A+ Roofing cited 5 prior times, faces $61,600 in fines

iStock_000006894580XSmall RooferCONCORD, New Hampshire – Employees of Ken Stanley, doing business as A+ Roofing, were exposed to potentially fatal falls of up to 25 feet at a job site due to their employer’s failure to ensure the use of required fall protection. The Milton-based roofing contractor, who has been cited five times previously for the same hazard, faces $61,600 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA opened its inspection in June 2014. A concerned passer-by, who saw employees exposed to falls as they installed a roof on the Riverside Garage, contacted OSHA. The agency found eight employees working at heights of up to 25 feet without fall protection.

“There was nothing to prevent these workers from falling more than two stories to the ground below. They were at risk of death or disabling injuries. Their employer, with a history of similar violations, knew that the lack of fall protection violated workplace safety standards,” said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA’s area director for New Hampshire.

OSHA observed that employees working on the ground were not wearing head protection to safeguard against being struck by falling objects, another hazard for which OSHA had previously cited the business. As a result, OSHA cited the contactor for two willful violations, with $55,000 in fines.

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. A+ Roofing was cited by OSHA five times between 2004 and 2013 for similar fall hazards at work sites in Northwood, North Conway and Keene; Kittery, Maine; and Haverhill, Massachusetts.

Three serious violations, with $6,600 in fines, were cited for additional hazards at the Somersworth job site. They included lack of fall protection training, no protection against eye injuries for employees using pneumatic nail guns and no fire extinguisher where containers of gasoline were present on-site. 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.

Falls are the number one killer in construction work. To raise awareness of fall hazards and safeguards among workers, employers and the public, OSHA has created a Stop Falls Web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.

“A fall can occur in less time than it takes to finish this sentence. If you fall and there is no effective fall protection in place and in use, gravity will take over and your life or career could end in seconds,” said Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA’s acting deputy regional administrator for New England. “Employers, it is imperative that you plan ahead to get the job done safely, provide your employees with the right equipment and train them to use it properly.”

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Proposed fines of $89,500 for steel foundry

iStock_Lockout_TagoutCOLUMBUS, Ohio – A Columbus Castings worker suffered a broken back, a collapsed lung, and partial paralysis of his left leg after becoming pinned in a machine at the steel foundry in April 2014. An investigation into the incident resulted in the issuance of two repeat and two serious safety violations by OSHA. The steel foundry has been cited 11 times in the past 10 years for exposing workers to dangerous machine hazards at the plant, which produces castings for use in the automotive, mining, agricultural, construction and rail industries. Proposed penalties total $89,500.

“This worker suffered life-altering injuries because Columbus Castings failed to implement basic safety procedures. Workers in this plant operate heavy industrial machinery that can produce castings weighing up to 70,000 pounds, and they deserve protection,” said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA’s area director in Columbus. “No one should be injured on the job because their employer failed to recognize hazards and correct them.”

OSHA’s investigation found that during maintenance on equipment hydraulics, the company failed to lockout equipment used by the employee, which resulted in two serious safety violations. 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.

The company failed to have adequate machine guarding on the equipment. In 2010, the company was cited for a similar violation at this same facility. Lack of machine guarding and lockout procedures are among the most frequently cited OSHA standards. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

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OSHA InspectorDECATUR, Georgia – Plaid Enterprises Inc. was cited by OSHA for six safety violations that involved amputation, electrical, and other safety hazards following an April 2014 inspection at the company’s craft paint production facility located in Decatur. Proposed penalties total $84,500.

Staffing agency Prologistix provided temporary workers for the Plaid Enterprises’ facility, but neither maintained supervision at the company nor was knowledgeable about the facility’s hazardous conditions. No citations were proposed for Prologistix.

“This employer clearly knew safety measures were bypassed and allowed its workers to be exposed to hazards that could cause severe injuries and fatalities,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “Production demands cannot be an excuse to allow either permanent or temporary workers to be exposed to these types of hazards.”

Plaid Enterprises was issued a willful citation for worker exposure to amputation hazards and a risk of being caught-in machinery that had safety locking devices that were bypassed or deliberately disabled. 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.

Three serious citations were issued for failure to develop and implement written instructions for disabling power from equipment to allow workers to perform maintenance and service safely, and for not removing forklifts from service that had nonoperational safety equipment. Additionally, the employer put workers at risk for shock and burn hazards from exposed electrical connections and unguarded wiring. 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. Two additional violations were cited for using space around electrical panels for storage and for exposing workers to unguarded rotating shafts.

