ADRIAN, MO– A local Missouri grain facility has been cited for an injury and explosion from failing to correct critical safety procedures, including potential dust ignition sources at their Adrian grain loading facility.
Due to its negligence, the company suffered a grave explosion that seriously injured an employee and destroyed the main elevator at an Adrian grain loading facility. OSHA cited West Central Agri Services for one willful and six serious safety violations totaling $215,525 in OSHA fines.
The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined the explosion could have been avoided if the company set up bucket elevators with monitoring devices that notify workers when a belt is slipping and potentially causing friction – this can ignite grain dust.
Within grain handling facilities, OSHA standards require a storage capacity of over one million bushels, and the company had not updated its dust collection system since its installation in 1974. MFA Enterprises failed to meet safety standards.
The company also did not repair an overhead trolly system used for connecting fall protection devices. The trolly system was out of service at the time of its investigation and noted violations, including a lack of preventive maintenance and a failure to designate hazardous areas existed. The company workers were exposed to fall hazards when walking atop the railcars to open and close the hatches without fall protection which is inconsistent with fall protection training and safety measures.
MFA Enterprises Inc. is one of the region’s oldest agricultural cooperatives and brings together 45,000 farmers in Missouri and adjacent states. Together with working with OSHA’s Grain-Handling Safety Standard focuses on the grain and feed industry’s six significant hazards: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, “struck by,” combustible dust explosions, and electrocution hazard.
“West Central Agri Services failed to follow industry standards and create company policies for safe grain handling, and needlessly put their workers in danger,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille in Kansas City, Missouri. “Grain handling hazards can be avoided by using well-known safety measures that are proven to help prevent workers from being injured or killed.”
MARLTON, NJ – Six contractors were cited for fall safety hazards on a luxury home construction site. OSHA listed the six companies in their press release put out on Monday. Combined, there were 4 willful and 35 serious violations. Most the violations were for failing to provide fall protection or fall protection training. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. They are also repeatedly the number one most frequently cited violation of the year for OSHA.
The penalties total $244,397. One of the six contractors cited for fall safety, Lifetime Contractor Corp., is responsible for over half of those penalties. OSHA began the inspections as part of its Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction. On October 20th, 2020, a compliance officer observed workers exposed to falls and other hazards. The same was observed during a second inspection the 22nd. This prompted a third inspection on the 31st.
OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick was quoted as saying, “A fall can permanently alter or end a worker’s life in a matter of seconds. Contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry have a legal obligation to comply with the law and ensure their workers end their shifts safely. When employers fail to follow requirements, OSHA will hold them responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”
The companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Martin Technical, in partnership with PIXO VR, offers Fall Protection Training to help companies avoid fines such as these.
PEWAUKEE, WI – A water facility has been cited for a fall injury in the Milwaukee area. A worker was injured in 2020. A guardrail was loosened. The worker then fell and struck his head on a support beam. The accident occurred in a nearly 30-foot deep water test pit.
The water facility cited for the fall injury is Xylem Inc. In OSHA’s press release they explain the company is being cited for nine violations. Eight of the violations are serious, and one willful. The penalties for these violations total $234,054. Over half that amount is due to the willful violation. That violation is for failure to provide fall protection.
Most the remainder of the penalties are made up by confined space safety violations. Xylem is being cited as failing to follow permit-required procedures before entering the water test pits.
The OSHA Area Director stated, “This worker’s injury could have been prevented if appropriate fall protection was provided.”
Xylem Inc. is a water company specializing in wastewater and energy. Xylem employs over 1,600 workers in the US. 57 of these are at their Pewaukee water facility that is cited for the fall injury.
The company has 15 business days from receipt to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
JACKSON, AL – A Spice importer has been cited by OSHA. iSpice is a global spice importer located in Jackson, Alabama. OSHA reported on April 23rd that they are citing the company $121,511 in penalties.
The workers were found to be exposed to amputations, struck-by, crushed-by and electrical hazards. OSHA found iSpice allowed workers to clean the plant’s mixing machines without employing lockout tagout. They employer also failed to implement energy control procedures, train workers on lockout/tagout, and use machine guarding in regards to a rotating portion of the mixer.
Other hazards included allowing workers to use industrial trucks with a damage seatbelt; failing to ensure drivers were competent to operate the equipment; exposing them to electrical hazards by allowing boxes and outlets that were uncovered or lacked faceplates to be used; and a fan with a splice in the cord to be used.
In their press release, OSHA quoted Area Director Jose Gonzalez, “This employer put their employees at serious risk needlessly by failing to provide training and implement well-known protections. These protections are not optional, they are every workers right.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.
Martin Technical provides Lockout Tagout services and training to help companies avoid citations such as these and the accidents they can cause.
Henderson, NV – The Nevada Occupational Safety and Hazard Association (Nevada OSHA) is investigating the death of Harry Kenneth Peterson III, as reported by The Las Vegas Review Journal. Last week, the fire department was called to a rock quarry described as the Viento Puntero Pit.
