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, May 19, 2014

OSHA Significant Citations - Part I - Six Companies Cited Totalling $1,075,900

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.

Texas Fertilizer Operator Cited Following Serious Injury ($181,000)
Follow-Up Inspection At Rasi Laboratories Inc. (New Jersey) ($210,000)
San Cast Fined For Exposing Workers To Falls And Other Hazards ($155,900)
Dollar Tree Fined For Serious Safety Hazards ($143,000)
Stamford, CT Contractor Cited For Wall Collapse ($190,000)
Connecticut Contractor Cited For Wall Collapse ($196,000)

American Plant Food Corp. cited for 12 violations and a proposed penalty of $181,000.

After a worker's leg was entangled in an auger in November 2013, OSHA investigated the safety and health practices of American Plant Food Corp.'s Bartlett facility. OSHA issued citations for 12 violations and proposed a penalty of $181,000 for exposing employees to workplace hazards by failing to implement proper energy control procedures that protect workers who service or maintain machines.

"This worker's debilitating injury was preventable had the employer used certain safeguards," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin.

OSHA's Austin Area Office found that the company did not provide adequate training for workers entering confined spaces and encountering industrial machinery that could unexpectedly start-up. Willful violations were cited for failing to ensure adequate safeguards were in place to prevent workers from coming into contact with the auger during servicing and maintenance. 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.

The company was cited for nine serious safety violations, including failure to:
  • properly guard machines, electrical equipment and floor openings, such as pits and edges;
  • implement lockout procedures for hazardous energy control;
  • provide access to first aid medical treatment. 
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.

The Houston-based company employs about 88 workers at 11 Texas fertilizer-blending facilities. Two of the workers exposed at the Bartlett plant had been hired as temporary workers through Magnum Staffing in 2011. The company has a history of OSHA inspections, including two fatality investigations in December 1991 and June 1997 and an inspection of a Fort Worth facility in 2000 where citations were issued related to the control of hazardous energy.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AmericanPlantFood_949132.pdf.

After a follow-up inspection that began in October 2013, OSHA cited Rasi Laboratories Inc. for failing to correct previously cited serious violations. The violations included failing to protect workers from dangerous levels of noise that can cause permanent hearing loss and failing to protect them from dangerous equipment.

As a result of the inspection, the nutritional supplement manufacturer faces a $210,000 proposed penalty.

An article in Natural Products Insider magazine reports that Rasi Laboratories intends to contest these citations. One basis for contesting the citations is that equipment that plugs into electrical power does not need to be locked out for maintenance, if it is unplugged.  Read the article here.  What do you think?  Use the "Post A Comment" link below to add your comments.

OSHA conducted the previous inspection at the company's Somerset facility in August 2012. This initial inspection came after a complaint, and resulted in OSHA issuing seven serious violations with fines totaling $23,100.

New violations involve the company's failure-to-abate hazards related to implementing a continual and effective hearing conservation program for workers exposed to noise above 85 decibels. It also failed to develop and implement a lockout/tagout program to protect workers from dangerous machinery during servicing or maintenance and train employees on proper procedures.

A failure-to-abate citation is issued when an employer fails to fix or address previously cited hazardous conditions, practices or noncompliant equipment.

The citations can be viewed at:

Generic Photo of Sand Casting
A follow-up inspection by OSHA at San Cast Inc. found workers continued to be exposed to amputation and fall hazards at the Coshocton, Ohio, casting and foundry. The company was previously cited after a worker suffered a leg amputation in June 2013. OSHA has issued 17 additional violations, carrying proposed penalties of $155,900 as a result of the November 2013 inspection.

OSHA cited repeat violations for failing to protect employees from the ingoing nip points of belts, pulleys, chains and sprockets. San Cast also was cited for failing to protect employees from fall hazards associated with an unguarded platform. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement sates within the last five years. San Cast was cited for these violations in both March and September 2013.

San Cast also was cited for 11 serious safety violations involving:
  • lack of lockout/tagout procedures;
  • exposing workers to struck-by hazards;
  • failing to maintain an overhead trolley system;
  • failing to inspect cranes and hoists regularly;
  • broken crane wires.
An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

To view the citations, visit: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Sancast_946923.pdf

OSHA has inspected San Cast five times since 2009. 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.

San Cast is a subsidiary of Wabtec, based in Wilmerding, Pa. Wabtec employs about 8,500 workers worldwide and specializes in the manufacture of parts and equipment used on locomotives, freight cars and passenger transit vehicles. The Coshocton plant employs about 53 workers.

National discount chain Dollar Tree Stores has been cited for exposing employees to safety hazards at a store located at 2603 Silverside Road in Wilmington. OSHA cited the company for three safety violations-including two willful-following an October 2013 inspection initiated in response to a complaint alleging that emergency exits were blocked and boxes were stacked dangerously high. Proposed penalties total $143,000.

Carrying a $140,000 penalty, the willful violations were cited because the company failed to keep exit routes unobstructed and ensure material stored in tiers was stacked in a way that was stable to prevent sliding and collapse.

The company also was cited for one serious violation, which carries a $3,000 penalty, for failure to ensure fire extinguishers were readily accessible to employees without subjecting them to injury. 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.

The citations can be viewed at:

Photo by J. Pohl
A Stamford-based contractor faces $196,000 in fines for two willful and 12 serious violations following an inspection by OSHA. Cesar Mendoza, d.b.a. KI Management LLC, was cited by the agency following a November 2013 inspection at a Bridgeport worksite, which found that workers demolishing and rehabbing a building were exposed to potentially fatal crushing injuries and other hazards due to their employer's failure to brace the building's walls and adhere to basic, legally required safeguards.

The building being demolished was located at 810 Boston Ave.

"The removal of flooring from the second and thirds floors left an empty, unsupported shell that was vulnerable to collapse," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "Employees at this job site were also exposed to falls of up to 36 feet from unguarded wall openings and to health hazards from inadequate measures to protect them from exposure to lead at the worksite. Worker safety and health were blatantly ignored."

OSHA cited Cesar Mendoza, d.b.a. KI Management, for two willful violations applying the maximum allowable fines of $140,000 for the wall collapse and fall hazards. OSHA defines a willful violation as 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 12 serious violations, with $56,000 in fines, were cited for a variety of health and safety hazards. These included:
  • having workers dry sweep and shovel lead-containing waste materials and debris;
  • failing to supply workers with proper training, respiratory protection, protective clothing and equipment;
  • employees were provided inadequate demolition, fall and fire protection, and general safety training.
Other safety hazards included unmarked emergency exits, improper storage of oxygen and fuel gas cylinders, and electrical 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 if an accident were to occur.

Cesar Mendoza, d.b.a. KI Management, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

The citations can be viewed at:

Related Past Posts:
Significant Citations - OSHA Fines Cooper Power $166,000
Four Significant Citations Announced Last Week
Fall Hazards, Lack of Guarding and LOTO Result In Citations

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