OSHA Safety Fines Top $9 Million in 3rd Quarter of 2019

hundreds of dollars

Federal OSHA has released information on 33 significant workplace safety fines (over $100,000) issued from July to September 2019 and totaling $9.2 million. Total fines issued in 2019 surpass $24 million. Fines in Q3 range from $104,637 for lead hazards in Pennsylvania to $897,000 for a variety of violations at Idaho Dollar Tree stores. Five of the fines topped $500,000. Common citations include: trenching, fall protection, machine guarding and chemical violations.

Here are details on the highest OSHA workplace safety fines proposed in the third quarter. Many are still pending final decisions:

$898,682 for Storage Violations at Idaho Dollar Tree Stores

OSHA cited Dollar Tree Stores at four Idaho locations for exposing employees to unsafe storage of merchandise, and blocked walkways and exit routes. Inspectors initially responded to a complaint that a Dollar Tree store in Boise was exposing employees to unstable stacks and piles of boxes in the store’s stockroom. Soon after, OSHA received another complaint about similar conditions in three other stores. In one store, inspectors found an employee who suffered injury and needed help when boxes fell. In another location, a stack of boxes fell and nearly injured an employee while inspectors were present. They also learned that falling boxes had injured other employees. OSHA cited violations related to blocked aisles and exit routes, unsafe storage and stacking of boxes, blocked electrical panels, improper use of a ladder, and exposing workers to falls from heights. Dollar Tree Stores have been cited numerous times across the country for such hazards. View the citations.

Choice Products USA LLC was cited for continually exposing employees to machine safety hazards and placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Inspectors cited five egregious willful violations for failing to implement and train employees on lockout/tagout procedures. The company also failed to install machine guarding and comply with forklift regulations. Similar citations were issued in 2016. Review the citations.

$724,380 for Repeat Critical Safety Violations at an Ohio Auto Glass Plant

Fuyao Glass America Inc. was cited for exposing employees to multiple safety and health hazards at its Moraine, Ohio, production plant. OSHA initiated an inspection under the Agency’s Site-Specific Targeting program, and cited nine repeat and 13 serious violations, including electrical safety violations and failing to evaluate the workplace to determine permit-required confined spaces; train employees on lockout/tag out and entering confined spaces; install machine guarding; provide hearing protection; provide personal protective equipment, and require the use of fall protection. OSHA has inspected the Fuyao plant 12 times in the past four years. View the safety citations and health citations.

$687,619 for Fatal Fall Hazards at a Delaware Worksite

OSHA cited two contractors – Enerfab Process Solutions & Fabricated Products Inc. and Industrial Services Group Inc. (Universal Blastco) – for exposing employees to fall hazards after a fatal injury at a Delaware Port of Wilmington worksite in January. Employees were renovating a 1.5 million gallon above-ground storage tank at an orange juice processing facility when an employee fell 40 feet from a scaffold. OSHA issued willful citations to both companies for hazards involving scaffolding and lack of fall protection; and serious citations for electrical, confined space, and respiratory protection violations. View Enerfab citations here and here. View Universal Blastco citations here and here.

$509,071 Agreement for Trenching Hazard Violations by a Michigan Pipeline Company

Kamphuis Pipeline Company – based in Grand Rapids, Michigan – has agreed to cease business operations and pay penalties of $509,071 for willful and serious violations of OSHA’s trenching and excavation standards. The agreement resolves three OSHA inspections conducted at Kamphuis Pipeline Company worksites where investigators found that the company repeatedly exposed employees to trench cave-in hazards while workers installed water metering pits and lines. The company also failed to follow other requirements for working safely in trenches and excavations. Read more here.

$413,370 for Multiple Safety Hazards at a Missouri Barrel Maker

Missouri Cooperage Company LLC, a subsidiary of Independent Stave Company, was cited for exposing employees to amputation, noise and other safety and health hazards at the spirits and wine barrel-making facility in Lebanon, Missouri. OSHA initiated an inspection after an employee suffered a finger amputation. This was the fifth amputation injury the company reported in a 14-month period. Inspectors cited the company for operating an unguarded chain and sprocket – the same violation for which OSHA cited the company in February 2018. OSHA also cited electrical and occupational noise hazards, failing to guard machines and implement adequate lockout/tagout procedures, and creating a potential fire hazard by allowing dust to accumulate on floors and surfaces. Review the citations.

$348,467 and SVEP for Machine and Other Hazards Following at Fatality at a Wisconsin Lumber Mill

Pukall Lumber Company Inc. was cited for exposing employees to multiple safety hazards after an employee suffered fatal injuries when caught in an outdoor bark conveyor belt in January. OSHA issued 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. Review the citations.

$303,152 and 3 Years in Prison for an Ohio Roofing Contractor Who Ignored Fatal Hall Hazards

An Ohio county court has sentenced Jim Coon – a roofing contractor based in Akron, Ohio – to prison after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 39-year-old employee who fell from a three-story roof while working without required fall protection. The court’s action follows an OSHA investigation found the contractor failed to install fall protection systems. He also failed to provide workers’ compensation coverage as required. Read more here.

OSHA issued 25 additional workplace safety fines above $100,000 from July to September 2019:

$287,212 for repeat machine guarding, forklift training and LOTO violations at a New York manufacturer.

$274,215 for fall hazard and PPE violations by a Florida Roofing Company

$252,136 for repeat fall and scaffolding hazards by an Illinois masonry contractor

$236,089 for repeat forklift training and Hazcom violations at a New Jersey produce company

$224,620 for fall protection and PPE violations at a New York construction company

$220,249 for willful and repeat fall hazard and PPE violations by an Illinois commercial roofing contractor

$212,158 for trench engulfment hazards and PPE violations by a Missouri contractor

$211,400 for PPE, LOTO and process safety violations at a Texas packaging manufacturer

$206,291 for machine hazards, LOTO and electrical violations at a Wisconsin casting company

$200,791 for machine guard, LOTO, Hazchem and other violations at a New York frozen foods packager

$188,714 for safety, Hazchem, forklift and training violations at a Georgia transit company

$188,329 settlement over hexavalent chromium violations by an Ohio auto parts manufacturer

$187,533 for fall, machine guard and electrical violations at an Oklahoma metal manufacturer

$185,640 for dozens of safety and health violations at an Ohio wire and cable manufacturer

$168,772 for asbestos hazard violations by a New York property maintenance contractor

$161,020 for amputation, combustible dust and other hazards at a Georgia manufacturer

$159,118 for fall protection and equipment inspection violations by an Ohio roofing contractor

$154,199 for sanitation and respirator violations at New Hampshire retail store

$145,860 for repeat trench hazards after a fatality at an Ohio plumbing contractor

$143,206 for excavation and trench violations by a Missouri construction contractor

$132,604 for amputation, silica and other safety hazards at a Georgia countertop manufacturer

$132,598 for fall and inspection violations by a Colorado homebuilder

$132,037 for amputation, silica and other safety hazards at a Florida masonry manufacturer

$119,341 for hazardous chemical exposure and PPE violations at a Mississippi poultry processor

$104,637 for repeat lead, fall and training violations at a new Jersey painting contractor

Final decisions on many of these OSHA workplace safety fines are still pending.