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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 04, 2013

Significant OSHA Citations Over $100,000

The following is a summary of OSHA and state OSHA significant citations that have proposed fines over $100,000 that were announced during the week ending March 2nd.

The following are based on a press releases from OSHA and other sources. We are now including reports from states, such as California, Oregon and Wyoming, in which the state has responsibility for workplace safety enforcement.

OSHA Cites Highway Technologies For 10 Safety Violations ($448,000)
Citations Result From Worker's Death at Boschertown Sanitary Sewer Lift Station ($229,600)



OSHA has cited Highway Technologies Inc. in Minneapolis for ten safety violations, including six willful violations, after a worker died from injuries sustained while working with equipment that came into contact with overhead power lines on I-94 near Menomonie, Wisconsin.

The company was performing guard rail and sign installation for a 13-mile stretch of I-94 in western Wisconsin under contract with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation when the incident occurred on Sept. 17, 2012. Citations have been issued for six instance-by-instance willful violations that include:
  • failing to ensure that parts of the equipment being operated were not within 10 feet of a power line.
  • exposing workers to electrical shock and electrocution hazards.
  • failing to ensure that any part of the machinery was not within 6 feet of an overhead power line while the machinery was traveling beneath the power lines. 
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.

Due to the nature of the hazards and the violations cited, Highway Technologies Inc. has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure future compliance with the law

Four serious violations also cited include:
  • failing to identify electrical work zones
  • failing to determine if any part of the equipment being operated would be closer than 20 feet of a power line
  • failing to train each worker on safe clearance distances from power lines
  • failing to evaluate that each employee understood the training and risks of working near overhead power lines. 
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.

Highway Technologies Inc., headquartered in Houston, employs about 1,500 workers in 13 states installing highway guardrails, crash attenuators, barrier walls and signage. Prior to this investigation, the company had been inspected by OSHA 10 times since 2007, resulting in citations for nine serious violations. One of these inspections was initiated based on employee injuries sustained from contacting an overhead power line while installing a highway sign.

Proposed penalties for citations issued following this current investigation total $448,000.

The company 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.


OSHA has cited Coatings Unlimited Inc. in Bridgeton with a total of 14 safety violations from an August 2012 incident in which a worker overcome by exposure to methyl ethyl ketone collapsed and died inside an 18-foot-deep vault manhole during construction of the Boschertown sanitary sewer lift station. St. Louis-based KCI Construction Co. Inc., the project's general contractor, was also cited with one serious violation.

The three willful Coatings Unlimited violations include failing to:
  • implement safety precautions prior to assigning an employee work in six separate confined spaces.
  • test the confined space for atmospheric conditions prior to and during entry.
  • control exposure to methyl ethyl ketone through the use of engineering controls, such as ventilation, to ensure workers did not exceed the permissible exposure limit. 
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.

Coatings Unlimited was also cited with 10 serious violations, five for violating OSHA's respiratory protection standards, including failing to:
  • provide work site procedures to protect employees when an atmospheric condition existed in a confined space
  • provide a knowledgeable person as a respirator program administrator manager
  • provide medical evaluations to all employees using respirators
  • provide annual respirator training and maintain respirator fit-test training records.
The remaining violations involve failing to:
  • provide proper chemical-resistant gloves for methyl ethyl ketone use
  • provide training on the hazards of chemicals used in the workplace or on confined space hazards
  • provide fire extinguishers on scene for use when flammable liquids were in use
  • provide adequate use of portable extension ladders as a means of egress from a confined space.
Coatings Unlimited was also issued one other-than-serious citation for failing to label storage tanks with signage to identify chemical hazards.

KCI Construction was cited with one serious violation for failing to conduct frequent and regular inspections of the job site material and equipment by a competent person and train workers to recognize unsafe confined space conditions. 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.

Due to the nature of the hazards and the violations cited, OSHA has placed Coatings Unlimited Inc. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers who endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

Proposed penalties for Coatings Unlimited total $224,000 and for KCI Construction, $5,600. Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of the 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:
Significant OSHA Citations - Week Ending February 23rd
Significant OSHA Citations - Week Ending February 16th
Significant OSHA Citations - Week Ending February 9th


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posted by Steve Hudgik
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