Failure to Protect Workers from Potential Fire or Explosion Results in Significant OSHA Fine

March 04, 2004

OSHA has cited Picken's Plastics, Inc., of Jefferson, Ohio, following an agency inspection that revealed a number of dangerous workplace issues. Proposed fines total $216,360.

OSHA opened its investigation in response to a referral from local fire authorities about safety issues at the plant, which supplies molded fiberglass and reinforced plastic parts to the transportation, heavy equipment, chemical, electrical and appliance industries. The inspection found serious safety problems, including a dangerous and willful failure to address hazards that could lead to an explosion or fire. Other serious safety problems included shortcomings in safety and health training, hazard communication programs, and personal protective equipment.

The company employs approximately 140 full-time workers at the Jefferson facility, where the inspection was conducted, and at another facility in Ashtabula, Ohio. OSHA previously cited the company for violations of workplace safety regulations in May 2003.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.




OSHA Offers Free Seminars on Needlestick Safety in Arkansas

OSHA will present three free seminars for employers and workers in health care facilities about the "Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act."

The seminar, conducted by OSHA's Little Rock area office, will be held on March 24, 2004, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST at Arkansas State University, Dryer Hall, in Mountain Home.

OSHA is conducting the seminars to educate employers and health care workers about the law, including the proper disposal of contaminated needles and blood tube holders following blood-drawing procedures.

OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard prohibits the removal of contaminated needles from medical devices unless an employer can demonstrate that it is necessary for a specific medical or dental procedure. When performing a blood drawing procedure, OSHA requires the disposal of blood tube holders with a safety needle attached immediately after each patient's blood is drawn.

The Little Rock area office of OSHA will also offer the seminar in Fayetteville on March 23, and in El Dorado on April 21.

To register and for more information, contact Marilyn Clark Alston at the Little Rock OSHA area office at (501) 324-6291, ext. 243 or via e-mail at clark.marilyn@dol.gov.




OSHA Penalizes Sheffield Steel $81,500 for Failing To Correct Safety Violations

OSHA has issued citations to Sheffield Steel Corp. of Sand Springs, Okla., for failing to correct previous safety violations and has proposed $81,500 in penalties for the alleged violations.

"Putting workers at risk by not following safety procedures is unacceptable," said James Brown, OSHA area director in Oklahoma City. "Standards, such as locking out energy sources and providing protective equipment, are designed to protect workers and must be strictly followed to avoid injuries."

OSHA began its follow-up inspection of Sheffield Steel Corp. on Sept. 2, 2004, based on an inspection completed in 2001 that brought the company $62,000 in penalties and citations. Sheffield Steel employs about 613 workers, 410 of whom work in Sand Springs. The company manufactures billets, rebar, steel fence posts and hot rolled bar stock.

OSHA recently cited the company for six alleged serious and five alleged repeat violations. The serious citations are for failing to provide the necessary respiratory protective equipment to guard against exposure to dust, failing to repair defective cutting torch hose connections and failing to implement lockout/tagout procedures to make sure the energy source is properly tagged and locked before used. A serious violation is one that involves a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

The five alleged repeat violations, based on citations issued in 2001, include failing to provide covers or guardrails to prevent employees from falling into open pits, failing to properly identify confined space areas and failing to make electrical disconnects accessible. A repeat violation is one for which the employer has been cited during the past three years for substantially similar infractions of the law.

Sheffield Steel Corp. has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Oklahoma City area office, or to contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.




Plant Fined $127,000 for Failing to Protect Workers from Lead, Cadmium Exposure

OSHA has proposed $127,000 in fines for Envirosafe Services of Ohio, Inc., of Oregon, Ohio, for failing to protect workers from over-exposures to lead and cadmium.

The fine and OSHA citations follow an inspection initiated in September 2003 at the facility, which receives electric arc furnace dust from heavy industry plants and stores, then treats and disposes of the contaminated dust. The inspection revealed that workers were subjected to exposures in excess of permissible amounts and that the company failed to implement engineering and work practice controls to prevent over-exposures.

Envirosafe employs about 70 workers at the Oregon, Ohio, facility and has had three previous OSHA inspections. One, conducted in 1978, resulted in violations. However, the company had been notified by independent consultants that workers were being exposed in excess of permissible standards and had been advised as to how the hazard could be corrected.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.




OSHA Cites Peanut Company for Exposing Workers to Safety Hazards at Two Warehouses

OSHA has cited Golden Peanut Company, LLC, for exposing workers to safety hazards at the company's Greenwood and High Springs peanut storage facilities. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $104,000.

The company received 16 serious citations, with proposed total penalties of $58,000, for hazards observed at the Greenwood facility. The alleged violations included exposing employees to fall hazards from defective ladders, unguarded roof edges, floor openings, catwalks and platforms. The company was also cited for allowing workers to enter a dump pit, an area that might be oxygen deficient, without first testing the pit's atmosphere.

OSHA's investigation also revealed that the company failed to have a worker and rescue equipment stationed outside the pit when employees were working inside it. The company was also cited for having improperly guarded machinery and inadequate protection from electrical hazards.

The safety agency also issued 15 serious citations, with proposed penalties of $46,000, for exposing High Springs employees to hazards similar to those observed at the Greenwood warehouse. OSHA issues serious citations when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

Golden Peanut has 15 working days to contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.