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Drums along the Potomac (8/30)

OSHA is on the warpath. The agency is issuing record-setting fines; every week fining companies hundreds of thousands of dollars; scaring companies into spending more on safety to stay out of trouble. Here are recent examples of OSHA’s new high-profile enforcement:

BP to pay $50.6 MILLION to resolve US Labor Department litigation OSHA announced that BP Products North America Inc. will pay a full penalty of $50.6 million stemming from the 2005 explosion at its Texas City, Texas, refinery that killed 15 workers and injured 170 others. The agreement resolves failure-to-abate citations issued after a 2009 follow-up investigation. In addition to paying the record fine, BP has agreed to take immediate steps to protect those now working at the refinery, allocating a minimum of $500 million to that effort.

OSHA proposes $16.6 MILLION in fines in connection with fatal Connecticut natural gas explosion OSHA cited three construction companies and 14 site contractors for 371 alleged workplace safety violations, and proposed $16.6 million dollars in penalties, following an investigation into the causes of February’s deadly natural gas explosion at the Kleen Energy Systems LLC power plant construction. The explosion took the lives of six workers and injured 50 others.

OSHA fines Fla. company $2+ MILLION OSHA issued citations to E.N. Range Inc. in Miami, Fla., alleging the company knowingly neglected to protect employees who clean gun ranges from serious overexposure to lead. It also provided, without medical supervision, non-FDA-approved treatments for lead exposure. The company was cited for more than 50 violations of the lead standard and others, with total proposed penalties of $2,099,600.

OSHA fines Wisconsin grain cooperative $721,000 after worker is engulfed in frozen soybeans OSHA has proposed fines of $721,000 against Cooperative Plus Inc. in Burlington for violations of federal workplace safety standards. OSHA alleges that this employer, a farmer-owned cooperative, exposed workers to the risk of being engulfed and suffocated in grain storage bins without proper equipment and procedures. In a near tragedy that occurred in February, a worker was trapped in soybeans up to his chest in 25-degree weather and ultimately rescued after a four-hour ordeal.

Cooperative Plus Inc. fined again …after OSHA finds 25 safety violations at 2 other grain facilities in Wisconsin. Company fined $374,500 for willful and serious safety violations at Whitewater and Genoa City.

And the hits keep coming…

OSHA cites Shreveport, La., refinery with $173,000 in penalties for alleged safety and health violations

…proposes nearly $115,000 in fines against Rochester, NY, machine shop for uncorrected and recurring hazards…

…OSHA cites Shreveport, La., refinery with $173,000 in penalties for alleged safety and health violations…

…OSHA fines New York concrete contractor $210,000 for failing to comply with settlement agreement designed to abate worker exposure to fall hazards…

…cites Walter Coke Inc. of Birmingham, Ala., with repeat safety violations and $171,500 in penalties

…fines Exeter, Pa., manufacturer $156,000 for workplace safety hazards

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