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March 14, 2014
The pitfalls of noncompliance

Combustible dust causes fire, explosion
Wood pellet manufacturer
Rhode Island—OSHA Region 1
Serious violations: In August 2013, combustible wood dust at a pellet manufacturer caused an explosion and fire in the facility. OSHA conducted an inspection and found that the retention bin, where the explosion occurred, lacked spark detection, explosion suppression, fire/explosion isolation, and explosion venting devices. In addition, dust collection systems and dust segregation barriers were not maintained to minimize fire sources, and combustible wood dust had accumulated on various surfaces within the plant. These and other hazards led to 11 serious violations for the company.
Penalty: $43,400 fine

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Amputation leads to citations
Concrete products manufacturer
Wisconsin—OSHA Region 5
Serious violations: After a truck driver had his foot severed and femur crushed in September 2013, OSHA inspected the facility and cited the company with 18 serious safety violations. According to OSHA, the incident occurred when a cable on a trolley boom crane broke, pinning the driver against a concrete riser. The violations included failure to establish safe work practices when placing precast concrete material; failure to inspect trolley boom cranes and wire ropes; failure to ensure materials were rigged by a qualified rigger; failure to ensure workers were trained in the safe operation of trolley boom cranes; and placing employees close to suspended loads.
Penalty: $56,700 fine

Spa workers exposed to excessive heat
Spa and fitness center
New Jersey—OSHA Region 2
Serious violations: In July 2013, a 68-year-old worker responsible for setting up and maintaining a Korean-style sauna known for extremely high temperatures died from heat stress. An OSHA inspection determined that the company failed to implement a heat stress illness prevention program, failed to provide PPE to employees working in excessive heat, failed to use danger tags to warn against thermal burn hazards and carbon monoxide exposure, failed to develop and implement a written hazard communication program, among other problems. OSHA cited the company with eight serious and one other-than-serious violation as a result. Lisa Levy, the director of OSHA’s Hasbrouck Heights Area Office, commented, “Although there are only a handful of these types of saunas in the United States, they are gaining popularity. Operators of all saunas must take the necessary steps to protect employees from excessive heat exposure to prevent future incidents.”
Penalty: $25,000 fine

Crush injuries lead to egregious citations
Rubber products manufacturer
Texas—OSHA Region 6
Willful, egregious violations: After a machine operator’s arms were crushed while operating an unguarded machine, OSHA conducted an inspection and cited the company with eight willful, egregious violations for failing to provide machine guarding to protect workers from hazards created by rotating parts on seven manual lathes and other equipment. In addition to the accident that triggered the investigation, OSHA learned of two previous similar incidents, both involving severe injuries to employees who were operating similar machinery.
Penalty: $560,000 fine

Manufacturer cited for lockout/tagout violations
Fiber cement exterior claddings manufacturer
Georgia—OSHA Region 4
Repeat and serious violations: In response to a complaint, OSHA initiated an investigation of a Georgia manufacturing facility and cited the company with four repeat and three serious safety violations. Many of the violations related to hazardous energy control procedures, or lockout/tagout. The repeat penalties included failing to train workers on lockout/tagout procedures, not using a group lockout/tagout procedure for each worker to prevent equipment start-up, failing to include some confined spaces in its workplace evaluation, and failing to use a specific written energy control procedure for an area where employees were required to clean debris. The employer was previously cited for similar hazards at the same facility in 2009 and has been placed into OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
Penalty: $138,600 fine

Multiple violations lead to six-figure fines
Foundry
Pennsylvania—OSHA Region 3
Repeat and serious violations: A Pennsylvania foundry has been cited with seven repeat, 16 serious, and three other-than-serious safety violations following an August 2013 OSHA inspection. According to OSHA, open-sided floors and platforms were not guarded with railings and other safety features; pulleys were not properly guarded; sprocket wheels and chains were not enclosed; and workers were exposed to electrical hazards. The company was cited for similar violations in 2011 and 2013. In addition, serious violations were cited for issues including amputation hazards, unrepaired cranes, struck-by hazards, a lack of periodic crane inspections, and other hazards.
Penalty: $72,380 fine



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