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

Company cited following double fatality
Following two employees’ fatal injuries after they were buried under a pile of shifting coal, OSHA cited an industrial loading facility in Colorado with one serious violation and two willful violations. During an investigation, the agency learned that as three employees climbed onto the coal pile to determine if the feeder below was receiving coal, the pile shifted. The falling coal fatally buried two workers, and the third employee was able to escape without injury. OSHA determined that the company failed to implement safe work practices and train workers as required.
Penalty: $304,556

Failure to protect employees leads to fines
OSHA cited a Pennsylvania-based metal coatings company for failing to enact a comprehensive safety and health program at a manufacturing facility as it did for employees at its corporate headquarters. The company was cited with 5 willful, 15 serious, and 1 other-than-serious violation. Specifically, the company failed to provide training on respirator use and medical evaluations to determine if employees were physically capable of wearing them; develop and implement a written hazard communication program; maintain safety data sheets on-site and train employees on chemical hazards; provide fall protection and machine guarding; train forklift operators and certify them; ensure safe use of electricity in areas where flammable paints were sprayed; keep emergency exits unobstructed; establish and follow a routine schedule for floor cleaning and removal of combustible residue; and ensure proper use of power tools.
Penalty: $573,681

Manufacturer cited for machine hazards
Following an inspection after an employee suffered severe injuries as a result of being caught in a machine, a vinyl tile manufacturer in Ohio was cited for eight willful violations, one repeat violation and six serious violations, and one other-than-serious violation. OSHA issued willful violations after inspectors noted the company frequently exposed workers to caught-in and amputation hazards by failing to prevent them from coming into contact with operating machine parts. The company failed to establish, test, and require the use of machine lockout/tagout procedures or train workers on hazards. They also operated unguarded rollers and other equipment, and it exposed workers to trip and fall hazards from oil residue on floors and nonuniform stair risers.
Penalty: $1,232,705

Repeat fall protection violations lead to citations
In March 2022, OSHA opened an inspection in response to a complaint from roofing workers atop a two-story office building without fall protection at a West Virginia worksite. The agency issued citations for 12 violations—6 egregious-willful, 5 repeat, and 1 serious—for failing to ensure the use of fall protection, not training employees on fall hazards, allowing unsafe use of portable ladders, and not making sure workers used safety glasses. This marks the 12th time that OSHA has cited the contractor since 2009 for violations related to fall hazards. OSHA has placed the contractor on its severe violators list.
Penalty: $1,090,231

Company cited for failing to correct hazards
Following inspections in April 2022, a discount retailer was cited for 4 willful and 10 repeat violations at 4 locations in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Specifically, the company failed to keep receiving and storage areas clean and orderly and failed to stack materials in a safe manner. These violations exposed workers to hazards associated with slips, trips, and being struck by objects. OSHA citations also included those for exposing workers to fire and entrapment hazards by failing to keep exit routes and electrical panels clear and unobstructed. Finally, the company received citations for failing to mount and label fire extinguishers and for having a locked exit door that required a key to open.
Penalty: $1,680,216 

Lack of machine guarding leads to citations
In June 2022, OSHA opened an inspection in response to an employee’s hospitalization reported by a heavy fabrication manufacturing company in Wisconsin. A falling load from a below-the-hook magnet crushed the employee’s leg. The agency issued citations to the company for 1 willful and 11 serious safety violations. Investigators found that employees were exposed to an unguarded machine point of operation that did not prevent them from having their hand in the danger zone while straightening parts.
Penalty: $250,696

Demolition and asbestos hazards lead to fines
OSHA cited a Massachusetts-based contractor with three willful violations, four serious violations, and one other-than-serious violation following inspections after an employee lost their legs when a concrete mezzanine platform collapsed during demolition and asbestos abatement operations. Specifically, OSHA found the company failed to conduct an engineering survey to determine the condition of the mezzanine and framing and floors and walls during demolition operations to avoid the possibility of an unplanned collapse; ensure a designated competent person performed or supervised required duties in the asbestos containment area, such as regular and frequent jobsite inspections, protecting the integrity of the enclosure, and setting up and maintaining control of personnel entering the area; conspicuously post the safe weight load limit on the mezzanine floor where demolition and asbestos debris was being stored; train employees adequately to recognize and avoid collapse, struck-by, and crushing hazards; ensure employees entering and working in regulated asbestos containment areas wore respirators and did not have facial hair or beards that came between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face and/or interfered with valve function; remove asbestos-containing waste by the end of the shift; and provide OSHA 300 logs to investigators within 4 business hours.
Penalty: $399,864

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