The Case of the Blazing BP


OSHA has cited Coomes Oil & Supply Inc., doing business as the 5th Wheel BP gas station in St. Augustine, Florida, and Florida Rock & Tank Lines Inc., for safety hazards after an employee of the latter company was burned in an explosion at the station in August.

A Florida Rock & Tank Lines delivery driver was refilling an above-ground gasoline storage tank that had a broken gauge. The tank overflowed, and the combination of vapors and heat from the running delivery truck caused an explosion. OSHA’s inspection found that the gas station and Florida Rock & Tank Lines decided to refill the storage tank even though the liquid level gauging system was inoperable.

Florida Rock & Tank Lines has been cited for one willful violation with a proposed penalty of $70,000 for failing to provide a means for the delivery driver to determine if the storage tank had enough capacity for additional gasoline. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Coomes Oil & Supply has been cited for one serious violation with a proposed penalty of $7,000 for failing to provide employees and delivery drivers a means to determine the gasoline levels in the above-ground storage tank. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

“Despite the fact that safety gauges and devices were inoperable, the employers chose to proceed with the operation and risk the lives of their employees,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville. “Unfortunately for the injured employee, the two companies involved in this explosion learned a safety lesson by means of a terrible incident instead of taking the steps they should have to protect their workers in the first place.”

Jacksonville-based Florida Rock & Tank Lines transports petroleum and other liquid and dry bulk commodities throughout the Southeast. Coomes Oil & Supply owned and operated 5th Wheel BP, a full-service gas station on state Road 16 that closed following the explosion.

How to Prepare for OSHA Adoption of the GHS for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals

OSHA has announced they will adopt the globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, material safety data sheet (soon to be called “safety data sheet”), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard. Worker training must be updated so that workers can recognize and understand the symbols and pictograms on the new labels as well as the new hazard statements and precautions on MSDSs.

Environmental Resource Center is offering webcast training for you to learn how the new rule differs from current requirements, how to implement the changes, and when the changes must be implemented. The next webcast on How to Prepare for OSHA Adoption of the GHS for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals is February 28, 2012. Register early to ensure your spot in this upcoming session by registering online or calling 1-800-537-2372.

How to Author GHS Safety Data Sheets

OSHA is adopting the new Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. A cornerstone of GHS is the adoption of a completely revised Safety Data Sheet (SDS). In Environmental Resource Center’s new, How to Author GHS Safety Data Sheets webcast, you will learn the differences between the MSDS and SDS, how to author SDSs that meet the latest OSHA standards, how to classify your products according to the 28 GHS hazard classes and 88 categories, what must be entered in each section of the SDS, essential references you can use to locate data for each section of the SDS, and how to handle trade secrets.

To learn what you must do to meet the new SDS requirements, register for the February 29, 2012, How to Author GHS Safety Data Sheets webcast.

How to Label Hazardous Chemicals Using OSHA’s New GHS Hazcom Standard

Workplace and supplier hazard communication labels are being reinvented as OSHA adopts the new Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for labeling hazardous chemicals. In a new, interactive Environmental Resource Center webcast, How to Label Hazardous Chemicals Using OSHA’s New GHS Hazcom Standard, you will learn the difference between workplace and supplier labels; what signal words, hazard statements, precautionary statements, and pictograms must be on your labels; essential references you can use to locate required label information; and how to label products with existing HMIS, NFPA, DOT, and CPSC labels.

Register for the upcoming How to Label Hazardous Chemicals Using OSHA’s New GHS Hazcom Standard webcast on March 1, 2012.

Charlotte RCRA, DOT, and OSHA GHS Hazcom Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Charlotte, North Carolina, from March 6–8 and save $100. Additionally, OSHA GHS Hazard Communication Standard: Training for Trainers will be offered March 9. To take advantage of the offer on the RCRA/DOT training combination, or to register for the OSHA GHS Hazcom training course, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.

Houston RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management in Texas (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Houston, Texas, from March 13–15 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.

Indianapolis RCRA, DOT, and OSHA GHS Hazcom Training

Environmental Resource Center will offer DOT and RCRA Annual Update and Refresher training on March 20, Transportation of Dangerous Goods: Compliance with IATA and IMO Regulations on March 21, and OSHA GHS Hazard Communication Standard: Train the Trainer on March 22, in Indianapolis, Indiana. To register for any of these training courses, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.

