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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, April 28, 2014

Last Week's 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 of $100,000 or more.

Butler Amusements Fined For Big Fresno Fair Willful Violations ($101,250)
Cenex Harvest States Inc. cited For Grain Handling Violations ($211,000)
Florida Workers Exposed To Hexavalent Chromium ($106,100)
Houston Metal Fabricator Fined For Failing To Abate ($124,000)


Cal/OSHA has fined Butler Amusements, Inc. $101,250 following an investigation which determined that Butler Amusements knowingly conducted rides after key bolts and cross bracing had been removed. The compromised rides included the Giant Wheel and Flying Bobs rides at the Big Fresno Fair last October.

“When the safety of riders is put at risk, we make sure immediate steps are taken to correct any existing hazards,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). Cal/OSHA, also known as the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) is a division of DIR.

Cal/OSHA initiated the public safety inspection after receiving a confidential tip about safety concerns at one of the rides owned by the Beaverton, Oregon-headquartered company. The Cal/OSHA investigator observed several patrons on the compromised attractions, including a local news crew and fair mascot on the Giant Wheel ride. The Giant Wheel was missing all the 12 bolts associated with the support leg flanges and the Flying Bobs was missing all of the lower cross bracing used for structural support. When the imminent hazard was brought to the attention of the representative accompanying the investigator, Butler Amusements voluntarily stopped the rides and the patrons disembarked with no injuries.

“Thankfully these violations were found before anyone was hurt,” said acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Nevertheless, when amusement park machinery is used without strict attention to safety requirements, citations will be issued.”

The initial inspection revealed three willful serious violations of California’s public safety regulations. The violations include Butler Amusement’s:
  • failure to maintain amusement ride equipment according to the manufacturer’s safety recommendations;
  • failure to ensure proper installation of all fastenings;
  • use of the rides without necessary supports.
Each violation carries a $33,750 penalty.

Cal/OSHA issues citations for serious violations if there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a condition which exists. Violations are classified as willful when evidence shows that an employer is aware that a hazardous condition exists but makes no reasonable effort to eliminate it.

Cal/OSHA’s Amusement Ride and Tramway Unit inspects both temporary and permanent amusement rides as well as aerial passenger tramways such as ski lifts. Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California, and oversees programs promoting public safety on elevators, amusement rides and ski lifts.


Inspections in Montana result in 19  OSHA citations

OSHA has cited Cenex Harvest States Inc. for 19 violations of workplace safety and health standards, including 14 serious, three repeat and two other-than-serious violations, at grain-handling facilities in Montana. The company faces $211,000 in proposed fines as a result of four inspections at Montana facilities in Cut Bank, Glendive, Denton and Valier.

Cenex Harvest States' grain operations have been inspected 15 times since November 2008, which resulted in findings of multiple violations. Of those 15 inspections, five were at facilities in Montana, four in North Dakota, three in Iowa, two in Kansas and one in Texas. One of the Kansas inspections followed the death of a worker on June 29, 2010 who fell into an inadequately protected grain bin.

"Grain dust can be dangerous – and is more explosive than coal dust. Exposing employees to excessive levels of this fugitive dust and failure to provide rescue equipment for workers entering confined spaces can cause death or permanent disability," said Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in Billings. "OSHA's standards exist to protect workers and must be followed to prevent these types of injuries."

OSHA issued three repeat violations to Cenex for failing to:

  • test the air quality in permit-required confined spaces for hazardous gases, contaminants, combustible dust or lack of oxygen prior to allowing entry by workers;
  • to have effective procedures to remove fugitive grain dust accumulations;
  • to have safe electrical equipment in combustible dust areas.
Many workplaces, such as grain processing facilities, contain spaces that are considered to be "confined" because their configurations hinder the activities of employees who much enter into, work in or exit from them. Confinement, limited access and restricted airflow can result in hazardous conditions that would not normally arise in an open workspace. Confined spaces may include underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, pits and diked areas, vessels, silos and other similar areas.

The serious violations included:
  • inadequate confined space entry and recovery procedures, which can cause immediate death, incapacitation or impede the ability to be rescued;
  • inadequate machine guarding, which exposes workers to amputations and lacerations; obstructed exit routes, which can lead to entrapment and engulfment;
  • live exposed electrical wiring.
A serious citation is issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The citations can be viewed at:
https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CenexHarvestStates_947972_947959_946938_948222.pdf

For more information about OSHA's grain handling standards visit:
www.osha.gov/SLTC/grainhandling/index.html.

