Posts Tagged ‘Occupational Safety and Health Administration’

Fork It Over: Ga. Garden Store Pays $148K Penalty for Safety Hazards at Mulch Plant

Mulching is more than adding nutrients to your garden. Workers at this mulch manufacturing facility found out just how dangerous an operation it can be.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Garick LLC – operating as Smith Garden Products – for exposing employees to safety hazards at the Cumming, Georgia, facility. The manufacturer of specialty mulch products faces $148,867 in penalties.

OSHA cited Garick LLC for failing to ensure energy control procedures contained clear and specific steps to limit the release of hazardous energy. OSHA also cited the company for failing to provide and ensure that employees affixed lockout/tagout devices to block machines and equipment from energy sources, train employees to recognize applicable hazardous energy sources, and conduct a periodic inspection of the lockout program at least annually. Other violations included failing to ensure machinery was effectively guarded, allowing employees to operate defective powered industrial trucks, and failing to reduce compressed air to the appropriate level before allowing employees to use it for cleaning purposes. OSHA conducted the inspection in accordance with the National Emphasis Program on Amputations and the Regional Emphasis Program for Powered Industrial Trucks.

“Employers must implement comprehensive safety and health programs to readily identify and correct hazards in the workplace to prevent injuries or fatalities,” said OSHA Atlanta-East Acting Area Office Director Michael Hejazi.

OSHA has compliance resources on how employers can control the release of hazardous energy, and how to protect workers from unguarded machines and damaged forklifts.

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 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

We All Fall Down–Too True at This Cookie Maker Cited by OSHA for Safety Violations, Fined $221K

The cookie may not crumble, but these employees did at the warehouse that manufactures them, owing to the employer’s ignoring safety rules.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Nonni’s Foods LLC for exposing employees to falls and other hazards at the Ferndale, New York, facility. The manufacturer of premium cookies faces $221,257 in penalties.

OSHA opened an inspection on Aug. 22, 2019, after learning that an employee fell on Aug. 7, 2019, and was hospitalized. Inspectors discovered that the employer instructed employees to retrieve stored material by standing on the forks of a forklift that elevated them to a storage area atop a break room. The storage area lacked guardrails to prevent falls. Both conditions exposed employees to falls.

Nonni’s Foods LLC also failed to re-train operators on appropriate use of a forklift, and did not report the employee’s injury to OSHA within 24 hours as required. Additionally, two rotating bearings on a conveyor lacked guarding to protect employees against caught-by injuries.

“Employers must provide training, and utilize appropriate equipment and work practices to protect workers from falls and amputations,” said OSHA Albany Area Director Amy B. Phillips.

OSHA’s Fall Protection in General Industry fact sheet summarizes employee fall protection measures and the Powered Industrial Trucks page provides detailed information on hazards, safeguards, training and safe operation of forklifts. OSHA’s Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Workers from Amputations booklet provide information on identifying and managing common amputation hazards when operating and using stationary equipment.

Nonni’s Foods LLC 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 Tweaks 27 Standards and Regulations; Construction, Longshoring Among The Impacted

It’s not sexy stuff. But if you are an affected industry then pay attention to last week’s adjustments to more than two dozen safety standards and regulations.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published technical corrections and amendments to 27 OSHA standards and regulations. This administrative rulemaking corrects minor misprints, omissions, outdated references, and tabular and graphic inaccuracies. The revisions apply to several industry sectors, including general industry, construction, shipyard employment and longshoring. Some revisions may reduce employer costs, and none expand employer obligations or impose new costs.

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 www.osha.gov.

Ga. Farm Operator Cited by OSHA for Safety Violations Resulting in an Employee’s Death

The safety conditions being harvested on this farm cost one employee his life and put others at risk. And now the farm operator must pay up.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Pearson Farms LLC for safety violations after an employee suffered fatal injuries at the farm’s post-harvest operations facility in Fort Valley, Georgia. The farm is facing $128,004 in penalties.

OSHA cited the employer for exposing employees to struck-by hazards after investigators determined that the employee, who was performing maintenance on a conveyor system, was caught between the load on a forklift and a metal railing. Additionally, OSHA cited the employer for exposing workers to fall, chemical and amputation hazards. The employer also failed to: provide an early warning system to detect anhydrous ammonia leaks; develop and implement an emergency response plan; adequately train workers to respond to a potential release of anhydrous ammonia; provide effective machine guarding; and develop, implement, and utilize lockout/tagout procedures.