In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers, who are at increased risk of work-related injury and illness. The initiative includes outreach, training and enforcement to ensure that temporary workers are protected in their workplaces. In recent months, OSHA has received and investigated many reports of temporary workers suffering serious or fatal injuries, some in their first days on the job. Following these investigations OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health issued a “Recommended Practices” publication that focused on ensuring that temporary workers received the same training and protection that existing workers received.

Plaid Enterprises, located in Decatur, manufactures, bottles and packages hobby and craft paints for sale. The company employs approximately 279 workers at this facility.

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OSHA proposes fines of $133,900

welder-railcarOMAHA, Nebraska – A worker at Watco Investments LLC reported suffering from respiratory inflammation after performing welding work inside a rail car in Omaha. The company, operating as Watco Companies Inc., has been cited by OSHA for three repeat and three serious safety violations, many involving confined space safety regulations.  Proposed fines total $133,900 for the company, which specializes in rail car repairs.

“Confined spaces can put workers at risk for serious injury and illness. These spaces often have poor air quality and other serious hazards,” said Bonita Winingham, OSHA’s area director in Omaha. “Employers, such as Watco Companies, have a responsibility to train workers in the unique dangers of confined space entry and to ensure spaces are safe for the work tasks performed.”

OSHA initiated the March 27, 2014, inspection after receiving a report of the illness from the Nebraska Department of Labor Workers’ Compensation Division. OSHA has a Local Emphasis Program on Workers’ Compensation to reduce injuries and illnesses in private industry within Nebraska. The inspection found that Watco Companies allowed employees to enter rail cars to perform repair tasks, including welding, without implementing procedures required under OSHA’s permit-required confined space regulations. A confined space is one large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs, has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy, such as an enclosed rail car.

OSHA found three repeat violations for failure to implement training, procedures and practices for safe entry into these spaces, including the company’s failure to evaluate for hazards, and to provide workers with communication devices or implement measures to prevent unauthorized entry.

OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer was previously cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Watco Companies was previously cited for these violations in 2013 in Texas.

Serious violations were cited for failure to provide administrative and engineering controls to reduce damaging noise exposure, electrical hazards and lack of atmospheric controls in confined spaces. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exits.

Watco Companies, a transportation company based in Pittsburg, Kansas, provides mechanical, transportation, terminal and port service solutions for customers throughout North America and Australia. Watco Companies employs about 4,500 workers nationwide and 30 in Omaha.

View current citations here.

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09/23/2014 – From Kentucky Department of Labor

Notice regarding OSHA’s New Recordkeeping and Reporting Final Rule:

On September 18, OSHA published a final rule in the Federal Register revising the reporting requirements of severe injuries and updating the list of industries partially exempt from recordkeeping requirements established in 29 CFR 1904. Establishments in federal jurisdictions must comply with the new requirements beginning January 1, 2015.

In 2006, Kentucky implemented reporting requirements found in 803 Kentucky Administrative Regulation (KAR) 2:180 that differ from OSHA’s current requirements but are similar to the final rule OSHA published on September 18. The Department of Workplace Standards is reviewing the effect of OSHA’s September 18 final rule to determine what action by the Labor Cabinet may be necessary. Right now, 803 KAR 2:180 remains in effect in the Commonwealth of Kentucky until a determination is made.

Questions can be directed to the Office of Standards Interpretation and Development at (502) 564-3070.

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Siemens SBGA-34 Audible Base showing snap-in detector mounting

Siemens SBGA-34 Audible Base showing snap-in detector mounting

Siemens SBGA-34 Audible Base (Reverse Side) showing Model Number, Date Code, and screw terminals for connecting to smoke detector

Siemens SBGA-34 Audible Base (Reverse Side) showing Model Number, Date Code, and screw terminals for connecting to smoke detector











Recall Date:  September 18, 2014

Recall Numbers:  14-278

Name of Product:  SBGA-34 Audible Fire Alarm Base

Hazard:  The fire alarm base can fail to sound an alarm, posing a risk of personal injury and property damage.

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately contact Siemens to schedule a free inspection and replacement of the recalled audible base.

Consumer Contact:  Siemens at (800) 516-9964 from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or online at www.usa.siemens.com/buildingtechnologies and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information.