Fire Department Chief, Shawn White, reported what he was told by emergency crews. Crews were informed that Peterson had been helping others move a rock crushing machine to another area of the work site.
When part of the machine was apparently jammed, Peterson tried to fix it and was caught in the machine. Rescue workers said it was not clear how he became stuck. White reported Peterson had head and chest injuries. When rescue crews arrived, Peterson had already been removed from the machine.
When emergency crews arrived, Peterson was breathing and transported to to Sunrise Trauma. On Friday, Peterson succumbed to his injuries at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
The death has been ruled an accident. The Fire Department has contacted Nevada OSHA to investigate the work site death. A related police report was released Wednesday. It did not contain details about the incident, except that it did not appear to be a result of a criminal act.
Nevada OSHA’s spokeswoman, Teri Williams, described Peterson’s employer as Las Vegas Paving Corp. The company lists their services on its website, including: asphalt placing, aggregate crushing & material supply, Design-Build. James Barker acts as Las Vegas Paving Corp’s general counsel. He did not comment out of respect for the family and because of the ongoing investigation.
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.
YEOSU, South Korea – Sunday, January 10th, 2021, a 33-year-old mechanic for a coal storing company at the national industrial complex in Yeosu died after his body got stuck in a machine used for coal transportation.
According to Yeosu Fire Station, the contract worker was caught in the machine starting around 7:55 p.m. Sunday and was taken out from the machine at 10:32 p.m. by rescuers dispatched to the scene.
The badly injured worker was transported to a nearby hospital in cardiac arrest and ultimately died there around 11:42 p.m. The accident occurred while he was inspecting the machinery with another worker, who was the one that initially reported the emergency to the company.
Police and labor authorities in South Korea are investigating the exact circumstances of the incident and whether there have been any violations of safety guidelines. Machine Safety is essential to stay trained and informed of, even with routine inspections.
In 2018, another worker fell to his death three meters off of a conveyor at the same company.
Hudson, N.C.- Last Tuesday, 12/29/20, at Sealed Air Corp. plant in Hudson, North Carolina, worker Alan Rothenberger was trapped in a machine for 45 minutes.
He was airlifted to a hospital and is currently in a coma due to brain damage caused by lack of air-flow to his brain for 10 minutes after the incident.
The North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) division has begun its investigation into the incident.
“Based on the preliminary information that we have at this time, an employee was threading up a machine when their body was pulled into the machine causing crushing injuries to their torso,” OSHA said in a statement.
The incident is believed to have taken place when rollers did not have a clear stop or release button accessed, potentially being a lockout tagout machine issue or fault. Sealed Air. Corp manufactures bubble wrap and foam.
Winnipeg, Canada – Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health is investigating at Gerdau Long Steel North America after a worker was injured in an accident at the mill in Selkirk on the weekend.
A spokesperson for the steel mill confirmed to press that a worker at the Gerdau Manitoba Steel Mill was injured and is expected to be released in “the next day or two.”
According to the province, the unnamed worker fell approximately eight feet from a stepladder and sustained a “serious leg injury,” and then was airlifted to a nearby hospital.
The incident is now under investigation. The company was issued two improvement orders related to ladders directly relating to this incident.
Improvement orders are issued when a priority contravention is noted; they require measures to be put in place by a specified timeframe in order to ensure the safety and health of workers. Approximately 7,000 improvement orders are issued annually in the province of Manitoba.
Every company has different needs and training requirements, which is why Martin Technical offers blended learning solutions internationally to countries like Canada.
Workplace Safety and Health have been notified of three other serious incidents ranging in injuries at the workplace this year, the spokesperson told the press. Some of these incidents also warranted improvement orders.
Commerce, GA- A construction worker at the SK Battery plant in Jackson County, Georgia was declared dead after he sustained injuries from a three story fall.
The accident itself took place November 4, 2020 at the plant’s Formation Building. Reportedly the worker fell through a hole in an air vent 46 feet above the ground, later landing on top of a female worker standing below who also sustained injuries.
Jackson County deputy coroner, Jeff Rogers, said the 34-year-old Augusta man suffered brain injuries and was kept on life support until this weekend. The female worker remains in critical condition but is ultimately expected to survive.
Some workers have told reporters at FOX 5 they worry sub-contractors are sacrificing safety for speed. “You take chances in our trade and you wind up dead,” warned Randy Gregory when FOX 5 Atlanta talked to him in September.
This month’s accident follows other recent injuries at the site. Recently, one worker was hospitalized after he fell through a ceiling, while another allegedly fell through a roof. Fall Protection Training actively addresses the factors that lead to such incidents like these three occurring.
Deputy coroner Rogers said the investigation by OSHA will determine whether the man who died followed safety procedures and at what fault the subcontractors and company will be held at.
“They’re going back out to the site,” explained the deputy coroner. “They’re interviewing witnesses, employees that were there that saw the accident.”