“Employers must assess their workplaces to identify hazards and take corrective actions to eliminate serious or life-threatening injuries and illnesses,” said OSHA Acting Area Director Condell Eastmond, in Atlanta-East. “A comprehensive safety and health program should be implemented to ensure controls are in place to protect workers.”

OSHA offers training materials for forklift operators, the Powered Industrial Trucks – Forklifts webpage provides information on forklift hazards and solutions, and applicable standards on forklift use.

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 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.

BNSF Hit With Million Dollar Award in Case of Whistleblower Who Reported Track Defects

Hopefully, this 7-figure whistleblower award sends a message to other employers not to go down this road.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado has ordered Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) to pay $696,173 in lost back and future wages to a former employee who reported track defects, bringing the total paid to the whistleblower to more than $1.74 million.

Previously, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) determined that the employer violated the whistleblower protection provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) when it retaliated against the former employee in Denver, Colorado. OSHA issued a preliminary order with the appropriate relief provided by the statute, which was appealed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

On February 19, 2019, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ordered BNSF to pay the employee $800,000 in emotional distress, and an additional $250,000 in punitive damages.

“Railroad employers and owners must comply with the Federal Railway Safety Act, enacted to protect railroad workers who report hazardous safety or security conditions,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator Rita Lucero, in Denver, Colorado.

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than 20 whistleblower statutes. These statutes protect employees from retaliation for reporting violations of various workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws; and for engaging in other related protected activities. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful l 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.

OSHA Marks Half-Century of Agency’s Existence

The country’s main workplace safety agency marked its 50th year of life this week. And, oh, by the way, it was born in a Republican administration (Richard Nixon’s).

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a new webpage marking the 50th anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the landmark worker safety and health law that led to the creation of OSHA.

The webpage highlights transformative workplace improvements over the past half century, from OSHA’s first standards and whistleblower protections, to assistance programs for small businesses, and the creation of training centers and education grants to help everyone understand and comply with the law.

Visit www.osha.gov/osha50 to find 50th anniversary events and information on OSHA’s efforts to protect America’s workforce.

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 www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

School Dist. Hit With $102K OSHA Fine For Firing Employee Who Reported Unsafe Work Conditions

A Michigan school district is paying up big for its retaliation against an employee who blew the whistle to regulators on unsafe working conditions.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that the Dearborn Heights School District violated whistleblower statutes by unjustly disciplining, publicly discrediting and terminating an employee who reported unsafe working conditions to federal and state agencies. OSHA ordered the Michigan school district to reinstate the employee and pay a total of $102,905.78 in back wages, damages and other compensation.

Federal investigators determined that the Michigan school district violated the Clean Air Act. The terminated employee served as a key witness for federal investigators in a 2012 whistleblower complaint from an employee who alleged employee and student exposure to asbestos at the public school. In fall 2016, the employee also reported potential exposure of pesticide at the school to the Michigan Environmental Protection Agency.

OSHA’s investigation found the Dearborn Heights School District publicly disputed these employees’ complaints, as well as media reports of potential exposure to hazards. The district also maintained an information link on its website alleging that both employees had presented misinformation and caused a public health scare. In addition, the district stated on the public website that it was within its rights to terminate whistleblowers, a clear violation of federal law.

The employee assisted with the 2012 investigation after the worker objected when the director of operations and construction management told the worker to dry sand floor tiles that contained asbestos at Annapolis High School. The director failed to train the workers in asbestos hazards and provide protective equipment.

Within days of receipt of the Department of Labor’s June 2016 findings in the employee’s whistleblower case, the school district allegedly embarked on heightened surveillance of the second employee, a lengthy progressive discipline campaign against the individual, and eventually terminated their employment for actions including reporting unsafe conditions to state and federal agencies.

“All workers are entitled to a safe and healthful workplace without the fear of retaliation for voicing concerns,” said OSHA Acting Chicago Regional Administrator William Donovan. “No worker should be harassed, publicly defamed or punished for reporting unsafe working conditions, advocating for other employees and seeking assurances that they and students are not being exposed to carcinogenic materials.”

In the previous action, Dearborn Heights School District contested OSHA’s June 2016 findings in favor of the first whistleblower. An Administrative Law Judge ordered the district, through a settlement, to pay the former janitor $210,261 in back wages and damages on Feb. 14, 2018.

Both parties have 30 days from the receipt of OSHA’s findings to file objections and request a hearing before an administrative law judge.

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than 20 whistleblower statutes protecting employees from retaliation for reporting violations of various workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws and for engaging in other related protected activities.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 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.