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DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

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, June 24, 2013

OSHA Significant Citations - Environmental Company Fined $325,710

The following is a summary of recent OSHA and state OSHA significant citations. These are citations that have proposed fines over $100,000 and that were announced during the past week.

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

Florida Underground Utility Company Cited For Trenching Violations ($106,000)
Environmental Enterprises Cited After Worker Dies From Burns ($325,710)


OSHA has cited Gulf Coast Utility Contractors LLC with two willful and two serious safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $106,400. The citations are for exposing workers to  cave-in and other hazards while they were installing underground utilities in Panama City Beach, Florida.

An OSHA inspection was initiated in December 2012 after OSHA inspectors observed hazards while passing the work site.

Another inspection took place in February 2013 after additional trenching hazards were found at the same project in a different area. The inspections were part of OSHA's national emphasis program on trenching. Both willful violations, with $98,000 in proposed penalties, involved failing to provide workers with protection against cave-in hazards while working in a trench greater than five feet in depth.

Two serious violations, with penalties totaling $8,400, were cited because the employer failed to provide hard hats or a ladder to workers entering and exiting the excavation, thus exposing them to struck-by and fall hazards.

OSHA standards mandate that all excavations five feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available on OSHA's website at:
http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

The citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/GulfCoastUtility_796981_906937_06172013.pdf

Gulf Coast Utility Contractors has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by OSHA's Jacksonville area office.


Environmental Enterprises Inc. has been cited by OSHA with 22 safety and health violations after a fire and explosion occurred at the Cincinnati waste treatment facility on Dec. 28. Two employees were severely burned by the fire, one fatally.

OSHA determined the cause of the fire and explosion to be the ignition of an organic industrial filter cartridge filled with sodium chlorate, a strong oxidizer. The likely source of the ignition was an electrically-powered reciprocating saw that the employees received permission to use to remove metal end caps and mesh from the filter. When in contact with incompatible materials, including organics, sodium chlorate becomes sensitive to reactions capable of resulting in fire and violent explosions.

As a result of the four willful violations found related to the fatality, OSHA has placed the company 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 that 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 at related work sites of the employer. OSHA has also proposed fines of $325,710.

The four willful violations cited involved:
  • failing to develop and implement hazardous waste handling procedures
  • failing to provide new training to employees assigned to handle waste materials
  • failing to select and ensure the use of proper personal protective equipment
  • failing to train workers on its selection and use for protection from various materials that are part of their routine assignments. 
A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing of voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

There were nine serious safety violations related to:
  • the use of electrical equipment within the flammable storage room causing a fire hazard
  • not developing material handling procedures
  • inadequate hazardous waste processing and permit-confined space procedures
  • failing to conduct periodic inspections of energy-control procedures
  • lack of training and personal protective equipment for employees assigned to work on energized circuits.
An additional seven serious health violations involved:
  • the lack of a hearing conservation program
  • improper storage of flammable liquids
  • failing to develop a hazard communication program
  • not fully developing decontamination procedures and a written emergency response plan
  • allowing lead, inorganic arsenic and cadmium dust accumulation
  • inadequate exposure control plan
  • violations of the bloodborne pathogen program. 
The current citations may be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/EEI_Safety_citations.pdf
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/EEI_Health_citations.pdf


Environmental Enterprises Inc. is headquartered in Cincinnati where it employs about 85 workers. The company also has business-related facilities in Columbus, Ohio; Virginia and Pennsylvania, which employ an additional 35 workers.

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.


Related Past Posts:
OSHA Significant Citations
OSHA Significant Citations - Recycling Company Cited For LOTO Violation
Significant Citations - Massachusetts Contractor Faces Fines

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