Proposed penalties total $74,900

iStock_000033158288 Train TrestleJESUP, Ga. – Sarah Jones, a 27-year-old camera assistant, was killed and eight other workers were injured while trying to escape an oncoming freight train during the filming of a scene on February 20 for the movie “Midnight Rider,” a biopic based on the life of musician Gregg Allman. Film Allman LLC of Pasadena, California, was cited for one willful and one serious safety violation for exposing employees to struck-by and fall hazards.

“Employers are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect workers’ health and safety, and the entertainment industry is no exception,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “It is unacceptable that Film Allman LLC knowingly exposed their crew to moving trains while filming on a live track and railroad trestle.”

OSHA initiated the inspection in response to the incident, which occurred during the filming of a scene on the tracks of the Doctortown train trestle in Georgia that spans the Altamaha River. While the crew was filming, a CSX Corp. train traveling on the tracks was observed heading toward them. Crew members immediately started exiting the tracks, trying to remove set pieces and get off the trestle. However, they were unable to outrun the oncoming train. Ms. Jones was killed and eight other crew members were injured by debris when the train hit a hospital bed being used as a set piece.

“Their failure to develop a safety plan to prevent such hazards, including obtaining permission from the rail owner to use the tracks for filming, led to the death of one crew member and injuries to eight other employees,” said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s Regional Administrator for the Southeast.

A willful citation was issued for the employer’s failure to provide safety measures to protect employees from moving trains. 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.

The serious citation was issued for exposing workers to fall hazards while working on a train trestle that was not equipped with safety guardrails or other fall protection measures. 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.

At the time of the incident, Film Allman LLC employed 20 workers on the set and approximately 74 workers nationwide. Proposed penalties total $74,900.

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Agreement resolves OSHA violations issued for exposing worker to hazardous chemical

iStock_000017937891SmallFiberdome Inc. has agreed to limit employee exposure to styrene, pay a $2,000 penalty and accept a general duty clause citation under the Occupational Safety and Health Act alleging that an employee was exposed to styrene over the industry agreed-upon level. The agreement resolves all outstanding citations issued to Fiberdome in September 2013 by OSHA.

Styrene, a chemical used extensively in the manufacture of plastics, rubber and resins is used by Fiberdome at its Lake Mills (Wisconsin)-based fiberglass manufacturing plant. It can cause health effects such as headache, fatigue, confusion, difficulty in concentrating, a feeling of intoxication and respiratory problems.

“We are pleased that Fiberdome agreed to adopt the industry recognized 50 ppm limit and believe that all responsible and safety conscious employers who use styrene should consider doing the same thing,” said Kim Stille, OSHA Area Director in Madison. “OSHA believes that employers have the responsibility to further limit exposure to chemicals that can harm employees even if the level of such exposure is below OSHA permissible exposure limits. “

Under the terms of the agreement, Fiberdome will abate the general duty citation by following the styrene industry’s 1996 agreement to voluntarily adopt an employee exposure limit of 50 ppm over an 8-hour time weighted average. Fiberdome further agreed that if it cannot achieve compliance with a voluntary exposure limit through engineering and/or administrative controls, it will implement an effective respiratory protection program, including the use of appropriate respirators.

OSHA cited Fiberdome for a general duty clause violation in September 2013 for exposing a worker to styrene levels that were measured at 1.3 times the industry agreed-upon level, even though the airborne concentration of the chemical didn’t violate OSHA’s permissible exposure limit of 100 parts per million. OSHA initiated the inspection after receiving a referral relating to workers being ill.

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OSHA proposes $110,700 in penalties

iStock_000017601923XSmall Home Depot LogoHome Depot USA Inc. has been cited for six safety violations, including two repeat, one willful and three serious, at its home improvement store on North Kimball Avenue in Chicago. The repeat and willful violations involved lack of training and maintenance for powered industrial vehicles. Proposed penalties total $110,700.

“Employees at this Home Depot store used powered industrial vehicles around-the-clock to receive stock and transport goods to customers’ vehicles. This made maintenance and operator training for these vehicles vital to employee safety,” said Angeline Loftus, OSHA’s area director for Chicago North. “Employers, such as Home Depot, have a responsibility to re-evaluate safety procedures corporatewide. When cited for a hazard at one store, they need to ensure that all stores have incorporated the necessary safety procedures and training.”

