OSHA fines over $16 Mil in New Jersey Violations

New Jersey- Nearly one-third of the employers in the state hit with initial safety violation fines of $40K or more are government agencies. But many cases are settled for lesser amounts.OSHA fines companies for unsafe work conditions in New Jersey

New Jersey employers have been hit with at least $16.6 million in fines since 2015 for having unsafe workplaces and conditions.

Fines levied by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration against employers in the state over the past five years peaked in 2017. In 2017, the federal agency levied more than $4.9 million in fines against at least 60 companies.

All told, the Network reviewed OSHA data of more than 200 enforcement cases with initial penalties of $40,000 and higher. Data for enforcement cases with penalties less than $40,000 were not available.

Most of the reviewed cases involved private employers. However, almost 30% of the penalties involved local, state or federal government agencies, the Network’s analysis shows. The initial penalties in those cases totaled more than $4 million.

The Network ‘s ranking of the data is based on the initial penalties OSHA levied against employers, not the final amount paid. Many of the cases the Network reviewed are still under appeal. Employers frequently enter into settlement agreements with OSHA for reduced penalties that require the employer to address the agency’s safety concerns.

For contractors and companies to avoid such fines, proper training and up-to-date standards practiced is essential.

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AL Steel Company Cited for Unsafe Working Conditions

Montgomery, AL –Sabel Steel Service Inc faces $320,261 in federal fines for unsafe working conditions, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Sabel Steel, which was honored just two years ago for its safety record by the Alabama Department of Labor, disagrees with the findings and will be meeting with OSHA to discuss.

OSHA announced the fines in November, following inspections of each of Sable Steel’s plants in May of 2018 as part of a national emphasis on amputation prevention in the workplace. In the course of these investigations, OSHA documented employee exposure to amputation risks, and failures to safely controlling the release of hazardous energy during machine maintenance or servicing.

In terms of failures to meet federal Lockout Tagout standards, OSHA inspectors found that the written lockout procedures at Sable were vague, generic, and did not state clearly how to shut down the machine, apply the lock, and restore service. Further, OSHA cited failures to conduct and document periodic inspection of the lockout/tagout (or energy control) procedures. OSHA also fined Sable Steel for failures in regard to lockout training. Employees were found to have been authorized to lockout equipment without first having been trained on how to properly perform lockout/tagout on the machines.

Additionally, OSHA’s statement claims that Sable Steel failed to provide fall protection; failed to conduct medical evaluations to determine an employee’s ability to use a respirator; and improperly stored oxygen, propane, and acetylene cylinders.

Sable Steel is notable as a 162-year-old family-owned company, currently lead by the fifth generation. They supply steel scrap and rebar, and are reported to have quadrupled in size since 1990.

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Unsafe Working Conditions at NE Bakery Net Over $122K in Fines

Bellevue, NE – Bimbo Bakeries USA faces $122,625 in proposed penalties for exposing workers to multiple hazards at its Bellevue commercial bakery. Federal workplace safety investigators cited the Bellevue facility for three repeat and three serious violations, since they had cited Bimbo twice before for similar hazards. Violations included lack of machine guarding, failing to provide fall protection and using a damaged electrical panel box.

Industrial machinery must be routinely inspected. Inspection of machinery is based on the grounds that the machine must be safe to use and machinery and equipment must be maintained in good and safe working condition. This includes mechanical parts, safety switches, emergency stops and guards, etc. Effectiveness of electrical components should also be assessed regularly for the safety of workers.

Martin Technical is aware that machine safety solutions must not hinder production or reduce the capacity unsafe working conditionsof a machine and a facility’s production.

During a machine safety inspection, each individual machine is registered. Defects are detected and recorded, photos taken and safety hazard discussed with the staff involved so we attain agreement on any suggested solution. After a machine safety inspection, Martin Technical delivers a report outlining the various deficiencies including photo documentation and a description of necessary changes. Many of our industrial customers use this report as a foundation from which staff can implement safety solutions.

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