Columbus, OH – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seeks a $709K fine from a paint manufacturer connected with a fatal April 8 fire and explosion. The incident occurred in Columbus’s Yenkin-Majestic Paint and OPC Polymers Corporation. The company manufactures and markets industrial coatings that include acrylics, alkyds, coil and powder coatings, epoxies, primers, and urethanes. The tragedy linked to eight hospitalizations and one fatality. Property damage alone was more than $1 million. A building in the OPC Polymer unit collapsed as a result of the incident. The blast shook neighboring buildings, and at least one nearby business sustained damage.
The tragedy could have been prevented
“Yenkin-Majestic Paint Corp. could have prevented this tragedy if they had followed industry standards and removed a compromised kettle from service,” said Acting OSHA Regional Administrator William Donovan in Chicago. “Knowing that this company altered equipment, failed to use a qualified fabricator, and returned equipment to service knowing that it did not meet safety standards is unacceptable,” Donovan continued. In December 2020, the manufacturer altered the kettle reactor vessel and the manway opening but did not ensure the vessel maintained its pressure-containing ability. On January 3, following the alteration, the newly installed manway failed. The company made additional alterations to the vessel when installing a new gasket. It again failed to adhere to OSHA’s PSM, pressure vessel inspection procedures, and the American Petroleum Institute’s pressure vessel inspection code.
OSHA’s investigationdetermined the kettle reactor vessel released a flammable vapor cloud when its manway cover and gasket failed. The vapor flowed throughout the plant, ignited, and caused the initial explosion.
The citations and penalties
OSHA cited the Ohio paint and resins manufacturer with two willful and 33 serious safety violations. The violations including of the process safety management (PSM) and hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER) standards. OSHA also cited the employer for lack of employee safety training and personal protective equipment (PPE). The agency proposed penalties totaling $709,960 and placed Yenkin-Majestic in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). Willful violations will be cited when an employer knowingly disregards or acts indifferently for safety and health laws and regulations. Employers included in the SVEP are subject to mandatory follow-up inspections and under pressure to abide by cited safety hazards.
The U.S.Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) also dispatched investigators to the Columbus facility following the incident. The CSB is an independent federal agency that investigates industrial chemical accidents. CSB investigations can take several months and result in a report containing recommendations for government agencies, companies, trade associations, labor unions, and other groups.
Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by including regular workplace safety training.
Waterville, Maine – OSHA has cited a Maine auto body plant for safety violations. These violations total nearly $400k. They are the direct result of an inspection opened Oct. 1st 2020 in response to a complaint.
Shyft Group Duramag LLC, formerly known as F3 MFG Inc., faces $393,992 in proposed fines. These fines are due to not addressing hazards that placed employees at risk, OSHA cited two willful and 10 serious violations.
OSHA Area Director David McGuan in Augusta, Maine, stated “Management’s knowledge of these hazards and their failure to correct them led us to cite these conditions as willful violations.”
As stated in OSHA’s Press Release: OSHA also cited the Maine auto body plant for violations regarding failure to:
Guard employees against struck-by and crushing hazards from homemade attachments used on auto lifts and provide adequate training to employees.
Guard machinery to prevent employees from coming in contact with machines’ operating parts.
Conduct a hazard assessment to determine what personal protective equipment is required for employees and to select appropriate protective equipment for employees.
Provide appropriate protective goggles for workers and other persons near a welding area that lacked noncombustible or flameproof screens or shields.
Establish and implement a respiratory protection program, medically evaluate employees’ ability to wear respirators, fit-test employees before using respirators, train employees on respirators and adequately maintain and store respirators.
Securely anchor machines to prevent them from moving.
Refrain from using flexible cords and/or cables as a substitute for fixed electrical wiring and adequately guard electrical openings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wichita, KS – Air Sampling and PPE violations found at Wichita’s largest employer have generated fines of close to $200,000 for Spirit Aerosystems. OSHA officials allege that the Kansas aircraft manufacturer exposed employees to carcinogenic hazards, failed to conduct periodic air monitoring, and failed to ensure employees were wearing effective equipment that would have protected them from dangerous exposure.
Spirit Aerosystems Inc faces penalties of $193,218 for six violations: two repeated and four serious, including allegations that Spirit failed to monitor levels of the carcinogenic substance after a prior documented violation. OSHA claims that painters at the manufacturing facility were exposed to up to 44 times the permissible exposure level of airborne chromium concentration.
