MARINETTE, WI – The recent federal safety inspections of a northern Wisconsin foundry determined workplace safety failures caused two workers to suffer severe injuries. In May, a worker lost two fingers to amputation and in July, an overhead hot metal carrier struck and injured another worker. US Department of Labor proposes $200K in fines for the foundry. The company has 15 business days to comply, request a conference, or contest the findings before the independent OSHRC. Waupaca Foundry Inc. is a leading supplier of iron castings to the automotive, commercial vehicle, agriculture, construction, and industrial markets.
A Total of Three Inspections Led to Penalties of $200K
While OSHA investigated the incident at Waupaca Foundry Inc. in Marinette, the agency opened a second scheduled inspection under its National Emphasis Program for Primary Metals. Inspectors found violations related to exposures to respirable crystalline silica and noise. The employer reported the July 17 injury to inspectors during the second inspection, which led to a third inspection. After completing the three inspections, OSHA issued one willful, seven serious, and five other-than-serious violations to Waupaca Foundry. The proposed penalties are $200,895.
Exposure to respirable crystalline silica due to inadequate engineering and administrative controls, dry sweeping, and cleaning with compressed air.
The foundry industry had a 6.4 percent rate of injury in 2020
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the foundry industry had a 6.4 percent injury rate for every 100 workers in 2020. “Foundries are inherently dangerous industrial operations. The workers are exposed to hazards from machinery, trips and falls, occupational noise, and respirable silica,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton. “Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their workers,” he continued.
DRUMMONDS, TN – U.S. Department of Labor finds a Mississippi concrete products manufacturer and distributor had ignored safety measures following a fatal accident investigation. Investigators determined the manufacturer’s employee was engulfed in rock while trying to repair a rockhopper of a mobile concrete plant. The industrial accident caused the death of a 67-year-old worker at a Drummonds worksite in April 2021. The OSHA investigation has found Mississippi Limestone Corp. could have prevented this tragedy if the manufacturer had followed federal workplace requirements. Mississippi Limestone Corp. faces $118K in proposed penalties.
OSHA’s Citation and Penalties
OSHA cited the manufacturer for not evaluating the workplace to determine that spaces, such as the rockhopper, were permit-required confined spaces. Investigators also found the company failed to establish a written permit space program for workers and didn’t provide adequate training. Additionally, the manufacturer failed to implement an energy control program for workers conducting maintenance on the plant.
OSHA also cited Mississippi Limestone Corp. for willfully exposing workers to fall hazards by not installing a stair rail system. The company also failed to evaluate each powered industrial truck operator and remove unsafe vehicles from service as required. “Mississippi Limestone’s failure to comply with safety and health requirements exposed workers to life-threatening hazards that led to the loss of a man’s life,” said OSHA Area Director William Cochran in Nashville, Tennessee. “Putting workers’ safety and health in jeopardy should never be an option. OSHA will hold employers accountable and ensure they meet their legal obligation to protect workers on the job,” Cochran continued.
Additionally, OSHA issued a notice to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with one serious violation for exposing workers to amputation, asphyxiation, and crushing hazards. Mississippi Limestone Corp. performs contract-based manufacturing for the U.S. Army Corps in connection with the Mississippi River Corps of Engineers Channel Improvement program. Under Executive Order 12196, federal agencies must comply with the same safety and health standards as private sector employers covered under the OSH Act. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.
Fall Protection is OSHA’s Most Frequently Cited Standard for the 11th Consecutive Year
OSHA recently revealed its top 10 most frequently cited standards for the 2021 fiscal year using preliminary data. This information is valuable for businesses to identify common exposures that affect their workforce and provide them with the necessary information to plan for compliance programs. Although several standards swapped positions, the criteria that make up the Top 10 Violations remained unchanged from FY 2020. Fall Protection remained OSHA’s most frequently cited standard for the 11th consecutive fiscal year in a row.
Columbus, OH – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seeks a $709K fine from a paint manufacturer connected with a fatal April 8 fire and explosion. The incident occurred in Columbus’s Yenkin-Majestic Paint and OPC Polymers Corporation. The company manufactures and markets industrial coatings that include acrylics, alkyds, coil and powder coatings, epoxies, primers, and urethanes. The tragedy linked to eight hospitalizations and one fatality. Property damage alone was more than $1 million. A building in the OPC Polymer unit collapsed as a result of the incident. The blast shook neighboring buildings, and at least one nearby business sustained damage.
The tragedy could have been prevented
“Yenkin-Majestic Paint Corp. could have prevented this tragedy if they had followed industry standards and removed a compromised kettle from service,” said Acting OSHA Regional Administrator William Donovan in Chicago. “Knowing that this company altered equipment, failed to use a qualified fabricator, and returned equipment to service knowing that it did not meet safety standards is unacceptable,” Donovan continued. In December 2020, the manufacturer altered the kettle reactor vessel and the manway opening but did not ensure the vessel maintained its pressure-containing ability. On January 3, following the alteration, the newly installed manway failed. The company made additional alterations to the vessel when installing a new gasket. It again failed to adhere to OSHA’s PSM, pressure vessel inspection procedures, and the American Petroleum Institute’s pressure vessel inspection code.
OSHA’s investigationdetermined the kettle reactor vessel released a flammable vapor cloud when its manway cover and gasket failed. The vapor flowed throughout the plant, ignited, and caused the initial explosion.
The citations and penalties
OSHA cited the Ohio paint and resins manufacturer with two willful and 33 serious safety violations. The violations including of the process safety management (PSM) and hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER) standards. OSHA also cited the employer for lack of employee safety training and personal protective equipment (PPE). The agency proposed penalties totaling $709,960 and placed Yenkin-Majestic in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). Willful violations will be cited when an employer knowingly disregards or acts indifferently for safety and health laws and regulations. Employers included in the SVEP are subject to mandatory follow-up inspections and under pressure to abide by cited safety hazards.
