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.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Significant OSHA Citations and Settlements - Adams Thermal To Pay $1.33 Million

Adams Thermal Systems To Pay $1.33 Million to Resolve OSHA Citations and Criminal Penalties

Adams Thermal Systems Inc. has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to pay more than $1.33 million to resolve criminal penalties and OSHA fines levied as a result of the death of a worker on Nov. 7, 2011, in the company's Canton plant. The U.S. Attorney's Office filed the Deferred Prosecution Agreement on Sept. 5, 2013, and has asked that it be approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company will pay the worker's surviving spouse $450,000, a criminal fine of $450,000 and the full OSHA fine of $435,000 stemming from the regulatory violations that caused the fatality and additional violations discovered in subsequent inspections.

OSHA's investigation found the worker was fatally crushed in a machine used to make radiator cores, after management instructed and authorized workers to bypass the manufacturer's barrier guard in order to adjust the machine to keep it running. OSHA also conducted two concurrent safety and health investigations at the company in February 2012, which resulted in 66 violations.

Because the willful violations cited by OSHA caused the worker's death, the case was referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota in November 2012 for criminal prosecution. Criminal Chief Dennis Holmes handled the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The agreement resolves both of the OSHA civil cases, and includes significant enhanced abatement of violations by the company. Adams Thermal Systems agreed to:
  • increase the size of its safety and health department
  • implement a companywide safety and health program
  • provide incentives for managers and workers to report safety issues and make safety recommendations
  • hire a qualified third-party to review guarding and lockout/tagout for all plant machinery and to audit the abatement of all identified hazards
  • report quarterly to OSHA for three years on safety progress and reportable illnesses and injuries
  • redesign the safety systems and procedures on the radiator core machine involved in the fatality
The agreement will resolve three willful citations issued for $210,000 on April 26, 2012, as a result of the fatality investigation. The settlement also resolves the additional citations issued on August 2012, following two concurrent comprehensive safety and health inspections, with proposed penalties of $225,000. The comprehensive safety and health cases involved 58 serious violations and eight other-than-serious violations addressing unlabeled piping systems; obstructions in aisles and passageways; unguarded machinery; crane and hoist hazards; improper exits; electrical hazards and exposures to chemicals, dust, and noise.

OSHA placed Adams Thermal Systems, which manufactures engine cooling systems for off-highway and on-highway vehicles, in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program in August 2012 as a result of these inspections. The program 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.

OSHA Significant Citations

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.

Packaging Corporation of America Fined After Worker Burned ($185,560)
Fox Valley Systems Cited For 26 Violations Following Explosion ($262,000)

Packaging Corporation of America has been cited by OSHA for 30 safety violations, with proposed penalties of $185,560, after a worker was severely burned while attempting to relight a steam boiler in the plant. The incident took place at the Tomahawk pulp and paper mill in March.

In 2012, a steam and ash release triggered by fly ash at the Tomahawk plant fatally injured two contractors. In 2008, three workers were killed and another injured during an explosion in the storage area. The company employs 440 workers at the Tomahawk facility and 8,700 corporatewide at facilities in 30 states. Forty-six violations have been cited nationwide in the past five years; the Tomahawk mill accounts for six of those violations, which stemmed from the 2008 incident, and one violation in 2012.

In this investigation, seven repeat safety violations included:
  • lack of machine guarding
  • not providing a suitable eyewash station for workers exposed to corrosive substances
  • electrical safety hazards, such as legibly marking circuit breakers
  • using compressed air at greater than 30 pounds per square inch for cleaning purposes
  • improperly labeling containers of hazardous materials
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 violations have been cited at the company's other U.S. locations.

The company was cited for 17 serious safety violations including:
  • inadequate precautions to prevent ignition of flammable vapors and require usage of appropriate personal protective equipment to protect against burns
  • inadequate or lack of adequate guarding on wall openings, floor holes and open-sided platforms
  • lack of machine guarding on various pieces of equipment, including planers, saws and shafts
  • lack of machine warning lights
  • improperly stored oxygen and gas cylinders
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.

Additionally, six other-than-serious citations were issued for:
  • poor housekeeping
  • not marking confined spaces with signage
  • failing to post load capacities of storage areas
  • not labeling web sling capacity
  • failing to have individuals identified on lockout devices
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 current citations may be viewed at:

Based in Lake Forest, Ill., Packaging Corporation of America manufactures paper and cardboard boxes.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and notice of proposed penalties to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. If the company does not file or contest within that period, it must abate the cited conditions within the period ordered in the citations and pay the proposed penalties.

Fox Valley Systems Inc. has been cited for multiple safety violations following an explosion and fire that resulted in serious injuries to three employees on March 6 at the Cary plant. OSHA cited the company for 26 safety violations, including two willful violations where locked doors impeded exit routes and snow blocked exits, slowing employees from exiting the plant quickly. OSHA proposed penalties of $262,000 and placed the aerosol paint manufacturer in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Flammable vapors ignited in the production facility, resulting in an explosion and fire that caused extensive damage to the building and the interconnected aerosol-propellant charging rooms. Multiple violations of OSHA's process safety management standards for facilities that use highly hazardous chemicals were found at the facility.

Fox Valley Systems Inc. was cited for six willful violations. Two of the willful violations concerned exit doors locked from the outside and the failure to provide unobstructed exit routes. As an example, an employee with clothing on fire crawled beneath conveyor lines and past a pallet of materials that partially blocked the exit path to forcibly open an exit door latched shut from the outside and blocked by snow. Another willful violation involved workers operating propane-powered industrial trucks in the production area where such use was not approved.

The remaining four willful violations involved OSHA's process safety management standards, including:
  • failure to develop and implement written, safe operating and mechanical integrity procedures
  • failure to ensure that equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices
  • failure to conduct inspections and tests on process equipment
A total of 20 serious safety violations included:
  • inadequate storage of flammable liquids
  • various electrical equipment deficiencies
  • additional violations of process safety management elements, including a lack of:
    • employee participation
    • process safety information
    • implementation of safe work practices
    • employee training
    • emergency action planning and alarm systems
    • process hazard analysis and compliance audits
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:

OSHA also conducted a separate and recent safety inspection in August of the company's paint striping, and cart manufacturing operation located within the same warehouse. The company was cited for 11 violations involving:
  • electrical equipment deficiencies
  • not implementing safe electrical work practices
  • not providing electrically rated personal protective equipment
  • omissions in chemical labeling
  • failure to develop a hazardous energy control program
  • forklift training deficiencies
  • not having fall protection at a ladder hatchway providing access to the roof
Penalties resulting from the August inspection totaled $22,800.

Fox Valley Systems Inc. employs approximately 23 workers.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and notice of proposed penalties to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. If a company does not file or contest within that period, it must abate the cited conditions within the period ordered in the citations and pay the proposed penalties.

Related Past Posts:
OSHA Significant Citations - $550,000 In Fines
OSHA Significant Citations - $317,000 In Fines
OSHA Significant Citations - $540,000 In Fines

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posted by Steve Hudgik
View This Post - (1 Comments)


Anonymous Sandra said...

It's such a tragedy how often an incident like that explosion is FOLLOWED by safety violation penalties. I don't remember the last time that an incident occurred and there where no safety violations found. I mean safety is such an integral part of a work place, whether you're dealing with hazardous chemicals or not. I mean there are literally hundreds of companies out there trying to make the workplace safer: there are fire doors Sydney makes, safety signs, sprinkler systems, all sorts of things. It all comes down to valuing the life of your workers and yourself. Safety must be a priority.

8:14 AM  

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