Nationwide, Home Depot has been cited more than 120 times in the past five years for safety and health violations at its stores, which employ about 325,000 people. The Kimball Avenue store employs 210 workers.

Person drive a ForkliftOSHA opened the January 27, 2014, inspection under the Local Emphasis Program for Powered Industrial Vehicles. Yearly, thousands of workers are injured, sometimes fatally, while operating these vehicles. The local emphasis program was implemented to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries caused by these vehicles. The vehicles have been the source of 105 occupational fatalities during fiscal years 2005 through 2013 in Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio.

OSHA issued one willful violation for failing to remove from service a powered industrial truck in need of repair. A repeat violation was issued for failing to evaluate forklift operators’ performance at least once every three years. The Home Depot was previously cited for this violation at its Douglasville, Georgia, store in July 2012. A second repeat violation was issued for failing to perform shift-by-shift inspections of forklifts. This violation was previously cited in 2010 at Home Depot stores in Tampa, Florida, and Chicago.

Three serious violations were issued for exposing workers to chemical burns from sulfuric acid by failing to require the use of eye, face and hand protection when adding water or checking water levels in powered industrial vehicle batteries. Home Depot also failed to provide an eyewash station for immediate emergency use for employees exposed to injurious corrosive materials while working with industrial batteries. 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.

To view the citations, visit http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/HomeDepot_956370_072414.pdf

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Inspection finds repeat and serious violations; $92,400 fine proposed

Beer-making unitCOLUMBUS, Ohio – Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC, which makes Budweiser and Bud Light beers and other beverages, has been cited by OSHA for two repeat and eight serious safety violations following an inspection of its Columbus brewery’s ammonia refrigeration system. Proposed penalties total $92,400.

The violations were cited under OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standards, which contain specific requirements for managing highly hazardous chemicals in work processes. One such chemical is anhydrous ammonia, widely used as a refrigerant in industrial facilities, including breweries. Ammonia can be a health hazard because it is corrosive to the skin, eyes and lungs. It is a flammable vapor.

“Anheuser Busch has a responsibility to ensure the safe operation of its refrigeration systems by implementing an engineering process for the detection and control of potential ammonia systems releases,” said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA’s area director in Columbus. “Exposure to ammonia can have serious health consequences. Failure of these systems, such as overpressurization, can result in explosion and fire. Workers should not be put at risk because this company failed to implement the required protections.”

The February 4, 2014, inspection found the Anheuser-Busch plant failed to develop procedures for normal and emergency shutdown and restarting refrigeration systems. The company’s process hazard analysis failed to address the dangers of overpressurization and ammonia release completely, and failed to address engineering controls and their potential failure. In addition, the company did not install ammonia detection systems or a continuous emergency ventilation system.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

The company was issued two repeat citations for failing to document properly the ammonia refrigeration system and the building ventilation design for use in emergencies. The company failed to document the design for a suction header pressure relief system adequately. The company was cited for similar violations in 2010 at a brewery in Cartersville, Georgia.

Anheuser-Busch, headquartered in St. Louis, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, a global brewer, and operates under the Anheuser-Busch name and logo.

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Nearly $189,000 in penalties proposed

iStock_000023698673XSmallRust-Oleum Corporation, doing business as Synta Inc., was cited by OSHA for 33 serious safety and health violations for exposing full-time and temporary workers to crystalline silica dust, amputation and electrical hazards. OSHA initiated its inspection in February 2014, following a complaint alleging improper storage of material and inadequate forklift training. The proposed penalties total $188,500.

Inhalation of respirable crystalline silica particles can cause silicosis, a disabling, nonreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease. Leading scientific organizations, including the American Cancer Society, have confirmed the causal relationship between silica and lung cancer.

“By failing to correct the violations identified, Rust-Oleum chose to ignore worker safety and exposed employees to hazards that could result in illness, injury or death,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “Workplace hazards need to be addressed immediately and prevented from reoccurring by implementing an effective safety and health program.”

One repeat violation was cited for allowing employees to perform maintenance and servicing of equipment without ensuring the machine could not restart.