Units:  About 9,000

Description:  This recall involves the SBGA-34 audible base that is affixed to ceiling-mounted smoke detectors in order to sound an alarm when the fire alarm system is activated. The audible base has part number S54370-F13 and date codes 0113 through 2314 in a WWYY format printed on a white label on the back of the unit part affixed to the wall. “MODEL SBGA-34” is printed on a blue label also affixed to the back of the device. The base is off-white and measures about 6 inches in diameter. The audible base is used with the following fire detectors:

•Cerberus PRO models (HI921, OOHC941, OOH941, OH921, OP921)

•Desigo Fire Safety models (FDOOTC441, FDOOT441, FDO421, FDOT421, FDT421)

•H-Series (HFP-11, HFPT-11, HFPO-11)

•Faraday 87XX-Series, models (8713, 8712, 8710)

The audible base and fire detectors are used with the following alarm systems:

•Siemens model FireFinder® XLS via DLC 6312 Device Loop Card

•Siemens model FS -250

•Desigo model FC2005, (50-point panel)

•Desigo model FC2025, (252-point system)

•Desigo model FC2050, (504-point system)

•Cerberus PRO FC901, (50-point panel

•Cerberus PRO FC922, (252-point system)

•Cerberus PRO FC924, (504-point system)

•Faraday models MPC-600 & MPC-7000

Incidents/Injuries:  None reported.

Sold at:  Siemens sales offices, authorized distributors and installers nationwide from February 2013 through June 2014 for about $120.

Importer:  Siemens, of Buffalo, Ill.

Manufacturer:  Beijing Siemens Cerberus Electronics Ltd., of China

Manufactured in:  China

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Welding company exposed employees to fire, chemical, respiratory hazards

iStock_000018872028_ExtraSmallBRAINTREE, Massachusetts – Guiseppe Falcone and Daniele Falcone, doing business as D & J Ironworks, failed to follow safety precautions, which fire officials indicated led to a fire that cost the lives of two Boston fire fighters, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined.

The fire in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood on March 26, 2014, was caused because the Malden-based welding company allowed its employees to install railings using arc welding equipment during high wind conditions. Fire officials said sparks from welding railings at 296 Beacon St. ignited clapboards on an adjacent shed at 298 Beacon St., which led to the fire.

“OSHA found that the company lacked an effective fire prevention and protection program, failed to train its employees in fire safety, did not have a fire watch present and did not move the railing to another location where the welding could be performed safely,” said Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. “This company’s failure to implement these required, common-sense safeguards put its own employees at risk and resulted in a needless, tragic fire.”

The company also failed to protect its employees against respiratory and chemical hazards associated with welding, cutting, drilling and painting operations. It failed to evaluate employees’ medical fitness to wear respirators or train employees how to clean, store and maintain respirators; evaluate respiratory hazards for workers; inform employees of chemical hazards associated with welding and how to address them; and maintain safety data sheets on hazardous chemicals.

OSHA cited D & J Ironworks for 10 serious violations of workplace safety standards and imposed fines of $58,000.  The citations can be viewed here.

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JC Stucco and Stone Inc. facing $235,700 in proposed penalties

climbing scaffoldMasonry contractor JC Stucco and Stone Inc. has been cited for three willful and three repeat safety violations. OSHA’s March 2014 inspection was initiated in response to a referral by the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections due to an imminent threat to worker health and safety at the site. The investigation found workers were exposed to fall hazards while applying stucco to the exterior of a residential construction site in Philadelphia. The proposed penalties total $235,700.

“This employer was placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program in 2011 after multiple instances of repeated, high-gravity violations,” said Nicholas DeJesse, director of OSHA’s Philadelphia Area Office. “By refusing to provide the proper fall protection, this company is putting workers’ lives at risk. Falls are the leading cause of death in construction. Protecting workers from fall hazards must be a priority.”

The willful violations, carrying a $200,500 penalty, were cited for the company’s failure to use scaffolding with adequate bracing to prevent tipping or collapse and to provide fall protection for employees working up to a height of 32 feet. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls to lower levels accounted for 11 percent of all worker fatalities suffered in the Philadelphia area during 2012, the most recent year with available data. 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.

In addition, the agency issued repeat citations, with a $35,200 penalty, for additional scaffolding hazards, lack of training on fall dangers and the company’s failure to develop and implement a hazard communication program. The company was cited for similar violations in 2011 and 2012.

Citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/JCStuccoandStoneCitationPackage965013.pdf.

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Nearly $235K in penalties proposed

iStock_000003526780XSmallSupreme Oil Co.-South was cited for 14 safety and health violations following a March 2014 inspection at the company’s oil production facility Brundidge, Alabama. OSHA initiated the inspection due to a complaint and to complete a follow-up to a previous inspection it conducted in March 2012. Proposed penalties total $234,960. Since 1994, Supreme Oil has undergone 11 OSHA inspections conducted at its Alabama and New Jersey facilities. In 2012, the Alabama facility received citations for eight safety violations.