Is Your Site Exempt from OSHA Inspections?

In providing funding for OSHA, Congress has placed restrictions on enforcement activities regarding two categories of employers: small farming operations and small employers in low-hazard industries. The Appropriations Act contains limits for OSH Act activities on a year-by-year basis.

Before initiating enforcement activities, OSHA will decide whether the appropriation rider prohibits OSHA enforcement. Where this determination cannot be made beforehand, the OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) will determine the status of the employer in a low-hazard industry upon arrival at the workplace. If the prohibition applies, the inspector must immediately discontinue the inspection activities and leave the premises as soon as possible.

An employer is exempt when there were 10 or fewer workers at all times during the previous 12 months and when their industry appears on the exempt list. To be on the list, an industry must have had a Days Away Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate that is below the national average of 1.8 employees for every 100 workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics creates the list annually based on a survey of US workplaces. You can find the latest list at this link.

Revised Hazard Communication Standard to be Published Soon

On February 21, 2012, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completed its review of OSHA’s revised version of the Hazard Communication Standard, which brings the Standard into alignment with the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

OMB agrees with the intent of the OSHA rule, but that a substantive change must be made before OSHA publishes the revised rule in the Federal Register as a final rule.

OSHA is expected to act quickly to address the recommended changes and publish the final version of the revised Standard soon—which OSHA estimates will impact 5 million American workplaces where 40 million workers are exposed to hazardous chemical products.

Workplaces subject to the requirements of the GHS-aligned Hazard Communication Standard will have two years from the effective date of the final rule to comply with the safety data sheet (SDS) and labeling training requirements of the revised Standard, and will have three years to fully comply with all other aspects of the revised Standard.

Miniature Violations Lead to Big Fines

OSHA cited Miniature Precision Components Inc., with one willful violation for failing to provide effective personal protective equipment for workers at its facility in Richland Center, Wisconsin. Proposed fines total $55,000.

“Failing to protect employees from burns while they are working with materials manufactured at high temperatures shows a disregard for their safety,” said Kim Stille, OSHA’s area director in Madison. “Employers have a responsibility to be aware of the hazards that exist in their workplace and ensure that work environments are healthful and safe.”

The violation was cited after an investigation prompted by a complaint determined that employees working on mold machines and exposed to hot temperatures that could result in burns were provided with ineffective personal protective equipment.

Miniature Precision Components designs and produces injection molded components. The company’s corporate headquarters is located in Walworth, Wisconsin, with facilities in Prairie du Chien and Delavan, as well as in Michigan and Arizona. Prior to this inspection, the company’s Richland Center facility, which employs approximately 110 workers, had been inspected by OSHA a total of five times since 1999, resulting in 11 citations being issued.

Two Companies Fined $288,000 for Safety Violations Involving Foreign Students

OSHA has cited Exel Inc., for nine—including six willful—workplace safety and health violations at the Eastern Distribution Center III, a facility in Palmyra, Pennsylvania, owned by the Hershey Co., and operated by Exel. Proposed penalties total $283,000. OSHA also has cited the SHS Group LP, doing business as SHS Staffing Solutions, for one violation with a proposed penalty of $5,000.

The agency’s inspection was conducted in response to a complaint filed by the National Guestworker Alliance on behalf of a group of foreign students who were performing summer jobs at the Palmyra facility under the US Department of State’s J-1 visa program. Their visas were sponsored by the nonprofit organization Council for Educational Travel—USA. The complaint alleges a number of abuses of the visa program, which is designed to promote cultural exchange, as well as exploitative and unsafe conditions in the workplace.

Under a contract with Exel, SHS Staffing Solutions hired the students to work at the Palmyra site repackaging Hershey candies for promotional displays. Exel is a contract logistics provider headquartered in Westerville, Ohio, with more than 40,000 employees at more than 500 sites in North America.

Exel was responsible for record keeping in the Palmyra facility. OSHA has cited the six willful violations with penalties totaling $280,000 for failing to record injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log for four years, evaluate the accuracy of the 300 logs before certifying them for three years, and develop and implement an effective hearing conservation program.

