagout or energy control program are understood by employees and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls are acquired by the workforce.
Martin Technical is a leading provider of practical safety and efficiency services that make industrial plants and facilities better, safer and more efficient. Our experts can help simplify the complex by applying real-world solutions for Lockout Tagout, Arc Flash, Electrical Safety, Risk Assessments, Training, Machine Safety & Safety Consulting Services. Contact a member of our professional safety services team today.
Helena, AL – OSHA has proposed fines of $195,144 against ABC Polymer Industries LLC after an employee suffered fatal injuries when she was pulled into a plastics recycling machine at the Alabama facility in 2017. OSHA has determined that ABC Polymer’s machine guarding failure was “willful” and resulted in what they’ve called a “preventable tragedy.”
Following their investigation, OSHA levied one willful citation against ABC Polymers for failing to provide machine guards which protect employees from hazards like getting caught in machinery and amputation dangers. Of the 16 violations found at the AL facility, the willful machine guarding failure amounts to the largest portion of the proposed fine total. OSHA’s Birmingham Area Office issued a statement: “This company’s failure to install machine guarding equipment has resulted in a preventable tragedy.”
ABC Polymer Industries was also cited for repeat, serious, and other-than-serious violations, including failing to evaluate all powered industrial trucks every three years, not having machine specific lockout tagout procedures, and failing to install a rail system on both sides of an open platform.
According to the local Coroner’s office, the employee, Eva Saenz (age 45), was working next to rollers and bent over to cut a piece of plastic when she got pulled up into the rollers and equipment. She was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders.
ABC Polymer Industries makes polypropylene bulk storage bags and flexible containers for industrial markets. They are one of the largest suppliers of flexible intermediate bulk containers in North America as well as a manufacturer of polypropylene concrete fibers, and extruded PP products, including microsynthetic and macrosynthetic concrete fibers.
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.
Delair, NJ – Aluminum Shapes LLC faces proposed federal safety fines of $1.9 million following workplace accidents that hospitalized two employees at its NJ plant. The aluminum parts manufacturer stands accused of 51 safety and health violations, but contends that the new OSHA fee structure “results in higher fine amounts and unfair media attention, even as conditions improve.”
OSHA fines and penalties increased 78% in the fall of 2016 after legislation took effect which required federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation. The last update to OSHA’s penalty/fine structure occurred in 1990, so this recent jump reflects 26 years without increase or update.
Two serious injuries and hospitalizations at Aluminum Shapes were brought to OSHA’s attention during an inspection that began in January 2017. In separate incidents, an employee was hospitalized for chemical burns and another worker’s pelvis was broken by unguarded moving parts of a metal fabrication machine.
Additionally, OSHA cited Aluminum Shapes for repeat violations which included electrical hazards. Fines for repeat violations have increased from $70,000 per infraction to $124,709 per under the new fine structure.
While Aluminum Shapes maintains that it takes workplace safety “extremely seriously” and noted an ongoing effort to upgrade protections for its employees, OSHA reports that the company has been assessed more than $500,000 in penalties for 60 violations since 2011.
Aluminum Shapes LLC supplies construction firms, automakers, and other industries, and employs about 400.
Oregon, OH – Proper machine guarding and employee training could have prevented an amputation at the Autoneum North America plant just across the river from Toledo, OH. The auto parts maker is being fined $570,000 after a worker lost his right hand and part of his arm in an industrial accident.
Federal investigators report that a 46-year-old man was feeding scrap material into an unguarded shredding machine in December when he was hurt. OSHA says the accident was preventable and therefore cited the Autoneum plant for three of its highest safety violations. Federal officials cited the company for lacking proper protective guards and failing to train workers on proper operating procedures.
Autoneum North America makes automotive insulation at the factory in Oregon, OH
Center, TX – OSHA has issued fines of more than $263,000 to Tyson Foods after an unguarded conveyor belt in Tyson’s Center (TX) facility caught a worker’s finger and dragged his hand into a deboning machine. The employee’s finger was amputated by the machine when he was trying to remove chicken parts jammed in its conveyor belt.
In their investigation, OSHA found 15 serious workplace safety violations and two repeated violations at the Center plant of the nation’s largest poultry processor, Tyson Foods. Violations found included amputation hazards, worker exposure to high levels of gases and acids, lack of employee PPE, and no safety guards on machine parts and catwalks.