Recent OSHA enforcement cases
Long Island, New York, construction company cited for fall hazards following fatal structure collapse
OSHA has cited Northridge Construction Corp. for willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards at the company's headquarters in East Patchogue, New York. The company faces $224,620 in penalties.
In December 2018, an employee suffered fatal injuries when a structure collapsed during installation of roof panels on a shed. OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to provide fall protection and protective helmets, did not ensure the structural integrity of the roof, and misused a ladder.
"Fall-related fatalities are preventable if employers use required fall protection systems, such as guardrails or personal fall arrest systems," said OSHA Long Island Area Director Anthony Ciuffo. "OSHA standards are legal requirements that every employer must follow to ensure workers are protected from serious injuries."
Federal judge upholds safety and health citations, penalties against Jersey City, New Jersey Medical Center
An administrative law judge with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) has issued a decision affirming all safety and health citations issued by OSHA against Jersey City Medical Center. OSHA cited the medical center – based in Jersey City, New Jersey – for electrical hazards after a maintenance employee's fatal fall after receiving an electric shock. The judge also affirmed OSHA's proposed penalties totaling $174,593.
In June 2016, the decedent - who was untrained in electrical safety work practices - was repairing a ceiling light fixture when the incident occurred. The judge found that the employer willfully failed to train the employee for the hazardous electrical work he was directed to perform. A three-day hearing was held in New York City in April 2018, and the decision from OSHRC issued on June 17, 2019.
"The outcome of this case shows the employer will be held accountable for willfully exposing employees to serious hazards, and the U.S. Department of Labor stands ready to litigate such issues when employers refuse to accept responsibility," said the Department's Regional Solicitor Jeffrey S. Rogoff, in New York.
Alabama auto parts manufacturer and staffing agencies cited for exposing employees to safety hazards
OSHA has cited automobile parts manufacturer Donghee Alabama LLC and two staffing agencies – J & C Enterprise LLC and Jian Enterprise LLC – for exposing employees to safety hazards at its facility in Auburn, Alabama. The companies collectively face $145,438 in penalties.
OSHA cited Donghee Alabama LLC for willfully exposing employees to caught-in and crushed-by hazards by requiring them to operate machines with non-functioning safety laser scanners. These scanners are designed to prevent employees from placing their bodies inside dangerous zones during the operating cycle. OSHA conducted the inspection in conjunction with the Regional Emphasis Program for Safety Hazards in Auto Parts Industry.
OSHA also cited the two staffing agencies that provided employees to work at the manufacturing facility, for exposing their workers to hazards from operating machines with non-functioning light curtains and laser safety scanners.
"Hazards associated with the auto parts manufacturing industry are a source of serious injuries and fatalities to workers," said OSHA Acting Area Director Jose Gonzalez, in Mobile, Alabama. "Employers are required by law to comply with lockout/tagout and machine guarding standards to protect workers who operate equipment."
Georgia water services company cited after employee suffers heat-related injury at Key West, Florida, worksite
OSHA has cited Evoqua Water Technologies LLC – based in Thomasville, Georgia – for failing to protect employees working in excessive heat. The company faces $21,311 in penalties, including the maximum penalty allowed by law for the heat-related violation.
An employee suffered heat exhaustion and was hospitalized after working in direct sunlight and wearing required protective clothing during welding and fabrication work at a Key West, Florida, worksite. On the day of the hospitalization, the heat index ranged between 83 and 88 degrees. OSHA cited the employer for failing to protect workers exposed to outdoor heat hazards, and failing to report a hospitalizaion within 24 hours, as required.
“Employers must take proper precautions when employees are working outdoors in excessive heat conditions, including ensuring that workers have access to water, and take frequent rest breaks in cool shaded areas,” said OSHA Area Director Condell Eastmond, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
OSHA conducts training and outreach on heat-related workplace hazards every spring and summer. Information on establishing a heat illness prevention program, a video on protecting workers from heat illness, and resources with other suggested best practices are available on OSHA’s heat illness prevention page.
Behavior treatment hospital cited for exposing employees to workplace violence hazards
OSHA has cited UHS of Centennial Peaks LLC – operating as Centennial Peaks Hospital in Louisville, Colorado – for failing to protect employees from violence in the workplace. The company faces penalties of $32,392.
OSHA inspected the acute psychiatric treatment facility after a complaint of workplace violence in December 2018. Inspectors found documented incidents of workplace violence and injuries to employees. The hospital was cited for failing to implement adequate measures to protect employees from workplace violence hazards, and for exposing employees to blood borne pathogens during medical procedures.
Iowa U.S. postal office cited for blocked exits and failing to train on emergency plan
OSHA has cited the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for obstructing exit routes and failing to train employees at the postal facility in Ankeny, Iowa. OSHA proposed $184,694 in penalties.
OSHA inspected the facility after receiving a complaint from the National Association of Letter Carriers. OSHA cited USPS for blocking exit routes with mail hampers, tubs, and packages, and failing to train employees on emergency action procedures.
“Blocked exits impede a safe and orderly evacuation, and increase the risk for serious injuries during emergencies,” said OSHA Des Moines Area Office Director Larry Davidson.
Online pet supply retailer cited
OSHA has cited Chewy Inc. - an online retailer of pet supplies - after a fatality at the company’s Ocala, Florida, distribution facility.
The employee suffered fatal injuries while operating a stand-up industrial truck. OSHA cited Chewy Inc. for exposing employees to struck-by and crushing hazards. The company faces $14,323 in penalties, the maximum allowed by law.
“Employers are required to assess and abate hazards that are present, and that may expose workers to injuries, illnesses, or fatalities,” said OSHA Jacksonville Area Office Director Michelle Gonzalez. “This tragedy might have been prevented if the employer had complied with published safety standards, and adhered to hazard warnings provided by equipment manufacturers.”
Wisconsin pallet manufacturer cited after three employees exposed to wood dust
OSHA has again cited Avid Pallet Services LLC after a follow-up inspection found employees continued to be exposed to wood dust. The company faces penalties of $188,302 for repeated, serious, and other-than-serious safety and health violations.
Inspectors determined that the Beloit, Wisconsin, pallet manufacturer failed to implement sufficient engineering controls to limit dust exposure, as well as train employees on the health hazards of wood dust. OSHA had previously cited the company for these hazards in 2016. Additional citations were issued after the follow-up inspection for failing to evaluate respiratory hazards, medically evaluate and fit test employees using respirators, inform employees of their right to see exposure records, and use adequate machine guarding on band saws.
Film company cited for failing to adequately protect stuntmen from on-set hazards
OSHA has cited Eye Productions Inc. for failing to protect employees from hazards while filming a television show in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia. Proposed penalties total $9,472.
OSHA investigated the incident after a stuntman was injured while performing a stunt from a moving vehicle traveling approximately 18 mph. OSHA issued a serious citation for failing to provide adequate head protection during stunts.
“This incident underscores the requirement for employers in the entertainment industry to implement better safety practices to protect actors and stunt persons from serious injuries,” said OSHA Atlanta-West Acting Area Director Keith Hass.