“Workers continue to be exposed to safety hazards, such as falls, unsafe forklift usage and amputation hazards. I am disappointed to see these violations present after they had been identified during an earlier inspection,” said Joseph Roesler, director of OSHA’s Mobile Area Office. “Companies with more than one facility need to understand that a repeat violation is not just based upon the history of the site where the original violation occurred, and it can be based upon any of their locations covered nationally by federal OSHA. OSHA requires companies to communicate with their facilities corporate wide to ensure hazards are addressed at all locations.”

OSHA issued the repeat citations for the employer’s failure to provide guardrails for staircases and open-sided platforms, maintain dry floors in areas where oil and water were mixed, and train workers to turn off machinery to prevent accidental startup while performing maintenance and services. Additionally, the employer exposed workers to being struck-by falling stock from damaged metal shelves, amputation and electrical hazards.

The serious citations were issued to the employer for exposing workers to electrical hazards from improperly labeled wiring and not providing workers with the required training to operate an industrial truck. The employer failed to develop procedures to prevent accidental startup and to identify the energy shut-off valves properly on machinery.

View the citations at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/supreme-oil-company-south-962780_09_10_14.pdf

Supreme Oil Co.-South, headquartered in Englewood, New Jersey, manufactures condiments, including salad dressing, mayonnaise, and liquid oils. The company employs approximately 86 workers at this facility and 450 workers at two additional sites.


Posted in Caught Between/Struck By, Electrical, Lockout/Tagout, OSHA, OSHA Inspections, Powered Industrial Trucks, Slips/Trips/Falls | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Prairie Ag Partners cited for 1 willful, 2 repeat, 8 serious violations

SONY DSCLAKE PRESTON, S.D. – A 51-year-old worker was fatally injured when he became engulfed in flowing grain in a railcar load-out elevator at Prairie Ag Partners. The incident occurred when the worker attempted to remove a jam from a chute while the auger operated. OSHA has cited the Lake Preston-company for one willful, two repeat and eight serious safety violations, many involving OSHA’s grain handling, permit-required confined space and fall protection safety regulations.

“A worker can be completely submerged in flowing grain within a matter of seconds. Allowing workers to move grain while machines are operating can cause the worker to become entangled in this dangerous equipment and become submerged. That is what happened in this case, and a worker paid with his life,” said Eric Brooks, OSHA’s area director in Bismarck. “If Prairie Ag Partners had followed basic safety standards, this tragic incident could have been prevented.”

OSHA’s inspection found that Prairie Ag Partners allowed employees inside the grain bin while the auger and conveyor systems operated, despite a comprehensive safety and health program in place that outlined how to keep workers safe in the grain bin. This resulted in a willful violation issued.

The company failed to complete a confined space entry permit before allowing workers to enter grain bins and to provide fall protection for workers exposed to falls of up to 60 feet while performing work activities around an unguarded floor opening in the main elevator shaft. OSHA regulations require fall protection for heights greater than 4 feet. Prairie Ag Partners was previously cited for these violations in 2010 at its Lake Preston and Oldham grain elevators.

OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer was previously cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Additional citations were issued for other violations related to OSHA’s permit-required confined space regulations and grain handling standards. A confined space is one large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs, has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and is not designed for continuous occupancy. OSHA found that Prairie Ag Partners failed to implement training and procedures for safe entry into the grain bin, including testing the atmosphere for the presence of combustible gases, vapors and toxic agents.

Prairie Ag Partners allowed grain bin dust to accumulate, which created a combustible dust hazard, and used equipment that provided a potential source of ignition for combustible dust. Other equipment lacked machine guarding, and the company failed to ensure the use of protective equipment, such as body harnesses with a lifeline, while employees performed required work operations in grain elevators.

Prairie Ag Partners has been issued proposed penalties of $120,120 and was placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. To view current citations, visit http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/PrairieAgPartners_963718.pdf.

Prairie Ag Partners employs about 60 workers and operates an agriculture company encompassing multiple departments throughout the South Dakota area. Grain departments are located in Arlington, Bancroft, Lake Preston and Oldham, and agronomy and feed departments are located in Arlington and Lake Preston.

OSHA’s National Emphasis Program for Grain Handling Facilities focuses on the grain and feed industry’s six major hazards. OSHA has published information related to common grain industry hazards and fixes, proper bin entry techniques, sweep auger use and other grain-related topics.

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