Seaford, DE – Seaford Ice Inc faces $77,000 in fines after a second worker in three years lost limbs to the same machine. Seaford Ice Inc. was issued nine safety violations on Nov. 18 stemming from the most recent incident.
The alleged safety violations were recorded during repeat inspections of the company’s plant after the May 28 incident in which 20-year-old Jalen Benson of Seaford was breaking ice when he fell into an unguarded screw conveyor. Benson initially was flown to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital before being taken to Christiana Hospital, where his legs reportedly were removed.
The same screw conveyor that injured Benson also amputated another worker’s foot in June 2012, OSHA spokeswoman Leni Fortson said. At that time, OSHA inspectors found a safety guard meant to protect workers from injury had been improperly installed, creating a gap large enough for the worker to fall into the machine.
Seaford Ice was issued five safety violations after that incident and required to pay $4,480 in fines as part of a settlement agreement. Once the deal was reached, OSHA inspectors verified that the safety guard on the screw conveyor had been adjusted to properly protect workers. However, after Benson lost his legs in May, inspectors found the machine’s safety guard had been removed entirely. OSHA officials classify this as a “willful” disregard of employee safety.
In addition to violations related to the screw conveyor, OSHA inspectors also cited Seaford Ice for failing to fully enclose multiple horizontal belts and pulleys used bag ice and dispense bag ties, creating additional amputation hazards for workers who stationed less than 2 feet from the machines. Other violations were issued for electrical hazards and the absence of a lockout/tagout program that would prevent machines from being started accidentally.
Seaford Ice produces and distributes packaged ice products for retail, commercial and industrial uses and sells more than 4 million bags of ice a year to restaurants, hotels and other customers.
Bellevue, OH – OSHA investigators have cited Bellevue Manufacturing Co. with 19 “serious” violations and one “other” violation during an inspection of the northwest Ohio auto parts manufacturing facility. Fines for these violations total $112,500. OSHA conducted the inspection after receiving a complaint about unsafe working conditions at the company’s plant.
The citations included exposing employees to parts of machinery while the machinery was in operation; falling hazards on platforms that lacked guardrails; lack of lock-out, tag-out devices that resulted in unintentional operation of machinery during service and maintenance; electrical shock due to a lack of personal protective equipment and training for safe work practices; and confined space hazards when entering a parts washer because of lack of training and warning signs.
OSHA said the company also failed to provide eye and face protection for workers exposed to battery acid. Eye wash stations were not present, and workers were not adequately trained to operate powered industrial vehicles.
West Monroe, LA – Bancroft Bags Inc., has been fined $84,000 and cited for 16 serious violations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for loto failures – failing to guard machinery and implement appropriate shut down precautions.
These procedures are known as lockout/tagout and are required by OSHA. Lockout 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, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.
OSHA initiated an inspection after receiving notification from the employer that a printing press operator had his hand pulled into the gears and his index finger amputated while trying to remove a gear from its shaft.
“The cost of implementing safety procedures is so low, and the cost of ignoring them is so high,” said Dorinda Folse, OSHA’s area director in Baton Rouge. “If Bancroft had implemented procedures to keep the press from starting up, this man would still have all 10 fingers.”
Bancroft Bags employs about 400 workers at its West Monroe packaging plant and is a leading manufacturer of bags for pet food, fertilizers, and chemical product companies.
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.
El Paso, TX – OSHA has uncovered 33 different types of violations at Stampcoat, Inc. (operating as El Paso Tool and Die). OSHA was alerted to safety concerns at the facility following reports of employees losing fingers due to improperly protected equipment. Fines from the safety violations uncovered total $119,000.
The investigation was prompted when an employee had his index and middle finger crushed, and part of his ring finger amputated by a machine without proper protection in place. Later, while OSHA was conducting the investigation between March and May of this year, another employee had the tip of his thumb sheared off in another incident.
Safety violations were found on many of the plant’s machines, including a lack of employee protections, lax controls and protections for when the machines were being worked on (Lockout/Tagout), improper hearing protection requirements, and forklift issues among others.
