Posts Tagged ‘Occupational Safety and Health Administration’

Keystone State, OSHA Enter Safety Alliance

It’s good to see the federal government and the states working together to make workplaces safer. Here’s the latest example.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has signed a two-year alliance with the Pennsylvania OSHA Consultation Program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to provide employers and employees with information, guidance and access to training resources to promote safe and healthful workplaces.

The new alliance between OSHA’s Pennsylvania area offices in Allentown, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and the two partners, will focus on promoting safety and health training, workplace safety and an understanding of employees’ rights and employers’ responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

The OSHA Alliance Program fosters collaborative relationships with groups committed to worker safety and health. Alliance partners help OSHA reach targeted audiences, such as employers and workers in high-hazard industries, giving them better access to workplace safety and health tools and information.

Under the OSH 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.

Mich. Co. in Hock $509K for Trench Violations

Federal regulators continue their sweep of construction contractors who are falling down on the job when it comes to protecting their workers from cave-ins. The latest to bend to the government’s edict is a company that lays pipeline in Michigan.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Kamphuis Pipeline Company – based in Grand Rapids, Michigan – have reached a settlement agreement that the excavating company will cease business operations and pay penalties of $509,071 for willful and serious violations of OSHA’s trenching and excavation standards.

The agreement – approved by Judge Patrick B. Augustine of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in Denver, Colorado – resolves three OSHA inspections conducted at Kamphuis Pipeline Company worksites in September and October 2017. Investigators found that the company repeatedly exposed employees to trench cave-in hazards while workers installed water metering pits and lines. The company also failed to follow other requirements for working safely in trenches and excavations.

The settlement agreement requires Kamphuis Pipeline Company to pay the penalties, voluntarily terminate all operations, and dissolve the company’s corporate status in South Dakota. Company owner and founder Daniel J. Kamphuis agreed to surrender his North Dakota contractor license. Both he and the company also agreed not to have any ownership or managerial interest in any construction business conducting trenching and excavation activities within the U.S. in the future. They may engage in such activities in other capacities, but must notify OSHA and take appropriate training if they intend to resume such work.

“Workers in trenches must be protected to prevent deadly consequences,” said Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA. “This agreement demonstrates employers must take their responsibilities under the law seriously to protect workers.”

“This agreement sends a message that companies that want to do business in the trenching and excavation industry must operate safely and protect employees on the jobsite,” said Acting OSHA Regional Administrator Rita Lucero, in Denver, Colorado.

OSHA offers compliance assistance resources on safe practices for Trenching and Excavation at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

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 American working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

OSHA Fines 3 More Contractors in Push to Eradicate Safety Violations at Construction Sites

The number of employers  exposing their workers to construction site hazards keeps mounting up. In hopes that publicity will stem this tide, here are three more contractors penalized for these safety infractions.

First up is H. Berra Construction Co. – based in St. Louis, Missouri, cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for exposing employees to excavation hazards at a residential construction site in Saint Charles, Missouri. The company faces penalties of $143,206.

OSHA opened an investigation after inspectors observed employees working in an inadequately protected trench. OSHA alleges that J.H. Berra Construction Co. failed to use a protective system in an excavation, exposing employees to struck-by and engulfment hazards, and failed to ensure a competent person conducted daily inspections for hazards prior to allowing employees to enter a trench.

OSHA cited the company for one willful and two serious citations for failing to protect employees from cave-in hazards following its February 14, 2019, investigation.

“Trench collapses and cave-ins pose a serious threat to workers’ lives, but the risks can be prevented by complying with safety requirements that exist to protect workers,” said OSHA St. Louis Area Director Bill McDonald.

OSHA recently updated the National Emphasis Program on preventing trenching and excavation collapses, and developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from these hazards. The agency’s trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions. The page includes a trenching operations QuickCard on protecting workers around trenches, and the “Protect Workers in Trenches” poster that provides a quick reminder of the three ways to prevent dangerous trench collapses.

Next up: Midwest Excavating LLC , cited by OSHA for exposing employees to trench cave-in hazards at a jobsite in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The company faces penalties of $58,343.

OSHA initiated an inspection of the jobsite after receiving a complaint of employees allegedly working in an inadequately protected trench. Inspectors determined that there was a potential for a trench collapse due to the presence of water, vertical walls, and a depth greater than seven feet. OSHA cited Midwest Excavating for one willful and one serious citation for failing to protect employees from cave-in hazards.

“OSHA regulations require the use of trench protective systems in all trenches deeper than five feet,” said Sheila Stanley, Sioux Falls Area Director. “Employers can prevent a cave-in by sloping, shoring, or shielding trench walls.”

Finally,  OSHA has cited Payne Enterprises Inc. – a plumbing contractor based in Dayton, Ohio – for exposing employees to multiple trenching and excavation hazards following an employee fatality. The company faces penalties of $145,860.

The employee suffered fatally injuries in a trench collapse at a residential construction site in Bellbrook, Ohio. OSHA cited Payne Enterprises Inc. for two repeated violations for not having a competent individual inspect the trench before allowing employees to enter, and for failing to install an adequate protective system to prevent the trench collapse. OSHA cited the company for similar violations in 2017 and 2018. The Agency has placed the company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“Tragedies such as this are preventable when employers comply with safety standards that exist to protect workers from trenching hazards,” said OSHA Area Director Ken Montgomery, in Cincinnati, Ohio. “OSHA regulations require employers to slope, shore, or shield trench walls to prevent cave-ins.”

Resources on protecting workers from trenching hazards are available on OSHA’s trenching and excavation webpage.

Each 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 https://www.osha.gov.

Instead of being reactive, how about construction contractors being pro-active in finding and fixing these hazards before they injure their workers.

Fla., Ind. Contractors Fined by OSHA for Exposing Workers to Fall Hazards on Jobs

I’ve got a two-fer for you today; two companies recently ensnared in the OSHA enforcement web for not protecting workers from fall hazards.

And I am not talking about the risk of slipping on leaves. This is much more serious.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited L N Framing Inc. for exposing employees to fall hazards at a Jacksonville, Florida, worksite. The residential and commercial framing contractor faces $58,343 in penalties.

OSHA cited L N Framing Inc. for failing to ensure that employees used a fall protection system while installing roof trusses and interior framing on the second floor of a residential home under construction. OSHA conducted the inspection in conjunction with the Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction. The Agency has inspected L N Framing Inc. twice since 2015, with each previous inspection resulting in a citation under the residential fall protection standard.

“L N Framing Inc. has failed to enforce the proper use of ladders and fall protection at their worksites, endangering the lives of their workers,” said OSHA Area Director Michelle Gonzalez, in Jacksonville, Florida.

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.

In a second case, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Five Star Roofing Systems Inc. – based in Hartford City, Indiana – for exposing employees to fall hazards while performing roofing work at a commercial building site in Lake Barrington, Illinois. The company faces $220,249 in penalties for repeated fall protection violations.

OSHA inspectors cited the company for willful, repeated, and serious safety violations for failing to provide head, eye, face and fall protection; improper use of warning lines during low-sloped roof construction; lack of guards on belts and pulleys; unsafe use of ladder; and failing to designate a safety monitor.

“This company has violated required safety standards repeatedly and placed employees at risk for serious injuries,” said OSHA’s Chicago North Area Director Angeline Loftus. “Employers must develop and implement safety procedures on every jobsite to ensure that employees are protected from falls and other workplace safety hazards.”

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 https://www.osha.gov.

Cookie Dough Maker Hit With Big Safety Fine

Making cookie dough is more dangerous than we realized–for the workers, that is.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Choice Products USA LLC for continually exposing employees to machine safety hazards at the cookie dough manufacturing facility in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The company faces $782,526 in penalties, and has been placed in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA cited Choice Products for five egregious willful violations for failing to implement and train employees on lockout/tagout procedures to prevent unintentional contact with machine operating parts during service and maintenance. Inspectors also determined that the company failed to install machine guarding, and comply with forklift regulations.

OSHA cited Choice Products for exposing employees to similar machine hazards following an October 2016 inspection.

“The company managers developed comprehensive lockout/tagout procedures following the 2016 inspection but failed to implement their own safety program,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator William Donovan. “Employers are required by law to provide workers with safe and healthful workplaces.”

“Worker safety should be an employer’s top priority every day they’re open for business,” OSHA Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt said. “Employers who do not comply with safety standards will continue to face the full enforcement of the law.”

OSHA offers compliance assistance resources on Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Employees from Amputations and Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout/Tagout.

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 https://www.osha.gov.

My thanks to Jon Hyman for featuring this blog in his August 23 weekly roundup of blogs he’s read at the Ohio Employer Law Blog.

$200K Penalty for Safety Violations at NY Plant

Packaging the food we eat mustn’t come at the cost of employees’ safety in doing the job.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) last Thursday cited Arbre Group Holding – doing business as Holli-Pac Inc. – for willful and serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its Holley, New York, facility. The company, which packages frozen fruits and vegetables for retailers, faces a total of $200,791 in penalties.

OSHA inspectors determined that the company exposed employees to laceration and amputation hazards related to a package filler machine. Parts of the machine did not have doors to prevent employees from contacting operating parts. The access door on another part of the machine lacked an interlock mechanism to stop the machine’s operation when opening the door. OSHA also cited the company for inadequate lockout/tagout procedures and failing to train employees on hazardous chemicals in the workplace; obtain annual audiograms for employees exposed to excessive noise levels; ensure employees wore appropriate eye and face protection; and repair damaged parts on electrical equipment.

OSHA conducted the inspections under the Site-Specific Targeting Program, which directs enforcement resources to workplaces where the highest rate of injuries and illnesses have occurred.

“Employers that do not comply with the law will see full and fair enforcement,” said OSHA’s Buffalo Area Director Michael Scime. “Maintaining a safe workplace involves employers regularly conducting analyses to find and fix hazards, and training workers to recognize those hazards before they cause injury or illness.”

OSHA offers compliance assistance resources on occupational noise exposuremachine guardingcontrol of hazardous energy, and chemical hazard communication.

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 American working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.

OSHA Dings N.Y. Builder $224K for Fall Fatality

Employers have more work to do to make sure they protect their employees from hazards of falling.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Northridge Construction Corp. for willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards at the company’s headquarters in East Patchogue, New York. The company faces $224,620 in penalties.

In December 2018, an employee suffered fatal injuries when a structure collapsed during installation of roof panels on a shed. OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to provide fall protection and protective helmets, did not ensure the structural integrity of the roof, and misused a ladder.

“Fall-related fatalities are preventable if employers use required fall protection systems, such as guardrails or personal fall arrest systems,” said OSHA Long Island Area Director Anthony Ciuffo. “OSHA standards are legal requirements that every employer must follow to ensure workers are protected from serious injuries.”

Northridge Construction has contested the citations and proposed penalties to 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. Employers can find compliance assistance resources on protecting workers from falls at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/evaluation.html.