National Implications for Safety at Fru-Con Sites Following OSHA Investigations in Toledo

June 06, 2005

OSHA has reached agreement with St. Louis-based Fru-Con Construction Company resolving citations issued following an investigation into the Feb. 16, 2004 bridge collapse and fatalities at the Maumee River Crossing Project in Toledo, Ohio. The agreement also resolves citations resulting from a March 18, 2004 inspection of Fru-Con at another Toledo site where concrete work was performed.

"This agreement offers an increased level of protection at all Fru-Con projects and allows working men and women the opportunity to become real partners in workplace safety," said Jonathan L. Snare, acting assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "These advances can be made immediately, avoiding lengthy litigation."

Among key elements in the settlement is Fru-Con's agreement to employ at least one independent, qualified consultant with expertise in bridge construction at any Fru-Con project in the U.S. involving bridges. The company has also agreed to implement all recommendations made by the consultant on the Maumee River Project, and report those safety improvements to OSHA.

Further, Fru-Con agreed that all worker safety complaints at the Maumee River Crossing Project will be investigated immediately and any hazardous conditions will be corrected.

The company agreed to pay $280,000 in penalties, the full amount initially proposed by OSHA following the Feb. 16 inspection and another $13,000 from the March inspection, and agreed to allow OSHA access to the worksite for inspection purposes even in the absence of any complaint. OSHA, by law, must have probable cause sufficient to obtain a search warrant in order to inspect a worksite.

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Hazard Alerts

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Hazard Alerts Discuss

The Minnesota Department of Labor recently published several Hazard Alerts:




Also see the Kentucky Department of LaborÆs combustible dust hazard alert.

$300,000 Penalty for Widespread Safety & Health Hazards at Paper Mill

Atlantic Paper & Foil Corp. has been cited for a total of 59 alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious job safety and health violations. OSHA has proposed $319,200 in fines following inspections begun Nov. 30, 2004 following an accident in which a worker was caught in a paper winder.

The willful citations address the company's failure to maintain roof support walls and others parts of the mill's structure in safe condition; paper machines not guarded to prevent employees from being caught in their moving parts; untrained personnel operating forklifts, and a front end loader operated without working brakes. A total of $198,000 in fines is proposed for these items.

The alleged serious violations, which carry an additional $121,200 in proposed penalties, include citations for not having an emergency response program or training; inoperable emergency response and sprinkler systems; no fire extinguisher training; no trained first aid responders; inadequate exit access; damaged floors; uninspected cranes and hoists; unsafe operation of forklifts; improper chemical storage; lack of personal protective equipment and training; excess noise levels and lack of adequate hearing protection; unsanitary bathrooms; confined space hazards; electrical hazards; inadequate hazard communication and numerous additional instances of unguarded machinery. The other-than-serious citations address an inadequate injury and illness log, improperly modified forklifts and failure to inform employees of their right to access their medical records.

"Structural collapse, electrocution, fire, crushing injuries, burns, chemical exposure, lacerations, amputation, falls and hearing loss are just some of the hazards to which these workers have been exposed," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "It is imperative that this employer take effective steps to correct these hazards and prevent their recurrence."

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. A serious violation is a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee.

Lead Abatement Contractor Receives $106,800 Proposed Penalties for Willful Violation

A painting contractor's failure to protect employees removing lead-based paint from the Heinz Loft Apartment project in Pittsburgh, has resulted in $106,800 in proposed OSHA penalty. Mike McGarry and Sons Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio, was cited for 12 alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious violations of workplace safety and health regulations following an OSHA inspection that began in Feb. 2005.

The willful citations, which account for $96,000 of the penalty, concern the employer's failure to conduct a proper exposure assessment, lack of hand washing facility and a change area for lead contaminated clothing, and not providing biological monitoring for employees exposed to lead.

The serious violations, with a proposed penalty of $9,000 address the company's failure to equip employees with powered air-purifying respirators; not providing protective clothing; not having an updated lead compliance plan; failure to utilize HEPA filtered vacuums to clean up lead debris; and lack of proper lead training to exposed employees. The other-than-serious violations, which carry a penalty of $1,800, concern the failure to provide exposure monitoring results to employees; failure to establish and maintain accurate medical surveillance records and not establishing an accurate record of all lead monitoring date.

Lead is a poison that can damage the central nervous system, kidney, cardiovascular, blood and reproductive systems if absorbed into the body in high enough doses. Absorption is often through inhalation.

"OSHA lead standards require employers to take steps to minimize exposure levels," said Robert Szymanski, OSHA's area director in Pittsburgh. "This company is well aware of the hazards and their failure to comply at the jobsite is unacceptable."

The agency issues a willful citation when the alleged violation is committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act. A serious violation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious injury could occur.

OSHA Seeks Comments on Coke Oven and Sling Standards

 The requests are part of the Labor Department's pre-clearance consultation program that provides the public an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing information collection requirements in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act. Interested parties must submit comments regarding the coke oven emissions standard by July 22, 2005; comments on slings are due not later than July 25, 2005. Details for the coke oven emissions standard are in the May 23 Federal Register. Information on the slings standard is published in the May 26 Federal Register.

Washington to Revise Safety Rules

The WA Department of Labor and Industry is proposing to rewrite the requirements relating to using hazardous chemicals in laboratories. The Agency is planning to identify unnecessary requirements and outdated terminologies, integrate necessary policies and requirements, and rewrite and reorganize the rule for clarity in Chapter 296-62 WAC, Part Q.

The department also filed a proposal to revise its rules for portable ladders for clarity and ease of use.

Michigan Revises Overhead and Gantry Crane Standards

MichiganÆs General Industry Safety Standard Part 18 Overhead and Gantry Cranes was revised on May 13, 2005. The complete document can be found at the state web site.