Proposed penalties total $133,500 for New Venture Gear of New York, LLC, which produces transfer cases for 4-wheel drive vehicles. OSHA is citing the company for 32 alleged violations of the safety standards.
OSHA conducted the inspection from Aug. 6 through Jan. 3, as part of its "site-specific targeting program," under which it inspects certain worksites with high rates of lost workday injuries and illnesses. The company was previously inspected in 1999 under a similar program and was issued citations with a proposed penalty of more than $100,000 at that time.
"OSHA standards are aimed at keeping the workplace safe and healthy," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "This employer placed workers at risk by not eliminating hazards that had been pointed out more than two years ago."
According to Diane Brayden, OSHA's area director in Syracuse, 27 of the citations were classified as serious. Examples include failure to provide fall protection on aerial lifts, failure to maintain dry floors and failure to guard floor openings. Poor maintenance was also cited for ladders and stairs, fire extinguishers, exits, forklifts and slings, as well as failure to provide guarding on grinders, shafts, belts and pulleys and to maintain electrical equipment, conduit and flexible cords and guard electrical equipment.
Three alleged "repeat" violations include the company's failure to maintain overhead hoists, below the hook lifting devices and bridge rails; inadequately guarded moving parts on machinery; and inadequately guarded points of operation on machinery. Two alleged "other-than-serious" violations were cited for the company's failure to provide adequate general housekeeping and to properly maintain stairway treads.
A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. A repeat violation occurs when a company has been cited for similar violations within the past three years. And, an other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm, but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
Within 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties, the company may comply with them, may request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, and/or may contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA CITES FIRM FOR FAILURE TO ABATE SAFETY VIOLATIONSRepeated safety violations and failure to abate unsafe working conditions have led to citations from OSHA for Total Process Control of Red Bud, Ill. The firm has also received proposed fines of $58,200.
"Safety and health standards are designed to protect workers," said Peggy Zweber, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "This company ran the risk of harming its employees from hazards it had been told to correct after an inspection early in 2002."
OSHA's earlier inspection, which began at Total Process Control on Feb. 2, 2002 in response to a complaint, led to numerous alleged safety and health violations, ranging from unguarded machinery to lack of required safety and health programs. After repeated requests for documentation from the company to show how these problems had been addressed, OSHA began a follow-up inspection on Nov. 21. As a result of the second inspection, the agency has now issued three citations alleging failure to abate safety and health violations from the February inspection and two citations for alleged repeat violations of standards for which the company had been cited previously.
The repeat violations involved a lack of medical evaluations to determine the ability of employees to wear respirators and lack of workplace assessments to determine the proper selection and use of personal protective equipment.
The failure to abate violations cited the firm for an inadequate respiratory protection program, lack of portable fire extinguisher training, improper use of fire extinguishers, and lack of hazard communication training for exposed employees.
Employers can receive "failure to abate" citations when they have not corrected violations by the period of time required in earlier OSHA citations they have received.
Total Process Control develops processes for use in the manufacture of process piping, structural steel, electrical controls, and skid mounted pre-assembled modules. The company has 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to contest the citations and proposed penalties with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission or to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director.
DOUBLE AMPUTATION AT BEEF PROCESSING PLANT LEADS TO OSHA FINESOSHA has cited two companies for safety violations that contributed to a Montgomery, Ala. beef processing plant accident that cost a worker both his legs. The agency fined BMS Contract Services $77,000 for one serious and two repeat violations and S&C Beef Processors $22,500 for one willful violation of safety standards.
At its Montgomery plant, S&C produces beef products for food service operators and restaurants; BMS, which began operations at the facility in 1999, is a contractor hired to clean and sanitize the processing machinery. At the end of each day's shift, S&C employees dismantle the primary meat grinder and turn it over to BMS for cleaning. To meet the deadline for the start of the next shift, BMS employees often enter the grinder before plant employees have completed their preparations and officially turned over the machine. On June 23, an S&C worker started the grinder to facilitate removal of the screw auger, not knowing that a BMS employee had already climbed inside the grinder to begin cleaning it. The victim's legs were caught in the machine and amputated.
