OSHA Fines Tire Warehouse over $190,000

Buford, GA- A Buford distribution center has received over $190,000 in fines for safety violations that put its employees at risk, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

The $191,895 fine was levied against Mavis Southeast — the company better known as Mavis Discount Tire — on Dec. 23, following a routine inspection by the Occupational Safety and Heath Administration done on Sept. 11. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Inspectors found some warehouse emergency exits were blocked with items including stacks of tires, putting employees at risk in case of a fire or other instances when an urgent exit would be required. The facility also lacked emergency exit signs in required positions, a repeat offense, the agency said in its citation report. The repeat violations stem from issues first recorded in 2016, the report says.OSHA fines tire warehouse

Employees were seen without required safety equipment while working at elevations up to 25 feet, and multiple industrial storage racks had visible damage, presenting a risk to warehouse workers, the report said. Aisles where workers walk near trucks and other industrial machinery were not properly labeled, risking workers being struck by machinery, the report said. Congested and narrow aisles also presented a danger to forklift operators, according to the report.

Fire extinguishers were not easily accessible and did not undergo required monthly inspections or an annual maintenance check, the report said. Multiple violations regarding a lack of employee safety training were also noted in the report.

The company must respond the citation within 15 business days and include certifications that show the violations have been fixed. Mavis Southeast has the right to contest the citations and fines, but must do so within the 15-day period.

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Worker Seriously Injured in Industrial Accident in Steel Mill

Gary, IN- A worker was seriously injured in an industrial accident at Gary Works Wednesday.

The steelworker suffered multiple injuries and was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in downtown Gary. Information on his condition was not immediately available but he is expected to survive.

“We had a worker that got seriously hurt with several injuries but none life-threatening,” United Steelworkers District 7 Director Mike Millsap said. “All I know is he is a maintenance technician and was working on (a blast furnace) and he got hit by something.”

U.S. Steel’s OSHA Recordable Incident Rate has been 0.14 per 200,000 hours so far this year, down from 0.17 in 2017.

steel mill industrial accident Though the United Steelworkers union and steelmakers have worked for years to prioritize workplace safety at the industrial mills, the hulking factories where metal is forged post many inherent hazards that include hot temperatures, catwalks over great heights, and moving equipment that weighs tons. Steelworker ranks as the sixth most deadly job nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Family Sues GE Appliances after Worker’s Death

Kentucky, USA- The family of a Kentucky man killed in a workplace incident has filed a lawsuit against his employer, GE Appliances, as well as other parties.

Steve Herring, who has worked for GE Appliances for more than two decades, died in February after being pinned by machinery while working on a refrigerator-building assembly line. News sources are reporting that the state OSHA’s investigation into the workplace incident found that it could have been caused by an inadvertent activation of an improperly positioned gate interlock control.worker killed in machine incident

The lawsuit filed in Jefferson Circuit Court last week names General Electric Company, Design Safety Engineering Inc., Doerfer Corperation, Doerfer Acquisition Company, JR Automation Technologies LLC, Haier US Appliance Solutions Inc. and Kentucky resident Mark Miller as defendants.

The lawsuit claims that the assembly line Herring was working on was “unreasonably dangerous” and in “defective condition.” It alleges that there were no instructions or warnings about the hazards on the line — and that the companies being sued were aware of the defects. The suit requests punitive and compensatory damages.

According to Kentucky OSHA, GE made changes to the safety programming on an assembly line that was identical to the one at which Herring was pinned following a 2014 incident. However, the company didn’t fix the line where Herring worked until after Herring died.

An inspection conducted by the agency after the fatality resulted in GE being cited for seven safety violations and fined $98,000, which the company is appealing.

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OSHA Fines Area Construction Firm for Repeat and Serious Jobsite Violations

Kansas City, MO- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a Kansas City-area construction company for multiple violations observed during a May jobsite visit.

According to KSHB, OSHA fined Blue Nile Contractors Inc. $210,037 for failing “to protect employees from trench collapse and electrical hazards.” Inspectors reported four repeat and five serious safety violations during the visit to a site where water lines were being installed.

Blue Nile is a minority-owned wet utility contractor that specializes in trenchless sewer and water construction. The Birmingham, Mo., company was selected as one of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Top 10 Small Businesses in 2018.

Blue Nile has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, KSHB reports. The company has 15 days to comply with OSHA demands or contest the findings.

Proper training and education regarding OSHA violations and accident prevention are is one way for companies to combat these high fines.

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Deaths of Four Employees lead to $1M+ Fine for Illinois Company

Deaths of Four Employees lead to $1M+ Fine for Illinois CompanyWaukegan, IL- An OSHA investigation into the deaths of four employees of an Illinois chemical plant has resulted in more than a million dollars in proposed penalties against AB Specialty Silicones LLC.

The company has been cited for a dozen willful federal safety violations in the explosion and fire at its Waukegan facility on May 3, 2019 that caused deaths of four employees.

The silicon chemical products manufacturer faces $1,591,176 in penalties and has been placed in the in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA investigators determined AB Specialty Silicones failed to ensure that electrical equipment and installations in the production area of the plant complied with OSHA electrical standards, and were approved for hazardous locations. The company also used forklifts powered by liquid propane to transport volatile flammable liquids, and operated these forklifts in areas where employees handled and processed volatile flammable liquids and gases, creating the potential for ignition.

OSHA provides resources on electrical safety and using forklifts when working with hazardous materials. Proper electrical safety services and education could prevent this accidents in the workplace.

