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October 10, 2022
OSHA enforcement roundup: Spotlight on recent cases

Refusal to correct hazards leads to citations
In January 2022, OSHA initiated an inspection at a discount retailer following an employee report of unsafe conditions at the company’s store in Ohio. The agency issued citations for one repeat violation and four willful violations. Two weeks later, OSHA opened an inspection in response to an employee complaint of water leaking through the ceiling causing wet floors and ceiling tiles on the floor at the company’s store in another location. As a result, the agency cited the company with one serious and one repeat violation and four willful violations.
Penalty: $1,233,364

Company cited for lack of machine guarding
Following inspections in February and May 2022, a grocery store chain in Texas was cited with seven willful violations for a lack of machine guarding. OSHA inspectors determined that employees suffered fingertip amputations while using unguarded band saws to cut meat at the supermarket’s facility. This marks the 13th time in 9 years that the company has been cited for failing to guard band saws.
Penalty: $1,015,189

Slips and trips hazards lead to fines
OSHA cited a variety store chain with four willful and seven repeat violations discovered during inspections at multiple store locations in Georgia. Specifically, OSHA cited the company for failing to keep receiving areas clean and orderly and for stacking materials in an unsafe manner. These hazards exposed workers to slips, trips, and being struck by objects. OSHA also issued citations for exposing workers to fire and entrapment hazards by failing to keep exit routes and electrical panels clear and unobstructed. The chain has been inspected nationwide nearly 80 times, and OSHA inspectors frequently find unsafe conditions that put workers at risk and that could lead to disaster for employees and customers in an emergency.
Penalty: $1,292,783

Contractor cited following employee’s fatal injury
Following an employee’s fatal injury after he fell from the roof of a three-story residential construction project, OSHA cited a roof and siding contractor in New York with nine willful and three serious violations. The agency determined that the company failed to provide fall protection training or ensure effective fall protection safeguards were used. The company also failed to provide eye protection for employees using pneumatic nail guns, exposing them to the risk of serious eye injuries.
Penalty: $1,343,363

Failure to follow safety procedures leads to citations
OSHA cited an electric company after six workers suffered burns when a blockage inside a coal-fired furnace broke free, spewing fiery molten slag into the work area. Five employees died in the incident, and the sixth sustained serious burns at the company’s power plant in Florida. OSHA issued citations for failure to follow energy control procedures while performing maintenance on equipment and failure to provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to safeguard employees from burns. In addition to the monetary fine, the company must implement a safety compliance plan audited by an independent third party and is subject to 36 months of probation.
Penalty: $500,000

Laboratory cited for inadequate ventilation
Following an inspection after several employees’ complaints about faulty ventilation systems, an environmental laboratory in Connecticut was cited for 6 willful violations, 10 serious violations, and 1 other-than-serious violation. OSHA’s inspection found that the company failed to ensure employees were not overexposed to methylene chloride; perform initial exposure monitoring and inform employees of monitoring results; determine employees’ exposure levels when the control methods were known to be inadequate; ensure adequate ventilation during procedures that exposed employees to methylene chloride; implement procedures to detect, contain, and safely dispose of leaking methylene chloride; provide employees with adequate skin, eye, and face protection from methylene chloride and other solvents; make medical surveillance available and provide medical exams to exposed employees; provide employees with information and training on the hazards associated with the chemicals they use; and ensure that chemical fume hoods functioned properly and did not leak onto employees.
Penalty: $907,253

Failure to train employees leads to fines
OSHA cited a demolition contractor in Massachusetts for eight egregious-willful violations, two serious violations, and one other-than-serious violation of workplace safety standards. In March 2022, a heavy equipment operator was doing demolition on the 8th floor of a parking garage when the partially demolished floor collapsed and the 11,000-pound excavator and its operator fell 80 feet. It was the employee’s first day on the job. OSHA’s inspection found that the company had failed to adequately train its workers on the demolition plan and safety management system to help them recognize and avoid unsafe conditions.
Penalty: $1,191,292

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