The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently published their list of the top 10 safety violations for the last fiscal year ending September 30th 2014. The number #1 violation is still Fall Protection in construction followed in order by #2-Hazard Communication, #3-Construction Scaffolding, #4-Respiratory Protection, #5-L.O.T.O, #6-Powered Industrial Trucks, #7-Electrical Wiring Methods, #8-Construction Ladders, #9-Machine Guarding, #10-General Electrical Requirements. Every one of these violations is absolutely preventable and there is NO excuse to have to work under these conditions. It is the result of poor management, lack of leadership and greedy owners putting profits ahead of people when in the long run it is cheaper to have a safety program in place. Don’t except anything else as the life you save may be your own. That sounds like this is another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.
Company Fined $7,800 in Logging Death of Winlock Teen – PREVENTABLE – Last month I told you the story of Brett Samuel Collins, a 20 year old college student who was killed while working on a construction site and after a year of haggling with his employer Wyoming-OSHA caved in and reduced a $13,860 fine to $6,773. Great message to our youth on their value. Unfortunately this looks like a more common incident than I thought. Cole Bostwick, an 18 year old who enjoyed life and keeping himself busy was just beginning his adventure in life when it was cut short as he was crushed by a carriage that was lowered while he was setting chokers, killing him instantly. He never knew what hit him as no one bothered to make sure he was clear before the Danebo drift carriage was lowered which turned out to be one of the violations. The other was for not having an accident prevention program that was tailored to the needs of the operations. For the tragic loss of yet another young man the proposed fine to ENB Logging & Construction is only $7,800. Pathetic.
Graham Lumber Cited by OSHA Following Worker Fatality – PREVENTABLE – In an act of Willful Stupidity, Graham Lumber Company had no problem exposing their workers to an unguarded conveyor belt at their mill in Fulton, Mississippi. A worker, employed less than 2 weeks, while cleaning up bark and sawdust was killed when he was pulled into the conveyor by the exposed sprocket chains and rollers. This was so easily preventable but I guess profit would have taken too big a hit. OSHA found 1 Willful and 1 serious violation that totaled $75,610 in proposed fines. Graham Lumber had been visited by OSHA in 2011 when an employee died due to electrocution, my guess due to no L.O.T.O. In my opinion, if someone dies due to a Willful act then the minimum fine is one million and jail time for the person who made the willful decision.
OSHA issues fine in construction death – PREVENTABLE – Michael R. Hauf, a 54 year old husband and father who loved hunting and camping had 34 years of experience in sheet metal was foreman of a crew moving and installing an air exchanger unit when it tipped over crushing Michael to death. His employer John W. Danforth Company was cited for one serious safety violation for not following proper operating instructions of the motorized roller units. They didn’t use a spreader bar to keep it stabilized or connect it overhead to prevent tipping. For this violation the proposed fine is only $7000. Since Danforth has a $13.5 million contract to do the sheet metal this fine shouldn’t cut into profits too bad. When ever you’re using equipment to move heavy units or equipment everyone is not familiar with, you should have a huddle to go over the process with all those who are going to be involved. It doesn’t take long and great to have everyone on the same page as you can anticipate the unexpected and have everyone come out alive, but then idle time costs money.
Worker loses four fingers in workplace accident – PENDING – An employee of Oregon Potato Company was cleaning around the machinery used to cut potatoes when she severed 4 fingers on her right hand. During the investigation, Oregon-OSHA will look at the employees training, safety protocols and supervision to determine if rules were violated. When working around any machinery, before you stick your hands in it make sure it is properly Locked Out and Tagged Out. You don’t want a sudden start up when you’re elbow deep into it.
OSHA Cites Quest Specialty Coatings Following Fires – PREVENTABLE – After an OSHA inspection, Quest Specialty Coatings was cited for 1 Willful, 2 repeat and 5 serious safety violations. They earned their Willful violation because they didn’t bother to make the necessary inspections and tests on emergency fire control, bypass and relief valves to make sure they were mechanically sound and not dangerous to operators. They didn’t care if anyone got hurt and using luck as a solid business ideology is not recommended by anyone. It should be no surprise that they also didn’t bother to train employees in emergency shutdown procedures for the machines they were operating. As Chris Zortman, OSHA’s area director in Milwaukee put it, “Quest Specialty Coatings has a responsibility to ensure the safe operation of its plant by making sure employees are trained in the hazards of manufacturing paints. Workers should not be put at risk because this company failed to implement required protections.”
OSHA Cites Central Transport Again, $145,000 in Fines Proposed – PREVENTABLE – Don’t know what’s going on at Central Transport LLC but they are putting employees in jeopardy and could let their customers down. Earlier this year their Rock Island, Ill. facility was fined $108,020 for violations and now, the Hillside, Ill. terminal was found to have 16 violations with proposed fines of $145,420. Central is contesting both sets of fines, however the recent inspection was initiated by an employee complaint and led to 1 Willful violation for allowing forklifts in need of repair to remain in service. They knew the forklifts were dangerous to use and couldn’t care less. They also exposed workers to falls, failed to keep the dock and bay floors clean and dry, failed to train on chemical hazards and didn’t provide eye wash stations where chemicals were handled. Feeling the love?
Dollar Tree Racked Up $866K In Fines Over Last 12 Months For Workplace-Safety Violations – PREVENTABLE – Some companies want to be distinguished by their great customer service and some by their great prices, however Dollar Tree had decided amassing the most workplace safety violations in one year is their claim to fame as they have been fined by OSHA for a total of 48 violations! This is poor management at it’s best as employees have no safety training, blocking exit doors with merchandise, dangerous stacking of flammables, unsecured helium cylinders and blocked electrical panels all of which also puts customers in great danger as well. It’s tough to make time for training and proper storage of goods when you don’t want to spend the money and as it is a $866,000 fine is going to take the selling of lots of dollar items.
OSHA cites Walgreens after New Haven chemical spill; proposes $77,000 in fines – PREVENTABLE – Another retailer, this time Walgreens was cited for 2 Repeat and 1 serious violation during a follow-up inspection after 4 employees were sent to the hospital after a July chemical spill. The repeat violations were for NOT assessing the workplace for hazards and determining the necessary PPE and NOT implementing and maintaining a written hazard communication program. This was not new news for Walgreens as they were cited for similar issues in 2010 but didn’t bother to get the word out to their stories. Instead they would rather HOPE they’re LUCKY and don’t kill customers or employees but don’t care enough to put a program in place. It’s sad when consumers have to worry about being injured when buying products.
Bypassing safety systems a dangerous strategy – READ – You should NEVER bypass any safety system. They are built in for a reason, to prevent you from getting injured or dying on the job. Don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s o.k. and report anyone who tampers with it. Good article in Plant Engineering you should check out.
HazCom Rule Can Address Combustible Dust, Court Says in Rejecting Industry Challenge – COURT RULING – OSHA does have the right to address combustible dust levels under the Hazard Communication requirements. Another good article to read.
No workplace injuries mean another award for MechOne Inc. – SAFETY AWARD WINNER – MechOne Inc. of Colorado Springs has never had an injury that caused an employee to miss work in its 14-year history. This is a fantastic feat and you should read how they did it.
That brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and feel free to share these articles at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting. What would you do if you faced any of these situations at work? Have you been trained on what to do in an emergency like a chemical spill or how to LOTO before routine maintenance on a machine? If the answer is NO ask your supervisor why. You have the right to know what you’re working with and any associated hazards that come with it. If you see a safety hazard first try to remove it yourself then report it to your supervisor. If it continues, go to your union representative or H.R. and if need be OSHA. See you November 15th and until then stay safe.