- ISHN GLOBAL
- EHS RESEARCH
The inspection began in July 2009, after an employee was burned when hot wax he was transferring from a railcar erupted. The investigation, including an evaluation for combustible dust, was expanded to all areas of the Birmingham facility when inspectors observed a number of safety hazards during their initial walk-through.
OSHA has cited the company with two willful violations with a proposed penalty of $110,000 for failing to develop and use specific lockout/tagout (of accidental energy start-up) procedures for workers engaged in servicing and performing maintenance activities and housekeeping issues related to the accumulation of combustible dust.
The company is also being cited for 31 serious safety violations with $107,500 in proposed penalties. The violations include failing to establish and implement procedures for employees transferring wax from railcars to holding tanks, unguarded platforms, fixed stairs not having standard guard rails, lack of machine guarding, numerous electrical hazards (including unapproved electrical equipment being used in areas containing combustible dust), not filling required permits for confined spaces, belts, pulleys and shafts not being guarded, and failing to utilize restraint systems on powered industrial trucks.
"OSHA determined that this company is fully aware of the deficiencies it has in its safety program and what needs to be changed to provide safe work conditions for employees but hasn't acted to correct those deficiencies," said Roberto Sanchez, director of OSHA's Birmingham Area Office.
Hearthmark LLC is headquartered in Dareville, Ind., and has facilities in North Carolina, Texas, California and Ontario. The company manufactures fire logs under the Pine Mountain, Java-Log and Starter Logg brands.