$167,000 Penalty for Failure to Correct Workplace Hazards

March 12, 2007

OSHA has cited Radial International Corp., doing business as Radial Casting Corp., for alleged safety and health violations, and is proposing penalties totaling $167,700.

OSHA initiated its investigation of the Kearny, N.J., brass foundry and aluminum die casting operation, which employs 23 people, on Aug. 24, 2006, as a follow-up to an earlier inspection when the company did not verify that previously cited hazards had been abated. The company has been cited with 11 failure to abate notices proposing $134,000 in penalties; five repeat violations proposing $3,600 in penalties; one willful violation proposing $27,500 in penalties; and two serious violations proposing $2,600 in penalties.

"Radial Casting Corp.'s refusal to address these violations continues to put the safety and health of employees on the site at risk," said Phil Peist, director of OSHA's area office in Parsippany, N.J.

A failure to abate condition exists when the employer has not corrected a violation for which a citation has been issued and the abatement date has passed. The company received the failure to abate notices because it failed to develop an energy control program, adequately train employees, maintain OSHA injury and illness logs for three years, provide personal protective equipment to employees exposed to molten metal, maintain surfaces free of accumulations of lead, and implement a written hazard communication program.

A violation is designated as repeat when a similar citation for the same hazard was issued in the previous three years. Repeat violations include the company's deficient hearing conservation program, deficient respiratory protection program, failure to provide medical evaluations, and failure to ensure that exit routes were free and unobstructed.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. A willful violation was issued as a result of the company's deficient hearing conservation program.

Serious violations are issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious injury could occur from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Serious violations include electrical hazards and a lack of engineering controls when employees were overexposed to noise.

Insulpane Faces $42,500 in OSHA Fines

OSHA has issued citations to Insulpane of Connecticut Inc., for a range of safety hazards at its Hamden, Conn., glass manufacturing plant. Proposed fines total $42,500.

OSHA cited Insulpane of Connecticut for a total of 34 alleged serious and other-than-serious violations of safety standards following an inspection begun Jan. 4, 2007, under the federal job safety agency’s site-specific targeting program that focuses inspections on workplaces with higher than average injury or illness rates.

“These citations encompass hazards that are, unfortunately, all too common in a manufacturing environment,” said Robert Kowalski, OSHA’s area director for southwestern Connecticut. “If such conditions are left uncorrected, they can expose employees to lacerations and crushing injuries, electrocution, fire, explosions, or being caught in moving machine parts or struck by forklifts.”

OSHA’s inspection identified instances of unguarded or inadequately guarded moving machine parts and power tools; improper storage of compressed gas cylinders; lack of an emergency action plan and training; lack of lockout/tagout procedures and training; failure to assess the workplace for hazards that require the use of personal protective equipment; inadequate hazard communication; defects involving cranes, slings and powered industrial trucks; electrical hazards; an obstructed aisle; and failing to maintain work areas in a clean, orderly, sanitary and dry condition.

These conditions resulted in 29 serious citations, carrying $41,500 in proposed fines. The company was also issued five other-than-serious citations, with an additional $1,000 proposed fine, for incomplete recording of occupational injuries and illnesses, improper exit signage and deficiencies involving respiratory protection and hand tools. Kowalski stressed the importance of accurate recording of work-related injuries and illnesses as a marker for identifying and correcting potentially hazardous conditions that may hurt employees.

Hydrochloric Acid Spill Reveals Safety Violations and Leads to $272,900 Penalty

A North Collins, N.Y., manufacturer of consumer cleaning products faces a total of $272,900 in proposed fines from OSHA for a variety of alleged health and safety hazards following a Sept. 7, 2006, hydrochloric acid spill. Crescent Marketing Inc., doing business as Crescent Manufacturing, was cited for a total of 39 alleged violations of health and safety standards and for failing to correct a hazard cited in a previous OSHA inspection.

"Our inspections found serious deficiencies in the company's emergency response program, including an incomplete emergency response plan, untrained responders, lack of respirator procedures, and absence of medical consultations for employees who showed signs of possible exposure to hazardous substances," said Art Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "In addition, we identified a range of other hazards at the plant including conditions that had been cited in earlier OSHA inspections."

The company was issued three willful citations, carrying $148,500 in proposed fines, for failing to provide medical evaluations, fit-testing and training to employees on respirator use. Seven repeat citations, with $40,400 in proposed fines, were issued for lack of hand protection, eyewash facilities, and hazard communication training for employees working with hazardous substances; lack of hazardous energy control procedures and training; and electrical hazards. OSHA cited Crescent Manufacturing for similar hazards in 2004 and 2006.

Forty-one serious violations, with $58,000 in proposed fines, were issued for the emergency response deficiencies as well as for hazards involving blocked aisles, obstructed exit access, unsecured materials and equipment, powered industrial trucks, machine guarding, compressed gas storage and additional electrical hazards.

The company was fined an additional $24,000 for failing to correct a specific hazard cited in a previous OSHA inspection. Although it had agreed, following a 2006 OSHA inspection, to provide quick drenching shower facilities in the facility's "clean room," these were not provided.

