OSHA Announces Safety Stand-Down

June 27, 2016

In 2014, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness while 18 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job—all of which was preventable.

To raise awareness about these dangers, OSHA, employers, and trade associations will conduct a one-hour Safety Stand-Down at construction sites and workplaces in eight Southern states from June 27 to July 1, 2016.

Workers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee will stop work voluntarily for one hour at 7 a.m. EDT to conduct safety training focused on how to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and prevent these illnesses when working in hot weather.

Every year, thousands of workers nationwide suffer from serious heat-related illnesses. OSHA investigations of recent heat-related deaths found a majority involved workers on the job for three or less days—highlighting the need for employers to ensure that new workers become acclimated to the heat when starting or returning to work. Labor-intensive activities in hot weather can increase body temperatures beyond a level that sweating cannot cool normally. Heat illness may manifest initially as heat rash or heat cramps. The illness can quickly elevate to heat exhaustion and then heat stroke without simple prevention steps.

"People who work outdoors in extreme hot weather—in industries such as agriculture, construction, baggage-handling, roofing and landscaping—must be aware of the dangers," said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's regional administrator for the Southeast. "Employers are responsible for protecting workers from illness or injury when temperatures increase. This safety Stand-Down initiative seeks to educate employers and workers alike. We encourage companies throughout the region to participate."

For the summer season, OSHA offers tools to assist employers and workers:

  • Heat-illness educational materials in English and Spanish, and a curriculum to be used for workplace training.
  • Online tools such as OSHA worker heat safety tips in a blog, Twitter posts, and at an newly updated heat campaign web page that now includes illustrations of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, an animated video, training resources, and links to an updated heat safety phone app.
  • #WaterRestShade, the official hashtag of the campaign, encourages employers to provide their workers with drinking water, ample breaks, and a shaded area while working outdoors.
  • OSHA continues to work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to raise awareness on the dangers of working in the heat through its Weather-Ready Nation campaign.

Employers from all states can register for the Stand-Down event at the Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., Georgia branch's website. An informational flyer and toolbox, in English and Spanish, are also available there.

Bolivar Enterprises LLC Allowed Dangerous Hazards that Led to Fatal Fall

On June 3, 2016, OSHA issued citations to Bolivar Enterprises, LLC, of Union City, New Jersey, for nine serious violations.

OSHA opened an inspection on December 11, 2015, when the Bayonne Police Department reported that a worker had fallen while removing siding from three-story residence. The agency also conducted the inspection under its local emphasis program focused on fall hazards in construction.

Investigators found that the employee, who died from his injuries, was working on an extension ladder that was part of a scaffold, approximately 25 feet high. While removing the existing siding from the front of the house, he pulled a piece of siding, it gave way, and he fell to the ground. OSHA cited Bolivar for allowing the hazard that caused the fall. The agency also issued citations for scaffolding hazards, including:

  • Failing to provide adequate fall protection while working on the scaffold
  • Not erecting scaffolding that met OSHA's standards
  • Using scaffolding improperly
  • Failing to provide scaffolding training to workers

Proposed penalties total $57,000.

"This tragedy could have been prevented if the company had properly protected workers from fall hazards. Instead, Bolivar Enterprises exposed employees to deadly falls from nearly all aspects of the job," said Bryan Flynn, acting area director of OSHA's Parsippany Office. "Falls are the leading cause of injury and death on construction sites. Employers must take worker safety seriously or risk serious consequences."

Explosion, Fire Injures Four at Ohio Food Additive Manufacturer

A Newark, Ohio, food additive manufacturer's failure to handle hazardous materials and respond properly to an emergency led to an explosion that injured four workers, including two contractors who scaled an 8-foot security fence topped with triple-strand barbed wire to escape the fireball.

An investigation by OSHA found Arboris, LLC, violated process safety management procedures for the handling ofhazardous materials and did not have emergency shut-down procedures for the evaporator and rotary drum filter at the plant when the fire occurred on December 21, 2015. The plant produces sterols, a renewable, non-genetically modified resource used in food manufacturing to lower cholesterol in products.

"Four workers were lucky to be able to escape with minor injuries after a fireball engulfed their work area," said Vanessa Martin, OSHA's area director in Columbus. "When employers fail to properly document procedures and control highly hazardous chemicals, there is a potential for unintentional releases which can cause explosions and fires. Companies must carefully monitor their processes to ensure safety in manufacturing facilities."

