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OSHA Fines Top $6.2 million from April to June 2020

Safety News

Total federal OSHA fines from April to June 2020 exceeded $6.2 million. OSHA inspections resulted in 22 significant fines (over $100,000) in that period. Fines ranged from $121,446 for machine and electrical hazards at a Florida glass company to more than $1.9 million for dozens of violations by a New Jersey framing contractor.

Common citations included fall, chemical, lockout/tagout and confined space hazards. Here are details on the highest OSHA fines proposed in the second quarter of 2020. Many are still pending final decisions.

$1.9 million for dozens of violations by a New Jersey framing contractor
OSHA is proposing penalties against BB Frame LLC – operating as Frame Q and as Juan Quevedo (the owner and principal) – for exposing workers to multiple safety hazards at four New Jersey worksites. OSHA conducted five investigations of the company from February 2019 to January 2020. In February 2019, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit alleging Frame Q failed to pay more than $678,000 in civil penalties and delinquency fees related to OSHA fines between 2013 and 2017 for dozens of violations, including lack of fall protection and ladder safety. In December 2019, cited nine safety violations and a $520,860 proposed penalty. An investigation in another location resulted in five citations with a proposed penalty of $426,785. In January 2020, as part of OSHA’s local emphasis program for fall hazards, the agency opened an investigation at a different location, which resulted in five safety citations with a $405,588 proposed penalty. OSHA completed two additional investigations in February 2020 and issued 11 citations with proposed penalties of more than $643,000. Read more here.

$514,692 for safety hazards following an explosion and fire at a Texas chemical manufacturer
OSHA cited TPC Group LLC for exposing employees to workplace safety and health hazards after a fire and explosion in November 2019. OSHA opened an investigation after vapor formed at the base of a butadiene finishing tower ignited and caused several explosions and fires. OSHA cited TPC for three willful violations for failing to develop and implement procedures for emergency shutdown, and inspect and test process vessel and piping components. See the citations.

$415,204 and SVEP following a fatal 50-foot fall at a Missouri construction site
Skinner Tank Company – based in Yale, Oklahoma – was cited for lack of fall protection after an employee constructing a storage tank suffered fatal injuries in a 50-foot fall at a Missouri agricultural facility. The company faces penalties for two willful and 11 serious safety violations, and has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. OSHA alleges the company violated federal fall protection standards by allowing employees to work at heights over 25 feet above ground without sufficient fall protection, permitting employees to use damaged fall protection equipment and failing to train employees on fall protection hazards and safety precautions. Inspectors also cited multiple violations of safe crane operation standards, including failing to train operators and signalers, improper rigging of hoisted materials, failing to have a competent person inspect crane operations and equipment and exposing employees to hazards from working beneath crane loads. Read more.

 

$315,536 in collective penalties against contractors at New Orleans Hard Rock Hotel collapse site
OSHA has cited the engineering firm, general contractor, steel erector and eight subcontractors involved in a construction project where three workers suffered fatal injuries and 18 others suffered serious injuries in a partial building collapse. OSHA’s investigation determined that Heaslip Engineering LLC failed to adequately design, review or approve steel bolt connections affecting the structural integrity of the building, and issued one willful violation for the failure. OSHA cited Citadel Builders LLC, the site’s general contractor, for three serious violations related to inadequate egress from the structure. OSHA cited steel erector contractor Suncoast Projects LLC, for failing to maintain structural stability of building and cited other subcontractors onsite for serious violations related to emergency egress training, inadequate egress, fall hazard training and safety hazards. Collectively, the companies face $315,536 in penalties. Read more.

 

$303,611 for cave-in and other hazards by a Florida construction contractor
Cathcart Construction Company-Florida LLC was cited for exposing employees to excavation hazards at worksites in Orlando and Winter Garden, Florida. Citations include exposing employees to cave-in and engulfment hazards by allowing them to work in unprotected excavations that also lacked safe means for employees to enter and exit the excavation. Other violations include using a trench shield with missing components, not ensuring employees used personal protective equipment, failing to perform testing to identify hazardous atmospheres and post traffic control signs, and not training flaggers. Read more.

