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Arkansas: Railcar Company Faces $61K in Fines from OSHA

March 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Marmaduke, Ark: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited American Railcar Industries Inc., headquartered in Saint Charles, Mo., for 10 serious safety violations after an employee was electrocuted while performing repair work on a tanker-style railcar July 25 at the company’s work site near Marmaduke.

“Exposing workers to electrocution hazards without proper safeguards and training is inexcusable,” said Carlos Reynolds, the agency’s area director in Little Rock. “It is the employer’s responsibility to create a safe and healthful workplace where preventable hazards don’t cost workers their lives.”

Upon receiving a fatality report from the employer, OSHA‘s Little Rock Area Office initiated an investigation July 26 at the company’s facility on Highway 34 East and found that workers were being exposed to electrical shocks from welding equipment. The violations include failing to provide personal protection for employees conducting cutting and welding operations; properly mark the power supply and control boxes for voltage, current and wattage; use fixed wiring instead of flexible cords and protect the wiring from possible damage; remove defective electrical equipment from service; and inspect and mark web slings. 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.

American Railcar Industries, which employs about 260 workers at the Marmaduke facility and about 1,500 workers nationwide, designs and manufactures railcars.

Proposed penalties total $61,400. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Little Rock or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Story Via: thv11.com

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Iowa: I-OSHA Cites Electrician Company After 5 Workers Hospitalized

February 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Sibley, Iowa — Iowa safety officials have cited a Sibley electrician business for violations that occurred when a flash explosion sent five people to a hospital in July, 2013.

The Iowa Division of Labor Services Occupational Safety and Health Bureau, or I-OSHA says the accident happened when workers were switching over electric lines at Timewell Drainage in Sibley.

Three entities have now been cited, including the City of Sibley Electric Department, Timewell, and now Current Electric of Sibley.

According to the citation, the issue occurred when workers were installing new electrical wiring to an 800 amp interior panel board. They say work was being performed while the wiring was energized and people were allowed in the immediate area without personal protective equipment.  After installation of wiring to the panel board, the employer was confirming that proper function of the equipment had been achieved.  They say lock and tagout was not applied ensuring that the equipment was not energized prior to installation of the panel cover.  They say people were in the immediate area and were exposed to an arc flash and/or arc blast, and life-threatening injuries were sustained.

I-OSHA says that Current Electric should have conducted frequent and regular inspections of job sites, materials, and equipment. They also allege that Current Electric did not instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the applicable regulations.

Last fall, Timewell Drainage was cited for not instructing their employees in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions, and for employees not wearing personal protective equipment.

Also last fall, the City of Sibley Electric Department was cited in connection with the incident.  I-OSHA says controls deactivated during the course of work on energized or de-energized equipment or circuits were not tagged on the worksite involving the energizing and deenergizing of a transformer with an incoming line voltage of thousands of volts.

When more than one independent crew requires the same line or equipment to be deenergized, the law requires a prominent tag for each such independent crew to be placed on the line or equipment by a designated employee in charge, and according to I-OSHA, that didn’t happen

Story Via: kiwaradio.com

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Nevada: MSHA Issues 135 Citations to Mining Company

February 4, 2014 Leave a comment

ELKO, NV — The Mine Safety and Health Administration said Veris Gold failed to protect employees from harm at the company’s Jerritt Canyon Mill, after issuing 61 citations and orders to the site.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s MSHA announced the results of the December inspections Wednesday. The inspectors issued 135 citations, 24 orders and one safeguard during special impact inspections conducted at 11 coal mines and two metal and nonmetal mines.

The two highlighted properties in the inspection report were Jerritt Canyon and Hanover Resources LLC’s Caymus Mine in Boone County, W. Va. Caymus Mine produces coal.

“These two examples clearly indicate that some mine operators still don’t get it,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “They simply failed to comply with the Mine Act and find and fix hazards to protect miners from injury, illness and death.”

Veris Gold said “Jerritt Canyon takes all citations and actions from MSHA seriously and its management has been working with them diligently to review all claims. As of January 16, 2014, all citations and actions have been either acknowledged or met.

“It is important to note that the Jerritt Canyon Operations has an exemplary safety record with no fatalities since it began operating in 1982. Safety is our priority, and we will continue to work with MSHA in order to continue to ensure the safety of all employees.

“Recently, Veris Gold USA initiated a Safety Enhancement Program that is the personal responsibility of Graham Dickson, COO. This program will ensure that all employees remain secure at work and return home safely to their families at the end of the day.”

Jerritt Canyon received 49 citations and 12 orders after its inspection that began on Dec. 16. Veris Gold owns the Jerritt Canyon Mill Complex, which is 50 miles north of Elko and has more than 120 employees. The complex property includes three gold mines: Smith, SSX-Steer and Starvation Canyon.

According to the federal agency, “among the hazardous conditions cited during the inspection, MSHA found that an electrician working in the crusher area had been cleaning and performing maintenance on a 480-volt fully-energized switch gear, and there were spent mercury containers found at the bottom of wet mill stairs rather than being stored in a manner that would protect miners from mercury exposure. Nearly four feet of dirt had accumulated on the left side of a conveyor belt, blocking access to the steps and catwalk used to reach the plant and potentially hindering escape during an emergency.

“Inspectors also found: a chemical container improperly labeled; no warning signs for hazardous chemical storage; several unsecured gas cylinders; no provision for safe access in several locations; missing electrical cover plates on energized outlets; an improperly grounded cable; unlabeled breakers that exposed miners to electrical hazards; a broken ladder and insufficient illumination; failure to conduct workplace exams and air receiver tanks equipped with the wrong size pressure relief valves, creating the potential hazard of an exploding vessel.”