“Nothing useful can be learned from an unrecorded injury,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. “Accurate records provide critical information to employers and employees about the cause and prevention of work-related injuries. The law requires employers to maintain complete and accurate records because, without these, it is more difficult to prevent additional injuries and illnesses from occurring.”

SHS Staffing Solutions, a temporary staffing provider headquartered in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania, has been cited with one serious violation for failing to provide training to employees on the lockout/tagout of energy sources.

Exel also has been cited for three other-than-serious violations carrying a $3,000 penalty related to inadequate record keeping. An other-than-serious violation is one that probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Amy Food Inc. Cited for Exposing Workers to Possible Amputation Hazards

OSHA cited Houston, Texas-based Amy Food Inc., with one willful, four serious, and three other-than-serious citations for exposing workers to possible amputation hazards at the company’s Houston facility. Proposed penalties total $77,100.

OSHA’s Houston South Area Office initiated a safety inspection September 1 on Richey Street following a complaint alleging that several employees had suffered near amputation incidents while operating machinery. The investigation found that not only did the company fail to have an energy control program in place, but machines were not being unplugged from the electrical power source prior to maintenance and servicing.

The willful violation has been issued for failing to develop, document, and utilize an energy control program. The serious violations include failing to provide required machine guarding on chains and sprockets, cover floor holes and openings, and adequately mark exit doors. The other-than-serious violations involve inadequate recordkeeping of injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log.

“This company exposed its workers to injuries, including possible amputation hazards, by failing to develop, document and utilize an energy control program during the maintenance and servicing of machinery,” said Mark Briggs, director of OSHA’s Houston South Area Office. “Employer disregard for worker safety will not be tolerated.”

OSHA Cites Landmark Services Cooperative for Failing to Protect Workers Loading Rail Cars from Falls

OSHA has cited Landmark Services Cooperative, a Wisconsin grain cooperative, with one willful safety violation for failing to protect workers from falls while they were loading grain products into rail cars at its Evansville, Wisconsin, facility. Proposed fines total $70,000.

“Failing to protect employees from falls while loading rail cars is a clear violation of OSHA’s fall protection standards and demonstrates a disregard for worker safety,” said Kim Stille, the agency’s area director in Madison. “Employers have a responsibility to ensure that workers have proper safety protection, and work environments are healthful and safe.”

The citation follows an investigation in September, prompted by a complaint, which determined employees were working on top of rail cars without fall protection while preparing the cars for loading of corn and soybeans.

In 2010, OSHA developed a local emphasis program targets grain handling facilities after repeated safety violations were cited in the industry. The program covers hazards associated with grain engulfment, machine guarding, lockout/tagout of dangerous equipment to prevent accidental energization start-up, electricity, falls, employee training and combustible dust hazards.

Landmark Services Cooperative is a member-owned wholesale grain cooperative. The company is headquartered in Cottage Grove and operates multiple divisions at 20 facilities in south central Wisconsin. Prior to this investigation, the company had been inspected by OSHA a total of three times since 2006. A willful safety violation was issued in 2006 after an employee became engulfed in grain.

OSHA Cites Price Industries for Violations at Georgia Manufacturing Plant

OSHA proposed $53,300 in penalties against air distribution products manufacturer Price Industries Inc., after identifying 13 safety and health violations at the company’s plant in Suwanee, Georgia. OSHA’s October inspection was initiated in response to a complaint.

Three serious health violations include failing to provide personal protective equipment to workers handling hydrofluoric acid, a highly corrosive chemical; an emergency shower and an emergency eyewash station for employees required to work with corrosive materials; and an emergency response plan in the event of an accidental release of corrosive materials.

Six safety violations involve failing to perform regular inspections of energy control procedures, conduct weekly inspections of mechanical power presses to ensure they were working properly, provide lockout/tagout procedures to prevent the accidental start-up of machinery, guard a mechanical power press to prevent workers from being pulled into the equipment, test safety devices on the mechanical power press, train workers in the operation of safety devices on the power press, and have a third party certify the power press safety system.