OSHA issued Arboris one willful, 35 serious and five other-than-serious safety violations on June 17 and has proposed penalties of $180,180. Two Arboris workers suffered smoke inhalation and first-degree burns.

An investigation by the agency's Columbus area office found Arboris failed to:

  • Designate sufficient egress routes
  • Develop operational procedures to maintain the ongoing integrity of equipment
  • Develop procedures to prevent inadvertent startup or release of stored energy
  • Document inspections and maintenance
  • Follow standard operating procedures
  • Review operating procedures annually
  • Develop procedures for starting up the system after a turnaround
  • Ensure piping and instrumentation diagrams are accurate
  • Provide clear instructions to employees during service and maintenance
  • Provide personal protective equipment necessary in the event of a fire
  • Install handrails on stairs
  • Enclose or guard electrical equipment

Atlas Industrial Contractors, LLC, employed the two workers hurt scaling the fence. OSHA cited the company for one repeated, one serious, and one other-than-serious safety violation on May 17 for failing to store gas cylinders properly and to provide flame-resistant clothing and other personal protective equipment. Atlas employees were working in the facility to decommission and demolishing old process equipment. OSHA has proposed fines of $41,000 to the Columbus-based company.

View citations for Arboris and Atlas.

Arboris has manufacturing plants in Savannah, Georgia, and Newark, to produce sterols—a natural compound produced by pine trees—used commonly in foods such as spreads, bread, milk, and yogurt.

Columbus-based Atlas also operates facilities in Troy, Ohio; Lincoln, Alabama; and Longmont, Colorado.

A&B Foundry & Machining Repeatedly Exposed Workers to Hazards, Fined $143,150

A federal workplace safety and health inspection found workers exposed to the risks of amputation, hearing loss, and respiratory damage at A&B Foundry & Machining, Inc., due to same hazards identified by OSHA at the Franklin, Ohio, foundry in 2012.

On June 15, OSHA issued the foundry 12 repeated and two serious violations, and one other-than-serious violation. The violations, found during the agency's January 2016 follow-up inspection, carry penalties of $143,150.

"A&B Foundry continues to maintain an environment where employees are exposed to serious noise, dangerous machinery and debilitating respiratory hazards," said Ken Montgomery, area director of OSHA's Cincinnati office. "The company needs to re-evaluate its safety and health programs and ensure workers are provided the training and equipment necessary to protect them from injury and illness on the job."

OSHA's follow-up inspection found the employer:

  • Allowed a machine to operate without safety guards
  • Failed to review procedures to prevent unintentional operation of machinery during service and maintenance periodically for accuracy
  • Allowed multiple violations of respiratory protection standards, such as not providing fit testing and medical evaluations for employees
  • Did not train workers about noise hazards or evaluate them annually for occupational exposure to noise
  • Allowed the use of devices not capable of lifting loads within the rated capacity
  • Failed to train employees on hazardous chemicals used in the facility
  • Did not require workers to wear required personal protective equipment, including head and face protection
  • Allowed the use of damaged personal protective equipment
  • Did not close electrical openings and junction boxes as required

View the current safety and health citations.

Absence of Proper Safety Guards Led Two Workers to Suffer Amputations at Ajinomoto Windsor Inc.

Twice in less than a month, two workers at an Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc., facility suffered amputation injuries because their employer failed to install adequate safety guards to keep operator's hands out of machine danger zones, inspectors with OSHA found. The agency cited the food manufacturer for similar machine hazards at the Piedmont, Missouri, facility in 2013.

Inspectors responded after the December 22, 2015, and January 23, 2016, injuries occurred at the plant. On June 15, the agency cited the company for two repeated, eight serious and three other-than-serious safety violations and proposed $140,000 in penalties.

OSHA inspection found:

  • On December 22, 2015, a 54-year-old sanitation worker lost more than half of his right index finger and severed another finger while clearing debris from a breading machine. A third finger was damaged and later medically amputated.
  • On January 23, 2016, a reciprocating blade severed the tip of a 30-year-old production worker's left middle finger as he attempted to unjam a bagging machine without adequate safe guards.

