Hugo, OK – A series of confined space violations have resulted in two deaths, according to an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This occurred in Hugo, Oklahoma, on August 12th, 2020. As reported in an OSHA press release, one employee entered a natural gasoline rail car to clean the space. When the employee became unresponsive, a second attempted to rescue the first. This employee became unresponsive as well. Later, both workers were pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The rail company involved is Trinity Rail and Maintenance Service Inc. Trinity Rail is one of the largest rail car service providers in the United States. They are facing $419,347 in proposed penalties. OSHA has cited them for 11 serious violations and two willful violations due to the accident.
Among the confined space violations were, “…that the company failed to require a permit to allow entry into the rail car, ventilate the space, monitor hazards inside a confined space and complete entry permits for work inside a confined space…”
As OSHA points out in their press release, confined space work is dangerous. Following standards is the difference between making it home safe at the end of the day, or not. Martin Technical encourages all employers to train their employees in confined space safety. We also encourage training in any standards relevant to your industry. Safety training for your employees helps to avoid accidents such as these.
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.
OSHA has cited $3.4 million for coronavirus-related violations since the start of the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration stated last Friday. These 3.4 million in fines arise from 255 inspections conducted by OSHA. Senior living providers are among these citations.
Operators in these facilities have been fined for failing to implement written respiratory protection programs; failing to provide a medical evaluation, respirator fit test and training on the proper use of a respirator and personal protective equipment; and failing to report an injury, illness or fatality.
The retirement community, Friendship Senior Options, out of Schaumburg, IL, was fined $13,494 for three “serious” violations related to respiratory policies and employee use of respirators.
A spokeswoman for Friendship Senior Options said the provider has “cooperated fully” with OSHA during the investigation.
Another senior living facility, in Arlington, TX was fined. OSHA fined Meadowbrook Memory Care $1,928 for allegedly not keeping records of fatalities, injuries, and illnesses.
These two violations were among 11 found during inspections between Nov. 20 and 26, totaling $101,207 in fines.
Martin Technical provides COVID-19 solutions and learning for all types of plants and facilities.
New Jersey, USA- Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited 37 establishments for violations, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $484,069.
The establishments in New Jersey were fined more than any other state, totaling $252,150. Fourteen health care institutions in the state have been cited for failing to provide enough equipment and other protections to health care workers. Among these violations were failure to provide PPE, and failure to fit workers so that their masks had a tight seal that prevented virus particles from entering, and to have a written “respiratory protection program.”
These failures resulted in workers falling sick and in some cases dying of COVID-19, in a range of establishments such as hospitals, nursing homes and an ambulance company. According to obituaries, more than 100 health care workers in New Jersey have died from COVID-19 since March.
Surrounding the coronavirus threat, it has been stated that over 4,000 workers across the United States have submitted complaints to OSHA.
Martin Technical sells medical PPE products to help protect workers, students, and community members alike.
San Francisco, CA- In the Bay Area, Cal/OSHA has cited six employers for failing to adequately protect employees from COVID-19 exposure.
Cal/OSHA conducted nearly 8,000 compliance checks in businesses across the state of California in July to identify issues with protecting employees from the coronavirus.
Cal/OSHA recently cited the following employers: Uni-Kool Partners, in Salinas; Sutter Bay Medical Foundation, in Berkeley; Serve Max Farm Labor, in Vacaville; Ruiz Farm Labor, in Dixon; Michel Labor Services Inc. in Dixon; and M and J Williams Inc. in Santa Clara.
These six are included among eleven employers cited statewide in California within the industries of food processing, meatpacking, health care, agriculture and retail.
These citations ranged from penalties of about $2,000 to a penalty of more than $50,000, which was cited for a food processing company in Monterey Park.
“These are industries where workers have been disproportionately affected, and these citations are the first of many to be issued in the coming weeks and months,” Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker was quoted as saying.
In general, workers in warehouses, factories, supermarkets, and others of the industries listed above are considered essential and have had outbreaks of COVID-19 in different establishments across the country.
Cleveland, OH- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $1.57 million in fines against an Ohio company after an accident that claimed the lives of two workers in February 2020. These two deaths prompted an on-site inspection on behalf of OSHA, and a letter from OSHA outlining the violations and fines was released August 2020.
