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OSHA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 6/28

Posted on 6/28/2022 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. Civil penalties for noncompliance are now as high as $100,000+ per day, per violation.

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 frozen food manufacturer
WHERE: Robbinsville, NJ
WHAT: Powered industrial truck, explosion hazards, and confined space violations
HOW MUCH: $368,513

In December 2021, a contractor suffered fatal injuries as a result of falling 11 feet while using a scissor lift to replace a freezer drain. OSHA’s investigation found a damaged and inoperable snap hook on the lift’s safety chain and that the company allegedly failed to inspect the lift before work began.

OSHA issued citations for 36 violations related to the incident and other identified violations at the facility. Citations include exposing workers to unguarded or inadequately guarded machinery, explosion hazards from accumulations of combustible flour dust throughout the facility, and confined space hazards when entering a wastewater pit to service a water meter. OSHA also cited the company for failure to train employees on forklift operations.

WHO: A steel mill
WHERE: Canton, OH
WHAT: Machine guarding and fall hazards violations
HOW MUCH: $315,952

OSHA inspectors found that a worker was operating a bar straightener machine on December 27, 2021 when he was caught on a piece of steel bar stock rotating at a high speed, resulting in fatal injuries. Inspectors also concluded the company provided employees with hooks to manipulate the spinning steel bar stock that were not long enough, requiring the operator's hands to be present in the machine's danger zone while using the straightener.

OSHA issued two serious violations for a lack of guarding on horizontal drive shafts and knuckles and walking-working surfaces that exposed workers to slip and fall hazards from oil coolant leaks and spills. Two willful violations were also issued.

WHO: A recycling company
WHERE: Atlanta, GA
WHAT: Hazard communication and safety data sheet violations
HOW MUCH: $311,934

Federal workplace safety inspectors determined that an Atlanta recycling company exposed workers to hazardous chemicals without warning them of the risks. An OSHA inspection in December 2021 found that the company failed to provide workers the safety data sheets for all chemicals used in the facility and did not list the chemicals in the company’s hazard communication program.

According to OSHA, the company also failed to train employees on hazardous energy sources for equipment, provide audiometric testing or annual training on hazards associated with high noise levels, and facilitate annual training on the use of respirators and fit tests for employees. OSHA proposed three repeat and 28 serious safety and health violations as a result of its investigation.

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