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Dollar Tree Faces $125k in Penalties for OSHA Violations

Athens, GA- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited national discount retailer Dollar Tree Stores Inc. at its store on Atlanta Highway in Athens, Georgia. The company faces $125,026 in proposed penalties for exposing employees to safety hazards.

OSHA cited the company for exposing employees to struck-by, trip and fall hazards by failing to keep passageways and walking surfaces in a clean, orderly and sanitary condition. OSHA found unsafely stacked cases of merchandise and blocked emergency exits, and cited Dollar Tree for not maintaining access to portable fire extinguishers.

“These hazardous conditions unnecessarily exposed employees to potentially life-threatening injury,” said OSHA Area Director William Fulcher, in Atlanta-East. “There is no reason why the employees in this store should have been subjected to the same hazards previously identified and cited at other Dollar Tree locations.”

Dollar Tree Stores has a long history of serious and repeated violations related to unsafe stacking of merchandise and blocked exits. Since 2015, OSHA has cited the Chesapeake, Virginia-based company for similar violations at locations in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Wisconsin, Idaho, Texas, New York, and Rhode Island.

OSHA provides resources on safe working surfaces and exit route requirements.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance.

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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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Heavy Fines for Machine Safety Hazards at WI Facility

machine safety hazardsEau Claire, WI – A cookie dough manufacturing facility in Eau Claire, Wisconsin faces $782,526 in penalties for “continually exposing employees to machine safety hazards.” Choice Products USA LLC was cited for similar machine safety violations following an OSHA inspection in 2016, and as a consequence has now been placed in OSHA’s severe violator enforcement program.

Choice Products was cited for five egregious willful violations for their failures to implement an effective lockout/tagout (LOTO) program. OSHA also found that employee training on lockout/tagout was inadequate to prevent worker’s from unintentional contact with machinery during service and maintenance activities. Federal workplace safety inspectors also determined that Choice Products failed to install proper machine guarding.

Choice Products had been cited in a 2016 inspection for exposing employees to similar lockout/tagout and machine safety hazards.OSHA’s severe violator enforcement program  targets employers who have demonstrated what they term an “indifference” workplace safety obligations by committing “willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.”

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Willful Violation of Machine Safety Protocols Leads to UK Employee Injury

Tiverton, Devon, UK – An employee’s hand was crushed and may require amputation as the result of an industrial accident in England. Heathcoat Fabrics’ attitude toward machine safety has been described by Exeter prosecutors as “willful blindness.”

Heathcoat Fabrics, located in the Southwestern portion of the English isle, has been fined the equivalent of nearly $385,000 for admittedly “contravening health and safety regulations by failing to prevent access to the dangerous willful violationparts of the L-Stenter mangle at their plant in Westexe.”

Local officials began investigating Heathcoat following an incident in 2016 which led to employee Anthony Seward suffering a serious crush injury to his left hand. Seward did not realize that the rollers were on when he was preparing and cleaning the L-Stenter mangle for the night. His left hand became entangled in the machine which had been outfitted with a stop-cord, but not the light curtain that it should have had.

Light curtains are installed to automatically stop machine operations when a beam of light is broken. The machine at Heathcoat Fabrics had a light curtain installed in 2009, but it broke down in January 2014. Replacement parts had been ordered, but were not installed. Instead, a risk assessment by the employer decided that the use of an emergency stop-cord would be a sufficient safety measure.

The local prosecutor has said: “This case is about the fact that [Heathcoat Fabrics] failed to reinstate the light curtain to stop access to the danger zone. They knew this was a risk as they had installed it as a control measure prior to the incident happening. The fact that they had assessed the risk and had put in the control of the light curtain previously shows how avoidable and preventable this accident was. What they did instead was inadequate and resulted in this very serious injuries.Their willful blindness to the risk that was in place meant that the controls did not reach industrial standard.”

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2015 Confined Space Death Results in OSHA Fines Against 4 Separate Companies

Springfield, IL – OSHAs new construction confined space standard is being brought to bear against 4 Illinois companies following the death in October 2015 of a worker renovating the Springfield Metro Sanitary District’s Sugar Creek Plant. The new OSHA standard went into effect Aug 15, 2015 and the recent citations against Henderson; Williams Brothers Inc; Tobin Bros.; and Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc. are among the first to have been issued to violators of the new construction confined space rules.

In October 2015, a 42-year-old worker suffered fatal blconfined spaceunt force injuries when an inflatable bladder ruptured at Springfield Metro Sanitary District’s Sugar Creek Plant wastewater treatment facility. OSHA inspectors have found the employer, Henderson Construction of Central Illinois Inc., failed to train the employee properly.

While the majority of the violations cited centered on a failure to train workers on how to safely operate equipment, Henderson Construction was also cited for failing to manage how and when workers entered the large round pipe as well as confined space-related violations. 3 other companies involved were also cited for multiple safety violations by OSHA: Williams Brothers Inc who were the controlling contractor on the site; subcontractor Tobin Bros; and another subcontractor, Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc. These 4 companies were working on a $54.4 million renovation of the Springfield Metro Sanitary District’s Sugar Creek Plant.

Many workplaces contain areas that are considered confined spaces because while they are not necessarily designed for people, they are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. A confined space also has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy. They include, but are not limited to, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ductwork, boilers, and pipelines.

Martin Technical confined space services are designed to keep workers safe, and help companies meet OSHA regulations. Contact an expert on our Safety & Compliance Team to evaluate your work site to determine which spaces require permits, develop a written program and specific procedures for entering each confined space.

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