"It's hard to imagine the agony and pain these workers suffered when their fingers were amputated. Machine safe guards would have prevented their hands coming in contact with the operating parts of the machine," said Bill McDonald, OSHA's area director in St. Louis. "Such hazards are inexcusable in light of the OSHA intervention that ensued at the plant following a machine guarding inspection in 2013. Ajinomoto Windsor needs to make fundamental changes inside of its workplace to protect workers on the job and to comply with federal safety standards."

Since January 1, 2015, OSHA requires all employers to report any severe work-related injury—defined as a hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye—within 24 hours. The requirement that an employer report a workplace fatality within eight hours remains in force. In the first full year of the program, Missouri employers reported 88 amputations. Amputation hazards remain among the most frequently cited OSHA violations.

View current citations for December and January injuries.

Based in Ontario, California, Ajinomoto Windsor markets specialty frozen foods for consumers, commercial restaurants, and foodservice operators from 10 plants in eight states. Among their consumer brands are Tai Pei, Jose Ole, Ling Ling, and Bernardi.

Wegmans Food Market's Rochester Fined $140,000 After Worker Suffers Severe Arm Injury

A simple task for an employee at Wegmans Food Market, Inc.'s, commercial bakery in Rochester, New York, instead resulted in a needless and severe injury. As the worker cleaned an operating conveyor belt and roller on December 16, 2015, her hand was caught between the belt and the roller and the machine pulled it in. She sustained broken bones in her hand and arm.

An investigation by the Buffalo Area Office of OSHA found that—in violation of the agency's hazardous energy control standard—bakery employees cleaned the conveyor belt and roller routinely without turning it off and locking out its power source. Investigators also found Wegmans failed to train employees on how to do so. OSHA cited the bakery for similar hazards in October 2011 and September 2015.

"These hazards and the injury that resulted were preventable. They also reflect an unfortunate and needless pattern. OSHA has repeatedly cited the bakery for similar lockout and training hazards over the past five years, including incidents in 2015 in which one employee sustained a finger injury and another suffered a first-degree burn," said Michael Scime, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "Wegmans must take effective and ongoing action to ensure that its bakery employees are properly trained and safeguarded so that incidents and injuries such as these do not happen again."

As a result of its latest inspection, OSHA has now cited Wegmans for two repeated violations of workplace safety standards and proposed a total of $140,000 in fines for those violations.

Trailer Component Manufacturing Inc. Exposed Workers to Machine, Electrical Hazards

OSHA issued three repeated and eight serious violations to Trailer Components Manufacturing, of Mentor, Ohio, which operates as Buyers Product Company.

The January inspection was initiated after the OSHA received a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions at the towing components manufacturer that also makes toolboxes and snow plows.

Inspectors from the agency's Cleveland area office found the company continued to expose workers to hazards cited in 2012 by failing to:

  • Conduct annual inspections of energy control procedures to prevent unintentional machine operation
  • Properly install electrical equipment
  • Effectively guard machine operating parts

OSHA also found the employer failed to provide workers with personal protective equipment, or train them about hazardous chemicals in use in the facility.

"It is always disappointing to cite a company for hazards they previously committed to correcting in their facility," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "Lack of machine safety procedures can lead to amputation and other debilitating injuries. Buyers Product Company is responsible for protecting workers on the job."

Proposed penalties total $99,000.

Jamestown MVP LLC Repeatedly Exposed Workers to Electrical Hazards

On June 13, 2016, OSHA issued one citation for failure to abate a previously cited violation, and one citation for a repeat violation to Jamestown MVP, LLC, in Falconer, New York.

On March 16, 2016, OSHA's Buffalo Area Office opened a follow-up inspection after the company failed to verify correction of previous violations. In their inspection, federal workplace safety and health inspectors discovered the employer had not corrected a hazard cited in the original 2015 inspection and allowed another hazardous condition to recur.

Specifically, inspectors found company employees still exposed to fall hazards while working on a fabricated work platform that the employer did not inspect to determine, rate, and mark the how much weight it could support. The company was also using extension cords rather than a permanent power cord to power a box-making machine and exposed employees to electric shock hazards. Proposed penalties total $87,520.

"Jamestown MVP LLC failed to protect its employees from electrical and fall hazards by not providing safeguards that are intended to prevent worker injury or even death," said Michael Scime, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "The penalties for this inspection reflect OSHA's commitment to hold employers responsible for failing to comply with safety standards, and to protect employee safety and health."

