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.
DAYTON, Ohio – Fuyao Glass America, the world’s largest auto glass manufacturer, has been fined $226,937 in 2016 by the Department of Labor and OSHA.
The Department of Labor states workers began making complaints of unsafe working conditions soon after the plant opened in October 2015 which lead to eight separate federal investigations.
Several violations were found in these inspections including machine safety problems that “expose workers to amputation and other serious injuries, as well as a lack of personal protective equipment, electrical hazards, failing to train workers about hazardous chemicals in use and unmarked exits.”
The Department of Labor says Fuyao has opposed all the OSHA violations issued this year.
Fuyao Glass America has been investigated eight times this year according to Department of Labor records, and found to have 24 safety violations. More details about these complaints and fines can be found on the Department of Labor website.
Fuyao Glass America was contacted about the Department of Labor release and responded with:
“Fuyao remains committed to total employee health and safety. Since beginning operations, Fuyao has spent over three million dollars on protective equipment, training, machine guarding, and other safety equipment.” Fuyao confirmed they challenged the citations and proposed fines, they also said they, “look forward to continuing to work with OSHA as well as on other safety initiatives in our facility.”
Fuyao said they believe the most recent citations describe conditions that do not violate OSHA standards, and plan to “continue aggressively moving forward with our corrective actions as we have since starting operations.”
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.
Green Bay, WI – Services Plus, Inc., of Green Bay, WI, has been cited for six OSHA violations and fines of more than $83,000. These citations include one “willful” five “serious” violations.
OSHA investigators claim that Green Bay packaging manufacturer failed to install guards and use recommended safety procedures to protect workers from moving parts of machinery. These procedures are known as Lockout/Tagout. Amputations and other serious injuries can result from failure to implement proper Lockout/Tagout procedures in a facility.
In addition, OSHA inspectors report that Services Plus did not assess the workplace to determine if personal protective equipment should be provided; did not require employees to use appropriate equipment to protect hands against burns; did not install electrical equipment properly; and improperly used flexible electrical cords.
Calhoun, GA – Apache Mills, Inc. was cited for nine safety violations on October 1, 2015. OSHA investigators audited the Calhoun, GA floor mat manufacturing facility following report of an employee injury. OSHA uncovered hazards and failures in electrical safety, machine safety, and worker’s exposure to electric shock and arc flash. Proposed penalties total $51,000.
OSHA received a report that a 42-year old maintenance technician at Apache Mills was hospitalized earlier this year after his left hand was injected with fluid from a leaking hydraulic line on a press. The employee was performing maintenance on the machine when the accident occurred. The machine was not in a zero-energy state. Lockout/tagout procedures should have been in place to prevent the accidental start-up or movement of machinery during maintenance.
Additional OSHA citations were issued for inadequate worker training on safe electrical practices, not providing personal protective equipment to safeguard workers from electrical arc or flash burns, and not ensuring proper guarding of machinery.
New Britain, CT – OSHA has cited 24 safety violations at Metallurgical Processing, Inc. and the company faces $77,000 in proposed fines as a result. OSHA’s Hartford (CT) Area Office initiated an investigation in January after employees complained about hazardous conditions at the site. Metallurgical Processing Inc. conducts heat treatments on metal components.
The 24 violations include employees being exposed to assorted fire, explosion, chemical and mechanical risks. Infractions included failing to supply protective garments and tools to employees who were performing live electrical work, failing to inspect a pipe system that carries anhydrous ammonia, not installing a pressure relief valve on a nitrogen tank and improper storage of chemicals and flammable materials.
According to OSHA, the firm also didn’t have adequate regulations in place for employees who work in confined spaces or sufficient safeguards for workers who have to use respirators.