OSHA cited the employer for 26 serious violations for exposing an employee to crystalline silica at levels of more than two times the exposure limit; failing to develop procedures to protect workers from moving machine parts during servicing and maintenance; exposing workers to crushing and struck-by hazards by not replacing or repairing damaged storage rack shelving; and allowing electrical equipment to be installed or used without following manufacturer instructions. The employer failed to administer and implement an occupational noise monitoring program; to provide adequate protective equipment, such as a chemical apron for employees working with corrosive materials; and did not develop or implement a written hazard communication program for employees working with hazardous chemicals. To view the citations, including six other violations, visit
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Rust-OleumCorporationdbaSynta_959625_0804_14.pdf
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Rust-OleumCorporationdbaSynta_958068_0804_14.pdf

Rust-Oleum Corp. has been in business since 1921 and acquired the Clarkston facility, formerly Synta Inc., in September 2012. Synta was established in 1993 and is a paint and coating manufacturer that sells its products through home improvement, hardware and other retail stores. Synta employs approximately 1,500 workers. The company’s corporate headquarters is in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

OSHA has conducted six previous inspections at Synta in the last five years. Most recently, in April 2012, Synta was cited for failure to have machine guarding and an eyewash station and lack of a hazard communication plan.

At the time of the inspection, two staffing agencies were on-site, Impact Staffing Corp. and Precision Employment Group. The staffing agencies did not maintain supervision at the company and were not knowledgeable about hazardous conditions at the facility. No citations were proposed for the staffing agencies.

In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers.

OSHA has recently proposed to update its current silica standard. Published in the Federal Register on September 12, 2013, OSHA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica aims to update the inconsistent and outdated permissible exposure limits for crystalline silica in general industry, construction and shipyards, and establish other provisions to protect workers better. OSHA just concluded three weeks of hearings on the proposed rule and is now receiving post-hearing comments. Additional information on the proposed rule, including five fact sheets, is available at http://www.osha.gov/silica/.

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Resulted in two fatalities, nine injuries

Facility Collapse

A structural failure of the east side truss caused the bins to collapse down three floors into the center of International Nutrition’s Omaha facility.

The structural collapse of International Nutrition Inc.’s Omaha-facility, was caused by overloading nine storage bins on the building’s roof level, an investigation by OSHA has found. The collapse at the livestock feed supplement manufacturer caused the death of two workers and injuries to nine others. The company manufactures a feed supplement using multiple dry ingredients, rice hulls, solulac and limestone – the ingredients that were stored in the nine bins on the roof of the structure. As a result of the incident, OSHA cited the company with one willful, one repeat and 11 additional safety violations for failing to protect workers from hazards associated with structural collapse.

The investigation determined a structural failure of the east side truss, after bins that it supported were loaded with an excess of limestone. The extra weight caused the bins to collapse three floors into the center of the facility in about 30 seconds. A 53-year-old worker, who had been with the company just over a year, was cleaning on the second floor and a 47-year-old worker, who had been employed at the facility for 10 years, was conducting maintenance when the bins collapsed. Both were fatally injured. Four workers were trapped in the rubble of the building after the collapse and were rescued by the Omaha Fire Department’s ladder truck rescue team. They and five other workers were transported to the hospital with injuries.

International Nutrition’s decision to overload these bins directly led to the deaths of these two workers and the injuries sustained by nine other employees,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Families lost loved ones because International Nutrition did not follow the basic safety procedures that would have prevented this senseless loss of life.”

OSHA has proposed penalties of $120,560 and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program after its investigation into the collapse.

The company’s failure to protect workers from hazards associated with overloading the bin structures on the roof and its subsequent collapse resulted in the issuance of one willful safety citation. A repeat violation was also issued for failing to protect workers from hazards associated with using compressed air at greater than the recommended 30 pounds per square inch. The company was previously cited for this violation in 2011.

A total of nine serious violations were also cited for combustible dust hazards including failure to provide proper dust ventilation and failure to follow respiratory protection standards. The company was also cited for failing to train workers on confined space requirements, hazard communication and proper operation of powered industrial vehicles. Other violations included lack of specific lockout/tagout procedures to protect workers operating dangerous machinery and failing to de-energize potential ignition sources when using compressed air for cleaning.

To view the current citations see: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/International_Nutrition_955579_Jul18_2014.pdf.