Safety Violations at MillerCoors Fort Worth Brewery Led to Amputation

OSHA began an inspection January 5, 2016, after reports of an amputation of an employee's finger at the MillerCoors Fort Worth brewery's maintenance shop. Investigators issued citations for one willful and one serious violation. The agency issued a willful citation when investigators discovered that lathes in the maintenance shop lacked required safety guards that could have prevented the amputation. A serious citation was issued because those same lathes did not have emergency stops installed.

Proposed penalties total $77,000.

"MillerCoors completely disregarded the safety of the workers who operate machinery to maintain the equipment in the facility," said Jack A. Rector, OSHA's Area Director in Fort Worth. "This employer owes it to the many, many consumers who purchase the Miller Brewery's products to do what was necessary to protect the employees who work hard to produce it from workplace hazards."

U.S. Pipe Fabrication LLC Fined $75,960 for Persistent Safety Violations

OSHA issued citations to U.S. Pipe Fabrication, LLC, on June 6 for three repeated, three serious, and one other-than-serious safety and health violations.

OSHA opened the investigation as a follow-up to a previous inspection opened in April 2015. The agency initially inspected Custom Fab, Inc., under its National Emphasis Program on Amputations; the company was later bought by U.S. Pipe.

The repeated citations relate to the employer:

  • Not providing written energy-control procedures to ensure zero energy state during maintenance and servicing
  • Exposing workers to unguarded machine parts and equipment
  • Not tailoring the written respiratory program to the respirators used at the facility

The serious citations relate to the employer:

  • Not ensuring workers followed energy-control procedures to prevent unexpected machine start-ups during maintenance and servicing
  • Exposing workers to unguarded saw blades
  • Not instructing workers on the hazards of fighting fires

The other-than-serious citation relates to the employer:

  • Not recording a workplace injury on the required OSHA 300 log within seven days

Proposed penalties total $75,960.

"When workplace hazards are found, they must be corrected and not be allowed to reoccur," said William Fulcher, OSHA's area director in the Atlanta-East Office. The management of U.S. Pipe cannot wait for OSHA inspectors to identify hazards; they must be proactive in identifying and removing hazards."

Americold Logistics Lacked Proper Procedures for Use of Ammonia

OSHA issued nine serious safety violations to Americold Logistics, of Carthage, Missouri, a food industry provider of cold storage warehousing and logistical services. A January 2016 complaint investigation found the company violated OSHA's process safety management procedures for using ammonia in its refrigeration warehouse facility.

An investigation by the agency's Kansas City area office found the company failed to:

  • Identify ammonia refrigeration piping by name and direction of flow
  • Correct equipment deficiencies
  • Follow good engineering practices
  • Train workers on start-up procedures
  • Conduct training on confined space rescue procedures
  • Train workers on the hazardous chemicals in use
  • Close electrical openings
  • Prevent electrical equipment from being exposed to water and moisture

"Exposure to ammonia can cause serious eye, throat and respiratory issues for employees," said Dave Keim, OSHA's acting area director in Kansas City. "When highly hazardous chemicals are not properly controlled and stored there is a potential for unintentional release. Companies like Americold Logistics that use ammonia for refrigeration must carefully monitor their processes to ensure safe use."

Proposed penalties total $54,800.

High Country Elevators Inc. Exposed Workers to Fatal Grain Engulfment Hazards

OSHA investigated High Country Elevators, Inc., on March 15, 2016, in Dove Creek, Colorado, as part of the agency's Regional Emphasis Program for Grain Handling Facilities. At the time of the inspection, an employee was inside one of the storage bins alone shoveling sunflower seeds; no protective measures were in place and no other employee was present to stop the elevator in an emergency. OSHA then cited the employer for one willful violation for having an employee working in a storage bin, and not locking-out energized unguarded equipment operating inside the same storage bin. The agency also issued two repeat citations because the employer did not issue a permit to an employee prior to entering a storage bin, a confined space, and the worker was not equipped with a body harness and lifeline. The employer was cited for these same or a similar violation on Aug. 15, 2011.