One other-than-serious citation, with a $2,000 proposed fine, was issued for incomplete recording of work-related injuries and illnesses.

OSHA Cites Safety Violations at Buckeye Building Renovation Following Fatality

OSHA has proposed $151,500 in fines against the WACO Equipment Co. of Columbus, Ohio, for alleged willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety standards following the death of an employee in September 2006.

OSHA opened an investigation after receiving notification that an outside hoist used to raise building materials to the upper floors during renovation of the Buckeye Building in Columbus had failed and an employee had fallen as a result. Two willful citations with proposed penalties totaling $140,000 were issued alleging that the company failed to comply with the manufacturer's specifications in the operation of all hoists and elevators, and employees were directed to ride on the material hoist while erecting the hoist tower.

Three serious citations with proposed penalties of $11,500 were issued alleging a lack of guarding for rotating belts and pulleys, lifelines used in personal fall arrest systems were not protected from damage, and car arresting devices were not installed to function in case of rope failure.

"The tragedy of serious injuries and fatalities resulting from falls is made worse by the fact that they are often preventable," said Deborah Zubaty, director of OSHA's Columbus Area Office. "Employers need to be alert to hazards that may result in falls and to correct them before such incidents occur."

WACO Equipment has had seven OSHA inspections since 2000 and has received seven serious OSHA violations during the past three years. The company employs more than 700 people at locations in several Ohio cities including Columbus, Cleveland, and Akron.

Take a Safety Break in Oregon

Oregon employers are encouraged to take a short break May 9 to raise awareness about workplace safety and health during the “Safety Break for Oregon.” The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) coordinates the one-day event, designed to raise awareness and promote the value of workplace safety and health in preventing injuries and illnesses. The event takes place in workplaces across Oregon and is designed to be flexible to meet an employer's safety and health program needs.

"Every employer’s business philosophy should value safety and health," said Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA. "The annual Safety Break for Oregon creates a chance for employers and workers to come together to discuss safety and health, and to begin or continue a conversation about how to prevent injuries and incidents in the workplace.”

2007 marks the fifth-annual Safety Break, which occurs on the second Wednesday in May.

Reducing Worker Exposure to Asphalt Fumes from Roofing Kettles

Roofers, particularly kettle operators, may be exposed to asphalt fumes when asphalt is heated in roofing kettles for built-up roof construction. Asphalt fumes have been associated with a number of health risks. NIOSH examined two engineering controls for reducing exposure to asphalt fumes: fume-suppressing asphalt and afterburner and loader systems. 

Working under or around a Raised Object can be Dangerous

If the object is not blocked, braced or cribbed to prevent lowering, an unplanned lowering of the object can be unpleasant, disruptive, and sometimes fatal. The Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) listed the following accidents, which occurred in 2005, in Spring 2007 issue of ADOSH Advocate. Since this is not ancient history, it is apparent that these old lessons are not being revisited often enough. No one should work under any object that is not stable, supported, and blocked or cribbed to prevent an inadvertent lowering of the object. Each of these fatal accidents occurred in a different segment of industry or business. None was related to another in any way. Each is a lesson to be learned.

A farm employee working underneath a corn head on a tractor, had raised the corn head hydraulically and was making adjustments. The hydraulic system had a leak that the employee was not aware of, and the corn head was not blocked or cribbed to prevent it from lowering to the ground. The employee was caught and crushed under the corn head when it lowered.

An employee was working on a surface milling machine being held up by a skid steer loader. The milling machine required work on the under side of the machine, but was not blocked or cribbed to prevent it from coming down while the work was being performed. The machine slipped from the loader, falling on top of the employee’s head, resulting in his death.

The owner of a business was working under a T-Top automobile that was being held aloft by a forklift with its forks placed through the car side windows. The car was supported by the center section of the T-Top. The car, which was not blocked or cribbed to prevent a fall, fell on top of the business owner when the T-Top failed. The business owner was crushed.

An operator at a plating plant was working under a parts hanger arm while standing on the guard rail above a very hot tank of plating solution. An inadvertent cycling of the hanger conveyor caused the hanger arm to descend on top of the operator pinning him above the hot solution. His yells caused another operator to reverse the hangar arm motion, releasing the first operator but allowing him to drop into the hot liquid. His injuries were fatal. Had he been working at platform level and had the hangar arm been locked out or blocked to prevent lowering, this would not have occurred.

An employee was dismantling a wooden building for removal. He had removed exterior paneling, and went inside the structure to remove the interior paneling. After some interior removal, the fully roofed structure fell onto the employee causing fatal injuries. The structure should have been dismantled from the top down, or the structure made stable and secure during demolition.

A mechanic was attempting to disconnect a windrow elevator from an asphalt lay down machine. He entered the hopper of the lay down machine and disconnected two hitch pins. The front of the windrow elevator fell, pinning the mechanic which resulted in fatal injuries. The elevator should have been blocked or cribbed to prevent collapse.


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