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$816,500 in Proposed Fines

Ventilation plant.SIDNEY, Ohio — After providing false documentation and making false representations claiming that previously cited hazards related to hydraulic presses had been corrected, Formed Fiber Technologies LLC has been issued 14 safety citations, including willful and repeat citations, as well as a notice of failure to abate with proposed fines totaling $816,500. OSHA initiated the inspection as a follow-up inspection pursuant to its Severe Violators Enforcement Program.

The Sidney plant, which produces motor vehicle interior trimmings for automotive manufacturers, including Toyota and General Motors, was issued one failure to abate, nine willful and four repeat safety violations for continuously exposing employees to amputations and other hazards.

“Formed Fiber Technologies apparently decided that production was more important than ensuring its workers’ safety. They provided false abatement documentation to OSHA. They knew how hazardous these machines were without proper safeguards and also knew exactly how to fix those hazards,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “OSHA will not tolerate such blatant disregard for worker safety.”

OSHA’s January follow-up inspection found that abatement documentation Formed Fiber provided to OSHA in December 2013 was false and that employees had been exposed to unguarded machines and unsafe maintenance procedures well after the employer’s abatement claims. Failing to protect workers from dangerous machinery is among the most frequently cited OSHA violations and injuries involving this type of machinery often result in death or permanent disability.

Nine willful citations were issued for failing to prevent the startup of multiple hydraulic thermoforming presses, laminator machines and robot cells while workers were performing set-up, service and maintenance inside the machines. The company also failed to develop proper lockout/tag out procedures and encouraged workers to use unsafe methods to stop machines for maintenance. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Four repeat violations cited also involve failing to train workers on how to properly stop machines before service and maintenance, which continuously exposed machine operators to laceration, amputation, burns and having parts of the machine strike or crush them. The company failed to have identifying information on devices to indicate hazards.

OSHA previously cited Formed Fiber Technologies in October 2013 for 11 violations, many involving the same standards. The company entered into a settlement agreement that included terms involving the abatement of hazards and paying a penalty of $69,000. Prior to October 2013, the company had been inspected by OSHA 16 times at their facilities nationwide, resulting in 80 violations being cited.

The current citations may be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/FormedFiberTechnologies_956889_07_15_14.pdf.

The company, based in Auburn, Maine, manufactures nonwoven fabrics and polyester staple fibers for the automotive industry. It employs 750 workers corporate wide, with 340 at the Sidney facility. Formed Fiber Technologies also operates Color-Fi Inc. in Sumter, South Carolina.

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Management repeatedly warned of unsafe conditions

iStock_000020632383XSmall Construction TrenchGAINESVILLE, Fla. – An employee of R.E. Arnold Construction Inc. was trapped when the wall of an excavation he was working in collapsed around him. The incident occurred as the employee removed dirt from a storm filtration system at the company’s work site, and the local fire and rescue team had to remove the employee, who left the scene in critical condition. As a result, OSHA cited R.E Arnold with one willful and two serious safety violations. The subcontractor, Suntree Technologies Inc., was cited for four serious safety violations. The city of Gainesville contracted R.E. Arnold to build a retaining pond and pump station for the Depot Park.

“These employers deliberately chose not to follow established OSHA standards for protecting workers in excavations and repeatedly ignored warnings, including one on the day of the incident, that the trench was unsafe,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville. “This shortcut led to a worker seriously injured and nearly killed.”

R.E. Arnold was issued a willful citation for failing to provide employees working in a 15-foot-deep excavation with required protection from wall collapse hazards. A Gainesville city safety inspector informed management numerous times that the excavation was unsafe, yet safety issues were not corrected. On the day of the incident, an inspector refused to enter the trench, claiming that it was too dangerous. 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.

OSHA standards require that all trenches and excavation sites 5 feet or deeper be protected against sidewall collapses. Protection may be provided through shoring of trench walls, sloping of the soil at a shallow angle or by using a protective trench box. OSHA has created a National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation.

The serious citations were issued to R.E. Arnold for exposing workers to dangerous safety and fall hazards by failing to provide them with hard hats and fall protection equipment. 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.

Suntree Technologies was cited for four serious safety violations for failure to provide fall protection for employees working at heights above 6 feet. Additionally, management did not ensure workers were wearing hard hats while inside the excavation, exposing them to hazards from falling debris.

