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DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

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.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

OSHA Significant Citations - Over $2,000,000 In Fines Last Week

This is a summary of the OSHA and state OSHA significant citations announced in the past week. These are citations that have proposed total fines that exceed $100,000.



Hawaii Food Warehouse Cited For 63 Health and Safety Violations ($251,330)
Oil and Gas Industry Manufacturer Cited For 38 Violations ($143,000)
Texas Wood Manufacturer Cited For Failing To Guard Machines ($148,400)
Republic Steel Faces Safety Fines ($1,100,000)
Georgia's Greg Sikes Farm cited For Grain Bin Hazards ($127,400)
Texas Cabinet Manufacturer Cited For Combustible Dust ($267,434)


Federal and state investigators have identified a total of 63 health and safety violations, including willful violations of three standards, at a refrigerated food warehouse in Honolulu occupied by Unicold Corp. and nine tenants. The employers face a total of $251,330 in proposed fines following joint inspections by OSHA and Hawaii's Department of Labor and Industrial Relations' Occupational Safety and Health Division. The inspections were conducted under OSHA's National Emphasis Program for facilities with highly hazardous chemicals.

The willful violations included
  • locked and sealed exit doors
  • failure to keep exit routes free and unobstructed
  • failure to label exit routes and post signs clearly indicating the route to the nearest exit
Inspectors found 13 of the exit doors were locked from the outside and sealed shut, and that workers could not open or reach emergency exit doors because storage racks filled with pallets of products blocked the doors. The willful violations carry a proposed penalty totaling $112,000. 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.

There were fifty-eight serious violations related to hazards associated with process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals in the ammonia refrigeration system. These included:
  • missing stair railings
  • unguarded floor openings on stairway platforms
  • deficiencies in the company's plan for the response to workplace emergencies
  • inadequate electrical equipment
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.

The employer was also cited for two other-than-serious violations related to portable fire extinguishers. 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.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The federal citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Unicold_Corporation_890724_0809_13.pdf.


OSHA has cited Utex Industries Inc. for 38 safety and health violations, with a proposed fine of $143,000, for exposing workers to electrical, fire, machine guarding and health hazards at its Weimar manufacturing facility. The inspection was initiated in February under OSHA's Site Specific Targeting program that directs agency enforcement resources to high-hazard workplaces where the highest rates of injuries and illnesses occur.

The serious safety violations included failing to:
  • guard machinery
  • provide a proper conduit for compressed air
  • ensure electrical equipment is approved for usage
  • ensure spray booths have fire prevention equipment
  • keep flammable liquids in closed containers
  • prevent the accumulation of combustible dust
  • repair damaged pallet rack
  • properly repair and maintain forklifts.
The serious health violations include failing to:
  • implement a hearing conservation program
  • provide proper eye and foot protection
  • provide chemical eyewash stations for workers exposed to corrosive chemicals
  • implement a hazardous chemical communication program
In addition, three other-than-serious violations were cited for failing to provide proper respirators, evaluate lead exposure and allow usage of a 120-volt electrical receptacle without reverse polarity. 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.

A seven-step guide, including references for electrical, chemical, hearing protection, forklift and machine guarding safety, can be found at:
https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/quickstarts/general_industry/index_gi.html.

The citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/UtexIndustries_890856_0809_2013.pdf
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/UtexIndustries_890828_0809_2013.pdf

Utex Industries, which manufactures gaskets and seals for the oil and gas industry, employs more than 600 workers at the Weimar facility. Its headquarters is in Houston. The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Austin, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.



Typical wooden wire reel.
Photo by: Antti Leppänen
OSHA has cited Lone Star Reel Corp. in McKinney with 10 safety violations, including two willful. Proposed penalties total $148,400 for failing to guard machinery and exposing workers to amputation hazards.

OSHA began its programmed inspection, aimed at specific high-hazard industries, in February at the company's Throckmorton Street facility. The two willful safety violations were cited for:
  • failing to provide workers with documented procedures on how to control potentially hazardous energy sources during machine or equipment maintenance
  • failing to ensure that points of machine operations were guarded to prevent the exposure of any body parts in the danger zone during operation cycles.
The eight serious violations cited involved failing to:
  • ensure that dust collectors have proper explosion protection
  • ensure that all passageways, storerooms and service rooms were kept in a clean and orderly condition
  • ensure that energy control procedures were developed, documented and utilized
  • ensure that materials were stored in a stable or secure manner
  • ensure that powered industrial trucks were not used in the presence of combustible dust
  • ensure that one or more methods of machine guarding were provided to protect workers
  • ensure that unused openings in cabinets, boxes and fittings were closed
  • ensure that equipment in hazardous locations were approved for the class of location due to the presence of combustible dust
The citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Lone_Star_Reel_Corporation_881644_0812_13.pdf

Lone Star Reel Corp. is a miscellaneous wood manufacturer that produces wooden spool reels. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Dallas area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


Republic Steel has been cited by OSHA for 24 safety violations carrying fines of $1,138,500. Fifteen willful violations of OSHA's fall protection standards were found at the company's Canton steel manufacturing plant.

OSHA received a formal complaint from the United Steelworkers Union alleging inadequate fall protection and other unsafe practices exposing workers to various hazards in the plant's melt shop. During the inspection, opened in February 2013, OSHA discovered that two workers had been seriously injured in falls at the site in June and August of 2012.