On Dec. 19, while MSHA inspectors were still on site, an electrical explosion and subsequent fire injured two employees in the mill.

The employees were injured after an arc flash and minor fire, said Shaun Heinrichs, chief financial officer for Veris Gold.

“One employee was airlifted with burns and another was taken into Elko with smoke inhalation,” Heinrichs told the Free Press in December. “Our thoughts are with our employees and their families. Safety is our utmost priority.”

Tim Woolever, Nevada Division of Forestry chief for the northern region, responded to the scene to handle the fire. He believed at least one of the men injured was an electrician who was working on a 480-volt panel.

MSHA inspected the Caymus Mine on Dec. 11 and issued 13 violations. The inspection party monitored the mine’s communication system to prevent advance notice of their arrival, and they proceeded to inspect the mine’s two working sections and a large portion of the conveyor belt. MSHA issued seven unwarrantable failure orders and six citations. This was the first impact inspection at this mine.

Since April 2010, MSHA has conducted 700 impact inspections and issued 11,562 citations, 1,076 orders and 49 safeguards.

Story Via ElkoDaily.com

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New York: $147K Settelment for Electrocution Death

January 24, 2014 1 comment

Brooklyn, NY: A  telecommunications company has reached a settlement with OSHA resolving  litigation surrounding the electrocution death of an employee in 2011 in  Brooklyn. Under the agreement, the company will pay a fine of $147,000 and make  changes to its electrical safety training.

OSHA  Regional Administrator Robert Kulick commented, “While no settlement can bring  this worker back to his family, co-workers, and friends, this agreement can help  prevent similar and needless tragedies in the future.”

The  fatality occurred when a field technician came into contact with an energized  power line as he worked from an aerial lift bucket. OSHA determined that field  technicians were not adequately trained, did not wear proper protective gloves,  and did not ground the suspension strand they were installing.

The  settlement was filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission,  which reviews contested cases.

Story Via: safety.blr.com

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Florida Nonprofit facing $228K fine

January 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Pensacola, FL: OSHA is proposing $228,600 in fines for Teen Challenge of Florida Inc., a nonprofit rehabilitation program, after the agency said it found 25 safety and health violations at the organization’s facilities in Pensacola, Fla.

The Pensacola Teen Challenge Men’s Center says its mission is to help men 18 and older “who are struggling with drug addiction, alcoholism and other life-controlling issues.” The organization, which is part of Teen Challenge International, runs a screen-printing operation, a detail shop, a wood shop and two thrift stores, according to a report on the website of WEAR ABC 3 in northwest Florida.

OSHA said it initiated the July 2013 inspection after receiving a complaint alleging safety and health hazards.

“This employer willfully disregarded worker safety by exposing workers to amputation hazards,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville, Fla. “The hazards found during our inspection must be eliminated from this workplace immediately.”

Three willful violations, with $162,000 in penalties, allegedly involve Teen Challenge exposing workers to amputation hazards by not providing machine guarding on the hand-fed ripsaws, the cutting heads of the routers and the abrasive wheels on the grinding wheel, according to OSHA.

Eighteen serious safety and health violations, with $66,600 in penalties, include allegedly failing to:

  •                               Provide workers first aid training in case of an emergency.
  •                               Provide a suitable eyewash facility.
  •                               Close unused openings in boxes, raceways, cabinets and equipment cases.
  •                               Have uniform step heights on a standard stairway and keep exit routes unobstructed.

The employer also exposed workers to numerous instances where the machines had no guarding, several electrical deficiencies were present and various tripping hazards were observed, according to OSHA.

OSHA cited Teen Challenge for four other-than-serious violations, stemming from the organization’s alleged failure to: illuminate exit signs; certify forklift operators as competent to operate powered industrial trucks safely; establish a respiratory protection program; and have forklift nameplates and markings in place and in legible condition. No monetary penalties were assigned for the other-than-serious violations.

Teen Challenge has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply or contest OSHA’s findings.

Story Via: EHStoday.com

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NE: Nebraska Beef Fined $61,084: Electrical Safety

OMAHA, Neb. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Nebraska Beef Ltd. with eight safety violations, including one repeat, for failing to guard open stairs and platforms to prevent a fall hazard at its Omaha beef processing plant. Proposed penalties of $61,084 resulted from the November local emphasis program inspection for high-hazard general industry establishments, as identified by injury and illness rates in Nebraska.

“Nebraska Beef has a responsibility to recognize the hazards that exist in the workplace and to install barriers, signage and make appropriate repairs to ensure a safe working environment,” said Bonita Winingham, OSHA’s area director in Omaha. “Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to employee safety and health.”

The repeat violation was cited for failing to provide standard railings and toe boards on open-sided floors and platforms 4 feet or above an adjacent floor or ground level. This violation was noted on a crossover platform in the scale room. 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 2011.

Seven serious violations were cited for failing to post warning signs indicating permit required confined spaces, use lockout/tagout devices for purposes other than controlling energy sources, and provide an eyewash station and a clear path to safety showers for employees exposed to corrosive chemicals, such as bleach, and properly adjust machine guarding. Three of the violations involve electrical safety standards, including operating machinery with visible electrical hazards, such as broken wires and damaged junction boxes, and failing to cover outlet boxes and use permanent wiring instead of flexible electrical cords. 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.

Nebraska Beef has been inspected 12 times since 1998, resulting in several citations for violations, such as lack of fall protection, inadequate machine guarding and electrical safety hazards. The company has 15 days from receipt of the citation 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.

Story via osha.gov

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Africa: Mother and Son Electrocuted

Osun, Africa: A mother and her son have been electrocuted in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, the police have said.

The Osun State Police Command said the electrocution happened after a rainstorm in Osogbo.

Story via premiumtimesng.com