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, March 24, 2014

Three OSHA Citations Announced Last Week

OSHA defines a significant citation as one with more than $100,000 in proposed fines.  Only one significant citation, plus two other citations, were announced by OSHA last week.

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.

ConAgra Foods Faces Fines For Dangerous Machinery ($117,000)
Follow-up Inspection Finds 11 Workplace Violations At US Minerals ($77,770)
Following Worker Fatality, Smiley Plaster Co. Cited ($57,000)

ConAgra Foods Inc. has been cited for multiple safety violations at its Columbus, Ohio flour mill.

Most of the citations were issued because machines lacked proper guarding, one of the 10 most frequently cited standards by OSHA. The 13 safety violations, which include three repeat citations, carry proposed penalties of $117,000. OSHA initiated an inspection of the plant in September 2013 after receiving a complaint.

"Lack of machine guarding can lead to amputation and other serious injuries. Risk to workers can be avoided by maintaining adequate guards and following manufacturer-recommended safety procedures," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus.

Three repeat violations included:
  • lack of machine guarding on horizontal shafts in the flour mill
  • failing to provide all required information on OSHA injury and illness logs
  • exposing workers to falls greater than 7 feet.
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. The same violations were cited in 2011, 2010 and 2009 at facilities in Cranbury, N.J.; Turners Fall, Mass.; and Carol Stream, Ill., respectively.

Ten serious safety citations were also issued to the company. Seven of the repeat citations were for inadequate machine guarding at work areas near moving machinery, shafts, fans, pulleys and chains. The other violations included:
  • failing to provide fall protection for workers retrieving samples from bins
  • not marking exits
  • inadequate forklift training
  • failing to have covers in place on an electrical junction box.
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.

To view the current citations, visit:

Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra Foods is one of North America's largest packaged food companies and employs more than 34,000. The Columbus flour mill employs 14.

OSHA last inspected the Columbus facility in 2005. That inspection resulted in the issuance of four citations and was a follow-up to a 2003 dust explosion at the facility, which caused the death of two workers and the hospitalization of one other. OSHA issued 12 citations during that investigation.

U.S. Minerals LLC cited for 11 safety and health violations.

The citation resulted from a follow-up inspection that began in September 2013 at the Harvey, Louisiana facility. The manufacturer of abrasive blasting and roofing materials faces $77,770 in fines for failing to:
  • train and protect workers when entering hazardous confined spaces.
  • implement safe lockout/tagout procedures when maintaining equipment.
  • provide required protection for workers exposed to dangerously high noise levels.
  • ensure forklift operators knew how to work safely.
OSHA's Baton Rouge Area Office conducted the initial inspection in June 2010, as a referral from OSHA's National Office, and issued 18 serious, 10 repeat, and two other-than-serious violations. Fines totaled $118,800. The employer contested the citations, and a formal settlement agreement was reached on Aug. 20, 2012.

Some of the serious violations included failing to:
  • provide an adequate retrieval system, provide training, and evaluate prospective rescuer's competency level.
  • annually review the confined space entry program.
  • train workers on the hearing conservation program.
  • ensure workers had a choice of suitable hearing protectors.
  • provide adequate forklift training and certification.
  • remove unsafe forklifts from service.
  • ensure adequate egress from the facility.
A serious violation is one in which 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 repeat violation was issued for failing to conduct annual inspections of the company's lockout-tagout procedures. 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.

U.S. Minerals LLC, with headquarters in Dyer, Ind., employs about 60 workers and operates other plants in Baldwin and Coffeen, Ill., and Galveston, Texas.

A 42-year-old worker fell approximately 19 feet off scaffolding to his death while applying stucco to a pre-existing building.

The building was being renovated as a college dormitory for East Georgia State College in Swainsboro, Georgia.

OSHA conducted an investigation following the Sept. 20, 2013, fatality and cited Jack Smiley, doing business as Smiley Plaster Co., for five safety violations, including a willful violation of the law.

OSHA issued a willful citation to the employer for its failure to provide fall protection to employees who work from scaffolding at heights over 10 feet . 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 violation, the company has been put into OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses resources on inspecting employers that have demonstrated indifference to their legal obligations by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.

Three serious violations were cited for the employer:
  • failing to provide adequate scaffolding foundation
  • failing to brace the scaffolding
  • failing to provide debris protection, such as toe boards, for employees working on scaffolding.
The company was also cited with one other-than-serious violation for failing to report the fatality within eight hours of the incident.

OSHA has proposed $57,000 in penalties. Smiley Plaster Co., a stucco and masonry construction company in Twin City, 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.

In 2012, out of the 775 construction-related fatalities 269 were fall-related fatalities. OSHA's fall prevention campaign provides employers and workers with lifesaving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. The campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. More information on fall protection standards is available in English and Spanish at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

Related Past Posts:
OSHA Significant Citations - Workers Exposed To Amputation Hazards
No OSHA Significant Citations Announced Last Week
OSHA Significant Citations - Two Fines Total $900,000

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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