OSH enforcement across the USA
From east to west, north to south, both federal OSHA and state-level agencies stay busy conducting investigations and issuing citations to companies who violate safety regulations. This review of recent cases indicates a variety of citations issued, for confined space, fall and trenching hazards, among others.
Contractor exposed workers to fall hazards
Northeast Framing, Inc., was cited for exposing workers to serious hazards after a fatal fall at a construction worksite. OSHA cited the company for failing to provide adequate fall protection; train employees to recognize and avoid fall, ladder, electrical, and other hazards; conduct regular jobsite safety inspections; and notify OSHA of a work-related fatality. The company faces $311,330 in penalties, the maximum allowed by law.
Distribution center worker fatally injured
OSHA cited Dollar Tree Distribution Center, Inc., and U.S. Xpress, Inc., for exposing workers to hazards after an employee was fatally struck by a forklift. Both companies were cited for failing to ensure that employees wore high-visibility vests while working at night. OSHA cited Dollar Tree for using a vehicle with a non-functioning headlight, failing to provide machine guarding, and improperly stacking materials on racks. Dollar Tree faces $130,112 in penalties; and U.S. Xpress' penalties total $12,934.
Tank cleaning company cited for confined space, other hazards
American Remediation and Environmental, Inc., was cited after OSHA inspectors determined that the company allowed employees to enter a tank without testing for atmospheric hazards. The company was cited for confined space, fire, and explosion hazards, and faces $171,281 in penalties.
Roofing contractor cited for exposing employees to fall hazards
OSHA cited Crown Roofing, LLC, for exposing employees to fall hazards, including installing roofing materials without the use of a fall protection system. The roofing contractor was issued the maximum allowable penalty of $129,336. The inspection was initiated as part of the Regional Emphasis Program on Falls. Crown Roofing has been cited 13 times since 2014 for similar hazards.
Underground tank contractor cited for excavation hazards
UST Systems, Inc., was cited for exposing workers to excavation hazards while preparing a trench for an underground storage tank. Inspectors found that the company allowed workers to enter the trench without proper protections or training on the dangers of unsupported soil walls. UST Systems faces $35,844 in penalties.
Metal recycling company cited after employee suffers injury
Venture Metals, LLC, faces $311,580 in penalties after a worker was hospitalized when a stack of pipes fell on him. Inspectors determined that the company also failed to implement methods to control lead exposure, train workers in lockout/tagout procedures, and follow confined space entry permit procedures. The company was cited for similar violations in 2016.
Plumbing contractor admits to violating trench safety requirements
Arrow Plumbing, LLC, admitted to willfully violating OSHA standards by failing to use trench boxes or other trench protection techniques at a construction site. An employee suffered fatal injuries when an unprotected trench collapsed. Under terms of a stipulation and settlement agreement, the company – and its successor R2 Plumbing, LLC – agreed to implement several safety enhancements. These include hiring a safety consultant to implement a trench safety program and conduct safety and health audits; providing extensive training for employees; and reporting trenching-related incidents and near misses to OSHA. The company will also pay a civil penalty of $225,000.
State OSHA cites botanical gardens after fatal incident
The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division issued five citations and $57,040 in penalties to the National Tropical Botanical Gardens after a worker was fatally injured when he was thrown from a riding mower that then landed on him. Inspectors determined that the employer failed to assess hazards and did not require workers to wear seat belts while riding on landscaping equipment.
Cal/OSHA fines construction company for safety violations
California OSHA issued nine citations and $141,075 in penalties to Bay Construction Co. after a worker was fatally struck by a rail being removed from an excavation. Inspectors concluded that the company failed to train workers, provide appropriate personal protective equipment, and ensure workers removing trench support systems were protected from struck-by hazards.