 

$259,760 for machine hazards at a New Jersey manufacturer
OSHA cited Bravo Pak Inc. for failing to abate hazards at its Pennsauken, New Jersey, facility. The company was cited after an attempt to clear a jammed machine resulted in an amputation of a worker’s fingers. Investigators found the company failed to develop and implement a lockout/tagout program to address the unexpected start-up of a machine during servicing and failed to ensure proper machine guarding. The company agreed to correct the hazards. The company failed to provide OSHA with verification of the hazards’ corrections, and the agency initiated a follow-up inspection on Sept. 30, 2019. Read more.

 

$235,962 in penalties against three companies following a confined-space injury at Northwestern University
Northwestern University, Hill Mechanical Corp. and National Heat & Power Corp. were cited for exposing workers to permit-required confined space hazards associated with underground steam vaults. OSHA received an employer-reported referral after an employee suffered burns from a release of steam while working in a steam vault at Northwestern’s Evanston Campus. OSHA determined that Northwestern University contracted Hill Mechanical Corp. to make needed steam repairs and that neither company implemented adequate permit-required confined space safety measures.
– OSHA cited Northwestern University for failing to provide required information to contractors and coordinate activities, identify and evaluate high-pressure steam as a hazard, isolate steam energy, perform air monitoring, provide required signage, complete entry permits, evaluate their confined space hazard program and ensure the ability to rescue employees from a confined space. The university faces penalties of $105,835 for nine serious violations.
– Hill Mechanical Corp. was cited for failing to obtain information from the host employer and coordinate activities, identify and evaluate hazards of the space, isolate steam energy, perform air monitoring, complete entry permits, provide required confined space training and ensure the ability to rescue employees from a confined space. The company faces penalties of $105,835 for nine serious violations.
– National Heat & Power Corp. – the contractor brought in to complete the repairs – faces penalties of $24,292 for four serious violations involving failing to obtain information from the host employer, adequately isolate steam energy, provide required confined space training and complete entry permits. Read more.

$234,528 for repeat LOTO and other hazards at a Texas steel storage tank company
OSHA cited Alexander Tank Company for exposing employees to amputation, confined spaces and other safety hazards. Citations included 10 repeated and 12 serious safety and health violations, including failing to implement lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machines from unintentional startup, provide required machine guarding, and control permit-required confined space hazards while tanks were being welded. OSHA also cited the company for not providing employees with adequate respiratory and hearing protection. View the citations here and here.

$224,459 and SVEP for trench hazard violations following a collapse by a Missouri contractor
Unnerstall Contracting Company LLC was cited after an employee suffered severe injuries when a 20-foot trench collapsed during an excavation. OSHA issued three willful and four serious violations and placed the company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Inspectors say the company failed to utilize adequate trench protective systems, permitted employees to ride in the bucket of hydraulic excavators, and allowed water to accumulate in the floor of the trench. OSHA also cited the employer for failing to provide a safe means of egress from the trench, protect workers from struck-by hazards, and place excavated soil piles an adequate distance from trench edges. Read more.

$199,711 for fall and other hazards at a Florida roofing contractor
OSHA cited CJM Roofing for exposing employees to fall and other hazards at three residential worksites in Jensen Beach and Port St. Lucie, Florida. OSHA initiated inspections as part of the Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction, after inspectors observed employees working on roofs without fall protection. OSHA cited the company for failing to provide a fall protection system, ensure that portable ladders extend above the upper landing, and conduct regular inspections of the jobsite to identify safety hazards. The agency has inspected the company eight times in the past five years, resulting in repeat violations of the fall protection standard. Read more.

 

11 OSHA Fines from April to June 2020 totaled $1.6 million: