Posts Tagged ‘workplace safety’

Home Improvement Company, Owner Socked With $1.7M Fine for Ignoring Fall Protections

A fine, even a million dollar one, is too lenient for this company which willfully failed to train its workers on the hazards of falling, resulting in an employee’s death.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Shawn D. Purvis, owner of Purvis Home Improvement Co. Inc. for egregious willful, repeat, and serious workplace safety violations. Purvis – a Saco, Maine, roofing contractor – faces a total of $1,792,726 in penalties. The enforcement action follows the death of an employee in Portland, Maine, on December 13, 2018.

OSHA inspectors found that Purvis knowingly failed to ensure the use of fall protection by his employees at the Portland worksite, and at a separate worksite in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

Due to Purvis’ knowledge of the hazard and required safeguards, along with an extensive history of violations, OSHA cited him for 13 egregious willful violations – one for each exposed employee per job site – for failing to ensure the use of fall protection. Each egregious citation carries the maximum allowable penalty of $132,598. OSHA also cited Purvis for failing to provide fall protection training to his employees, and for exposing them to electrocution and eye hazards. OSHA has cited the owner for seven violations of fall protection requirements since September 2006.

“Effective fall protection can prevent tragedies like this when an employer ensures the proper use of legally required lifesaving protection,” said OSHA Area Director David McGuan, in Augusta, Maine. “An ongoing refusal to follow the law exposes other employees to potentially fatal or disabling injuries. Employers cannot evade their responsibility to ensure a safe and healthful worksite.”

View the Portland and Old Orchard Beach citations.

On April 5, 2019, a Portland grand jury indicted Purvis for manslaughter and workplace manslaughter, charging that his repeated violations of OSHA’s fall protection standards caused his employee’s death.

OSHA offers compliance assistance resources on fall hazards on the OSHA Fall Protection webpage at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/.

Purvis 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.

Employers can find compliance assistance resources related to OSHA at https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/cas.html.

OSHA Hits Ga. Tire Company With Hefty Fine

The work of tire manufacturing at this Georgia facility came at a price for workers’ safety.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a combined 22 citations to Kumho Tire Georgia Inc., Sae Joong Mold Inc., and J-Brothers Inc. after a follow-up inspection found safety and health hazards at the tire manufacturing facility in Macon, Georgia. The three companies collectively face $523,895 in proposed penalties.

OSHA cited Kumho Tire Georgia Inc. for exposing employees to fall, struck-by, and burn hazards; failing to follow hazardous energy control procedures when employees performed service and maintenance on machinery; failing to train employees on energy control procedures; and failing to provide machine guarding on various pieces of equipment throughout the facility. Proposed penalties total $507,299. OSHA initiated the follow-up inspection of the tire manufacturer after the Agency did not receive abatement documents regarding a June 2017 inspection and citations. The Agency has now placed Kumho Tire Georgia Inc. in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA cited Sae Joong Mold Inc. for using damaged slings and electrical hazards. Proposed penalties total $9,093. The Agency cited J-Brothers Inc. for exposing employees to smoke inhalation and burn hazards by failing to mount portable fire extinguishers and failing to perform annual maintenance on fire extinguishers. Proposed penalties total $7,503.

“Potential workplace hazards must be assessed and eliminated to ensure a safe work environment,” said OSHA Atlanta-East Area Director William Fulcher. “This employer exposed workers to multiple safety and health deficiencies that put them at risk for serious or fatal injuries.”

The companies have 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.

Pa. Employer Fined $678K Over Arm Amputation

Too late for this worker who lost his hand on the job, but maybe this penalty will spare future workers from this same ill fate.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Champion Modular Inc. for exposing employees to safety and health hazards at its Strattanville, Pennsylvania, facility. The company faces $687,650 in penalties.

OSHA initiated an inspection after an employee suffered an amputation in November 2018. The Agency issued willful and serious citations for failing to use machine guarding, provide fall protection, and train workers on hazard communication and hearing conservation.

“Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries if they are not safeguarded,” said OSHA Erie Area Office Director Brendan Claybaugh. “Employers’ use of machine guards and devices is not optional. Employers are legally responsible for ensuring that machine operators are protected.”

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 American 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 linking to this post in his May 31 weekly round up of employment and HR blogs for the Ohio Employer Law Blog.

Trench Collapse Costs Employer $106K in Fines

This latest trench collapse was costly of course to the injured employees but also to their employer.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited T.H. Construction Co. after two employees suffered serious injuries when a trench collapsed at a construction site in Lincoln, Nebraska. OSHA proposed penalties of $106,078 for one willful violation of its trench safety standards.

Two employees suffered injuries when a portion of the trench wall caved in as they repaired fiber optic cable. A third employee escaped injury. OSHA cited the company for failing to use protective systems to prevent a collapse.

“Compliance with trenching and excavation regulations is not optional,” said OSHA Omaha Area Office Director Jeff Funke. “Employers are legally required to use appropriate protective systems to ensure that workers are not injured.”

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 information on trenching hazards and solutions. Additional information is available in OSHA’s construction hazards prevention videos on trenching and soil classification.

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.

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 Showers $10.5M in Grant Money on Nonprofits, Small Businesses, Other Sectors

Fire up your grant proposals! There’s money to be had from the federal government to improve worker safety.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) May 3  announced the availability of $10.5 million in Susan Harwood Training Grants for nonprofit organizations including community and faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, Indian tribes, and colleges and universities.

The Harwood Training Grant program supports in-person, hands-on training for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates; and vulnerable workers, who are underserved, have limited English proficiency or are temporary workers. The grants will fund training and education to help workers and employers identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards.

Grants are available in three areas: Targeted Topic Training, Training and Educational Materials Development, and Capacity Building.

  • Targeted Topic Training grants support educational programs that address identifying and preventing workplace hazards. These grants require applicants to conduct training on OSHA-designated workplace safety and health hazards.
  • Training and Educational Materials Development grants support the development of quality classroom-ready training and educational materials that focus on identifying and preventing workplace hazards.
  • Capacity Building grants support organizations in developing new capacity for conducting workplace safety and health training programs, and must provide training and education based on identified needs of a specific audience or a set of related topics.

Details on the grants and how to apply are available at Grants.gov.  Harwood applications must be submitted online no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Applicants must possess a “D-U-N-S” number and have an active System of Award Management (SAM) registration.  A D-U-N-S number may be obtained free-of-charge from Dun & Bradstreet.

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.

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OSHA Violations Set Prep School Back $331K

This military prep school may excel at preparing future leaders. Workers safety? Not so much.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Riverside Military Academy Inc. – a military college preparatory academy in Gainesville, Georgia – for exposing employees to trenching hazards. The company faces $381,882 in penalties, including citations for the maximum penalties allowed by law.

OSHA issued willful citations for allowing employees to work inside a trench without cave-in protection and a safe means to enter and exit the excavation, and failing to locate underground utilities prior to conducting excavation work. OSHA also issued serious citations for failing to identify permit-required confined spaces, and train employees to recognize and avoid trenching hazards. The investigation was part of OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation. OSHA has placed Riverside Military Academy Inc. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“Trenching and excavation hazards are preventable if employers follow OSHA standards and use required protective systems to keep workers safe,” said OSHA Atlanta-East Area Office Director William Fulcher.

OSHA’s Trenching and Excavation safety and health page includes information on sloping, shoring, and shielding trench walls to prevent trench cave-ins, and methods to prevent other trenching hazards.

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