FAA Proposes Civil Penalties Alleged Hazardous Materials Violations

WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Transportations Federal Aviation Administration (FAAhas proposed civil penalties ranging from $54,000 to $81,669 for allegedly violating Hazardous Materials Regulations. The FAA alleges shipments made by all 3 companies were not accompanied by shipping papers to indicate the hazardous nature of their contents and were not marked, labeled or packaged in accordance with the Hazardous Materials Regulations. In addition, the companies also allegedly failed to provide emergency response information and ensure their employees received required hazardous materials training.  

$81,669 against DGI Menard Inc. The FAA alleges that on Jan. 12, 2015, DGI Menard knowingly offered an undeclared hazardous material shipment to FedEx for air transport from Carnegie, Penn., to Crystal Lake, Ill. The shipment included eight one-pint cans of Lubemasters Fire Up, which is a flammable liquid, and six bottles of Diesel Mate All Seasons, which is a flammable petroleum distillate. FedEx employees at the companys sort facility in Cary, Ill., discovered the package was leaking and notified the FAA. DGI Menard has 30 days from receipt of the FAAs enforcement letter to respond to the agency. Contact: Elizabeth Isham Cory Phone: 847-294-7849; Email: elizabeth.cory@faa.gov  

$54,000 against Aqua-Chem, Inc. of Knoxville, Tenn. The FAA alleges that on April 3, 2013, Aqua-Chem offered UPS an undeclared shipment containing six, one-pint plastic containers of corrosive phosphoric acid solution. Workers at the UPS package sort facility in Louisville, Ky., discovered the shipment. Aqua-Chem has contacted the FAA about the case. Contact: Kathleen Bergen Phone: 404-305-5100; Email: Kathleen.Bergen@faa.gov  

$54,000 against Rust-Oleum Corp. of Vernon Hills, Ill.The FAA alleges that on Jan. 5, 2015, Rust-Oleum offered four containers of spray paint to FedEx for shipment by air from Vernon Hills to Huntington Beach, Calif. Employees at the FedEx sort facility in Northbrook, Ill., discovered the flammable paint and notified the FAA. Rust-Oleum has 30 days from receipt of the FAAs enforcement letter to respond to the agency. Contact: Elizabeth Isham Cory   Violations of FAA and DOT shipping regulations, either intentional or otherwise can be costly from both a monetary, legal and operational basis. Failing to properly train employees in hazardous materials basics as well as the proper way to package, label and ship these materials is your first, best defense against fines and serious legal actions.   Training for air and ground transport of hazardous materials is available online, at your site or at “open-enrollment” seminars throughout the U.S. Click on the links below for more information or to register for training:   DOT On-Site Training DOT Open Enrollment (Instructor Led) Seminars Online DOT Hazmat Training

US Labor Department’s OSHA proposes $75,000 in fines to Minnesota pipe manufacturer for machine guarding, other hazards at Chatsworth, Ill., facility

CHATSWORTH, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Prinsco Inc. for 14 alleged serious safety violations, including a lack of machine guarding, at its Chatsworth pipe manufacturing facility. An inspection was initiated under OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program, which focuses enforcement efforts on workplaces with high injury and illness rates. Proposed penalties total $75,000.

“Employers such as Prinsco that record a higher-than-average rate of days lost due to injuries demonstrate a need to re-evaluate their safety procedures,” said Tom Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria. “It is the responsibility of every employer to know and correct safety and health hazards that exist in their workplaces.”

The violations involve failing to identify emergency exits; provide adequate guardrails and safe wooden ladders; properly list or label electrical equipment; close unused openings in circuit breaker boxes; and guard corrugating machines, belts, pulleys, and woodworking machines such as radial and table saws. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Willmar, Minn.-based Prinsco, which employs about 40 workers at its Chatsworth facility, manufactures high-density polyethylene corrugated pipe used for drainage purposes in the agriculture, landscaping and residential construction industries. The company has other facilities in Fresno, Calif.; Jesup and Fort Dodge, Iowa; Prinsburg and Fairfax, Minn.; Bethany, Mo.; Fargo, N.D.; Beresford, S.D.; and Appleton, Wis. Prinsco facilities were inspected on five previous occasions by OSHA, resulting in citations for violations involving machine guarding and electrical hazards.

Prinsco has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA’s Peoria Area Office at 309-589-7033. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Brocato Construction of Mississippi cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA for willful, serious trenching violations; proposed fines exceed $117,000

OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Brocato Construction Inc. of Batesville with two willful and one serious safety violation following an inspection of two trenches where workers were relocating gas and water lines along state Highway 305 in Olive Branch. OSHA opened its inspection as part of the agency’s national emphasis program to reduce injuries at trenching and excavation construction sites. Proposed penalties total $117,600.

The willful violations involve failing to provide workers with protection against cave-in hazards while they were working in one trench more than 5 feet deep and another trench that was 8 feet deep. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The serious violation involves exposing employees to struck-by and cave-in hazards by not providing a ladder to enter and exit the excavation. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

“An unguarded trench can collapse and bury workers beneath tons of soil and debris before they have a chance to react or escape,” said Clyde Payne, OSHA’s area director in Jackson. “The employer is aware of OSHA’s safety standards with regard to excavation and trenching, but chose to put employees’ lives at risk by having them work in an unprotected trench.”

OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available on OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Brocato_391903_1001_2012.pdf*
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Brocato_392202_1001_2012.pdf*.

