Magazine article Occupational Hazards

OSHA $100,000 Club of Safety Citations

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

OSHA $100,000 Club of Safety Citations

Article excerpt

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties of $100,000 or more for the following recent alleged failures to protect workers from potential hazards, including many that could have been avoided or mitigated by safety equipment. Companies have 15 business days from receipt of its citations and fines to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

* Wagner Development Company, Inc., and Wagner Excavation Services, Inc., Pittsburgh, $382,875 for failing to protect workers from trenching hazards that led to the death of one employee and injury to a second worker at a storm sewer project in North Franklin Township, Pa., on seven separate days last June. The agency identified an additional five alleged serious violations involving trench safety, personal protective equipment and overhead power lines.

* Formosa Plastics Corp., Illiopolis, Ill, $361,500 following an investigation into an April 23, 2004, explosion that took the lives of five workers, seriously injured three others and destroyed much of the facility. OSHA issued citations for 45 alleged serious violations and three willful violations, including insufficient worker training and electrical and lockout/tagout hazards.

* Goodman Manufacturing Co., L.P., Houston, $277,000 in the wake of an April 2004 accident in which an employee lost an arm in a mechanical power press. The company was cited with 62 serious, 11 repeat and 10 other violations of safety standards; alleged serious violations included failure to follow lockout/tagout procedures and not providing personal protective equipment. In response to the OSHA investigation, Goodman took immediate steps to safeguard workers and has invested more than $2 million to improve equipment and processes for the long-term safety of employees; OSHA reduced its original proposed penalty of $469,700, acknowledging the company's positive steps, the agency said.

* Star Manufacturing Inc., $229,050 for health and safety violations at its Little Ferry, N.J., plant, which makes a variety of plastic products including kitchen utensils and electrical wiring enclosures. OSHA initiated an investigation after the local police department reported that an employee had fingers amputated after an accident on a press machine. Six alleged willful violations and 15 alleged serious violations included failure to establish a lockout/tagout program, failure to guard machinery, and failure to institute a hearing conservation program and provide personal protective equipment.

* St. Lawrence Food Corp., doing business as Primo Foods, Ogdensburg, N.Y., $184,900 for failure to protect workers against the unexpected startup of machinery, hazardous chemicals, falls and other safety and health hazards at its cheese plant. The company was cited for 38 alleged willful, repeat, serious and other violations, including failure to provide lockout/tagout protection, failing to label confined spaces; missing stair railings, and not providing fall protection to employees working at heights of up to 12 feet.

* M2P2, doing business as Heritage Farms LLC, $175,500 following a complaint investigation into conditions at hog farms in Wiley, Colo. The company was cited for one alleged willful and 24 alleged serious violations of OSHA's general duty clause and standards relating to farms and feed mills, including a lack of machine guarding and an inadequate emergency response plan.

* Appetizers And Inc., Chicago, $172,350 following an April 2004 inspection into workplace safety and health practices at its food-producing plant. OSHA cited the company for willful and serious violations involving electrical hazards, machine guarding (lockout/tagout), training issues and obstructed exit routes.

* Tortilleria Atofonilco, Inc., Chicago $163,350 following an investigation into a formal complaint about a worker who suffered an amputation injury in May 2004. …

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