Federal workplace safety inspectors documented failures to implement “feasible engineering controls” which would limit Spirit Aerosystem workers’ exposure to carcinogenic hexavalent chromium during aircraft painting and sanding. Additionally, OSHA found a lack of periodic monitoring or air sampling to detect exposure and respiratory hazards.
Spirit Aerosystems is also alleged to have failed to establish protocols to ensure that employees removed contaminated personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing before exiting affected work areas and that they failed to ensure that worker’s respirators fit properly. OSHA claims that some workers’ facial hair prevented their respirators from making a safe and effective seal.
By failing to prevent exposure to hexavalent chromium during aircraft painting and sanding, OSHA determined that Spirit Aerosystems allowed the accumulation of this carcinogen on surfaces throughout the facility. According to OSHA’s Wichita-Area Acting Office Director, “Inhaling excessive levels of hexavalent chromium can cause asthma, and damage to the kidneys, liver, and respiratory system…It is important for employers to take the appropriate steps necessary to prevent excessive exposure.”
According to OSHA, hexavalent chromium compounds are used as pigments or anti-corrosive agent in paints and other products. Also, they can be used to electroplate chromium onto metal parts. Employees can be exposed to this carcinogen during hot work activities like welding stainless steel or other alloy steels that contain chromium.
In response to these allegations, Spirit made a statement that the company “disputes the accuracy of some of OSHA’s findings,” and will meet with OSHA to discuss the citations and possibility of reduction in the associated penalties.
Downingtown, PA – OSHA has fined US Environmental Inc more than $333,000 for willful violations of basic worker protections. Employees were found to be exposed to confined space and fall hazards. Federal workplace safety violations included one “other than serious” violations, four “willful” violations, and seven “serious violations.”
OSHA first investigated US Environmental Inc in the spring of 2017 and found that the company’s Downingtown (PA) facility did not follow basic safety protocol on several counts, including failure to implement rescue procedures for employees in confined spaces; provide protective equipment (PPE) when working in confined spaces; and provide employees with fall protection training and equipment.
Willful violations are noted as those in which OSHA determines that the employer either knowingly failed to comply, purposefully disregarded, or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.
While confined spaces are not necessarily designed for people, they are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. A confined space has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy. Confined spaces may include tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ducts and pipelines, among others.
US Environmental Inc is an industrial energy services corporation serving multiple secotrs including petroleum, natural gas, petro-chemical, power, chemical, manufacturing and engineering. As stated by the OSHA Area Office Director, “It is fortunate that workers did not suffer serious injuries or worse” at this location.
Superior, WI – A boilermaker employed at the Fraser Shipyards on Lake Superior has died two months after suffering severe burns on the job. Joseph Burch worked at the Fraser Shipyards for 22 years and was injured in February. Burch never recovered and lost his life due to the burns he sustained. The incident that has generated new citations from federal OSHA regulators for faulty personal protective equipment.
OSHA has issued two citations for serious violations in allegedly allowing holes and frayed fabric in protective clothing worn while performing hot work, and allegedly allowing employees to work without wearing fire retardant jackets and coveralls while using a hand-held torch. Fraser Shipyards faces $12,548 in potential fines.
OSHA says employees were not adequately protected from molten metal, sparks, fire or flame. The agency says at least one of the violations was corrected during their inspection.
New Philadelphia, OH – Lauren Manufacturing has been placed on OSHA‘S Severe Violators Enforcement Program and faces proposed penalties of $274,934 after an investigation of a second debilitating injury suffered by an employee at the Ohio plastics manufacturer in less than 18 months.
In June 2016, a pneumatic bench cutter severed a 27-year-old employee’s finger as she cut rubber material. OSHA found Lauren Mfg. did not adjust the machine’s light curtains — which serve as safeguards — properly to prevent the worker’s hand from coming into contact with the machine’s operating parts.
OSHA had previously cited Lauren for lack of machine safety procedures after a worker’s hand was crushed in a hydraulic mold press in January 2015.
In this most recent investigation, OSHA inspectors identified four repeated, six serious and three other-than-serious safety violations of machine safety procedures including: Allowing temporary workers to operate machinery without training on proper procedures to isolate energy to operating parts during service and maintenance, (a process known as lockout/tagout); failure to develop and implement adequate lockout/tagout procedures and periodically inspect such procedures; inadequate footwear and PPE; and exposing workers to live electrical contacts.
Lauren Mfg. makes molded and extruded polymer solutions and engineered products from organic, silicone, thermoplastics and other specialty polymers.