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, November 04, 2013

Five Citations And $1.11 Million In Fines

OSHA Significant Citations Announced Last Week

OSHA defines a significant citation as one with more than $100,000 in proposed fines. The following are the citations OSHA announced last week that have total fines greater than $100,000.

Formed Fiber Technologies Cited For Repeat Violations ($115,000)
OSHA Finds 36 Safety Violations At Army Ammunition Facility (No Fine)
OSHA cites United Ethanol For 15 Violations After Fatality ($140,000)
Napoleon Spring Works In Ohio Cited For Amputation Hazards ($147,600)
Wyoming OSHA Cites Sinclair Refinery For 22 Violations ($707,000)

Formed Fiber Technologies Inc., a Sidney, OH automotive fabric manufacturing plant, has been cited for 11 violations carrying proposed fines of $115,000 after a complaint was filed and an investigation conducted by OSHA. The company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"Formed Fiber Technologies has a responsibility to protect workers from amputation, struck-by and crushing hazards by implementing energy control procedures and ensuring adequate machine guarding," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "Repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to worker safety and health."

Three repeat violations cited involved machine-specific energy control procedures, including:
  • failing to ensure lockout devices on equipment to prevent energization during servicing and maintenance
  • failing to conduct annual periodic inspections of energy control procedures
  • failing to record complete injury and illness information in the OSHA record logs

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 facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violations were cited in October 2011 in Auburn, Maine, where the company is based.

Seven serious violations included failing to:
  • ensure adequate machine guarding
  • affix locking devices to energy isolation points
  • ensure adequate training on the control of hazardous energy
  • provide fire extinguisher training
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.

One other-than-serious violation involved failing to standardize locks for isolating machinery energy sources. 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:

OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement 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. The company manufactures nonwoven fabrics and polyester staple fibers for the automotive industry. It employs 700 workers corporatewide, with 360 at the Sidney facility, and operates Color-Fi Inc. in Sumter, S.C.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request

Crane Army Ammunition Activity has been issued 36 notices of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions by OSHA, following an explosion and fire on March 28 in the pyrotechnic building of the Crane facility. Five workers were hospitalized after the incident. They were then treated at the hospital and released.

"The Crane Army Ammunition Activity failed to ensure the facility was in compliance with established safety and health procedures," said Vanessa Martin, director of OSHA's Indianapolis Area Office. "All employers are responsible for recognizing hazards in their facilities and addressing them by following OSHA standards. Thankfully, the hospitalized workers survived this unacceptable lapse in workplace safety."

The explosion and fire occurred in two dust collectors in the pyrotechnic building, where workers were in the process of cleaning the production area. The explosion forced the access door open, causing the fire and pressure wave to strike the production building. The facility receives, stores, ships, renovates, demilitarizes and produces conventional ammunition, missiles and related components. Multiple violations of OSHA's Process Safety Management standards for facilities that use highly hazardous materials and chemicals were found at the facility.

A total of 34 serious safety violations were noted. A violation is noted as serious 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.

Twenty-five of these serious violations involve PSM, including failure to:
  • compile existing process safety information
  • involve workers' employees in the process
  • develop, maintain and update information regarding safe limits and consequences of deviation
  • include materials of construction for the system or design standards and codes
  • ensure that equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices
  • address emergency operating procedures
  • conduct inspections and tests on process equipment
Nine other serious violations involved failing to:
  • develop specific energy control procedures
  • train workers on energy control procedures
  • conduct periodic inspections of the procedures
  • provide lockout/tagout devices
  • to guard belts and pulleys
  • conduct a personal protective equipment assessment
  • protect workers from combustible dust hazards
  • evaluate the workplace for permit-required confined spaces, issue entry permits, and implement safe entry procedures.
Two other-than-serious violations involved failing to evaluate respiratory hazards in the facility and not reviewing incident reports with affected workers. 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.

As required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, federal agencies must comply with the same safety standards as private sector employers. The federal agency equivalent to a private sector citation is the notice of unsafe and unhealthful working conditions. A notice is used to inform establishment officials of violations of OSHA standards and regulations. OSHA cannot propose monetary penalties against another federal agency for failure to comply with OSHA standards.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity employs 750 personnel and is located at Naval Support Activity in Crane. The facility has 15 business days from receipt of the notices to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or appeal the notices by submitting a summary of the agency's position on the unresolved issues to OSHA's regional administrator.

United Ethanol LLC has been cited for 15 health and safety violations by OSHA after a worker was fatally engulfed in corn inside a grain storage bin on April 19 at the Milton, WI ethanol manufacturing facility.

The worker entered the grain bin in an attempt to unclog the floor chute and became engulfed when corn began to flow. The commercial grain bin held about 140,000 bushels of corn at the time of the incident.

One willful violation was cited under OSHA's grain handling regulations for failing to lockout conveyors used to empty grain bins, which exposed the now-deceased worker to the engulfment hazard.

