OSHA has cited Party City Corporation, of Bronx, New York, and proposed penalties of $111,150 against the firm for two alleged willful and five alleged serious violations of OSHA standards. The company has until January 23 to contest the citations.
According to OSHA area director Philip Peist, the action results from an investigation conducted from July 5 through October 19, 2000 at the party-supply store following a complaint concerning a locked fire exit.
OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA's fire protection standard by failing to keep exits unlocked and unobstructed in order to provide means of free escape from the building. The alleged willful violations carry a proposed penalty of $99,000.
The alleged serious violations for which the employer was cited included:
- failure to properly train employees in the use of fire extinguishers and hazards associated with their use;
- failure to provide handrails on stairs;
- failure to provide directional exit signs;
- failure to properly stack boxes so as to prevent their falling on employees;
- failure to properly secure helium cylinders during use.
The alleged serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of
OSHA ISSUES $174,000 PENALTY; COMPANY AGREES TO CORRECT VIOLATIONS AND PAY PENALTY
The Houston South area office of OSHA has cited Van Leer Containers, Inc., of La Porte, Texas, with 11 safety and health violations. The company has agreed to correct the violations and pay the penalty.
The alleged violations were discovered during a July 31, 2000, inspection prompted by an employee complaint. The serious violations involved several instances of non-compliance with OSHA's standards for not providing guardrails around dangerous equipment, failing to provide stairway platforms, failing to perform a hazard assessment to determine appropriate personal protective equipment, failing to provide production employees with locks to lock equipment out, failing to remove damaged slings and failing to provide guards for dangerous machines.
The additional violations included allowing employees to clear jams on a daily basis without locking the equipment out; inadequate periodic inspections of the company's lockout/tagout program; failing to provide adequate lockout/tagout training; and failing to mark electrical circuits to identify their purpose.
"In addition to agreeing to correct the violations and pay the
monetary penalty, the company will provide all employees with
comprehensive training in lockout/tagout, machine guarding and
the use of personal protective equipment, " said Ray Skinner,
OSHA Houston South area director. The company will also hire a
consultant to conduct safety and health audits of the facility
for the next three years.
OSHA CITES BOX MANUFACTURER FOR ALLEGED WILLFUL & SERIOUS SAFETY VIOLATIONS
OSHA has cited Premier Corrugated Box, Inc., a box manufacturer located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, for alleged willful and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and has proposed penalties totaling $53,825.
According to Ronald E. Morin, OSHA area director for central and western Massachusetts, the alleged violations were discovered during an inspection initiated November 20, 2000, after a worker was injured when his hand was caught in the moving parts of a laminating machine.
"The inspection found that a limit switch on the machine had been duct-taped in the æon' position, overriding the switch so that the machine's rollers would continually operate, even when they shouldn't have," said Morin. "This exposed employees to the possibility of crushed limbs or, as happened here, severe lacerations, if they came in contact with the rollers.
"Of particular concern in this case is the fact that management knew this switch had been overridden but took no willful, the most severe category of OSHA citation and, as such, accounts for the bulk of the fine proposed here."
Morin noted that the inspection also identified several other hazards including exposed live electrical parts, unmarked electrical disconnect switches, a defective conveyor belt and lack of restraint devices, such as seat belts on forklift trucks:
"These particular conditions exposed employees to possible electrocution, accidentally activating or shutting down machines, contact with a conveyor's rotating parts and crushing injuries in the event of a forklift tipover."
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Specifically, the citations and proposed penalties encompass: One alleged willful violation, with a proposed penalty of $50,000, for:
- employees exposed to serious injury, such as severe lacerations and crushed limbs, due to the overriding of the limit switch on a laminating machine;
Four alleged serious violations, with $3,825 in proposed penalties, for:
- employees operating forklifts exposed to crushing injuries in the event of a tipover due to the lack of a restraint device such as a seat belt;
- employees not protected against the rotating parts of a conveyor system stemming from a defective conveyor belt;
- equipment disconnect switches not marked to indicate their purpose;
- exposed live electrical parts.
CONTRACTORS CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS ON BRICK REPOINTING PROJECT
OSHA has cited a West Seneca, New York, contractor and four subcontractors involved in restoration of dormitories on the Amherst campus of SUNY Buffalo, and proposed penalties of $176,620 for three alleged willful violations and 29 alleged serious violations of OSHA standards. The companies have until January 25th to contest the citations.
According to OSHA area director David E. Boyce, the action results from an investigation conducted from July 3, 2000 to January 2, 2001 following a complaint of unsafe conditions at the worksite, the Ellicot Complex on the SUNY Buffalo Amherst Campus. The general contractor, Allstate Development, Inc -- Progressive Weatherproofing Joint Venture, West Seneca, New York, and four subcontractors were engaged in re-pointing the brick exterior and working from improperly erected scaffolding that was enclosed in plastic sheeting. "The enclosure had the effect of increasing the concentration of silica dust which was released by the brick grinding," Boyce said.
OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA's respiratory protection standard by failure to conduct medical evaluations on employees wearing respirators, failure to perform respirator fit testing, and failure to train employees in respirator use. The alleged willful violations carry a proposed penalty of $132,000.
The alleged serious violations for which the Allstate-Progressive joint venture was cited included:
- failure to provide appropriate respirators, issuing incorrect respirators;
- exposing employees to airborne levels of silica four to 21 times higher than the permissible exposure limit;
- failure to provide appropriate protective personal equipment to employees using corrosive chemicals;
- failure to provide training on the hazards associated with the chemicals in use;
- failure to inform employees of the availability of exposure records and their right of access to them;
- permitting scaffold to be installed more than 14 inches from the face of the building;
- failure to provide guardrails on scaffolds;
- failure to provide safe access to all levels of the scaffold;
- permitting scaffold sections to be moved by persons not qualified to do so;
- failure to barricade scaffold areas where overhead hazards existed.
The alleged serious violations by the prime contractor carry a total proposed penalty of $14,000.
The firm was also cited for failure to inspect scaffolds daily and failure to maintain the required log of injuries and illnesses, two alleged other-than-serious violations.
OSHA citations issued to the subcontractors included the following:
HIPPWrap Containment, San Diego, California:
- failure to provide full decking on all scaffold levels;
- failure to provide safe access on scaffolds;
- failure to provide fall protection on scaffolds;
- failure to have scaffolds moved by competent persons;
- failure to train employees in the hazards of working from scaffolds;
- failure to provide fire extinguishers on site.
The six alleged serious violations carry a proposed penalty of $8,250. The firm was also cited failure to maintain the required log of injuries and illnesses, an alleged other-than-serious violation.
Arric Corporation, DePew, New York:
- failure to evaluate respiratory hazards at the site;
- failure to keep site free from debris.
The two alleged serious violations carry a proposed penalty of $3,250.
CME Associates, Tonawanda, New York:
- failure to keep worksite free from debris. The alleged serious violation carries a proposed penalty of $1,750.
Safespan Platform Systems, Tonawanda, New York:
- failure to keep scaffold within 14 inches of the building, an alleged serious violation with a proposed penalty of $1,500. The firm was also cited for failure to complete the required log of injuries and illnesses, an alleged repeat other-than-serious violation with a penalty of $120.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an
intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the
requirements of the OSHA act and regulations.
OSHA PROPOSES $133,000 IN FINES AGAINST RAILROAD FOR 48 SAFETY VIOLATIONS
OSHA has cited the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad for 48 alleged serious, repeat and other than serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at its Derby, Maine, maintenance facility. OSHA has proposed penalties against the railroad totaling $133,000.
According to C. William Freeman III, OSHA area director for Maine, the alleged violations were discovered during an inspection initiated on July 11, 2000, in response to a formal complaint from employees at the facility and encompass a cross-section of safety hazards involving exposed live electrical parts, failure to de-energize an electrical circuit before performing maintenance, unguarded moving machine parts, defects involving a crane, lifting hooks and lifting slings, unprotected LPG tanks, unsafe welding practices, improperly modified forklift trucks, the accumulation of water and oil in welding pits, lack of fall protection and inadequate fire safeguards.
Specifically, the citations and proposed penalties encompass:
Thirty-two alleged serious violations, accounting for $95,500 in proposed fines, for:
- numerous instances of unguarded or inadequately guarded moving machine parts, including unguarded shafts, pulleys, chop saw, radial arm saw blades, bandsaw drive wheels, bandsaw spindle and nut, portable hand grinder, and improperly adjusted work rests on bench grinders; forging machines had not received safety checks;
- LPG tanks not protected from vehicular traffic, stored on combustible wooden blocks and stored over or near ignitable bushes, dry leaves and trees;
- blocked access to fire extinguishers or extinguisher locations not marked; fire extinguishers not visually inspected monthly;
- combustible materials not moved, protected or shielded during welding operations; fire extinguisher not readily available during welding; no protective equipment to prevent welding flashback; low pressure manifold system not posted with a sign to prevent attachment of high pressure cylinders; readily accessible shut off valves not provided for propane and oxygen lines; electrode holder with welding rod draped over metal jack stand;
- ground fault alarm turned off; metal fixtures stored adjacent to exposed live parts in an electrical distribution unit; exposed live parts on grinder switches; reversed polarity on an electrical outlet; ungrounded electrical equipment; branch circuit not de-energized prior to replacing an electric receptacle;
- overhead crane not equipped with a warning alarm or rail sweeps;
- lifting rings that had been welded were not tested; a lifting hook was spread more than 30% of its original opening; lifting capacity not marked on chain slings; frayed web sling not removed from service;
- fall protection not used where required;
- uncapped steel rebar;
- asbestos waste not identified; entrance to asbestos-containing boiler room lacked a warning sign; floor surfaces not maintained free of asbestos;
- exit doors not marked as such;
- no mechanical means to measure air flow in a paint booth;
- excess pressure for a compressed air hose used for cleaning.
Three alleged repeat violations, with $37,500 in proposed penalties for :
- bench grinders lacked guards or were improperly adjusted;
- forklifts were modified without manufacturer's approval;
- floors not maintained in a dry condition.
