OSHA Fines Las Vegas Contractors amid COVID-19 Outbreak

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.

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OSHA Fines over 500k in Texas Explosion

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined the TPC group $514,692 for willful violations linked to the explosions and fire November 27 at the Port Neches, Texas plant.

An investigation found that the cause of explosions and fires was from the formation of a vapor at the base of a butadiene finishing tower which then ignited. The initial blast and then fires injured three workers and caused widespread damage to the surrounding community and civilians. The blast prompted evacuations that impacted near 50,000 people in the surrounding communities.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a statement that it cited TPC for three willful violations by not developing and implementing procedures for emergency shutdown and not inspecting and testing process vessel and piping components. Because of these willful violations, TPC faces $514,692 in civil OSHA fines.

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Garment Factory Fire in India Claims 7 Lives

Ahmedabad, India- Seven people reportedly died in a garment factory fire in India in February, according to reports from local news sources. On the Saturday night, the Nandan Denim factory in Ahmedabad caught fire, which raged through Sunday morning. According to a 2018/2019 annual report, the factory works with a number of major brands, including Ann Taylor, Zara, Ralph Lauren and Polo, and Target.

The Indian Express reports that the fire started in the shirting part of the factory, where there was no ventilation. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but police reportedly said that a preliminary probe revealed there was only one exit on the first floor, which was accessible only by a ladder, and there were no fire safety measures in place. A representative from the Labour and Employment Department said that the factory would be closed until further review of the safety initiatives in place.

While it’s rare, it’s not unheard of for garment workers to die while on the job. In December, a fire at a handbag factory in Delhi killed 43 workers, and the 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh killed over 1,000 garment workers. The Nandan factory has certifications from eco-friendly groups like the Better Cotton Initiative, Global Organic Textile Standard, and Oeko-Tex, though those primarily certify the safety of the chemicals used in manufacturing. Nandan’s annual report has a “Social, Health, and Safety” section that reads, “Our goal remains to achieve ‘zero fatality’ and we are committed to achieving this through the effective management of health and safety risks.” Police are still investigating the factors which led to the accident.

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Construction Accident Leaves One Dead, One Injured

Oklahoma City, OK- Officials say one person is dead following an construction accident in Oklahoma City.construction death

Around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, emergency crews were called to an industrial accident in the 8300 block of N. I-35 Service Rd. in Oklahoma City.

Initial reports indicated that two people were trapped after a scissor lift tipped over inside a nearby building.

Once emergency crews arrived on the scene, they realized that one person was dead and another was seriously injured after the scissor lift fell while approximately 40 feet in the air.

“Terrible incident. We see industrial accidents from time to time in our city,” Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson with the Oklahoma City Fire Department said. “Construction workers, they have dangerous jobs. Sometimes things happen, unfortunately.”

Proper worker training, OSHA compliance, and management training reduce industrial accidents on sites such as construction. The construction company in charge of the project is AC Owen Construction. The two people involved in the accident were subcontractors that work for Frazier Fire LLC.

“It’s just a big metal building. I’m not sure what it is, or what it’s going to be when it’s done,” Fulkerson said. “They were working inside the building when it occurred.” It’s not clear at this time what caused the lift to fall, or what the workers were doing at the time of the accident.

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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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Fatality in Pallet Factory and 2 other Workers Injured in Sydney

Sydney, Australia- A 30-year-old man was crushed to death at a pallet factory in Sydney’s west, one of three industrial accidents across the city on Wednesday. Ambulance crews were called to a pallet factory at Forrester Road in St Marys about 5:40am, where they found a 30-year-old man with severe head injuries. Paramedics treated the man at the scene but he could not be saved.

As mentioned, this was only one of the multiple recent industrial accidents in this area of Australia this week.

In the city’s east, a man is in a critical condition following a workplace accident at an address in Point Piper. Emergency crews were called to a home on Longworth Avenue about 7:30am, after receiving reports a man had fallen 8 to 10 meters from a scaffolding fall.

In Pyrmont, a worker has been taken to hospital with head injuries after he was struck by falling pipes.

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Three Workers Burned in Arc Flash at Ontario Mall

workers burnedLondon, Ontario – O’Connor Electric Ltd was fined $60,000 this week as a consequence of a Jan 2018 arc flash incident which burned three electrical workers at an Ontario shopping mall. The company plead guilty to failing to establish and implement written measures and procedures to ensure that its workers were adequately protected from electrical shock and burn.

At the time of the arc flash incident, a crew of six were upgrading the service in an electrical room at the mall. The workers were planning on installing a new disconnect switch and wiring. Three O’Connor Electric employees has started installing the disconnect when an arc flash occurred. Canadian Occupational Health and Safety officials determined that the existing service had not been shut down when work began. Mistakenly working on an energized electrical system lead to the arc flash which burned the employees.

In Canadian court proceedings this week, O’Connor Electric Ltd. and one supervisor plead guilty. The supervisor was charged with failing to ensure workers followed OHSA guidelines for properly disconnecting the power supply. The company was charged $55,000 in penalties, and the supervisor was fined $5,000.

Ontario Construction Regulations dictate that power supply “to the electrical equipment, installation or conductor shall be disconnected, locked out of service and tagged … before the work begins, and kept disconnected, locked out of service and tagged while the work continues.” Accordingly, the Ministry of Labour found that O’Connor Electric failed to establish working conditions compliant with that regulation, and that the supervisor failed to ensure that workers followed the regulations.

Arc flashes are violent and lightning-quick. They can cause electrical equipment to explode, resulting in injury or death to workers and destruction of electrical equipment. There are many avenues to mitigate or reduce the risk of arc flash incidents and their threat to electrical and maintenance workers. Contact a member of our Electrical and Industrial Safety team today to discuss Arc Flash Assessment and Labeling, Compliance, and/or Training needs of your staff and facility. At Martin Technical, our goal is always to provide practical safety and efficiency services that make industrial plants and facilities better, safer, and more efficient.

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NJ Aluminum Plant Announces Layoffs Following $1.9M OSHA Fine

Delair, NJ – Aluminum Shapes LLC announced layoffs effecting 61 employees this month as a consequence of heavy fines incurred under the newly implemented increased OSHA fee structure. A statement from Aluminum Shapes reads: “The size of OSHA’s fine as it stands today has forced the company to take these extreme measures.”

The aluminum parts manufacturer was cited in July for 51 safety and health violations following workplace accidents that hospitalized two employees earlier in the year. At that time, Aluminum Shapes management argued that the new OSHA fee structure “results in higher fine amounts and unfair media attention, even as conditions improve.” The tlayoffsotal penalty for the 51 violations was $1.9 million as fines for repeat violations have increased from $70,000 per infraction to $124,709 per under the new fine structure.

OSHA fines and penalties increased 78% in the fall of 2016 after legislation took effect which required federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation. The last update to OSHA’s penalty/fine structure occurred in 1990, so this recent jump reflects 26 years without increase or update.

The layoff announcement included 51 unionized workers, 6 front-office staffers, and 4 front-office managers. This affects about 13 percent of the company’s 367 unionized workers. Aluminum Shapes LLC had recently grown from 376 to 480 employees.

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