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DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Steve Hudgik

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with what is happening at OSHA as well as other workplace safety news. Includes a report on the significant OSHA citations announced the previous week. Plus we scan national and local (and world) publications for workplace safety news. This is your source for the latest safety news.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Summary Of Major OSHA Citations - Week Of March 12th



Summary of major OSHA citations announced during the week of March 12th.

The following are based on press releases from OSHA.


Stella-Jones Corp., A Railroad Ties Manufacturer, Cited For 16 Safety Violations ($120,600)
OSHA Cites Agro Farma for 34 Safety and Health Violations ($178,000)

OSHA Proposes Fines Against Dollar Tree Stores For Repeat Safety Hazards ($121,000)

OSHA has cited Stella-Jones Corp., a manufacturer of railroad ties, with 16 safety violations, including one willful, following the crushing death of a worker who was caught in a machine at the company's facility in Warrior.

OSHA's Birmingham Area Office initiated an inspection Sept. 12 in response to the fatality. The willful violation is failing to install guards to prevent access to the rotating and moving parts of a pre-plate boring machine used to drill holes into railroad ties. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

"Management failed to install the protections designed by the machine's manufacturer to prevent entrapment," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham. "This incident could have been avoided if the company had followed OSHA standards and the machine manufacturer's specifications."

Twelve serious violations involve failing to cover openings in the conveyor where employees could step into the machinery, provide machine guards on a conveyor or saw, conduct inspections of energy control procedures, develop lockout/tagout procedures to prevent unplanned energizing of the pre-plate machine when it was being serviced, mark permit-required confined spaces, evaluate the ability to respond to a rescue if needed and provide railings on a platform so workers were not exposed to fall hazards. The violations also include electrical deficiencies such as a receptacle lacking a cover plate, wiring and equipment in the treatment plant that were not approved for wet locations, and electrical cords lacking strain relief. 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.

Three other-than-serious violations include failing to mark exits, using damaged electrical cords and using a flexible cord instead of fixed wiring. 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 harm.

Due to the willful violation and the nature of the hazards, OSHA has placed Stella-Jones in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information on the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Stella-Jones-Corporation_315969071_0308_12.pdf*.

Proposed penalties for the citations total $120,600. The company, headquartered in Montreal, Canada, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Birmingham or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


Agro Farma manufacturing plant in New Berlin, NY.
Photo From the SBA
OSHA has cited Agro Farma Inc. for 34 alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards at its New Berlin facility. The manufacturer of Chobani Greek Yogurt faces a total of $178,000 in proposed penalties following inspections by OSHA's Syracuse Area Office that were prompted by a complaint.

"Our inspections identified a wide range of mechanical, chemical, electrical and health hazards that, left uncorrected, expose the plant's employees to being caught in moving machine parts or unexpectedly energized machinery, electrocution, falls, being overcome in toxic or oxygen-deficient atmospheres, and hearing loss," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse.

The Syracuse.com news web site has published an article with a comment from Agro Farma that states:

"Since OSHA’s initial inspection, we have undertaken substantial abatement and corrective actions," said Agro Farma Inc. spokeswoman Kelly LaCorte in a news release. She said the company continues to work with OSHA to improve safety at the plant."

"We are committed to providing a safe, healthy workplace," she said.

The OSHA press release reports that OSHA found numerous instances of unguarded moving machine parts; electrical hazards, including failing to train employees in electric safety-related work practices; a lack of personal protective equipment for employees working on live electrical equipment; a lack of fall protection for employees accessing the top of milk trucks; missing or inadequate energy control procedures and training for employees cleaning a trash compactor; failing to label all confined space work areas and provide confined space training; wet floors; unguarded floor holes; railings not provided over dangerous equipment; and stairway and exit deficiencies.

The inspection also identified deficiencies in the plant's process safety management program, which prevents the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals, including unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; failing to provide audiometric testing for employees exposed to excess noise levels; and failing to refit and retrain employees who experienced a hearing loss. These conditions resulted in the issuance of 33 serious citations, with $177,000 in proposed fines. 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.

Agro Farma Inc. also has been issued one other-than-serious citation, with a $1,000 fine, for failing to record hearing losses in its OSHA 300 injury and illness log. 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 harm.

"An effective illness and injury prevention program is one way of preventing workplace hazards such as these," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional director in New York.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AgroFarma_315849406.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AgroFarma_315849067.pdf.


OSHA proposes $121,000 in fines to Dollar Tree Stores for repeat workplace safety hazards at Newark, NJ, storeNEWARK, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Chesapeake, Va.-based Dollar Tree Stores for two repeat safety violations at its Newark location. OSHA opened an inspection in response to a complaint alleging blocked fire exits and the unsafe storage of items in stock. Proposed penalties total $121,000.

The first violation is permitting exit routes to be obstructed by boxes and product carts. OSHA previously cited Dollar Tree Stores for the same violation at its Bergenfield and Dover, N.J., locations in 2010 and 2008, respectively. The second violation is storing materials in an unsafe manner. OSHA cited this violation at the company's Commack, N.Y.; Watchung, N.J.; and Dover, N.J., locations in 2011, 2010 and 2008, respectively. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

"These violations are often found at retail stores and can pose a serious risk to workers," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "It is imperative that Dollar Tree Stores evaluate all of its locations for these and other potential workplace hazards, and take the appropriate steps to protect workers."

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/DollarTreeStoresInc_315793539_0312_12.pdf*.

"The company can prevent these types of hazards by establishing an injury and illness prevention program in which it works with its employees to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

Dollar Tree Stores, which employs nine people at the Newark store, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations 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.


Related Past Posts:
Summary of OSHA Citations For Week Of February 26th
Summary Of OSHA Citations For Week Of February 19th
Summary Of OSHA Citations For Week Of February 12th

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