Unsafe Working Conditions Lead to OSHA Fine

September 24, 2004

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined an Illinois company $56,000 for unsafe working conditions.

PIPCO Companies Ltd. Was cited for a cave-in hazard at a worksite in Washburn, IL. OSHA investigators allege that the company failed to provide proper employee protection when installing a sanitary sewer system.

The company has 15 business days to contest the fine.

Pennsylvania Plant Receives OSHA Citation

Shane Felter Industries Inc. of Uniontown, PA, was cited by OSHA for 34 alleged violations of safety and health standards. The company fabricates and paints steel beams used in bridge and road construction.

The violations were discovered following separate health and safety inspections earlier this year by personnel for OSHA's Pittsburgh area office. Hazardous conditions revealed by the inspections include unsafe operation and maintenance of overhead cranes and forklifts, improper storage of flammable liquids and oxygen cylinders, obstructed exit routes, ventilation problems, and deficiencies in the use of respirators and other personal protective equipment.

Penalties were proposed in excess of $100,000 for a combination of alleged willful violations, alleged repeat violations, and alleged serious violations. The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Cheese Plant Receives OSHA Citation

A cheese manufacturer's failure to protect workers against the unexpected startup of machinery, hazardous chemicals, falls and other safety and health hazards has resulted in $184,900 in proposed fines from OSHA.

St Lawrence Food Corp., doing business as Primo Foods, was cited for a total of 38 alleged willful, repeat, serious and other violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at its 30 Main St. plant. OSHA conducted the inspection from March 11 to September 3, as part of a safety and health emphasis program covering food processing plants in the local area.

The inspection found that the company failed to provide "lockout/tagout" protection for employees who service and clean equipment to ensure that machinery does not accidentally startup during repair or maintenance. In addition, employees were not trained on the hazards of the corrosive chemicals with which they work. These conditions resulted in the issuance of two willful citations, with $112,500 in proposed fines.

Thirty-two serious citations, carrying $68,400 in fines, were issued for such hazards as failing to label confined spaces and institute a program for safe entry; missing stair railings; not providing fall protection for employees working at heights of up to 12 feet; obstructed exit routes; unguarded moving machine parts; and failure to properly maintain electrical equipment.

A repeat citation, with a $3,200 fine, was issued for the company's failure to institute a hearing conservation program. OSHA had cited Lewis County Dairy, which is owned by the same company, in May 2003 for a similar hazard at its Lowville, N.Y., dairy. An additional $800 in fines were proposed for three other citations for failing to maintain a log of occupational illnesses and injuries, an uncovered floor drain and not marking the load capacity on a fork lift.

Safety and Health Information Bulletin Focuses on Fall Protection

 The connectors are used frequently in the tower construction and maintenance industry as portable/temporary anchorage connector personal fall arrest systems and for positioning device systems. OSHA's area office in Bismarck, ND, recently investigated a fatal accident involving a spring-loaded form anchorage connector used in communication towers upgrade work. The bulletin details specifications and limitations of the devices, lists recommendations for the safe use of the devices, and discusses the agency's standards for fall protection system criteria.

New York Region Forms New Alliances

The safety and health of workers throughout the Empire State is the focus of three new Alliances signed recently in the New York Region. 

Boston, Atlanta, Kansas City Regions Sign New Alliances


Virginia Plant Cited For Serious OSHA Violations

The Washington Post has been cited for a series of serious OSHA violations at its Springfield, VA, production facility.

The violations include running high-speed bundling equipment with unguarded shear points that can injure or mangle equipment operators, and can carry fines and penalties as high as $12,500. The Post must make the necessary repairs within 15 days of the issuance of complaints by the Virginia OSHA authority to avoid liability for the full amount.

In addition to the unguarded high-speed conveyors, inspectors found the Post negligent for failure to conduct safety testing on lockout devices on conveyor equipment, and for failing to test chemicals emitted by a heat machine used to fuse plastic bundling straps.