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OSHA Citations: April 2016

By Matt Wastradowski

OSHA Citations

A round-up of serious OSHA violations in April 2016:

Metal stamping company fined for exposing employees to severe injury

D&D Manufacturing was recently fined $110,110 for allowing numerous machines to operate without safety guards.

The Illinois-based company was cited for seven repeat, six serious, and four other-than-serious safety violations. Investigators found that the company failed to protect workers from contact with moving parts, didn’t take proper lockout/tagout precautions, and didn’t offer comprehensive training on machine hazards and safety measures.

Lack of fall protection leads to $122,000 fine for building company

Winesburg Builders, of Millersburg, Ohio, was recently fined $121,800 for exposing workers to falls from as high as 22 feet and not offering proper fall protection.

In all, the company was issued citations for two willful, two repeat, and three serious violations. "Winesburg Builders' reckless approach to worker safety leaves its employees one step away from a potentially deadly fall," said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Charleston Area Office, in a news release. "It is vital that construction companies take responsibility for protecting their workers from preventable injuries and serious hazards. No one should have to sacrifice their safety for their livelihood."

OSHA fines painting contractor for exposing workers to lead

Michigan-based V&T Painting was fined $121,880 for exposing workers to lead during abrasive blasting operations.

Inspectors found that the contractor failed to use onsite ventilation systems or follow proper decontamination procedures; V&T Painting was also cited for a lack of scaffolding and fall protection.

Flash fires result in fines for auto parts manufacturer

A worker at Nakanishi Manufacturing’s facility in Winterville, Georgia, suffered third-degree burns on his upper body from a fire while operating a dust collector last September, leading to an OSHA fine of $144,995.

OSHA issued citations for one willful, 18 serious, and one other-than-serious violation. The agency’s inspection found that the auto parts manufacturer exposed workers to unguarded machinery, failed to provide a workplace free from hazards, failed to train employees on the hazards of combustible dust, and did not conduct annual hearing tests for workers facing noise-related hazards.

Building company fails 21 inspections, faces $896,000 in fines

Berlin Builders is facing $896,006 in penalties for exposing employees to potentially fatal fall hazards.

The New Jersey-based building contractor was cited for one willful, two repeat, and two serious violations. Investigators found that employees were 30 feet or more off the ground with no fall protection, employees weren’t trained on fall hazards, and more.

Partial amputations lead to heavy fines for medical tech company

Two workers at Becton, Dickinson, and Co. suffered partial amputations of their index fingers in separate incidents in October 2015, spurring an OSHA investigation and eventually resulting in $112,700 in penalties for the medical technology company.

The company was cited for one repeat and 12 serious safety violations related to the injuries. The investigation found that the company failed to provide proper fall protection, machine guarding, protection from electrical and fire hazards, and lockout/tagout devices.

Wisconsin paper mill fined after employee fatality

An employee was killed on the job while servicing a high-speed conveyor belt in a Wisconsin paper mill in October 2015. An OSHA investigation followed and determined that Clearwater Paper failed to take proper lockout/tagout procedures before allowing the man to work in hazardous areas. As a result, OSHA has issued $119,000 in fines.

The investigation found that employees regularly worked beneath high-speed conveyor belts, which exposed them to a variety of hazards. In all, Clearwater Paper was cited for one willful, one repeat, and two serious safety violations.

Manufacturing plant cited for exposing workers to numerous hazards

Alfa Laval, a manufacturer of technologies in heat transfer, separation, and fluid handling, was fined $172,700 after an OSHA investigation found it exposed employees to struck-by and amputation hazards.

The company was cited for failing to implement an energy control plan, failing to protect workers from exposure to struck-by and amputation hazards, and failing to train employees on hazardous chemicals. In all, OSHA found eight serious, three repeat, and two other violations.

Food manufacturer fined for exposing workers to hazards

An OSHA investigation, which took place after a facility evacuation sent workers to the hospital, found that Diversified Foods and Seasonings failed to provide a safe workplace. The agency found that employees were exposed to hazardous chemicals and electrical hazards, not given proper respiratory protection, and exposed to fall hazards.

The company was subsequently fined $124,000 for 25 serious and one other violation.

Sauerkraut cannery fined after worker falls into vat

A Wisconsin cannery was fined $143,550 after an employee fell into an empty sauerkraut vat and broke multiple bones. OSHA levied a total of one willful, two repeat, five serious, and one other-than-serious violation to GLK Foods in the wake of the injury.

Inspectors found that the plant failed to provide proper fall protection, install safeguards on moving conveyor parts, or use lockout/tagout devices to prevent unexpected machinery startup during service or maintenance.

General and subcontractor cited for exposing workers to cave-ins

OSHA has issued citations to Owen-Ames-Kimball and to Stevens and Layton for exposing workers to cave-in hazards. Kimball, a general contracting company, subcontracted to Layton for utility line installation in Florida; the companies now face a collective $107,400 in fines.

Owens-Ames-Kimball was assessed two serious safety violations, and Stevens and Layton received two willful and two serious safety citations. The investigation found that workers did not use sloping or bracing to prevent soil collapses in an excavation site, and employees were not properly trained to avoid cave-in hazards.

Deaths lead to $226,000 fine for New Orleans tank cleaner

Three workers tragically succumbed in October 2015 to oxygen deprivation inside a rail tanker in New Orleans. A follow-up OSHA investigation found that the workers’ lives could have been spared, had their employer taken proper precautions.

Investigators maintained that Dedicated TCS failed to test the atmosphere inside the tanker before workers entered, and the employees performed their duties without lifelines that could have facilitated a rescue.

In all, the company faces $226,310 in fines for two willful, three repeat, and four serious violations.

Dollar General fined after exposing workers to safety hazards

Retail chain Dollar General has been fined $107,620 for exposing employees to numerous hazards at stores in Mississippi and West Virginia.

An OSHA investigation found that the stores exposed employees to electrical hazards, failed to perform annual inspections on fire extinguishers, and blocked emergency exits with carts and merchandise.

Dollar General is no stranger to OSHA citations: The discount retailer has been inspected 55 times and received 155 citations since November 2010.

Recent inspections result in $280,000 in fines for contractor company

Georgia-based Jasper Contractors was recently hit with $280,000 in penalties for failing to provide fall protection, exposing workers to fall hazards, and failing to ensure employees used eye protection while operating nail guns.

It’s the latest in a series of fines for the roofing company. OSHA has completed 13 inspections at Jasper work sites since 2009. Those inspections found 24 violations and have led to more than $516,000 in penalties.

"Despite its claim that its employees 'are adults who know the risks,' Jasper Contractors has a legal responsibility to protect its employees," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville, in a news release. "This company's dismissive approach toward workplace safety is illegal and irresponsible. OSHA will continue to use all its available resources to ensure workers are protected."

Steel mill fined for exposing workers to fall, machine hazards

Republic Steel pledged to address safety violations at its U.S. mills as part of a corporate settlement with OSHA in 2014. It hasn’t been enough, however; the company was fined $121,000 for five repeated violations.

Inspectors cited the company for exposing workers to fall hazards, failing to power down equipment prior to maintenance, failing to adequately guard machines, and more.

Battery manufacturer fined after employee loses part of finger

Exide Technologies has been fined $127,300 for exposing workers to electrical and machine hazards. The investigation followed an incident in which an employee lost part of a finger while working on an unguarded machine.

In all, the company received one willful and 10 serious safety violations for slip and trip hazards, blocked exit paths, confined space violations, and more.