Following a record number of grain entrapments in 2010, when 31 workers lost their lives, OSHA launched an education and enforcement initiative, that included outreach and compliance assistance, to prevent engulfments and fatalities in grain bins. This effort included sending letters to 13,000 grain elevator employers describing the common-sense methods that must be used to prevent these tragedies.

Cenex Harvest States Inc. has more than 10,000 employees in the United States. The company is headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., and operates through global grain marketing offices in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. The company purchases grain for domestic processing, feeding livestock and producing renewable fuel.


Alleged serious safety and health violations for exposing workers to dangerous welding fumes and other hazards has prompted citations for Dixie Tank Co. in Jacksonville, FL. OSHA has cited the company for 23 safety and health violations, including exposing full-time and temporary workers to health hazards from exposure to the toxic chemical hexavalent chromium in excess of federal standards. OSHA initiated an October 2013 inspection as part of the agency's national emphasis program on amputations. The proposed penalties total $106,100.

Hexavalent chromium is known to cause cancer. In addition, it targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes. Chromium metal is added to alloy steel to increase hardenability and corrosion resistance. A major source of worker exposure to hexavalent chromium occurs during "hot work," such as welding on stainless steel and other alloy steels containing chromium metal.

Nineteen serious violations involved:

  • exposing workers to hexavalent chromium above eight hour exposure limit set by OSHA;
  • failing to conduct initial monitoring of hexavalent chromium to determine the eight hour exposure average;
  • failing to provide medical surveillance for employees exposed to hexavalent chromium for more than 30 days;
  • failing to provide appropriate respirators for workers;
  • failing to ensure all hoist load hooks were equipped with a safety latch to avoid struck-by hazards;
  • not protecting employees working adjacent to the welding area from ultraviolet welding arcs.
To view all citations, including four other-than-serious violations, visit: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/DixieTankCompany_944682_945488.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.

Dixie Tank manufactures carbon and stainless steel tanks, pressure vessels, water heaters, filters and custom fabrications for the water, water treatment, hot water and industrial markets. Its facility covers more than six acres, with approximately 78,000 square feet of manufacturing area.

OSHA has conducted six previous inspections at the Dixie Tank facility. Most recently, in February 2009, when the company was cited for noise, respirators and confined space violations.

Aerotek Inc., a multinational staffing agency, provides Dixie Tank with temporary workers. Dixie Tank was providing the daily supervision, training and direction for the three temporary workers employed at the facility at the time of the inspection.

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 – or 16 percent – of the 4,383 fatal work injuries in 2012. Additional details are available at http://bls.gov/iif/home.htm.


OSHA Cites American Sheet Metal Co. For Exposing Workers to Serious Safety Hazards

OSHA has cited American Sheet Metal Co. for failing to correct safety hazards. OSHA addressed these hazards--which included exposing employees to dangerous unguarded machinery--in a previous inspection. The company's Houston facility received four failure-to-abate violations, with a proposed penalty of $124,000.

OSHA's Houston North Area Office began its most recent investigation of American Sheet Metal on November 26, 2013, after the company failed to provide the agency with proof of abatement regarding safety hazards found during an inspection on July 24, 2013. Because of the July inspection, OSHA cited American Sheet Metal with a proposed penalty of $11,600, which the company has not paid.

Following the November 2013 inspection, the company was cited for failing to:
  • guard dangerous machinery to prevent worker injuries;
  • install seat belt on a forklift;
  • repair broken fastener for a forklift fuel cylinder.
A failure-to-abate condition exists when a previously cited violation continues unabated and the abatement date has passed. The date to complete the abatement was Aug. 27, 2013.

"American Sheet Metal was given adequate time to correct the hazardous conditions found at its facility, but has done nothing to abate the violations and continues to expose workers to hazards," said David Doucet, OSHA's area director in the Houston North Area Office. "The employer is responsible for providing a safe workplace and protecting its employees. OSHA's primary concern is ensuring that the company lives up to its responsibility. Anything less is unacceptable."

The citations can be viewed at:
https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AmericanSheetMetal_923046_0424_2014.pdf

American Sheet Metal, which employs about 15 workers, specializes in the fabrication of sheet metal for use in the roofing industry. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Houston North area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission


Related Past Posts:
Fall Hazards, Lack of Guarding and LOTO Result In Citations
$2,300,000 Fine Announced by OSHA
OSHA Significant Citations

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