Brocato Construction was contracted by the city of Olive Branch to relocate utilities, including gas and water lines. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Jackson office at 601-965-4606.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

US Labor Department’s OSHA fines Northeastern Wisconsin Wood Products more than $184,000 after follow-up inspection finds 16 violations

Company has noncompliance history with protection standards, amputation hazards

POUND, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Northeastern Wisconsin Wood Products for 16 alleged health and safety, including four willful and six repeat, violations after conducting a follow-up inspection at the company’s Pound facility April 25. Many are for exposing workers to amputation hazards. Proposed penalties total $184,800.

“Northeastern Wisconsin Wood Products has a history of failing to comply with OSHA standards dating back to 2006. Even after being placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program and working with the Wisconsin state consultation service, the company has yet to abate many violations cited in previous inspections,” said Nick Walters, OSHA’s regional administrator in Chicago. “When employers knowingly ignore safety and health requirements, they are unduly placing their workers at risk for illnesses and injuries, and that is unacceptable.”

Four willful safety violations involve a lack of machine guarding on conveyors, belts, pulleys, gears, band and trim saw blades, and woodworking machinery, as well as unguarded open-sided floors and platforms presenting a fall hazard greater than 4 feet. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Three repeat health violations involve failing to implement a hearing conservation program for workers whose noise exposure exceeded 85 decibels, and develop and implement a hazard communication program to include training for workers exposed to wood dust, diesel fuel and hydraulic fluid. Additionally, the company allowed unsanitary conditions to pose serious fire and explosion hazards by letting sawdust accumulate in piles by the outer wall and on horizontal surfaces such as pipes, wall supports and ledges.

Three repeat safety violations include failing to provide potable water for drinking, periodically inspect energy control procedures and use group lockout devices. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited in July 2011.

Four serious safety violations include failing to reduce compressed air for cleaning to 30 pounds per square inch or below; cover splices, joints and free ends of conductors with an insulating device; place covers on junction boxes; and provide adequate lockout devices. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Two other-than-serious safety violations have been cited for using flexible cords instead of fixed wiring and burned damage to metal conduit. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

The Pound facility manufactures parts used for wood pallets and containers. The most recent follow-up inspection was due to violations cited as a result of a January 2011 inspection after which the company was cited for 18 violations and placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which concentrates on employers that have demonstrated recalcitrance or indifference to their Occupational Safety and Health Act obligations by committing willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations. Citations from that inspection were issued in July 2011. The company contested the citations; however, the Occupational Health and Review Commission issued a default judgment, and the citations became final orders March 2, 2012.

In total, Northeastern Wisconsin Wood Products has been cited by OSHA for 55 violations as the result of six previous inspections. The company was first inspected by OSHA in 2006 and issued eight citations at that time. Other inspections have included a follow-up in 2007, which found that most of the originally cited hazards remained unabated. After the May 2010 issuance of a secretary of labor petition for summary enforcement, the company was given 30 days to abate the violations. The company requested assistance from the OSHA-funded Wisconsin State Consultation Service to abate the violations, but the service ended its work at the facility due to a lack of cooperation from the employer. Many of the originally cited violations once again were cited during the January 2011 inspection and, subsequently, in this follow-up inspection.

The current citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/NortheasternWisconsinWoodProducts_400882_1019_12.pdf*

http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/NortheasternWisconsinWoodProducts_401142-1019_12.pdf*).

Northeastern Wisconsin Wood Products has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA’s Appleton District Office at 920-734-4521. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the OSH Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

US Department of Labor’s OSHA proposes $58,000 in fines to New Castle, Pa., recycling company for 27 workplace safety, health hazards

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Donald R. Klein, doing business as Vortex Recycling Inc., for one repeat, 25 serious, and one other-than-serious violation of safety and health standards. OSHA initiated an inspection of the company’s New Castle facility in response to a complaint. Proposed penalties total $58,000.

The repeat violation involves failing to remove defective or unsafe powered industrial trucks from service. The citation carries a $5,600 fine. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A similar violation was cited in 2008.

The serious violations include a variety of fall, electrical and struck-by hazards; using equipment that is improperly installed, identified and located; improperly maintaining emergency eyewash stations, shower facilities and portable fire extinguishers; having unguarded machinery; crane deficiencies; a lack of proper housekeeping procedures for areas around plant equipment; and failing to develop programs for energy control, hearing conservation, permit-required confined spaces and hazard communication. The citations carry $51,700 in penalties. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer know or should have known.

The other-than-serious violation is having unsanitary eating areas. The citation carries a $700 penalty. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

“These violations pose serious risks to Vortex Recycling workers and must be addressed immediately,” said Theresa A. Naim, director of OSHA’s Erie Area Office. “Employers are responsible for ensuring safe and healthful workplaces, and will be held legally accountable when they fail to do so.”

The oil filter recycler employs 20 workers at its New Castle facility and has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Erie office at 814-874-5150.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Tennessee Valley Authority contractor convicted of falsifying safety and health records to collect bonuses

Last week, a federal jury in Chattanooga convicted the former safety manager of Stone & Webster Construction on eight counts of major fraud for falsifying safety records at three Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear power plants in order to collect more than $2.5 million in safety bonuses. Continue reading “Tennessee Valley Authority contractor convicted of falsifying safety and health records to collect bonuses” »