Four other-than-serious health violations involve failing keep accurate records on the OSHA 300 and 301 logs including recording each injury and illness as required, correctly coding a work-related injury or illness that resulted in days away from work, and correctly recording a work-related injury or illness that resulted in restricted work or a job transfer.

“The management of Price Industries must strengthen the company’s occupational safety and health program by taking a proactive approach to workplace safety before serious injuries occur,” said Nadira Janack, acting director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office.

Jones General Contracting Fined $40,000 for Trenching Violations

OSHA has issued 10 serious citations against Jones General Contracting LLC, based in Woodbury, Georgia, for violations found at a water line installation site in Jackson, Georgia. OSHA began an inspection in October after receiving a complaint about safety conditions in trenches being dug to install pipes. Proposed penalties total $40,200.

The violations including failing to remove employees working beneath a suspended load of pipe that was being moved by an excavator, provide required safety equipment, join trench boxes, install spreader bars, provide a professional engineer to evaluate a support system being used to prevent cave-ins in a trench 20 feet or more deep, remove equipment within 2 feet of the trench edge, train workers to recognize hazards while working at an excavation site, and provide a windshield for an excavator being operated.

Additionally the employer allowed employees to work in a trench outside of the protective trench boxes, including work in a 17-foot-deep trench that lacked a protective system; workers to be transported on the front steps of a front end loader between sites; the operation of an excavator within 5 feet of an overhead power line; and workers to use a broken wire rope to pull a fuel tank between construction sites.

“Contractors have a responsibility to follow established safety standards and ensure that workers are properly trained and protected from hazards,” said William Fulcher, director of the agency’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “While it is an employer’s responsibility to protect its workers, OSHA will not hesitate to step in when an employer fails to do so.”

OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available on OSHA’s Website at

OSHA Cites Milk Specialties Co. With Willful, Other Safety Violations after Fire

OSHA has cited Milk Specialties Co., with three safety violations, including one willful violation for combustible dust hazards. OSHA opened an inspection following a report of a fire resulting from a dust explosion in a machine at the company’s facility in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, which converts liquid whey products into dried whey protein concentrate powder. Proposed fines total $72,000.

In addition to the willful violation, the inspection found two other-than-serious violations that involve failing to properly maintain OSHA 300 logs for 2011 describing days lost by employees or days when work activities were restricted.

As part of the inspection, OSHA subpoenaed two of the company’s reports: a five-year strategic plan for combustible dust and a combustible dust review report prepared by Milk Specialties’ vice president of environmental health and safety. Milk Specialties Co., refused to provide the documents, citing attorney/client and attorney/work product privileges. Following a hearing in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Judge J.P. Stadtmueller ruled on February 8 that the documents constitute business advice and ordered the company to provide them to OSHA.

Milk Specialties Co., is part of Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Milk Specialties Global Food Solutions, which is a division of Carpentersville, Illinois-based Milk Specialties Global. Milk Specialties Global and its divisions operate additional manufacturing facilities in Adell, Boscobel, and New Holstein, Wisconsin, as well as in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. Prior to this inspection, OSHA conducted multiple inspections at the Wisconsin facilities and cited a total of 52 violations, including 48 in 2009 at a now-closed facility in Whitehall.

“This employer previously was cited for failing to comply with OSHA’s safety regulations. Failing to take appropriate precautions to protect workers from combustible dust explosions and fires is an unnecessary risk,” said Frank Winingham, OSHA’s area director in Appleton. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so.”

Basic Grain Products Fined After Worker Injured by Conveyor Belt

OSHA has cited Basic Grain Products Inc., with 13 safety violations for failing to ensure hazardous energy sources were secured, among other dangers. OSHA opened an inspection in September based on a complaint that a worker had suffered sprains, multiple lacerations, and contusions as a result of having clothing become caught in a conveyor belt that had not been properly locked out prior to maintenance and cleaning activities. The Coldwater, Ohio-based snack food producer faces proposed fines of $112,000.

Two willful violations with penalties of $70,000 have been cited for the employer’s failure to develop and ensure machine-specific energy control procedures were used to control the flow of hazardous energy when workers were cleaning the conveyor system, which left them exposed to amputation and “caught-by” hazards.