The U.S.Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) also dispatched investigators to the Columbus facility following the incident. The CSB is an independent federal agency that investigates industrial chemical accidents. CSB investigations can take several months and result in a report containing recommendations for government agencies, companies, trade associations, labor unions, and other groups.
Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by including regular workplace safety training.
Warehousing is one of the riskier industries due to high-powered machinery and vehicles operating within proximity of each other. Rapid growth in e-commerce is driving an ever-increasing demand for the delivery of products in shorter timeframes. Industrial and commercial warehouses are to keep up with this demand while complying with the current safety expectations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports thousands of injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the warehousing industry annually. Many of those are caused by workplace accidentssuch as slips or falls, hazardous materials, and equipment malfunction. Warehouse safety should be the employers’ utmost priority to keep employees safe, ensure efficient operation, maximize productivity, and minimize injury or damage. Below are some factors to consider when planning a safe work environment for warehouse employees.
Building a Safety Culture and Procedures
Establishing comprehensive safety procedures can help prevent workplace accidents in warehouses and promote a safe work environment. An engaging safety procedure starts from the top-down; management should walk the talk in cultivating such values into the company culture. While employees may have the required certification for the job, this does not always include in-depth safety training. Thus, providing ample opportunities for employees to access safety resources, including signage, safety stickers, regular safety meetings, and safety training, is essential in creating a safe work environment. Consider developing training programs with the help of industry subject matter experts that offer blended and interactive training solutions. Ideally, a comprehensive training program should include a good mix of on-site training, hands-on validation, online learning, webinars, toolbox talks, andvirtual reality courses in multiple languages for easy access.
Other good practices include posting signs around the warehouse indicating different safety procedures, regular communication on safety tips, and announcements on new safety procedures. Incentivize workers to take safety courses and recognize their efforts to demonstrate exemplary safety protocol. Consider putting together a safety handbook or manual that includes potential hazards, safety protocols, and rules.
Establishing a complete and comprehensive Lockout Tagout program that includes clear and precise lockout procedures for all workers is imperative, especially in heavy machinery warehouses. Routine training on using the equipment, shutting it down correctly, and isolating the power sources by following the proper lockout tagout procedures can prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of safety in your warehouse.
Warehouse workers are more likely to internalize the safety culture and take it seriously when they know the company is responsible, accountable, and invested in their well-being. A safe work environment helps warehouses build a good relationship with their employees and supports businesses in achieving higher recognition.
Fort Worth, Texas – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited two contractors for fall hazards and is seeking six-figure penalties. On Sept. 17, OSHA cited RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. of Fort Worth for exposing workers to fall and silica hazards, a total of nine repeated and six serious violations. The offenses included failing to ensure scaffolding was planked correctly and secured, providing a ladder for safe egress, and inspecting scaffolding. Later, on Sept. 20, the agency cited Neal Weaver, an Ohio-based contractor, with severe eye and fall protection violations. The company has exposed its workers to deadly fall hazards for the sixth time in five years. OSHA is seeking fines totaling $216,265 and $253,556, respectively.
“Fall hazards make roofing work among the most dangerous jobs in construction,” Cleveland Area Director Howard Eberts said in a recent statement. “Employers must ensure that employees working from heights greater than 6 feet are provided with fall protection equipment and are well trained. Too often, OSHA inspectors find employees working on residential roofs without fall protection,” Eberts continued. OSHA’s construction industry fall protection standard (29 CFR §1926.501) is the agency’s most frequently cited standard, a total of 5,424 times in the fiscal year (FY) 2020. At the same time, the scaffolding standard (§1926.451) is the fourth most commonly cited standard with a total of 2,538 violations in FY 2020.
Fall Protection is OSHA’s Most Frequently Cited Standard for the 11th Consecutive Year
In fact, for the 11th consecutive fiscal year, Fall Protection – General Requirements is OSHA’s most frequently cited standard. Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented this preliminary data from FY 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30) on Oct. 12 during the 2021 NSC Safety Congress & Expo. Although several standards swapped positions, the criteria that make up the Top 10 Violations remained unchanged from FY 2020. The complete list is as below:-
Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,295 violations
Prince William, VA – A fatal accident occurred when an extended power lift hit an electrical transmission line causing the death of a construction worker from injuries. The electrical accident also resulted in a power outage that affected schools and more than 46,000 residents in Woodbridge and Lake Ridge, according to Dominion Energy spokeswoman Sharonda Shepard.
The accident was first reported to Prince William County fire and rescue units at about 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 24, according to Assistant Fire Chief Matt Smolsky. Prince William Fire & Rescue teams worked with Dominion Energy to rescue the two construction workers trapped in the power lift. It came in contact with power lines near a Shorehaven apartment complex located in the 1600 block of Porters Inn Drive near Walmart. The Dominion Energy crews delayed the rescue effort until they could ensure it was safe. The worker’s death has been categorized as unattended and is under investigation by the Prince William County Police Department.
A Total of 5,333 Fatal Work Injuries in the Recent Report
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a total of 5,333 fatal work injuries in the 2019 report. The fatal work injuries figures represent the most significant annual number since 2007 in the United States, with a 2 percent increase from the 5,250 in 2018. Everyone would agree that we want to continue to decrease the number of workplace accidents across Canada, the United States, and the rest of the world.
In order to break the increasing trend and the number of fatal accidents, Martin Technical strongly encourages organizations to develop a caring and motivating culture towards employees by scheduling regular workplace health and safety training.