Bristol, PA – An OSHA inspection at Covanta’s Bristol (PA) incinerator found 16 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards. The waste combustion facility is facing a $80,000 fine for dangerous workplace practices. energy-from-waste, waste-to-energy plant, waste combustion
The investigation was spurned by an employee complaint to OSHA. The violations include toxic metals in ash, the dangers of falls or working in confined spaces, and electrical and mechanical hazards.
In its finding, OSHA said Covanta “needlessly exposed its employees to the hazards of electrocution, fire, falls, slips and trips, crushing, being trapped or overcome in a confined space, eye injuries and cancer, lung or kidney damage.”
In July 2011, it also paid a $400,000 fine penalty after its Connecticut burn plant sent toxic dioxins into the air. It also paid a dioxin emissions fine in 2009.
The company said it intended to contest the OSHA’s findings. “The health and safety of employees is our priority at Covanta so we take the recent citations at our Bristol facility very seriously,” said a spokesman. “We have reviewed the citations closely and have filed a notice to contest because we disagree with the assertions made by the OSHA.”
Tacoma, WA – Manke Lumber Company Inc., of Tacoma, has been fined by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for 25 serious and 11 general safety and health violations, totaling $87,120.
An investigation began in December of 2014, following the fatal injury of a worker at the facility. Jeffrey Busha died on the job at Manke Lumber when his clothing was caught by a rotating shaft that pulled him into a conveyor as he was trying to loosen jammed lumber. The fatal incident prompted L&I to do a comprehensive safety and health inspection of the entire worksite.
Manke Lumber was fined $6,600 for not safeguarding exposed shafts in four locations, including the conveyor where the worker died. The exposed shafts created the potential for workers to become entangled, which can cause severe injuries, permanent disability and death.
The investigation also found a serious-repeat violation with a penalty of $8,400 for not ensuring that bench grinders were guarded to prevent severe injuries to the hand and face. The company had been previously cited for the violation in 2013.
Additionally, Manke Lumber was cited for serious violations for hazards related to “confined spaces.” Confined spaces are enclosed areas where employees are required to enter to perform maintenance and repair. Examples include hoppers, conveyors and dryers. Entering confined spaces may expose workers to the risk of suffocation, toxic atmospheres, engulfment, entrapment or other harm.
When a confined space has one or more hazardous characteristics that could harm workers, employers must control access to the area and use a permit system to prevent unauthorized entry. Anyone working in or around a permit-required confined space must be trained and there must be safety measures and rescue procedures in place.
The employer was cited for 12 violations for confined space hazards and fined $14,400.
Additional penalties totaling $57,720 were assessed for violations that included failing to guard moving parts on belt sanders, bandsaws, sprocket wheels, and pulleys; exposing workers to falls into unprotected holes and openings in the floor and open-sided elevated areas up to 10 feet; electrical hazards; failing to remove worn and damaged web slings from service; and not storing wood dust properly to prevent fire and/or explosion hazards.
Los Alamos, NM – An electrical worker at the Los Alamos National Laboratory was knocked off a ladder in an arc flash incident, and remains hospitalized. Working in a radiological lab building on May 3, Julian Trujillo accidentally touched a live wire in a ceiling. The man is badly burned but in stable condition, at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. Trujillo and eight co-workers were injured that day when an electrical arc flash occurred while the crew was maintaining a substation.
A series of electrical incidents and accidents at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have drawn scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Energy. Los Alamos National Security LLC, is a consortium that oversees the nuclear weapons research facility under contract with the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
The Energy Department’s Office of Enterprise Assessments will review potential violations in connection with recent electrical incidents, and a federal Accident Investigation Board will examine the May 3 incident as well as past accidents.
“The lab takes electrical safety very seriously, and is taking steps to strengthen safety culture,” lab spokesman Kevin Roark said. “We will work closely and cooperatively with the NNSA Office of Enforcement on their hazardous energy assessment investigation.”
Since 2003, the lab has had at least 11 electrical incidents, some with injuries.
• In March, at Technical Area 55, “an employee received an electric shock while tracing a 277-volt lighting conduit in the ceiling. The employee received a burn to his hand,” according to a lab accident report. All electrical maintenance work was shut down for two days, according to Roark.