Seven serious safety violations with penalties of $38,000 involve the employer’s failure to provide guarding around floor holes, provide adequate assessments to determine if personal protective equipment was required, provide training on lockout/tagout procedures for hazardous energy sources, guard machines and shaft ends, certify that a workplace hazard assessment was performed, provide workers with safety glasses while they were cleaning with compressed air, and use compressed air for cleaning at a pressure of less than 30 pounds per square inch.

Four other-than-serious violations with $4,000 in penalties involve failing to properly complete the OSHA 300 injury and illness log for the years 2008 through 2011.

“Failing to develop and implement procedures to control hazardous energy by locking out equipment prior to cleaning operations exposes workers to amputation and caught-by hazards, and demonstrates this employer’s lack of regard for workers’ safety and health,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so.”

Prior to this inspection, the company had been inspected by OSHA five times since 2001, resulting in citations for 12 serious violations related to electrical safety, machine guarding, and a lack of hazard communication.

OSHA Cites Summit Equipment & Supply for 24 Safety Violations

OSHA has cited Summit Equipment & Supply with 24 safety violations for failing to provide adequate guards on machinery and train workers in proper safety procedures at its Akron, Ohio, facility, among other hazards. OSHA opened the investigation on August 25, after receiving a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions. Proposed fines total $56,400.

“Failing to have proper machine guarding unnecessarily places workers at an increased risk for amputations and other injuries,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “Employers are responsible for implementing safety and training programs for their workers. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so.”

Twenty-two serious violations involve failing to provide machine guarding on horizontal band saws and vertical belts, remove damaged slings from service, develop and implement a hazard communication program, provide training on the use of fire extinguishers and on chemical hazards in the workplace, maintain material safety data sheets, store liquefied petroleum gas in a safe manner, install electrical equipment according to requirements, enclose switch boxes installed in wet locations, inspect powered industrial trucks daily, remove defective trucks from service, and provide training to powered industrial truck operators.

Two other-than-serious violations include failing to develop a written certification of hazard assessment and maintain restrooms in a sanitary condition.

OSHA Cites Precision Drilling for Hazards at Drilling Site Near Pecos, Texas

OSHA has cited Precision Drilling Co., L.P., with two serious and two repeat safety violations following a November inspection of the company’s Monroe 34-195 Lease, Phantom Field, Well No. 1H, Rig No. 553, work site, which is located 18 miles northeast of Pecos, Texas. Proposed penalties total $69,300.

The inspection was conducted as part of OSHA’s Oil and Gas Regional Emphasis Program, which is designed to prevent fatalities and catastrophic events at oil drilling and gas wells.

“This employer exposed its employees to high-voltage electrical and other hazards,” said Joann Figueroa, OSHA’s area director in El Paso. “It is fortunate in this case that there were no injuries.”

The serious violations include failing to ensure portable fire extinguishers were kept in their designated places and to remove or repair damaged electrical cords.

The repeat violations include failing to ensure stored material was stabilized and secured to prevent sliding and collapse, and to provide strain relief for flexible cords. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited last August with penalties totaling $35,900.

Trinidad Drilling Cited for Fall and Electrical Hazards

OSHA has cited Trinidad Drilling LP, with one serious and two repeat violations for exposing workers to falls and electrical hazards at the company’s Well No. 1H, Phantom Wolfcamp, located northwest of Barstow, Texas. OSHA initiated an inspection in November as part of the agency’s Oil and Gas Regional Emphasis Program, which is designed to reduce fatalities and catastrophic events at oil drilling and gas wells. Proposed penalties total $79,805.

“Repeat violations indicate that Trinidad Drilling is failing to correct workplace hazards and continuing to make workers vulnerable to injuries on the job,” said Joann Figueroa, OSHA’s area director in El Paso. “It is the employer’s responsibility to find and correct workplace hazards before workers are hurt.”

The repeat violations involve failing to ensure electrical equipment was free from recognized hazards, such as electrical cords with insulation damage that needed repair, as well as to provide strain relief for flexible cords. Similar violations were cited in September 2008 and again in June 2011.

The serious violation is failing to ensure the side rails of a fixed ladder extended 3 ½ feet above the landing to prevent workers from falling.

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