"Although the S&C employee did not see the BMS sanitation worker inside the grinder, this tragedy could have been prevented if just one of the companies had implemented its own lockout program and properly transferred control of the equipment prior to any employees being exposed to the moving equipment parts," said Ken Atha, OSHA's Mobile acting area director.
Related to the accident, BMS received citations for two repeat and one serious violation, all of which concerned failure to render machinery inoperable during cleaning. The company was also cited for not training workers to use and remove lockout devices. In this case, because the two employees involved in the cleaning process spoke no English, training in Spanish would have been required. OSHA had cited BMS previously on April 7, 2000 after similar violations resulted in an amputation at the same plant.
OSHA also cited S&C for one willful violation after learning that their employees were not protected from the same unexpected start-up while they removed the grinder's guard, blades and screw auger. The OSHA investigation revealed that S&C had proper lockout procedures developed, but managers did not require employees to affix de-energizing locks at the grinder. A willful violation is one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
S&C Beef Processors, a wholly owned subsidiary of ConAgra Foods, employs 550 workers at the Montgomery processing plant. Burlington, Iowa-based BMS Contract Services has an average of 48 employees at this location.
RAYTHEON AEROSPACE AGREES TO CORPORATE-WIDE SETTLEMENT ON SAFETY ISSUESRaytheon Aerospace, LLC, headquartered in Madison, Miss., has agreed to a corporate-wide settlement with OSHA to abate safety hazards relating to falls for Raytheon employees servicing U.S. Government aircraft at approximately 75 locations. The company has also agreed to use all available fall protection equipment at each worksite and establish an understandable training program on fall hazards for employees who work on aircraft at these worksites.
"I am pleased that we were able to reach a corporate-wide agreement that will result in a safety and health program to protect employees against the fall hazards associated with servicing aircraft," said John L. Henshaw, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "The company has agreed to work closely with OSHA to eliminate the potential for injuries through facility audits, corrective actions, and monitoring of their fall protection efforts."
The agreement settles citations that were issued at military facilities in Fort Carson, Colo., and Corpus Christi, Tex., where Raytheon employees perform maintenance work on U.S. government owned aircraft. The citations resulted from OSHA inspections that were initiated as a result of employee complaints.
Raytheon agreed to abate the fall hazards detailed in the citations and, where necessary, at all its worksites nationwide that are subject to federal OSHA jurisdiction. The company has also agreed to conduct comprehensive safety audits to identify hazards from falls higher than four feet for employees working on aircraft and to take necessary corrective action.
The company will also establish and maintain a system for reporting employee concerns on fall hazards and prepare quarterly reports that track those concerns and the corrective actions that it has taken to address them. OSHA has the authority to make unannounced monitoring visits during the audits and corrective action schedules.
OSHA FINES WASTE MANAGEMENT $84,500 FOLLOWING INSPECTION OF FATAL TRUCK ACCIDENTOSHA cited a Birmingham, Ala. company for safety violations that contributed to a temporary worker's fatal fall from a refuse collection truck. The agency fined Environmental Waste System, a subsidiary of Waste Away Group, Inc., $84,500 for willful and serious safety violations and failure to report a fatal accident within eight hours.
The accident occurred on July 22 after an employee was picked up at a temporary agency to work as a helper on a rear loading refuse collection truck. After working for only 30 minutes collecting trash in a residential neighborhood, the employee fell backwards off the riding step, as the truck made a turn. He struck his head on the asphalt surface of the street, sustaining fatal injuries.
"OSHA has issued a willful citation against this employer because of a plain indifference to OSHA standards and a clear disregard for worker safety," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's Birmingham area director. "The parent company has been cited before in other parts of the country for the same violations we found during this inspection."
OSHA fined Environmental Waste System, also known as Waste Management, $70,000 for one willful safety violation for failing to provide personal protective equipment, such as high visibility vests, to temporary employees. Without the protective gear, these employees were far more likely to be stuck by vehicular traffic or otherwise injured while placing trash in the refuse truck.
Two serious safety violations for failing to train temporary employees in safe work procedures and protection from exposure to sharp objects or infectious material found in solid waste cost the company an additional $9,500. The remaining $5000 fine resulted from the company's failure to report the accident in the prescribed time period.
Waste Management has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.