The company has a history of failing to address fall hazards. In 2011, after an employee was seriously injured in a fall at the company's Lorain, Ohio, facility, OSHA issued willful citations to the company for fall hazards. In a settlement entered into with OSHA in 2012, the company accepted three willful fall hazard violations at the Lorain plant and to address fall protection at its plants, including the Canton plant.

A total of 15 willful violations were cited for failing to provide fall protection in the Canton steel mill. Among the violations noted were:
  • lack of fall protection while working on the runway girders that were 66 feet above the ground
  • falls of 30 feet due to missing and damaged guardrails. Workers were exposed to falls of up to 30 feet above the slag pit and falls of 20 feet above the electric arc furnace and molten steel ladle
One repeat violation was cited for failing to post danger signs or other effective means of indicating the existence and location of permit-required confined spaces in the melt shop. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violation was cited in August 2009 at the company's facility in Blasdell, N.Y.

Additionally, eight serious violations included:
  • tripping hazards
  • the use of electrical panels not suitable for wet locations
  • lack of personal protective equipment for employees working around the furnace
  • failing to evaluate potential hazards in confined spaces that employees might need to enter such as furnaces and duct work
  • failure to train workers on hazards and issue entry permits for those spaces.
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.

The current citations may be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Republic_Steel_891561_0812_13.pdf

Republic Steel will remain in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The company was placed in the program in 2011. OSHA's severe violator program 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.


Wheat field
Photo by: Myrabelle
OSHA has cited Greg Sikes LLC, doing business as Greg Sikes Farm LLC, with two willful and five serious safety violations and proposed penalties of $127,400. The Brooklet farm was inspected in February upon notice that a worker had become entrapped inside a grain handling storage bin while attempting to clear soybeans from a jammed auger.

Two willful violations involved failing to:
  • ensure the screw auger is locked out when workers are inside the bin
  • provide workers a body harness with a lifeline upon bin entry
Six serious violations include failing to:
  • develop an emergency action plan
  • provide annual training on grain handling hazards
  • obtain permits addressing bin entry procedures and requirements
  • equip the workers who entered the bin with rescue equipment
  • prevent workers from walking on the grain
  • ensure that an observer was stationed outside during bin entry or was equipped to provide assistance in case of an emergency.
The citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/GregSikesFarm_890822_0813_13.pdf.

OSHA is working with the grain and agricultural industries, and the agricultural community, to educate employers and workers about the six major hazards of the grain and feed industry. Through training, decals, brochures, websites and other means of communication, OSHA will continue to work to improve awareness of these hazards to ensure the safety and health of workers on farms and in grain handling facilities.

OSHA has published information related to common grain industry hazards and abatement methods, proper bin entry techniques, sweep auger use and many other grain-related topics at:
www.osha.gov/SLTC/grainhandling/index.html.

The National Grain Entrapment Prevention Initiative has also developed a flier on grain bin safety that is available at:
http://grainnet.com/pdf/Grain_Entrapment_Prevention.pdf.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations 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 Cardell Cabinetry LLC with 29 safety and health violations and a proposed penalty of $267,434 for failing to remove hazardous levels of combustible dust at the company's facility on North Panam Expressway in San Antonio. OSHA's San Antonio Area Office initiated the February inspection as both a follow-up and complaint inspection.

Combustible dusts include fine particles, fibers, chips, chunks or flakes that, under certain conditions, can cause a fire or explosion when suspended in air. Types of dusts include metal-for example, aluminum and magnesium-wood, plastic, rubber, coal, flour, sugar and paper.

The three repeat violations, with a penalty of $99,000, were cited for failing to:
  • remove combustible wood dust
  • cover electrical boxes
  • reduce the pressure of compressed air
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. Similar violations were cited in 2012.

A failure-to-abate violation, with a penalty of $34,034, was cited for failure to remove combustible wood dust from the parts mill area. The same violation was cited in 2012. A failure-to-abate notice applies to a condition, hazard or practice that, found upon re-inspection at the employer site, was the same as originally cited and not corrected.

Some of the 24 serious safety and health violations, with a penalty of $134,400, were cited for failing to:
  • provide adequate guarding on machinery
  • ensure electrical knockouts were covered
  • provide required personal protective equipment
  • administer audiometric exams to affected workers
  • lockout or tagout energy sources
  • ensure loads were secured and stable to prevent shifting
  • provide an effective hearing conservation program
The one other-than-serious health violation, with no monetary penalty, is for failing to annually fit test workers required to wear respirators. 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.

Additional information and resources for preventing and minimizing the effects of combustible dust fires and explosions is available at:
https://www.osha.gov/dsg/combustibledust/guidance.html.

The citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CARDELL_CABINETRY_891869_0814_13.pdf
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CARDELL_CABINETRY_315631242_0814_13.pdf
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CARDELL_CABINETRY_315627646_0814_13.pdf

Cardell Cabinetry specializes in kitchen cabinet manufacturing and employs about 1,100 workers. It has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in San Antonio or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


Related Past Posts:
OSHA Significant Citations - $540,000 In Fines
OSHA Significant Citations - Three Citation Totaling $618,000
OSHA Significant Citations - Arkansas Refinery Fined

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