• The NNSA investigated four electrical safety events at LANL between October 2010 and January 2011, according to documents. Two involved subcontractors, at least one of whom received a high-voltage electrical shock while doing maintenance on a power supply. Two other events involved Los Alamos National Security workers. “These incidents exposed workers to serious shock, thermal burn and arc-flash hazards,” according to an NNSA notice of violation issued to Los Alamos National Security.
• In 2007, the lab had three electrical equipment failures. No injuries were reported, but one building was evacuated.
• In 2006, a subcontract electrician using a cordless drill to drive in a self-tapping screw to the back of a control center hit a 480-volt system and caused an arc flash. The worker suffered a minor injury.
• In 2003, two subcontractors working on a decontamination project unknowingly came within inches of a live 13.2-kilovolt switch, violating safe-distance standards. Neither subcontractor was injured, but if an electrical arc had occurred, “it would have triggered an explosion and plasma fireball” that would have “incinerated anything within 15 feet,” according to a lab performance report.
• Also in 2003, a lab machinist shocked his upper arm on a welder cart that had been wired incorrectly by a subcontractor. He had minor injuries.
WALLINGFORD, CT – R+L Carriers Shared Services LLC, located in Wallingford, CT is facing fines nearing $87,000 for serious OSHA violations. According to an OSHA press release, employees faced dangerous chemicals, fire and explosion hazards when they tried to contain a chemical spill without proper training and protective equipment in October of 2014.
OSHA investigators found that a 55 gallon drum of tetrahydrofuran being carried by a forklift from a truck accidentally punctured. R+L employees attempted to contain the spill by using absorbents and cordoning off the area. OSHA’s investigation found that company management lacked an emergency response plan and none of the employees were trained as first responders.
The investigation also found that the emergency plan did not include procedures for timely reporting on emergency events, no respiratory protection was provided, and there was no qualified person on-site to oversee the response. Additionally, it was also found that the forklift was not operated properly.
OSHA said they found two repeated and four serious violations in the course of investigation. The two repeated violations came from similar hazards cited by OSHA during a 2011 inspection of R+L Carriers Shared Services Chicago division.
Robert Kowalski, OSHA’s area director in Bridgeport, said “These workers were essentially defenseless. They did not know how to evaluate the hazards involved, what personal protective equipment to use and what steps to follow to contain the spill safely. Worse, no one present at the terminal did,” and “These deficiencies in emergency response by R+L Carriers put its employees at risk of death or serious injury.”
BRISTOL, CT – Covanta Energy Bristol Inc faces more than $90,000 in proposed fines for fostering a hazardous workplace. Violations of workplace health standards included allowing combustible dust to accumulate on exposed surfaces and failing to determine the level of employees’ exposure to ash containing toxic metals. Additionally, the employer didn’t provide adequate training and “protective and protective clothing for an employee performing testing on live electrical parts;” had “inadequate safeguards for employees working in confined spaces;” and did not provide enough eyewash for “employees working with batteries”, and also failed to provide enough handwash such as deb instant foam for them to use to wash their hands after dealing with hazardous things. The plant also had “fall, fork truck, air pressure and mechanical hazards,” according to the OSHA inspection. The health and safety team also suggested that the company install an lel sensor due to them operating in a high-risk environment. When it comes to safety, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The plant located in Bristol, CT burns garbage to produce energy and can process 650 tons of solid waste a day. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration began an inspection in October in response to a complaint about workplace safety and health violations.
“Covanta Energy Bristol Inc. needlessly exposed its employees to the hazards of electrocution, fire, falls, slips and trips, crushing, being trapped or overcome in a confined space, eye injuries and cancer, lung or kidney damage,” Terence McEvily, OSHA’s acting area director in Hartford, said in a statement. “It must take effective steps to eliminate these hazards and prevent them from happening again.” OSHA cited the plant for 16 “serious violations of workplace safety and health standards.”
A Covanta spokesman said the company had not yet received the citations from OSHA but looks forward to resolving the issues, stating: “The health and safety of employees is our first priority at Covanta so we take the assertions in the OSHA press release very seriously…We look forward to working cooperatively with OSHA to gain a thorough understanding of the concerns.”