Goodyear Fined $274,050 for Confined Space Hazards at Akron Power Plant

March 25, 2004

OSHA has cited Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, for allegedly failing to protect workers from hazards encountered in confined spaces and other unsafe conditions at the company's coal- fired electric generation plant.

The fine and OSHA citations follow an inspection initiated in September 2003 after an employee was buried and trapped in coal up to his neck while shoveling in the Goodyear Powerhouse coal bunker. The worker was one of six who had entered the bunker area for cleaning. When a coal pipe valve was opened, the employee was sucked down with the coal and was trapped for four hours before rescue workers dug him out.

OSHA issued six serious and four willful citations involving worker entry into confined spaces, lack of personal protective and rescue equipment, lack of a lockout/tagout device to prevent activation of the coal bunker transfer valve and training issues. Goodyear Tire and Rubber has been inspected 17 times at various Ohio locations during the past ten years.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA Cites Bronx Employer After Two Workers Die in Oil Tank

OSHA has cited Bronx-based Eastmond & Sons Boiler Repair and Welding Service, Inc., for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards following the deaths of two employees on Sept. 15. The workers were overcome by toxic fumes while cleaning a 4,000-gallon fuel oil tank in the basement of 1876 Arthur Ave. in the Bronx.

OSHA's inspection found that Eastmond failed to evaluate hazardous conditions in the oil tank before workers entered and while they were working inside it. The company also did not provide workers with equipment to test the air in the tank prior to and during entry and failed to properly prepare and maintain required entry permits. These citations, with $112,000 in proposed fines, were classified as willful. 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 and regulations.

Twelve additional citations were classified as serious. Five addressed the company's failure to implement safe confined space entry procedures; failure to review or revise the confined space program after the fatalities; failure to ensure that supervisors verified proper execution of entry permits; failure to ensure that rescue services and the means to summon them were available; and failure to provide mechanical rescue devices for employees working in confined spaces.

The remaining seven citations involved deficiencies in the company's respiratory protection program, electrical safety hazards, a discharged fire extinguisher and failure to ensure the use of personal protective equipment. A total of $22,800 in fines were proposed for the serious citations. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

Eastmond & Sons has chosen to contest the citations and fines before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Company Penalized $193,500 for Failing to Protect Workers from Electrical Hazards

OSHA has issued citations and proposed penalties to Pieper Electric, Inc., of Milwaukee, Wis., for failing to protect workers from electrical hazards.

The penalty and OSHA citations are based on an inspection initiated in September 2003 following an incident at a Racine, Wis., wastewater treatment facility where Pieper Electric was contracted to furnish and install various electrical equipment. On September 23, three Pieper employees were severely burned by an arc flash and explosion that occurred while they were testing an electrical switchgear unit. OSHA cited the firm for a serious violation of federal training requirements and willful violations of lack of personal protective gear and for failing to de-energize or effectively guard exposed live equipment parts.

Pieper Electric, Inc., employs approximately 430 workers nationwide and had 16 workers on the Racine project at the time of the accident. The company has been inspected 63 times at various job sites since 1972 and has been issued a total of 13 serious and 40 other violations.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Business Cited Again for Serious and Willful Violations; $462,600 Penalty Proposed

OSHA has proposed $462,600 in fines for Midwest Racking Manufacturing, Inc., of Madison, Ill., for failing to protect workers from numerous workplace hazards OSHA identified in a recent inspection and eight previous inspections.

The investigation found that the company has consistently failed to correct grave and potentially disastrous workplace hazards, including the lack of such basic worker protections as personal protective equipment, machine guarding, fire prevention measures, safety training, fall protection, and lockout/tagout procedures.

The current fine and OSHA citations follow an inspection initiated in September 2003, following receipt of a complaint. The inspection led to 17 alleged serious violations and 23 alleged willful violations ranging from electrical hazards and smoking permitted within 20 feet of a spray painting operation to a lack of eye and foot protection and improper use or lack of the use of respirators. OSHA has cited the company numerous times since 1995 and has failed to correct identified hazards in spite of offers of free assistance through OSHA's consultation services. Midwest manufactures metal storage rack systems.

The inspection was conducted by OSHA's area office in Peoria. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

In fiscal year 2003, OSHA conducted almost 40,000 inspections, an increase of more than 2000 inspections over 2002 levels; more than half focused on high-hazard industries.

OSHA and Philadelphia Plant Enter Into Settlement Agreement

OSHA has issued citations and signed a settlement agreement with Stone Container Corp., a subsidiary of Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., Philadelphia, following the investigation of a fatal accident last September.

The citations all address deficiencies related to powered industrial trucks. As part of the settlement agreement, which took effect March 26, Stone Container has agreed to:

  • institute an annual audit program with an outside consultant that addresses all safety issues, particularly repair, maintenance, inspection and operation of powered industrial trucks;
  • train its mechanics in proper repair methods and ensure that repair and preventative maintenance logs are kept for each powered truck;
  • conduct an annual "safety stand down day" to conduct safety training;
  • corporate management of Stone Container will assure that each of the Corrugated Container facilities will conduct training in the safe operation and maintenance of Powered Industrial trucks.

Stone Container Corp. manufactures paperboard and paper-based packaging and employs 50 workers at its Philadelphia plant. In the September 2003 accident, a worker died after being crushed between the forklift he was operating and an industrial clamp truck operated by a co-worker.

OSHA Offers Guidance on Protecting Workers Against Avian Flu


"OSHA is very concerned about emerging infectious diseases. Although avian flu primarily affects birds, recent experience in Asia shows there is cause for concern because humans can, in certain cases, be infected," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "We encourage employers and workers who may be exposed to avian flu to take appropriate precautions to prevent illness."

Cases of avian influenza among birds were reported in February 2004 in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Texas, leading to the destruction of hundreds of thousands of birds. Wild birds are the natural hosts, but the disease is highly contagious in birds and can spread to domestic flocks from contaminated farm equipment, soil and dust, animal feed, cages, or even shoes.

OSHA's guidance provides separate recommendations for farm workers and animal handlers, laboratory workers, medical personnel, food handlers, airline flight crews and travelers. The primary focus is good hygiene, including gloves and hand washing, as well as respiratory protection for those who work with infected animals or individuals. The guidance also includes links to helpful websites with additional information and a list of technical articles and resources.


OSHA to Extend Deadlines for Post-Hearing Comments and Briefs on Assigned Protection Factors

Post-hearing comments must be submitted by April 29, 2004 and briefs must be sent by May 29, 2004.

OSHA received requests from interested parties and stakeholders asking for additional time to submit comments and briefs on the assigned protection factors. The original deadline was March 30 for comments and April 29 for post hearing briefs.

Proposed revisions to the respiratory protection standard were published by OSHA on June 6, 2003 and incorporate new Assigned Protection Factors (APFs -- numbers that reflect the workplace level of respiratory protection) for respiratory protection programs.

Three copies of written comments and attachments must be submitted to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket H-049C (APF), Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., Washington, DC, 20210. Further information on submitting comments can be obtained by calling the Docket Office at (202) 693-2350.