Additionally, OSHA issued four serious violations to High Country for:

  • Not monitoring the air inside a confined space prior to allowing employees to enter them
  • Allowing employees to enter confined spaces without being connected to a rescue line, and failure to have a manual backup system or a means to adjust the force and speed of the electric winch used as part of the rescue equipment for employees who enter confined spaces
  • Not providing an observer outside of the storage bin to provide assistance in the event another employee entered the bin in an emergency
  • Allowing grain dust to accumulate greater than 1/8 inch

Suffocation is a leading cause of death in grain storage bins. In 2010, 51 workers were engulfed by grain stored in bins; 26 of them died. Proposed penalties total $51,920.

"Moving grain acts like 'quicksand,’ can bury a worker in seconds and, in many cases, leads to death by suffocation," said David Nelson, OSHA's Area Director in Englewood, Colorado. "Vertical piles of stored grain can also collapse unexpectedly if a worker stands on or near it. These types of incident can be prevented by following some basic rules."

K-T Galvanizing Company Inc. Fined $50,300 for Multiple Violations

OSHA began an inspection February 23, 2016, at K-T Galvanizing Company's Venus facility as part of the Regional Emphasis Program for Fabricated Metals. Investigators with the Fort Worth Area Office found 13 serious violations as a result, including:

  • Not having a written hearing conservation program
  • Failing to conduct a hazard assessment
  • Not having a hazard communication program
  • Failing to evaluate permit required confined spaces
  • Not having safety latches on hooks
  • No functional seatbelts on forklifts
  • Forklift manufacturer name plates, safety decals were not legible
  • Forklift training was not conducted by a qualified person
  • Forklifts with safety issues were not taken out of service and repairs made before placing them back into service
  • Forklifts were not inspected for safety before using them
  • Not having work rest and tongue guard on a bench grinder
  • Several electrical violations

Proposed penalties total $53,200.

"K-T Galvanizing's loose attitude toward safety exposed employees to known hazardous conditions," said Jack A. Rector, OSHA's Area Director in Fort Worth. "The company did not follow safety procedures or provide crucial training to employees about workplace hazards that exposed them to an unsafe work environment and hazardous conditions daily."

Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov Cited for 21 Safety Hazards

Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov, 638 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, New York, was constructing a six-story school and office building at 642 Bedford St. in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. On June 3, 2016, OSHA cited Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov for 21 serious violations of workplace safety standards.

Employees working at the site were exposed to widespread electrical hazards and to falls of from six to more than 10 feet as well as impalement, struck-by and laceration hazards. These included:

  • Exposed live electrical outlets and parts, misused and damaged electrical cords throughout the worksite
  • No fall protection for employees working at unguarded building edges and an unguarded elevator shaft
  • An inadequately planked scaffold that was not erected under the supervision of a competent person
  • Employees climbing framing and cross-bracing to access the scaffold
  • Unguarded skylights and floor holes
  • Impalement hazards from unguarded projecting steel rebar
  • Uncapped and unsecured compressed gas cylinders
  • Objects falling from an unguarded elevator shaft
  • A grinder not guarded against employee contact

The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office under its local emphasis program on construction. Proposed penalties total $49,200.

"The nature and breadth of these violations are disturbing. Falls and electrocution are two of the four hazards that account for most injuries and deaths in construction work. Responsible employers must ensure that these and other required safeguards are in place and in use at all times. The lives and well-being of their employees depends on this," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

Two Sites of Lafayette, Indiana, Business Certified for Safety Success

The E-Scrap and Blue Arrow Trucking locations of the Oscar Winski Company, based in Lafayette, Indiana, received certification as participating sites in the Indiana Safety and Health Recognition Program (INSHARP).

Oscar Winski Company began as one of Indiana’s first recycling companies in 1907. The company has 249 employees at six locations in Indiana and an office in Chicago, Illinois. E-Scrap and Blue Arrow Trucking are both located in the heart of the company’s operations in Lafayette, Indiana. Thanks to the superb, site-specific safety and health programs supported by management and employee commitment, both jobsites have been free of occupational injuries or illnesses for the past three years.

“Certification as an INSHARP site demonstrates to all Hoosiers that a company is invested in the well-being of its employees,” said Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Rick J. Ruble. “We’re proud to recognize the Oscar Winski Company’s two recently certified sites in outstanding occupational safety and health.”

E-Scrap is a primary recycling center of electronic equipment, providing proper disposal services of computers, cameras, cell phones, DVD players, etc. The facility has six full-time employees. Blue Arrow Trucking houses transportation and truck repair operations for Oscar Winski Company distribution. Blue Arrow Trucking has four full-time employees.

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