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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, February 24, 2014

OSHA Significant Citations - Two Citations, Over $900,000 In Fines

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 of $100,000 or more.

Florida Manufacturer Cited For Willful Violations Following Fatality ($697,700)
Dust, Amputation And Other Hazards At Lumber Manufacturer ($279,400)


Workers Exposed To Hazards Due To Lack Of LOTO and Guarding

In August 2013, a 32-year-old machine helper entered a large wire mesh manufacturing machine to retrieve a fallen metal bar, and he was struck and killed by a part that feeds the wire into the machine's welding area. The light curtain that would have automatically turned the machine off before he entered the danger zone had been disabled. Proper operation of the machine's guards would have saved his life.

Today, following its investigation of the incident and inspection of the work site, OSHA cited Wire Mesh Sales LLC for eight per-instance willful violations as well as a number of other repeat, serious and other-than-serious citations. Proposed penalties total $697,700. The company has been put into OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses resources on inspecting employers who have demonstrated indifference to their legal obligations by committing willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations.

"This was a preventable and senseless tragedy," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "When employers are serious about safety, everyone benefits. Wire Mesh Sales LLC failed to properly implement OSHA safety regulations, and a worker paid the ultimate price."

The per-instance willful citations included:
  • failure to guard the wire mesh manufacturing machine as well as three other large machines that make wire mesh or straighten and test the wire.
  • failing to assure that four machines, including the one involved in the incident, were shut down and hazardous sources of energy were locked or tagged out prior to employees' entering and servicing the equipment where no guards protected them from harm.
The 56 employees, most of who were not native English speakers and who worked 12-hour shifts seven days per week, were exposed to serious injury or death because of these failures. OSHA proposes $560,000 in fines for the eight per-instance willful violations.

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.

A total of 22 serious violations allege a variety of conditions, including:
  • a factory floor cluttered with broken pallets creating a hazard that could lead to workers tripping and falling into moving machine parts
  • an electrical outlet left on the ground wrapped in tape that posed a shock hazard
  • a bathroom with a sink that had been clogged for months with maggots swimming in standing water.
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. Fines for the serious violations total $126,700.

Wire Mesh was also cited for a repeat violation for failing to administer an effective hearing conservation program. The company violated this standard at its Oglesby, Ill., facility in 2012. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. There are $11,000 in proposed fines for the repeat violation.

Finally, the company was cited for four other-than-serious safety and health violations for failing to: mark exits, assure crane operation safety and develop an effective respirator program for employees 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 injury.

Click here to view all of the citations in this case. Wire Mesh has more than 200 employees nationwide, and recorded $60 million in revenue in 2012.

The employer has 15 business days from receipt of the citation and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.


Dupont Yard Inc., a forest products manufacturer in Homerville, Georgia, has been cited for 22 safety and health violations by OSHA.

OSHA started its inspection following a complaint regarding hazardous working conditions at the company's manufacturing facility in Homerville. Proposed penalties total $279,400.

Dupont Yard manufactures posts for agricultural projects and highway construction, and produces timber and wood chips. In the past six years, 39 violations have been cited in four previous inspections.

The current inspection found three willful safety violations, carrying $171,600 in penalties. OSHA found that workers were exposed to hazards from the company's failure to implement basic safety procedures that would prevent equipment from starting up or moving during maintenance (LOTO), which can cause amputation, other serious injuries or death. Additionally, there were caught-in and crushing hazards from unguarded rotating chains and sprocket wheels, as well as electrical hazards.

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.

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.

Two repeat violations, carrying penalties of $30,030, are associated with inspections in March 2008 and January 2011. The company lacked proper housekeeping and failed to close electrical panels, risking electric shock hazards. 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.

Workers also were exposed to 17 serious safety and health violations, with $77,770 in penalties. Many relate to failing to implement a lockout/tagout (LOTO) program properly, including not providing workers with training and locks for equipment before maintenance operations. Accumulated wood dust greater than 1/8 inch was also found on ledges and electrical equipment.

The current citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/dupontyardinc_931983_02-18-2014.pdf.

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.


Related Past Posts:
OSHA Significant Citations
OSHA Significant Citations - Over $800,000
OSHA Significant Citations Announced Last Week

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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