The company in question is Great Lakes Tank and Vessel L.L.C., which specializes in cleaning large storage tanks such as chemical and gas. The proposed charges are the 5th-highest the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued since January of 2015.
With such a sum of over $1.5 million, the breakdown of individual charges and citations proposed by OSHA and served to the company can be found here. Among the many fines, one included was a fine for not evaluating the effectiveness of respirators after an Tattempt had been made to repair them using tape following chemical exposure.
Martin Technical reiterates our commitment to safety, education, and training that prevents these tragedies in the workplace.
Fargo, ND – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has begun investigating Red River Commodities, a Fargo agricultural company, after an employee suffered an injury that resulted in losing his leg.
The worker involved in this incident was Aaron Maves, 31, who had to wait nearly 40 minutes in pain while emergency responders worked to free him.
“I’m really lucky…grain bin auger accidents have a really low survival rate,” Maves said, as reported by Valley News Live.
Maves leg was caught when he sweeping around the auger of a grain bin. He said his colleague’s quick thinking saved his life. Though unexpected accidents happen, grain bin related injuries and death are more preventable with proper training.
Since January 2018, Red River Commodities has roughly paid $25,700 in fines towards OSHA for other incidents, including one incident where an employee unfortunately was killed after being struck by a forklift while they were sweeping. OSHA cited Red River Commodities for at least eight violations committed in 2018.
Las Vegas, NV- Mortenson-McCarthy, a joint venture between M.A. Mortenson Co. and McCarthy Building Cos. is building the 65,000-seat stadium to host games of the Raiders and University of Nevada Las Vegas football teams, with games beginning this August.
The joint venture in charge of construction at the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium is facing a fine for a “serious” but unnamed violation by Nevada regulators, levied on June 23rd, 2020.
The amount of the fine, $13,494, is the maximum penalty for a serious OSHA violation. Repeat violators can face a fine of $134,937 for each violation.
A report from OSHA provided details of the violation, detailing two incidents regarding lack of social distancing amid strict coronavirus protocols put in place by the state of Nevada. The report included 35 photos capturing instances in which people were working in close proximity to each other. There were reported to be some 2,600 workers on the job.
On April 2nd, OSHA noted employees at the site were not abiding by the 6-feet minimum social distancing requirement, noting that two 65-foot boom lifts were operating, each of which had three men per basket in violation of the two-person-per-basket regulation.
Additionally, 30 employees were seen working in very close proximity doing concrete-related work, possibly laying rebar, in one corner of the work site. Mortenson-McCarthy has since reported dozens of stadium workers have been infected with COVID-19.
Does this OSHA fine come as a shock or surprise to you or your company? What is your group of workers doing to stay safe and healthy during COVID-19? Martin Technical provides safe, reliable, and approved products sourced by our PPE experts.
Selma, AL- Miller & Co. Inc. is facing $218,192 in OSHA penalties for failing to protect their employees from struck-by hazards and improper machine guarding after a worker was injured, resulting in their death.
Founded in 1923, Miller & Co. Inc. is an Alabama-based hardwood business producing lumber and flooring. A piece of wood fatally struck a worker who was attempting to clear a jammed machine, which then prompted an investigation.
OSHA cited Miller & Co. Inc. for failing to lockout equipment prior to beginning maintenance, ensuring machines were properly guarded and training employees on lockout/tagout procedures. Specifically, OSHA cited Miller & Co. Inc. with the following two citations: Willful – 29 CFR 1910.147 (c)(4)(i) and Serious – 29 CFR 1910.147 (c)(7)(i).
Jose Gonzalez, Mobile, Ala. area director, said in a statement, “Employers are required to identify safety hazards, implement safety measures and train workers on the proper use of safety equipment. Tragedies such as this can be prevented if employers comply with workplace standards, as required by law.”
Martin Technical extends our sympathy towards the family and circle of the worker that lost his life to this accident. Reflecting on the statement above, tragedies can and should be prevented- which is why our mission to improve workforce safety is driven by people who care about the greater good.