OSHA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 5/22

Posted on 5/22/2023 by Lion Technology Inc.

The OSH Act of 1970 requires US employers to provide a safe, healthy workplace for every employee. Failure to comply with applicable OSHA health & safety Standards can easily lead to preventable injuries and fatal accidents at workplaces of all types.

The enforcement actions highlighted below provide insight into how and why OSHA issues citations for workplace safety violations. All violations discussed are alleged onlyunless we say otherwise. 

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

A worker in Cincinnati, OH lost a leg due to a lack of adequate lockout/energy control training and procedures, OSHA says. 

OSHA inspected a food processing plant in Cincinnati after receiving an injury report from the employer in October 2022. A temporary overnight worker lost a leg after falling into an industrial blender while cleaning it. Rotating parts in the machine caused critical injuries to the employee’s leg, which was later amputated. 

After the inspection, OSHA cited the employer for failure to train workers in adequate machine lockout/energy control procedures and other alleged safety violations. In all, inspectors inked citations for seventeen violations and proposed nearly $2 million in civil penalties. OSHA cited the plant for similar violations less than two weeks before the injury, and placed the employer in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program in 2017. 

“Lockout” refers to practices that prevent unexpected start-up or release of stored energy from machinery during service, maintenance, or cleaning. 

lockout tagout device osha safety

Two Georgia employers face $178,444 in combined penalties after testing revealed elevated arsenic levels in site employees’ blood.  

A Georgia Poison Center contacted OSHA after blood tests for several employees of a chemical manufacturing plant revealed elevated levels of arsenic. The facility, which manufactures wood treatment chemicals and is contesting OSHA's findings, faces $124,780 in penalties for nine serious health and safety violations—including “exposing workers to inorganic arsenic at up to 20 times above the allowable exposure limit.”   

A second employer, a contractor whose employees service equipment at the chemical facility, faces more than $50,000 in penalties for health and safety violations as a result of the same inspection. In the second employer's case, OSHA alleges they failed to provide and ensure the use of decontamination equipment by employees following work in areas regulated for toxic and hazardous substances like arsenic. 

blood test for arsenic toxicity vial held in blue glove

Penalties total $293,982 for a manufacturer in Texas after OSHA allegedly found identical violations during separate inspections.

After identifying machine guarding violations at a facility that builds internal components for wind turbines in April 2022, OSHA returned to the site late last year for a follow-up inspection. During the follow-up, inspectors determined that the Houston, TX facility had failed to correct the machine guarding violations identified earlier that year.  

In addition, OSHA alleges that workers at the facility performed maintenance on machines and equipment without an adequate energy control program in place that included procedures (e.g., lockout/tagout), employee training, and periodic inspections of machinery/equipment.  

machine guarding protects workers from injuries

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