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Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Summary Of Major OSHA Citations - Week Of February 19th




Summary of major OSHA citations announced during the week of February 19th.

The following are press releases from OSHA.



Excel, Inc. Cited For Safety Violations At Hersey Distribution Center ($288,000)
OSHA cites Basic Grain Products After Worker Is Injured By Conveyor Belt ($112,000)

Exel, Inc. Web Site Home Page

OSHA cited two companies and has proposed $288,000 in fines for workplace safety and health violations involving foreign students who were summer workers hired by Excel to work at the Hershey Palmyra, Pa., facility.

OSHA has cited Exel Inc. for nine – including six willful – workplace safety and health violations at the Eastern Distribution Center III, a facility in Palmyra owned by the Hershey Co. and operated by Exel. Proposed penalties total $283,000. OSHA also has cited the SHS Group LP, doing business as SHS Staffing Solutions, for one violation with a proposed penalty of $5,000.

The agency's inspection was conducted in response to a complaint filed by the National Guestworker Alliance on behalf of a group of foreign students who were performing summer jobs at the Palmyra facility under the U.S. Department of State's J-1 visa program. Their visas were sponsored by the nonprofit organization Council for Educational Travel-USA. The complaint alleges a number of abuses of the visa program, which is designed to promote cultural exchange, as well as exploitative and unsafe conditions in the workplace.

Under a contract with Exel, SHS Staffing Solutions hired the students to work at the Palmyra site repackaging Hershey candies for promotional displays. Exel is a contract logistics provider headquartered in Westerville, Ohio, with more than 40,000 employees at more than 500 sites in North America.

Exel was responsible for record keeping in the Palmyra facility. OSHA has cited the six willful violations with penalties totaling $280,000 for failing to record injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log for four years, evaluate the accuracy of the 300 logs before certifying them for three years, and develop and implement an effective hearing conservation program. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

"Nothing useful can be learned from an unrecorded injury," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "Accurate records provide critical information to employers and employees about the cause and prevention of work-related injuries. The law requires employers to maintain complete and accurate records because, without these, it is more difficult to prevent additional injuries and illnesses from occurring."

SHS Staffing Solutions, a temporary staffing provider headquartered in Lemoyne, has been cited with one serious violation for failing to provide training to employees on the lockout/tagout of energy sources. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Exel also has been cited for three other-than-serious violations carrying a $3,000 penalty related to inadequate record keeping. An other-than-serious violation is one that probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Additionally, the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division is investigating potential violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act relating to the work performed by the CETUSA-sponsored foreign students. Because CETUSA has withheld documents from investigators, the secretary of labor filed a petition to enforce an administrative subpoena against CETUSA in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in order to complete this investigation. On Feb. 7, Judge William W. Caldwell ordered CETUSA to file a response on or before Feb. 20 to explain to the court why the documents have not been produced. CETUSA has filed a response pursuant to the court's order, and further proceedings before Caldwell are anticipated.

Both Exel and SHS Staffing Solutions have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Basic Grain Products does not have a web site.
This map (Google Maps) shows Basic Grain Products'
location (red dot)  in Coldwater, OH, near the Indiana border.
OSHA has cited Basic Grain Products Inc. with 13 safety violations for failing to ensure hazardous energy sources were secured, among other dangers. OSHA opened an inspection in September based on a complaint that a worker had suffered sprains, multiple lacerations and contusions as a result of having clothing become caught in a conveyor belt that had not been properly locked out prior to maintenance and cleaning activities. The Coldwater-based snack food producer faces proposed fines of $112,000.

Two willful violations with penalties of $70,000 have been cited for the employer's failure to develop and ensure machine-specific energy control procedures were used to control the flow of hazardous energy when workers were cleaning the conveyor system, which left them exposed to amputation and "caught-by" hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Seven serious safety violations with penalties of $38,000 involve the employer's failure to provide guarding around floor holes, provide adequate assessments to determine if personal protective equipment was required, provide training on lockout/tagout procedures for hazardous energy sources, guard machines and shaft ends, certify that a workplace hazard assessment was performed, provide workers with safety glasses while they were cleaning with compressed air, and use compressed air for cleaning at a pressure of less than 30 pounds per square inch. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Four other-than-serious violations with $4,000 in penalties involve failing to properly complete the OSHA 300 injury and illness log for the years 2008 through 2011. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical injury.

"Failing to develop and implement procedures to control hazardous energy by locking out equipment prior to cleaning operations exposes workers to amputation and caught-by hazards, and demonstrates this employer's lack of regard for workers' safety and health," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."

Prior to this inspection, the company had been inspected by OSHA five times since 2001, resulting in citations for 12 serious violations related to electrical safety, machine guarding and a lack of hazard communication.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/BasicGrainProducts_98342_0215_12.pdf*.

Basic Grain Products 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.

Related Past Posts:
Summary Of OSHA Citations For Week Of February 12th
Summary Of OSHA Citations For Week Of February 5th
Summary Of OSHA Citations For Week Of January 29th

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