OSHA has cited Rouse Polymerics International, Inc. for safety hazards that led to a fatal explosion at the company's Vicksburg, Miss. plant. Fines totaling $210,600 were proposed in connection with the citations.
OSHA's inspection of the rubber fabricating plant was triggered by a May 16 explosion, which injured 11 workers, five of whom later died of severe burns. The explosion occurred when highly combustible rubber dust, that had been allowed to accumulate, ignited.
Following the inspection, OSHA cited the company for two willful and 22 serious safety violations. The willful citations addressed the company's failure to keep the plant free from hazardous accumulation of rubber dust and to use electrical equipment specifically approved for work areas where high fire risk is present.
"The combination of a combustible dust heated to its ignition temperature in the presence of an oxygen-enriched environment is an obvious indicator for potential hazards," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson, Miss., area director. "This employer had been previously cited for housekeeping and electrical violations, both of which contributed to the explosion. Yet, management continued to expose workers to both hazards."
Cited serious violations included employing a forklift without a seat belt; exposing workers to fire and explosion hazards without proper protection systems in place; lack of guardrails; allowing employees to work from an aerial lift without proper protective equipment; gears left unguarded; electrical hazards and training deficiencies.
Rouse Polymerics International employs a series of "shredding" and
"cracking" operations to vulcanize rubber material for use by major
manufacturers, asphalt formulators and other rubber manufacturers. The company has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
ELECTRICAL HAZARDS CITED IN WORKER'S DEATH
OSHA cited Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America for failing to protect workers from electrical hazards that contributed to the death of a worker. The citations carry proposed penalties totaling $88,200.
The fatal accident occurred June 1 at the company's Newnan plant. An employee was working from an extended scissor lift on electrical equipment and power lines that had not been properly labeled and disconnected before work began. The employee was electrocuted when he touched a pair of uninsulated steel pliers to a 277-volt conductor inside a ceiling-mounted electrical junction box.
"Yamaha officials knew machinery and equipment lacked required labels
would have allowed electrical disconnects to be accomplished easily, but
took no action to correct the hazard," said Andre C. Richards, OSHA's
Atlanta-West area director. "Management's inaction showed an indifference to
employee safety that cost a worker his life."
OSHA issued one willful citation against Yamaha, with a proposed penalty of
$63,000, for failing to properly label electrical equipment. The agency
issues a willful citation when the alleged violation is committed with an
intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements and
rules of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The company also received four serious citations with penalties totaling
$25,200 for failing to: have adequate procedures in place to render
machinery inoperable while maintenance and repair work were performed;
designate employees authorized to work on electrical equipment and properly
train them; implement safety protocols and procedures for all employees, and
ensure that workers used appropriate tools.
A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that
death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should
have known of the hazard.
The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed
penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review
LOUISIANA GRAIN STORAGE FACILITY CITED FOR SAFETY HAZARDS AFTER WORKER
OSHA has cited Farmers Grain Terminal Inc. for the alleged willful violation
of a safety standard that could have prevented the suffocation of an
employee who was trapped in a grain storage facility in Waverly, La. OSHA is
proposing $93,100 in penalties against the company, whose corporate office
is in Greenville, Miss.
OSHA began its investigation following the May 18 accident that took place
when an employee entered a corn storage bin to increase the flow of grain
being moved by an auger conveyor located beneath the bin. The worker became
trapped in seven feet of grain.
"These citations are being issued because the employer did not require
workers to follow basic precautions when entering grain storage bins," said
John Deifer, area director of the agency's Baton Rouge office. "Because the
employer willfully failed to follow its obligations under the law to keep
its employees safe, this needless tragedy occurred."
Farmers Grain was cited with one alleged willful violation for failure to
require utilization of a full body harness and lanyard when employees enter
bins at grain level and when an employee stands on the grain.
OSHA issued nine citations for alleged serious violations. These address the
company's failure to issue a permit for entering the bin; failure to lock
out power to equipment; failure to train workers for specific procedures and
tasks; failure to prevent the practice of "walking down grain" or similar
practices; not training employees to act as observers for bin entry; and not
providing an observer and rescue equipment when employees enter bins, silos
Farmers Grain Terminal Inc. has 15 working days from the receipt of the
citations to request an informal conference with the Baton Rouge OSHA area
director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the
independent Occupational Safety and Health Review commission.
MULTIPLE SAFETY HAZARDS LEAD TO $63,000 IN OSHA PENALTIES AGAINST DAIRY
A Lynn, Mass. dairy with a higher than average record of workdays lost to
injuries exposed workers to falls, unguarded machinery and other significant
safety hazards, according to citations issued Oct. 30, 2002, by OSHA.
Proposed fines total $63,000.
Garelick Farms of Lynn (formerly known as West Lynn Creamery) has been cited
by OSHA for a total of 27 alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and
Health Act at its milk processing facility.
The citations and fines resulted from an inspection conducted from May 6 to
Aug. 6 under OSHA's Site Specific Targeting Program which focuses
inspections on workplaces where the number of workdays missed by employees
due to injuries is higher than average.
"Safety standards require employers to protect workers against fall
hazards," said Richard Fazzio, OSHA's area director for Essex and Middlesex
Counties. "Employees at Garelick Farms were found to be in danger of falling
into unguarded pits and tanks, floor holes and unguarded open-sided work
The inspection also found numerous instances of unguarded nip points and
rotating parts on machines; lack of an exit in the dairy's receiving area;
missing exit signs; improper fit-testing for respirators; inadequate
lockout/tagout precautions; improper storage of flammable liquids; and
inadequate emergency response training, equipment and documentation.
A total of 21 alleged serious violations of safety standards accounted for
$60,000 of the proposed fines.
The company also faces a $3,000 fine for six alleged other-than-serious
violations. These include incomplete or unavailable illness and injury logs,
unavailable audiometric testing records, lack of eye and face protection,
failure to inspect energy control procedures and excess air pressure in a
cleaning hose. An other-than-serious violation is a 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.
Garelick Farms of Lynn has 15 business days from receipt of its citations
and proposed penalties to elect to comply with them, to request and
participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, and/or to
contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review
COMPANY CITED FOR REPEATED EXPOSURE OF WORKERS TO SAFETY HAZARDS
A steel manufacturing firm failed to properly maintain its overhead cranes
and hoisting equipment and follow safety standards to prevent hazardous
conditions, according to citations issued to SAW Pipes USA Inc. by OSHA. The
U.S. Department of Labor is proposing penalties of $74,400 against the
OSHA began an investigation of the company's facilities May 24, following a
complaint. SAW Pipes USA received citations for 17 alleged repeat
violations, including failing to overhaul and repair defective overhead
cranes and hoisting equipment, failing to train and protect workers against
unexpected energization of equipment and release of stored energy (lock
out/tag out) and failing to perform annual audits of the lock out/tag out
"SAW Pipes employees were in danger of having heavy steel plate and pipe
dropped on them, because of the faulty cranes and hoists," said Raymond
Skinner, area director of OSHA's Houston South area office. "OSHA standards
are designed to keep equipment in good order and prevent accidents."
A repeat violation occurs when the same or similar violation for which the
company has been previously cited is found again upon re-inspection.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply,
request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area
director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the
Independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.