[The railroad had previously been cited for substantially similar hazards in citations issued in November 1998, following a prior inspection at this location and in May 2000, following an inspection at the railroad's Northern Maine Junction facility].
Thirteen alleged other than serious violations for:
The Bangor & Aroostook Railroad is headquartered in Northern Maine Junction, Maine. About 45 workers are employed at the maintenance facility which is located on B&A Avenue in Derby.
A serious violation is defined by OSHA as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. An other-than-serious violation is a condition which would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees. A repeat violation is issued when a substantially similar violation has been cited during a previous OSHA inspection and that citation has become final.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and
proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to
request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA
area director, or to contest them before the independent
Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
NEW JERSEY PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PLAN RECEIVES APPROVAL
New Jersey became the newest state to receive approval from OSHA to administer its own occupational safety and health plan for public employees.
New Jersey joins Connecticut and New York as one of three states authorized by OSHA to offer a safety and health program specifically for public employees. The New Jersey plan is the first new state plan since New York was added in 1984. Twenty-three other states have OSHA-approved plans for the private sector that extend coverage to state and local government employees.
The plan will be administered by the New Jersey Department of Labor with the Department of Health and Senior Services having responsibility for conducting health inspections. The program covers more than 470,000 public employees, including approximately 112,900 state government workers and roughly 357,100 municipal employees. Private sector employees remain under the jurisdiction of federal OSHA.
New Jersey has adopted standards identical to most federal OSHA safety and health standards and has committed to bring all of its standards into line with OSHA requirements. The state plan also provides that future OSHA standards and revisions will be adopted by the state.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and 29 CFR Part 1956 allow states and territories to establish plans that cover only state and local government employees - workers who are excluded from Federal coverage. Once a state plan is approved, OSHA funds up to 50% of the program's operating costs.
To be eligible for a developmental public employee only State plan, a state must operate an occupational safety and health program that is, or will be, "at least as effective" as the federal program. It also must have a sufficient number of safety inspectors and industrial hygienists to run the program effectively. New Jersey will have a staff of 20 safety and 7 health inspectors as well as staff to promote voluntary compliance. Finally, the state must provide data to federal OSHA on its activities.
Notice of plan approval is scheduled for publication in the
January 11, 2001 issue of the Federal Register.
OSHA CITES SOUTHWESTERN WIRE INC. FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS; PENALTIES PROPOSED AT $138,150
OSHA has cited Southwestern Wire, Inc., of Norman, Okla. for alleged safety and health violations and proposed penalties of $138,150.
Southwestern Wire, a non-union company, employs 160 workers at the Norman site. It is a wire fabrication facility which processes wire rod into galvanized wire and chain-link fabric.
The OSHA investigation began on July 5, 2000, in response to a complaint alleging unsafe conditions during an emergency response to a large spill of hydrochloric acid.
The company was cited for two willful violations, six serious violations, and seven other-than-serious violations of OSHA safety and health standards.
One willful violation is for an inadequate emergency response and the other willful violation is for deficiencies in training for emergency response, hazard communication, personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, and bloodborne pathogens.
The serious citations are for deficiencies in the emergency response plan, medical surveillance for emergency response team members, failure to offer Hepatitis B vaccinations, lack of training for lead and cadmium, and lack of personal protective equipment for dip tank work.
The other-than-serious citations are for deficiencies in the respiratory protection program.
Southwestern Wire has 15 working days from receipt of the
citations to comply, request an informal conference with the
Oklahoma City area director or contest the citations and
penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health
NATIONAL HONORS FOR OSHA'S "IT'S THE LAW" WORKPLACE POSTER
The National Partnership for Reinventing Government presented a "No Gobbledygook" award to OSHA for its poster, "It's the Law," informing workers of their rights to a safe and healthful workplace. The poster describes workers' rights using "plain language," in keeping with the goals of the National Partnership interagency task force. The poster depicts a variety of workers - from chefs to linemen to hospital personnel - and explains succinctly how workers may file a complaint, report an emergency, or seek OSHA advice, all with the right of confidentiality.
Anne Cyr, Deputy Director, OSHA's Office of Public Affairs, received the award at a ceremony in the White House Conference Center on January 5. OSHA was one of seven agency recipients of the award for the July - December, 2000 period. The award is aimed at federal workers who turn complicated government information into plain language.
The OSHA poster, which is free and available in both English and Spanish, may be downloaded from OSHA's web site on the Internet (English version http://www.osha.gov/oshpubs/poster.html or Spanish version, "Lo Establece La Ley" http://www.osha.gov/oshpubs/poster2.html) or ordered by writing to the OSHA publications office, Rm. N3101, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20210; or by calling any OSHA office, usually listed under Federal Government in local telephone directories.
The previous edition of the OSHA poster is still valid; employers are not required to replace it with the newer version, although they are required to post an OSHA notice of employee rights in a prominent location.
Employers in states operating OSHA-approved state plans should obtain and post the state's equivalent poster if there is one.