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.
Bruce Township, MI- A plant worker died last Tuesday at a factory after a 25,000-pound manufacturing mold fell on top of him. The factory, about 40 miles north of Detroit, is part of Romeo Rim Inc, which creates custom injection molding services, and had recently celebrated a year without any safety incident.
Deputies and the Bruce Township Fire Department found the man, identified as 42-year-old Davi Spano, underneath the equipment that had fallen from one of the interior plant walls.
“At this time, this incident appears to be a tragic accident,” the sheriff’s office was quoted as saying. The accident was responded to just before 10am, and no other workers were reported to be injured.
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) was contacted following the incident, authorities said. Martin Technical reiterates the need for on-site training and courses to prevent such incidents from occurring.
Nampa, ID- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is currently investigating an explosion that occurred last month at Amalgamated Sugar as an open case.
Jessica Anderson, an Amalgamated Sugar spokeswoman, stated that the explosion occurred in the morning in a sugar beet pulp steam dryer. The cause of the explosion remains unidentified, and the damage reported to the factory is regarded as minimal.
Anderson said that none of the injuries were life-threatening; four were treated with first aid, one worker, William McMilian, was taken to a local hospital for injuries and further examination. McMillian suffered second degree burns on his head and on his back, as well as third degree burns on his arm that possibly will require a skin graft.
The employees were wearing appropriate fire protection gear, according to Anderson, though McMillian said that the protective gear did not stop the injuries from occurring.
“We are still investigating the situation, and will release more details as they become available,” Anderson told the Idaho Press.
This is not the first accident occurring at Amalgamated Sugar’s Nampa facility; over the past 35 years, four people have died at the factory. The most recent death happened in 2009 with the death of worker Mario Munoz, 45, whose body was discovered in an auger. The company ultimately paid $18,900 in fines in an OSHA settlement in the case of this 2009 death.
Orlando, FL- A worker fell to his death at the Orlando StarFlyer while working on the attraction. The worker, identified as 21-year-old Jacob David Kaminsky, was said to have been climbing the tower while conducting a routine safety check before he fell.
The ride stands 450 feet tall and was permitted in 2018, advertised as the world’s tallest swing ride.
“They were doing their daily safety inspection which is conducted every day. That’s when the accident occurred,” said Jacob Stine, the marketing manager for the attraction. “We have an ongoing investigation right now to determine exactly what happened.”
OSHA will also be beginning their investigation into this situation. Stine noted that there are “quite a few redundancies” in their safety procedures and that they’re very thorough.
According to The Florida Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fair Rides Inspections, there hadn’t been any recorded incidents or violations with the Starflyer since it was permitted before this death.
Martin Technical provides safety training taught by trade experienced subject matter experts, as well as safety management software solutions accounting for topics such as maintenance and inspections.
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.
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.
Creve Coeur, MO- OSHA cited a Missouri contractor for violations of trenching and excavation standards after an employee suffered severe injuries when a 20-foot trench collapsed during an excavation at Creve Coeur Sanitary Sewer Trunk.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Unnerstall Contracting Company LLC, based in Pacific, Missouri, for three willful and four serious violations. The penalties amounted to $224,459.
The company was cited for failing to use adequate trench protective systems, permitting employees to ride in the bucket of hydraulic excavators, allowing water to accumulate in the floor of the trench, failing to provide a safe means of egress from the trench, failing to protect workers from struck-by hazards, and failing to place excavated soil piles an adequate distance from trench edges.
OSHA has since placed the company in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the OSHA citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
These penalties and citations embody a number of safety topics and issues, some of which could be prevented and resolved by proper management training.