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April 10, 2023
OSHA enforcement roundup: Spotlight on recent cases

Automotive parts supplier fined $1.3 million
In 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited an automotive parts supplier in Alabama with 51 safety violations, including 48 willful violations, following an inspection after an employee at its Cusseta facility suffered fatal crushing injuries involving a robotic machine. OSHA inspectors learned the machine operator and three coworkers entered a robotic cell on the assembly line to clear a sensor fault when a robot inside the cell restarted abruptly, crushing a young employee inside. On February 10, 2023, an administrative law judge upheld most of the violations that OSHA issued.
Penalty: $1,300,000

Repeat fall hazards lead to 6-figure fine
A roofing contractor in New York was cited with eight violations—four willful and four serious—for a lack of fall and head protection and violations of multiple standards. When an OSHA inspector arrived at the contractor’s worksite in August 2022, the inspector observed 3 employees on a roof 18 feet above the ground without required fall protection. The inspection happened just 6 months after an employee who was not properly equipped with fall protection fatally fell from a roof. Another unprotected employee fatally fell in 2019.
Penalty: $687,536

Employee suffers serious leg injury
OSHA cited an Illinois grain dealer following an employee’s partial leg amputation when a paddle conveyor was left running when the employee and two others entered a soybean bin for cleaning. Specifically, OSHA issued four willful violations and one repeat violation for the company’s failure to protect the three workers from falling into the sump holes; deenergize equipment or use lockout/tagout methods to prevent the conveyer from operating when workers first entered the bin; lock out/tag out the outside leg distributor to prevent grain from entering and engulfing the employees while they worked in the bin; and make sure the bin’s atmosphere was tested before the workers entered.
Penalty: $629,946

Company cited for engulfment hazards
Following the asphyxiation of an employee during an attempt to clean out a grain solo, OSHA inspected an agricultural service center and found the worker’s personal protective equipment (PPE) was not adequate for protection from engulfment hazards. OSHA also determined the Nebraska-based company failed to equip the employee with an adequate body harness and lifeline that coworkers could have used to rescue the employee. The company was cited for 16 violations—2 willful and 14 serious—for allowing workers to enter bins with grain buildup and for failing to develop procedures for entering permit-required confined spaces, ensure emergency services were available, recognize and evaluate hazards and train workers, and implement machine safety procedures to prevent grain bin equipment from running while workers were inside bins. The company was placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
Penalty: $531,268

Roofing contractor fails to correct hazards
OSHA cited a roofing contractor in New Jersey for exposing unprotected workers to deadly fall hazards that occurred less than 4 months after previously citing the company for the same hazards. During an inspection, OSHA observed 4 workers on a roof exposed to a 30-foot fall hazard without fall protection, as well as additional violations at the worksite on other days that week. The company was issued 12 citations—9 willful and 3 serious violations—for exposing workers to fall hazards, improperly using ladders, and failing to provide head and eye protection.
Penalty: $584,333

Employees exposed to high levels of CO2
A Missouri meat processing plant was cited with two willful, four repeat, and seven serious safety and health violations after exposing workers to hazardous levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). OSHA inspectors allege that despite knowing hazardous levels of CO2 existed, the company did not put an employee monitoring program in place or implement effective engineering controls to limit workers’ exposure to the dangers. OSHA measurements showed the company allowed employees to be exposed to CO2 from 7,100 to 10,000 parts per million (ppm)—far exceeding the OSHA permissible exposure level standard of 5,000 ppm. In addition, OSHA found the company exposed workers to slip, trip, and fall hazards; failed to make sure required machine guarding was in place; and violated electrical workplace safety standards.
Penalty: $573,913

Framing contractor cited for fall hazards
OSHA cited a framing contractor in Florida for 3 willful violations and 1 repeat violation after inspectors observed over 50 employees without fall safety gear while working atop a 15-foot-high residential roof. Since 2019, OSHA has completed 11 inspections of the contractor’s worksites and identified 4 willful, 8 repeat, 19 serious, and 4 other-than-serious violations. In addition to a lack of fall protection equipment found during the most recent inspection in 2022, OSHA learned the company still had not trained employees to make sure they had a clear understanding of the means and methods to control fall hazards and found employees continuing to use pneumatic nail guns, hammers, and portal circular saws without required eye protection.
Penalty: $464,079

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