OSHA has proposed penalties of $83,000 for R.E. Arnold and $18,200 for Suntree Technologies. The current citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/REArnold-954792-06232014.pdf .

R.E. Arnold, based in Gainesville, specializes in site preparation and underground utilities and has no previous OSHA inspection history. The company employs approximately 24 workers. Cocoa-based Suntree Technologies specializes in storm filtration products. It employs 24 people and has no previous OSHA inspection history.

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 by David McGill, CIH, CSP, CHMM

Chemical Safety“What’s an industrial hygienist?” is a common question that most professional industrial hygienists have been asked at least once in their careers. But before we get too far into the nitty-gritty of industrial hygiene, let’s take a look at the profession from the 5,000 foot level, sort of a general overview.

Most agree that a good general definition of industrial hygiene is “… the science of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling workplace conditions that may cause workers’ injury or illness”. You don’t need to look too far to find this definition. It came right from the OSHA website. Similar definitions with a few variations can be found in other materials, but the OSHA definition covers the profession quite nicely. Some would add communicating to the list, but that’s relatively recent. As a practical matter, industrial hygiene is the science of identifying and controlling workplace and community hazards (now commonly and collectively called “stressors”) that can cause adverse health effects usually through inhalation, ingestion, or absorption. In addition to these, there are industrial hygiene sub-specialties specific to:  repetitive motion, overexertion, heat, vibration, radiation, mold, etc., with more being added as our technological world advances.

In earlier times, the industrial hygienist basically was limited to sample pumps, filters, tubes, counters, and meters to determine potential exposure. Today, thanks to technology advances, the industrial hygienist has a multitude of analytical tools available to perform a comprehensive assessment relatively quickly and with minimal production impact. However, the fundamental principles of industrial hygiene have not changed – namely, the anticipation, evaluation, recognition, and control of hazardous substances that could potentially cause adverse health effects.

“What’s an industrial hygienist?” – It’s a scientist focused on keeping workers healthy.

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Fresh From Texas Inc. and iWorks Personnel Inc. fined a total of $135,200

ear plugsFresh From Texas Inc., a fresh fruit and vegetable processor for H-E-B Grocery stores and fast-food markets, and staffing agency iWorks Personnel Inc. have been cited for 18 violations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing workers to damaging noise levels, chemical hazards and possible amputation hazards for failing to train machine operators on controlling hazardous energy. The total proposed fine for the complaint inspection that began in December 2013 is $135,200.

“Workers, whether employed directly by the company or as a temporary worker, require proper training on workplace hazards. In this case, both Fresh From Texas and iWorks failed to do so and put workers in danger,” said Kelly C. Knighton, OSHA’s area director in San Antonio. “Both host employers and staffing agencies have roles in complying with workplace health and safety requirements, and they share responsibility for ensuring worker safety and health.”

Fresh From Texas was cited for 12 serious safety and health violations, with a penalty of $76,100, for failing to prevent workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals; to identify and evaluate respiratory hazards in the workplace; and to ensure a hearing conservation program was implemented for workers exposed to noise levels that would cause permanent hearing damage. Regarding slicing and dicing machines, violations were cited for failing to establish a written lockout/tagout program for energy sources to ensure machines were turned off when workers were inside them; provide machine operators with training; guard rotating gears; and provide safety instructions on the machines.

Two repeat violations were cited, with a penalty of $49,500, for failing to ensure sufficient working space around electrical equipment and unobstructed access to fire extinguishers. Similar violations were cited in 2012. Three other violations, with a penalty of $3,300, were cited for failing to record injuries of temporary workers, review the log for accuracy and ensure safety instructions were clearly posted on dangerous machines.

OSHA inspectors found that temporary workers employed by iWorks Personnel were also exposed to chemical hazards and were not trained on chemical safety. As a result, OSHA cited iWorks for one serious safety and health violation, with a penalty of $6,300.

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. 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.

In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers. During the inspection, OSHA inspectors paid special attention to the hazards facing temporary workers to determine the role the host employer and the staffing agency played in the dangers.

The citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Fresh_From_Texas_Inc_953367_0627_14.pdf,
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Fresh_From_Texas_Inc_953588_0627_14.pdf and
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/iWorksPersonnelInc_dba_PreferredStaffingLLC.pdf.

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