Today's News / Compliance / Facility Safety

Hawaii warehouse workers locked in

Company hit with 63 violations

August 23, 2013

OSHAA warehouse operator’s decision to seal exit doors and block emergency exit routes in order to gain additional storage space for hazardous materials “placed the workers in great jeopardy," said OSHA’s Galen Lemke, who pointed out that the blocked exits could have devastating results in the event of an ammonia leak from piping located throughout the facility.

That and other hazards at a refrigerated food warehouse in Honolulu occupied by Unicold Corp. and nine tenants earned the company a total of $251,330 in proposed fines. Investigations were conducted by OSHA (under the agency's National Emphasis Program for facilities with highly hazardous chemicals) as well as Hawaii's Department of Labor and Industrial Relations' Occupational Safety and Health Division.

Doors locked from the outside

Willful violations include locked and sealed exit doors, failure to keep exit routes free and unobstructed and failure to label exit routes and post signs clearly indicating the route to the nearest exit. Inspectors found 13 of the exit doors were locked from the outside and sealed shut, and that workers could not open or reach emergency exit doors because storage racks filled with pallets of products blocked the doors.

"Employers must follow safety and health rules to prevent horrific tragedies, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York in 1911 when 146 workers died, unable to escape due to blocked exits,” said Lemke. “We hope to never see such a tragedy again, in Hawaii, or anywhere."

Process safety management violations

Fifty-eight serious violations relate to hazards associated with process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals in the ammonia refrigeration system; missing stair railings; unguarded floor openings on stairway platforms; deficiencies in the company's plan for the response to workplace emergencies; and inadequate electrical equipment.

The employer was also cited for two other-than-serious violations related to portable fire extinguishers.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASSEâ??s Safety 2014 Review

A gallery of photos from the sprawling Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, where ASSE’s annual professional development conference was held June 8-11. All photos courtesy of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

6/26/14 2:00 pm EDT

Realizing ROI from Your Gas Detection Program

This presentation will cover why a safe workplace equates to good business, why keeping workers truly safe from hazardous gases requires a complete gas detection program, and how your investment can ensure an ROI to your overall business.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN0714_cover.jpg

2014 July

In this month's issue of ISHN, check out the top training companies and find out who the winners of the ISHN/ASSE Safety 2014 awards are.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - May 2014

ISHN0514FDO_cover.jpgFor Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THEMAY 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.