OSHA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 7/18

Posted on 7/18/2022 by Lauren Scott

US employers must comply with stringent workplace safety regulations to provide a safe, healthy workplace for every employee. Failure to comply with applicable US OSHA health & safety standards can result in serious injury, days away from work, and death.

The OSHA enforcement actions highlighted below provide insight into how and why the Agency assesses civil penalties for workplace safety violations. All violations mentioned are alleged unless we indicate otherwise. 

See OSHA’s latest list of the 10 most-cited safety Standards here.
We withhold the names of organizations and individuals subject to enforcement to protect their privacy.

WHO: A concrete manufacturer
WHERE: Sulphur Springs, TX
WHAT: Machine guarding, respirator, and silica safety violations
RESULT: Serious injuries and silica exposure

On January 3, 2022, a worker was struck by a mold at a facility that manufactures manholes and other wastewater structures, resulting in serious injuries. A subsequent OSHA investigation found that the facility allegedly failed to install machine guards, which would have prevented the incident.

Federal inspectors also determined that the employer's poor housekeeping exposed workers to airborne concentrations of respirable crystalline silica, which put workers at increased risk of serious silica-related diseases, including silicosis. In addition, OSHA cited the employer for safety violations related to slip/trip hazards, lockout/tagout, respirator fit testing, and failing to implement a process safety management program.

WHO: A commercial diving and recovery firm
WHERE: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
WHAT: Training and communication violations
RESULT: Fatality 

After working for three days for a commercial diving company, a 26-year-old drowned in a golf course pond. Federal workplace safety investigators determined that the employee was attempting to recover sunken golf balls when they became unresponsive. A coworker had to pull them out of the water and ask a passing golfer to call 911. The diver was transported to a local hospital where they later died.

According to OSHA, the company failed to follow required safety standards, including ensuring adequate supervision was in place and that required training was provided. In addition, the company did not provide a first-aid handbook or a resuscitator at the dive location, inspect and test diving equipment and components prior to every dive, and set up an operational communication system among all dive team members.

OSHA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 7/18

WHO: A carpentry contractor
WHERE: Port Saint Lucie, FL
WHAT: Fall protection and training violations
RESULT: 25-foot fall

OSHA determined that an employee of a Florida carpentry firm was installing trusses and plywood sheathing on a residential development clubhouse when they fell about 25 feet onto a concrete floor. OSHA cited the company for one willful violation for failing to ensure employees wore fall protection while exposed to fall hazards, and one serious violation for failing to train workers on the correct use of fall arrest systems.

Florida communities experienced 275 fatal workplace incidents in 2020, and 77 of those involved falls, slips, and trips. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that falls account for more than one in three of all construction industry deaths.

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Tags: fines, osha, penalties, roundup, workplace safety

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