OSHA Workplace Safety Fines Top $10.4 Million in Second Quarter of 2019

Industrial / Construction, Personal Protective Equipment, Safety News

Federal OSHA has released information on 34 significant workplace safety fines (over $100,000) issued from April to June 2019 and totaling $10.4 million. that’s more than double the amount issued in the first three months of the year. Fines in Q2 range from $104,192 for a Florida Dollar Tree store to $1.79 million for a Maine roofing company. Six of the fines topped $500,000. Common citations include: fall protection and hazards, machine guarding and chemical hazards. Four more significant fines have already been issued in July.

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

$1.7 million and grand jury charges following a fatal fall at a Maine roofing contractor

OSHA cited Shawn D. Purvis, owner of Purvis Home Improvement Co. Inc. for numerous egregious willful, repeat and serious workplace safety violations. He faces a total of $1,792,726 in penalties. Inspectors found that he knowingly failed to ensure the use of fall protection at two worksites. Due to his knowledge of the hazard and required safeguards, along with an extensive history of violations since 2006. A Portland grand jury indicted Purvis for manslaughter and workplace manslaughter, charging that his repeated violations of OSHA’s fall protection standards caused his employee’s death. Read more.

$687,650 for machine guard and fall protection violations at a Pennsylvania manufacturer

OSHA initiated an inspection after an employee suffered an amputation in November 2018. The Agency issued willful and serious citations for failing to use machine guarding, provide fall protection and train workers on hazard communication and hearing. Review the citations.

$615,640 for hazardous chemical exposure at a Texas meat-packing plant

OSHA cited 7 S Packing LLC – operating as Texas Packing Company in San Angelo, Texas – for exposing workers to releases of hazardous chemicals. The facility failed to implement a required Process Safety Management (PSM) program for operating an ammonia refrigeration unit containing over 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia. The employer also failed to provide fall protection, guard machines and equipment, control hazardous energy and implement a respiratory protection program. Read the citations.

$603,850 for fall hazards by a Pennsylvania framing contractor

Navy Contractors, Inc. was cited for willfully exposing employees to fall hazards at three residential construction sites in Pennsylvania. OSHA initiated inspections after inspectors saw employees performing framing work without fall protection and cited the company for failing to provide fall protection equipment and training, improper use of ladders, deficiencies in walking/working surfaces and inadequate fire protection. Read more.

$530,392 and SVEP for machine guard and caught-in hazards at a Texas rubber company

Inspectors cited Custom Rubber Products LLC – based in Houston – for failing to properly guard machinery and exposing employees to severe injury and amputation hazards. The company faces $530,392 in fines, the maximum penalty allowable by law. OSHA four egregious willful violations for machine guarding and caught-in hazards, and the company remains in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. OSHA cited the company for similar hazards in 2014 after an employee was severely injured. View the citations.

$507,299 and SVEP for fall, struck-by and burn hazards at a Georgia tire manufacturer

OSHA issued a combined 22 citations to Kumho Tire Georgia Inc., Sae Joong Mold Inc. and J-Brothers Inc. after a follow-up inspection found safety and health hazards at the tire manufacturing facility in Macon, Georgia. The three companies collectively face $523,895 in proposed penalties for exposing employees to fall, struck-by, and burn hazards; failing to follow hazardous energy control procedures; failing to train employees on energy control procedures; and failing to provide machine guarding on various pieces of equipment throughout the facility. OSHA initiated the follow-up inspection of the tire manufacturer after the Agency did not receive abatement documents regarding June 2017 citations. The Agency has now placed Kumho Tire Georgia Inc. in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The two contractors received much smaller fines for electrical and burn hazards. Review the citations.

$381,882 and SVEP for trenching hazards at a Georgia preparatory college

Riverside Military Academy Inc. in Gainesville, Georgia was issued willful citations for allowing employees to work inside a trench without cave-in protection and a safe means to enter and exit the excavation, and failing to locate underground utilities prior to conducting excavation work. OSHA also issued serious citations for failing to identify permit-required confined spaces and train employees to recognize and avoid trenching hazards. The investigation was part of OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation. OSHA has placed Riverside Military Academy Inc. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Review the citations.

$378,488 for crush and struck-by hazards at a New Hampshire furniture manufacturer

OSHA cited DCI Inc. for 36 serious and 1 willful violations at its Lisbon, New Hampshire, manufacturing plant after an employee suffered serious injuries from being pulled into an automated woodcutting machine. Inspectors found that a supervisor had disabled a light curtain on the machine, preventing the machine from stopping when workers come too close to its point of operation. Other violations included obstructed emergency exit routes; lack of eye, hand, and face protection; inadequate hearing and respirator safeguards; lack of procedures and training to prevent the unintended activation of machinery; amputation and laceration hazards; flammable and toxic hazards; untrained forklift operators; and electrical hazards. Read more.

$341,195 struck-by and other safety hazards at a Texas Retreading Facility

Southern Tire Mart LLC – based in Columbia, Mississippi – was cited for failing to protect employees from serious safety hazards after a worker suffered fatal injuries while attempting to mount a monster truck tire rim. Inspectors determined employees were exposed to struck-by, tire explosion, fire and smoke hazards, and the company failed to provide a restraining device or barrier and implement lockout/tagout procedures, as required. Review the citations.

$302,147 for blocked exit routes at an Omaha Family Dollar Store

OSHA issued four repeat and two serious safety citations after an inspection found the store failed to secure compressed gas cylinders, follow manufacturer’s instructions when using electrical apparatus, ensure emergency exit doors remain unlocked, and cover overhead lights. In an emergency, store employees and customers must be able to leave quickly without having to navigate through obstructed exit routes. See the citation notice.

OSHA issued 24 additional workplace safety fines above $100,000 from April to June: