Posts Tagged ‘fines’

Carcinogen Exposure Costs Co. $193K in Fines

Painting aircrafts exposed these workers to a known cancer-causing chemical–and their employer to large safety fines.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Spirit Aerosystems Inc. – based in Wichita, Kansas – for exposing employees to carcinogen hazards. The company faces penalties of $193,218 for two repeated and four serious violations.

OSHA alleges the company failed to implement feasible engineering controls to limit employee exposure to hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen, and conduct periodic monitoring of employee exposure. OSHA also alleges the company failed to establish protocols to ensure that employees remove contaminated personal protective equipment and clothing before leaving the work area.

OSHA also alleges the company failed to prevent exposure to hexavalent chromium during aircraft painting and allowed the accumulation of hexavalent chromium on surfaces and failed to ensure that employee respirators fit properly.

“Inhaling excessive levels of hexavalent chromium can cause asthma, and damage to the kidneys, liver, and respiratory system,” said OSHA Wichita Acting Area Office Director Ryan Hodge. “It is important for employers to take the appropriate steps necessary to prevent excessive exposure.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

OSHA Dings Employer $159K Over Amputations

What exposure does an employer face when it exposes its workers to risk of amputation from operating the machinery?

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Heritage Plastics Inc. for exposing employees to amputations at the company’s facility in Picayune, Mississippi. The plastics manufacturer faces $159,118 in penalties, including a willful violation that carries the maximum penalty allowed.

An employee suffered the amputation of four fingers when the mixing machine from which the employee was removing material unexpectedly started. OSHA inspectors determined that Heritage Plastics failed to require the use of a lockout device and train employees on procedures to control the release of hazardous energy. OSHA also cited the employer for failing to install machine guarding. The inspection is part of OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations.”

“Proper safety procedures, including the effective lockout of all sources of energy, could have prevented this employee’s serious injury,” said OSHA Jackson Area Office Director Courtney Bohannon. “Employers must take proactive steps to develop and implement energy control procedures to minimize risk to their employees.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.

My thanks to Jon Hyman of the Ohio Employer Law Blog for linking to this post in his April 19 weekly roundup.

Falling Down: N.J. Contractor Fined $118K by OSHA for Hazards at Home Construction Site

Elimination of falling hazards continues to vex worksites in this country.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Brutus Construction Inc. for exposing employees to fall and other safety hazards at a worksite in Souderton, Pennsylvania. The company faces $181,699 in penalties.

An OSHA inspector observed employees working without fall protection on roofs at a residential construction site. OSHA cited Brutus Construction Inc. for willfully exposing employees to fall hazards, repeat safety hazards, and failure to provide fall protection training.

“Companies that fail to meet basic fall protection requirements place employees’ lives at risk,” said OSHA Allentown Area Director Jean Kulp.

OSHA has cited Brutus Construction Inc. 19 times in the past for similar hazards, and proposed nearly $440,000 in penalties.

The company, based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov

Pa. Contractor Dinged Over Fatal Electrocution

Construction companies, take note: There’s a price to be paid for exposing your workers to electrocution hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Insight Pipe Contracting LLC for workplace safety and health violations following an employee electrocution at a worksite in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The Harmony-based contractor faces $331,101 in proposed penalties.

OSHA initiated a safety investigation after an employee suffered a fatal electrocution. Two employees who attempted to assist him were hospitalized after receiving electrical shock. The employees were making a trenchless sewer repair when the incident occurred. OSHA conducted a subsequent health investigation upon referral from the OSHA safety compliance officer who investigated the fatality. OSHA cited the company for failing to develop and implement procedures for confined space entry; train employees on confined space hazards; conduct atmospheric testing before permitting entry into a sewer line; use a retrieval line; and complete proper permits. The Agency placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“Electrocution is one of the leading causes of death in the construction industry,” said OSHA Pittsburgh Area Office Director Christopher Robinson. “Complying with OSHA safety and health standards is not optional. Employers are required to take necessary precautions to prevent tragedies such as this.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. View the citations here and here.

Texas Company Fined $224K After Second Accident Just Days After OSHA Investigation

Talk about bad timing. A Texas company being investigated for workplace safety violations allowed a second accident to occur just a few days after safety inspectors arrived on site to investigate the first accident.

The company in question–PECOFacet–manufactures filtration and containment products. While investigating one serious employee injury in May 2016, at PECOFacet, inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found themselves investigating a second incident in which another employee was hurt seriously three days after they arrived, the agency said in an October 31 press release.

The agency opened its initial investigation on May 3, 2016, after an employee suffered a finger amputation on April 26, 2016, when a part of metal plate being fabricated fell on the worker’s finger while the employee was still in training. On May 6, 2016, a 1,300-pound metal product being fabricated fell on an employee’s feet causing serious injuries.

OSHA’s investigation of both incidents found workers operating machinery without point of operation and safety guards and emergency stop switches. The agency issued citations and proposed fines of $224,477. In addition to lacking machine guards and stop switches inspectors found 21 serious violations for:

  • Allowing equipment to operate without safety latches.
  • Permitting the use of non-compliant crane equipment.
  • Failing to address electrical hazards.
  • Not having guard rails on elevated surfaces.
  • Failing to mark emergency exits.
  • Ladders not meeting specification requirements and not maintained.
  • Lock out/tag out procedures not developed or implemented.
  • Horizontal belts and shafts not guarded.

“No worker should suffer amputation or be struck-by product at a large manufacturer such as PECOFacet. The number of violations at this facility is astounding,” said Jack Rector, OSHA’s Fort Worth Area Director. “This employer is responsible for the protection and safety of its workers from these types of life-altering injuries.”

To view the citations, visit: here.

Massachusetts Attorney General Fines Three Masonry Companies for Prevailing Wage Violations

Prevailing wage rates exist in order to make sure that workers on public projects such as roads and bridges are paid properly. The prevailing wage is usually set by whatever the local unions pay, so that becomes the floor below which other employers cannot lower their wage.

Slip-ups can have negative monetary consequences for the offending employer. Check with your state labor agency to find out what the prevailing wage is for your workers.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakly recently announced her office imposed fines for prevailing wage violations on two New Bedford masonry companies and a third masonry company in Newton.

According to the Attorney General’s  Office, investigators of the Fair Labor Division conducted site  inspections at nine public construction projects. During these site  inspections, the investigators observed and filmed employees performing  masonry tasks, such as cutting block or brick with a masonry saw. A  review of the certified payroll records submitted by these companies to  the awarding authorities showed that the employers wrongly classified  their masonry workers as laborers, and consequently failed to pay the  employees at the prevailing wage rate, Coakley’s office said.

The  Department of Labor Standards — formerly the Division of Occupational  Safety — is authorized by law to set the prevailing wage rates for all  public construction projects in Massachusetts and to determine which  tasks fall into which job classifications. In 2004 and 2008, the DLS  issued letters stating that cutting brick or block is a masonry task.

Coakley’s  office said the companies cited, along with their owners and the  construction sites where the violations occurred, are:

  • Lighthouse Masonry Inc. of New Bedford and Paul M. Alves, 43, of North  Dartmouth, were fined a total of $22,500 for three violations: Wayland  High School; Salem State University; and the Ruane Judicial Center in  Salem.
  • Fernandes Masonry Inc. of New Bedford  and Victor M. Fernandes, 39, of Acushnet, were fined a total of $15,000  for two violations: Westboro Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade project  and the Weston Public Works project.
  • D’Agostino  Associates Inc. of Newton and John D’Agostino, 84, of West Newton, were  fined a total of $30,000 for four violations: Norwood High School;  Hanover High School; Avery Elementary School in Dedham and Natick High  School.

Each company was ordered to pay a  $7,500 fine for each wage violation and pay restitution to their  employees for the one hour’s worth of time which the investigators  observed. Additionally, the Attorney General’s Office ordered Lighthouse  Masonry and Paul Alves to pay a $500 fine for failing to submit true  and accurate certified payroll records at the Ruane Judicial Center  project due to its failure to list one of its employees, observed by the  investigators, on the certified payroll record.