Recent OSHA Enforcement Cases
Global packaging manufacturer cited after employee suffers severe steam burns in Texas
OSHA cited Graphic Packaging International LLC – an Atlanta, Georgia-based paper product manufacturer – for exposing employees to hot steam, and failing to ensure the use of proper hazardous energy control methods. The company faces $211,400 in proposed fines.
OSHA launched an investigation of the Queen City, Texas, facility after hot steam burned an employee trying to repair a leak on a steam-line header. OSHA determined the header had been leaking for several months and found the company violated federal safety standards for PPE, lockout/tagout, and process safety management (PSM).
OSHA cites Florida company for exposing employees to amputations and other safety hazards
OSHA has cited Jimmie Crowder Excavating and Land Clearing Inc. for exposing employees to amputation and other safety hazards at the company’s facility in Tallahassee, Florida. The demolition and excavating company faces $81,833 in penalties.
An employee suffered an amputation after their arm was caught in a conveyor belt that started unexpectedly as an employee removed material. OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to establish a lockout/tagout process, provide machine guarding, train employees on procedures to control the release of hazardous energy, and exposed employees to slip, trip, fall, and electrical hazards. OSHA conducted the inspection as part of its National Emphasis Program on Amputations.
“Proper safety procedures, including the effective lockout of all sources of energy, could have prevented this injury,” said OSHA Area Director Michelle Gonzalez, in Jacksonville, Florida.
OSHA finds New Jersey contractor exposed employees to lead at Pennsylvania worksite
OSHA has cited Scot Christopher Rule LLC for exposing workers to lead and other workplace hazards as the company renovated and remodeled a worksite in Easton, Pennsylvania. The company faces $104,637 in proposed penalties.
OSHA initiated a follow-up inspection in February 2019, after the Frenchtown, New Jersey, painting and wall covering contractor failed to provide proof of abatement related to a 2017 investigation. Inspectors cited the company with four willful violations that included failing to; provide employees with training and information concerning lead and hazardous chemicals, conduct an initial determination to identify employees’ level of exposure to lead, and not having a written lead compliance program. In addition, OSHA cited the Scot Christopher Rule for permitting improper use of respirators, another serious violation.
In May 2019, OSHA completed a second inspection after a complaint that the employer exposed employees operating aerial lifts to fall hazards, and cited additional serious violations.
OSHA cites Wisconsin lumber mill for exposing employees to hazards following fatality
OSHA has cited Pukall Lumber Company Inc. – a lumber mill in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin – for exposing employees to multiple safety hazards following a worker fatality. The company faces penalties of $348,467.
An employee suffered fatal injuries when caught in an outdoor bark conveyor belt in January 2019. OSHA cited Pukall Lumber for two willful violations for failing to implement energy control procedures, and ensure the conveyer had adequate guarding to prevent employees from coming in contact with the moving parts. OSHA also cited the company for 13 serious violations for exposing employees to falls, electrical safety, welding, and woodworking hazards; and failing to install machine guarding, implement lockout/tagout, label containers with product identifiers and appropriate warnings, and properly store oxygen and fuel tanks. OSHA has placed the company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
New Jersey company and its president found in contempt of court after failing to pay $412,000 in fines
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has found Altor Inc. - a construction company based in Washington Township, New Jersey and its president Vasilio Saites in contempt of court for failing to pay $412,000 in penalties assessed by OSHA. OSHA has cited Altor for numerous safety violations, including multiple willful violations of OSHA’s fall protection standards. The court previously ordered Altor and Saites to pay the fine after the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) affirmed the violations.
The court’s July 25, 2019, contempt judgment specifies that Saites is liable for the full amount of the penalty if Altor does not pay. If Altor and Saites do not fully pay within 30 days or show the court why they cannot do so, the Secretary of Labor is to propose a daily penalty for the court to assess.
The court’s ruling is the result of lengthy litigation by the Department’s Office of the Solicitor including multiple hearings before the OSHRC and the court of appeals to affirm Altor’s violations of OSHA’s safety requirements and remedy the company’s longstanding refusal to pay the associated penalties.
OSHA cites New Jersey landscaper after two employees die from carbon monoxide exposure
OSHA has cited AJR Landscaping Inc. – based in Cresskill, New Jersey – for exposing employees to carbon monoxide (CO) after two workers succumbed to the toxic gas.
OSHA initiated an inspection after the Washington Township New Jersey Police Department notified the agency that the workers died from CO exposure after a gasoline-powered lawnmower was started inside an enclosed company trailer that transported the crew to a jobsite. OSHA issued serious citations to AJR for exposing the employees to carbon monoxide, and for failing to train employees to recognize the hazard. The company faces penalties of $17,051.
“Any time there is a gas-powered motor or engine running in an enclosed space, there is risk of exposure to exhaust fumes, which contain carbon monoxide, an odorless and poisonous gas,” said OSHA Area Office Director Lisa Levy, in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. “This tragedy was preventable if the employer had adhered to basic safety and health practices.”
OSHA cites Florida roofing company for exposing employees to fall and other safety hazards
OSHA has cited Brad McDonald Roofing & Construction Inc. for exposing employees to fall and other safety hazards at two Florida construction sites in Lutz and Palmetto. The residential and commercial roofing work company faces $274,215 in penalties.
OSHA inspectors initiated inspections at both worksites after observing employees improperly using fall protection while performing roofing activities. OSHA cited the company for willfully exposing employees to fall hazards by not ensuring employees tied-off to anchor points or used fall arrest systems correctly. OSHA also cited the company for allowing employees to use nail guns without the use of eye protection. The Agency conducted the inspections in conjunction with the Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction. OSHA has inspected the company nine times since 2014, each resulting in citations for violating OSHA’s residential fall protection standards.
“Employers have a legal requirement to protect workers,” said OSHA Area Director Les Grove, in Tampa, Florida. “Employers are required to train workers on how to properly use equipment and recognize on-the-job hazards. Being vigilant about safety can prevent injuries and save lives.”