Five serious violations of OSHA's grain handling standards included failing to:
  • guard floor chute openings
  • prevent exposure to moving grain hazards
  • prevent workers from entering bins when engulfment hazards exist
  • have an observer oversee entry procedures
  • certify that all bin entry requirements had been implemented
The April fatality inspection resulted in OSHA initiating a comprehensive health inspection of the company's ethanol plant in May under the agency's national emphasis program for process safety management for covered chemical facilities. A total of 9 violations were cited.

Seven serious violations of OSHA's Process Safety Management standards included failing to:
  • develop emergency shutdown procedures for the ethanol distillation process
  • perform inspections and tests on control systems
  • perform storage of incompatible chemicals in close proximity
  • annually certify that operating procedures for the distillation process were current and accurate and to correct deficiencies noted in June 2010 compliance audits
Two other-than-serious violations involved failing to retrain ethanol distillation process operators at least every three years, and failing to consult workers on the development of refresher training and operating procedures.

Proposed fines total $140,000, following the two inspections. The current citations may be viewed at:

Due to the nature and severity of violations, the company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.

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.

In 2010, following a year which set a record for the highest number of grain bin entrapment deaths (26), OSHA focused its enforcement efforts on the grain and feed industry's six major danger areas. These include:
  • engulfment
  • falls
  • auger entanglement
  • struck-by
  • combustible dust
  • electrocution hazards
OSHA area offices have developed a local emphasis program dealing with grain. OSHA has also 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.

Napoleon Spring Works Inc., a manufacturer of garage door hardware located in Archbold, Ohio, has been cited with $147,600 in proposed penalties by OSHA for 16 safety violations, including exposing workers to amputation hazards at its Archbold plant.

"Our inspection found that employees were exposed to injury and amputation risk in this facility because of insufficient guarding at the point of operation of various machines," said OSHA Area Director Kim Nelson in Toledo. "Amputation hazards are one of the leading causes of injury in manufacturing. Napoleon Spring Works must be aware of workplace hazards and take all precautions to protect its workers."

Prompted by complaints alleging multiple safety hazards, OSHA's April inspection was expanded under OSHA's national emphasis program on amputations and local emphasis program for powered industrial vehicles.

One willful violation was cited for failing to guard two of the company's mechanical power presses. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Fifteen serious violations included failing to:
  • periodically inspect energy control procedures
  • provide sufficient energy control procedures
  • train workers in lockout/tagout procedures to control unexpected equipment energization
  • guard mechanical power presses and riveters
  • conduct periodic inspections of presses
  • train workers on the safe operation of presses
Additional violations involved failing to:
  • train and evaluate the safe operation of powered industrial trucks and ensure truck examinations prior to shift use
  • establish safe clearance around electrical boxes
  • lockout circuits during maintenance to prevent exposure to live electricity
  • maintain written deenergizing procedures
The citations can be viewed at:

Napoleon Spring Works Inc. employs 105 workers at its headquarters in Archbold and 160 at facilities in Paterson, N.J., and Phoenix. It is a subsidiary of Lynx Industries, based in Canada. 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.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration division (OSHA) within the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (DWS) has cited the Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company with $707,000 in fines for 22 violations found at the company’s Sinclair, Wyoming refinery operation.

The violations are the result of a May 2013 OSHA inspection which stemmed from an employee complaint and several gas releases that Sinclair voluntarily reported to DWS OSHA in May of 2013. Monetary penalties go entirely to the local school district where the violation occurred.

During the inspection, Wyoming OSHA found conditions that merit six willful violations resukting in a total of $420,000 in fines. Conditions found during the inspection include:
  • Insufficient or no processes and no corrective action available or taken for a documented history of Hydrogen Sulfide and Sulfur Dioxide releases
  • Inadequate or no training provided for operating procedures associated with processes and the hazards associated with the operation of the facility
  • An emergency eyewash safety shower out of service despite three previous sets of citations for this violation
Repeat Serious Violations

The inspection found conditions that resulted in six repeat serious violations being issued with a total $225,000 in fines. REpeat serious violations found during the inspection include:
  • Operating procedure for the Alkylation Unit failed to address the hazards presented by the chemicals used in its processes
  • The operation failed to make known precautions necessary to prevent exposure including the use of personal protective equipment
  • The employer failed to label numerous chemical containers to identify contents.
Serious Violations

The inspection found conditions that resulted in ten serious violations. A serious violation could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm. Violations in the serious category total $62,000 in fines. Conditions found during the inspection included:
  • Failure to meet Process Safety Management standards or develop operating procedures in relation to the Aggressive Biological Treatment Unit (ABTU) charge pit and the Alkylation Unit
  • Failure to inform contract employees of the known potential toxic release hazards related to work activities in these and other units
Pursuant to federal law, Sinclair Refinery has 15 days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Commission.

Related Past Posts:
No Significant Citations Last Week
OSHA Significant Citations
West Fertilizer Cited

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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