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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.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Last Week's OSHA Significant Citations

OSHA defines a significant citation as one with more than $100,000 in proposed fines. An OSHA citation is a claim by OSHA that there has been a safety violation. It does not mean a violation has taken place, nor that the violation is as severe as claimed. The company has 15 days to contest OSHA claims. The following are the citations OSHA announced last week that have total fines greater than $100,000.

Concrete Company Cited Following Temporary Worker Fatality ($303,900)
Chicago Engineering Firm Fails To Protect Workers In Trench ($105,600)
Florida Christian Ministry cited for 25 Violations ($228,600)
Sewer & Water Contractor Fails to Protect Workers In Trench ($150,150)


Concrete Company Cited Following Temporary Worker Fatality ($303,900)

Dukane Precast Inc., a precast concrete products manufacturer based in Naperville, IL, has been cited by OSHA for eight safety violations. An inspection was initiated after a temporary worker was fatally crushed at the company's Aurora, Illinois concrete batch plant while working alone in a permit-required confined space on July 20, 2013.

The 39-year-old Hispanic worker had entered a concrete mixer's discharge mud hopper. He tried to free a pneumatically powered discharge gate stuck in the open position because of hardened concrete. The gate, which had not been isolated to prevent unintentional operation during maintenance activity, closed and crushed the worker. The worker was a long-term temporary employee provided by Minute Men Staffing Services. He was supervised solely by Dukane Precast Inc. The staffing service was not cited.

Due to the willful violations found at the site, the company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities or job sites.

OSHA issued four willful citations involving the worker's entry into the concrete mixer's discharge hopper, including failure to:
  • Inform employees of the existence, location and danger posed by the concrete mixer and discharge hopper.
  • Ensure the concrete mixer and discharge hopper were isolated from the hazards of the concrete mixing system and associated process materials prior to employee entry.
  • Ensure that the concrete mixer's pneumatically powered discharge gate was de-energized and locked out prior to employee entry.
  • Prepare an entry permit and provide an attendant for employee entry.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for, or plain indifference to, employee safety and health.

Additionally, four serious citations were cited:
  • Lacking a standard guardrail or equivalent on an open-sided platform.
  • Not using ingress and egress equipment for maintenance performed in the mixer's discharge hopper.
  • Lack of a non-entry rescue retrieval system for maintenance performed in the mixer's discharge hopper.
  • Failing to conduct annual inspections of energy control procedures at the plant.
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.

OSHA has proposed fines of $303,900. The current citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Dukane_Precast_Incorporated_922746_0117_14.pdf

OSHA last inspected the company in February 2012. The inspection resulted in four violations, including one willful confined-space violation. The employer contested those alleged violations. The Chicago Regional Solicitor's Office tried the resulting case at a hearing before Administrative Law Judge Carol Baumerich of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in June 2013. The judge has not rendered a decision in the case.

In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers. Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows fatal work injuries involving contractor worker fatalities, including temporary help service workers, accounted for 708 (16%) of the 4,383 fatal work injuries reported in 2012. Additional details are available at: http://bls.gov/iif/home.htm.


Chicago Engineering Firm Fails To Protect Workers In Trench ($105,600)

OSHA has cited Pan-Oceanic Engineering Co. Inc. with willful and repeat safety violations for failing to protect workers from trenching hazards at a Chicago job site.  OSHA initiated the inspection after witnessing an employee working in an unprotected trench greater than 8 feet in depth. The proposed penalties total $105,600.

"It is unacceptable that Pan-Oceanic Engineering would allow workers to access an unprotected trench," said Gary Anderson, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. "Since 2003, this company has been cited multiple times for violations of trenching standards. Trenching hazards result in numerous fatalities and injuries every year. Companies who specialize in this type of work have a responsibility to protect their workers from fatalities."

OSHA opened the inspection under the national emphasis program for trenching and excavation, which was implemented in the 1980s. Due to the willful and repeat violations found at the site, the company has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA issued one willful citation for failing to provide cave-in protection for employees in a trench. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for, or plain indifference to, employee safety and health.

Two repeat violations were cited for:
  • failing to post legible traffic signs at hazardous points in a construction zone.
  • allowing an employee to access an unsupported trench beneath a street.
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 at a job site in Chicago in May 2010.

