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June 22, 2022
OSHA issues six-figure fines for fall violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a pair of six-figure penalties issued to two employers for fall violations, including citations for a fatal fall.

On June 21, the agency revealed it cited a Strasburg, Pennsylvania, framing contractor for two willful and five serious violations, exposing workers to falls as high as 14 feet while working at a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) facility. OSHA proposed penalties of $247,269.

OSHA also announced the conclusion of its investigation into the fatal fall of a contract employee at a Robbinsville, New Jersey, frozen food manufacturer—an investigation that identified a wide range of potentially fatal workplace hazards. The agency cited CJ TMI Manufacturing America LLC with 36 violations and proposed $368,513 in penalties.

The agency reported that a contract employee suffered fatal injuries in December 2021 when the worker fell 11 feet while using a scissor lift to replace a freezer drain. OSHA’s investigation found a damaged and inoperable snap hook on the lift’s safety chain and that the company did not inspect the lift before work began.

The agency said it also found the employer exposed workers to:

  • Amputations and lacerations from unguarded or inadequately guarded machinery;
  • Explosion hazards from accumulations of combustible flour dust on equipment, floors, and surfaces throughout the plant;
  • Confined space hazards when entering a wastewater pit to service a water meter;
  • Hexavalent chromium hazards during welding operations;
  • Chemical burns from caustic chemicals due to inaccessible decontamination showers and eyewash stations;
  • Being struck by forklifts operated by untrained employees; and
  • Numerous electric shock hazards.

“The company must address and correct a substantial number of hazardous conditions identified during our inspection so that nobody else has to risk their life,” Paula Dixon-Roderick, OSHA’s Marlton, New Jersey, area director, said in an agency statement.

OSHA also placed CJ TMI in the agency’s severe violator enforcement program (SVEP). Employers placed in the SVEP are subject to mandatory follow-up inspections and increased agency pressure to abate cited hazards.

CJ TMI manufactures frozen dumplings, wontons, and noodles for the Twin Marquis and Chef One brands, according to OSHA.

Contractor cited for fall hazards at state salt storage facility

OSHA cited Level Edge Construction LLC for exposing employees to fall hazards at PennDOT’s Luzerne, Pennsylvania, salt storage stockpile.

“Level Edge Construction’s disregard for required and well-known fall protection measures places its workers at risk for serious and fatal injuries,” Mary Reynolds, OSHA’s Wilkes-Barre area director, said in a statement. Reynolds pointed out that falls are the leading cause of worker deaths in construction.

OSHA’s construction industry fall protection standard (§1926.501) remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard, cited 5,295 times in fiscal year (FY) 2021.

OSHA initiated an inspection on December 19, 2021, in response to a complaint alleging Level Edge Construction exposed employees to fall hazards at the Luzerne facility.  

The citations arose from the company’s failures to protect workers from falls as they performed carpentry work from elevated surfaces; protect workers from falling or flying objects by providing required eye, face, and head protection; and train workers on scaffold-related hazards.

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