Additionally, OSHA issued one serious citation to Pan-Oceanic Engineering Co. for allowing a worker to access a trench after deficiencies were found at the site.

OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at:
http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

The current citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/PanOceanicEngineering_922686_0110_14.pdf

OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law and 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 or job sites.

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.


Florida Christian Ministry cited for 25 Violations ($228,600)

Teen Challenge of Florida Inc., an international rehabilitation program, has been cited by OSHA with 25 safety and health violations following an inspection of the company's facilities in Pensacola. OSHA initiated the July 2013 inspection after receiving a complaint alleging safety and health hazards. Proposed penalties total $228,600.

"This employer willfully disregarded worker safety by exposing workers to amputation hazards," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville, Fla. "The hazards found during our inspection must be eliminated from this workplace immediately."

Three willful violations, with $162,000 in penalties, involved the employer exposing workers to amputations hazards by not providing machine guarding on the hand-fed ripsaws, the cutting heads of the routers and the abrasive wheels on the grinding wheel. 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.

Eighteen serious safety and health violations, with $66,600 in penalties, included:
  • failing to provide workers first aid training in case of an emergency
  • failing to provide a suitable eyewash facility
  • failing to close unused openings in boxes, raceways, cabinets and equipment cases
  • failing to have uniform step heights on a standard stairway
  • failing to keep exit routes unobstructed
  • not providing machine guarding in numerous instances
  • having several electrical deficiencies were present
  • having various tripping hazards

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.

Four other-than-serious violations were also cited for the company's failure to:
  • illuminate exit signs
  • certify forklift operators as competent to operate powered industrial trucks safely
  • establish a respiratory protection program
  • have forklift nameplates and markings in place and in legible condition.
No monetary penalties were assigned for these violations. 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 citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Teen_Challenge_of_Florida_922044_0121_14.pdf

Teen Challenge of Florida in Pensacola offers assistance to adults ages 18 and older who are struggling with drug addiction, alcoholism and other life-controlling issues. The ministry 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 & Health Review Commission.


Sewer & Water Contractor Fails to Protect Workers In Trench ($150,150)

OSHA again cited Mike Neri Sewer & Water Contractor Inc. for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations at a commercial job site in Des Plaines,,Illinois. OSHA initiated the inspection after an inspector witnessed cave-in hazards while traveling past the construction site on July 24, 2013.

"This is the second time in months that OSHA has seen Mike Neri Sewer & Water Contractor exposing workers to dangerous excavation hazards at the same job site," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional administrator in Chicago. "Employers that continue to ignore safety regulations put their employee's lives at risk. Trenching hazards result in numerous fatalities and injuries every year. Companies specializing in this type of work have a responsibility to protect their workers from known hazards."

OSHA cited the company in April 2013 for the same hazards at this commercial construction site under OSHA's national emphasis program for trenching and excavation. After those citations, the company was placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. In this case, OSHA has proposed additional penalties of $150,150 for the company. The company has not responded to OSHA since the issuance of those citations.

Two willful violations were cited for failing to provide cave-in protection to workers installing a concrete manhole structure in a trench approximately 8-feet deep. The company also failed to ensure that excavated materials that posed a hazard-by falling or rolling into the trench-were placed at least 2 feet back from the trench edge. 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.

OSHA cited two repeat violations for failing to provide training to workers on trenching and excavation hazards, and ensuring that each worker exposed to struck-by hazards was protected by a helmet. 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 at the same job site in April 2013.

OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law and 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 or job sites.

The company was cited for three willful and two repeat violations because of an inspection initiated in October 2012 at the same job site. Proposed penalties totaling $110,440 were issued April 2013 .

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

In addition to the inspection conducted in October 2012, Mike Neri Sewer & Water Contractor has been inspected by OSHA three other times in the past five years, resulting in serious, repeat and willful citations related to trenching hazards.

The current citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/mike_neri_sewer_water_contractor_922610_0121_14.pdf
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/mike_neri_sewer_water_contractor_666698_0402_13.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 citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


Related Past Posts:
OSHA Significant Citations
Significant OSHA Citations - Forever 21 Cited
More Than $630,000 In Fines

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