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Wisconsin: OSHA Fines near $500,000 for Highway Technologies Inc.

Wisconsin: On Sept. 17, 2012, a worker employed by Highway Technologies Inc. was fatally injured while working with equipment that came into contact with overhead power lines during highway work in western Wisconsin. OSHA issued 10 safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $448,000 and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Highway Technologies Inc. was performing guardrail and sign installation for a 13-mile stretch of I-94 near Menomonie, Wis., under contract with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation when the incident occurred.

“Highway Technologies failed to protect its workers from serious electrocution hazards,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Multiple instances of the same violation over a period of time clearly demonstrate a willful failure to comply with basic safety and health standards. Employers must take steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment.”

OSHA issued citations for six willful violations of failing to ensure that parts of the equipment being operated were not within 10 feet of a power line, exposing workers to electrical shock and electrocution hazards. These citations also include instances of failing to ensure that any part of the machinery was not within 6 feet of an overhead power line while the machinery was traveling beneath the power lines.

Four serious violations also cited include failing to identify electrical work zones, determine if any part of the equipment being operated would be closer than 20 feet of a power line, train each worker on safe clearance distances from power lines and evaluate that each employee understood the training and risks of working near overhead power lines.

Due to the nature of the hazards and the violations cited, Highway Technologies Inc. has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure future compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

Houston-based Highway Technologies Inc. employs about 1,500 workers in 13 states installing highway guardrails, crash attenuators, barrier walls and signage. Prior to this investigation, the company had been inspected by OSHA 10 times since 2007, resulting in citations for nine serious violations. One of these inspections was initiated based on employee injuries sustained from contacting an overhead power line while installing a highway sign.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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 ehstoday.com

 

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WI: Miller Compressing fined $70,000 for Lock Out Tag Out Failure

October 22, 2012 Leave a comment
Milwaukee, WI: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Miller Compressing Co. in Milwaukee with two willful safety violations for allowing employees to perform maintenance on a shredder without first isolating the machine’s energy source.
OSHA opened an inspection upon receiving a complaint alleging hazards at the company’s scrap processing facility. The agency is proposing fines totaling $70,000 for the alleged violations.
“Miller Compressing Co. has a responsibility to ensure that workers are properly protected from known workplace hazards – such as machinery becoming unintentionally energized during maintenance – that can result in amputations and other serious injuries,” said George Yoksas, OSHA’s area director in Milwaukee. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so.”
Specifically, the willful violations are failing to lock out and tag out the electrical power source of a 7,000-horsepower shredder and have adequate energy control procedures in place for maintenance and servicing, OSHA said. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health, the agency said.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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 biztimes.com
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WI: OSHA Fines Fontarome Chemical Inc. over $51K – Lock Out Tag Out and PPE

October 15, 2012 Leave a comment
Milwaukee, WI: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Fontarome Chemical Inc. for 17 serious safety violations following an electrical fire at the company’s pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in St. Francis on April 13.  The fire occurred during the troubleshooting of an electrical component on the hot oil heater. OSHA initiated an inspection under its national emphasis program on process safety management for covered chemical facilities. Proposed fines total $51,800.
“Employers must provide safe working conditions, especially for employees who work with highly hazardous chemicals,” said George Yoksas, OSHA’s area director in Milwaukee. “It is clear that Fontarome Chemical failed to create safety procedures, much less train employees or review procedures to ensure their effectiveness, as is necessary for these kinds of operations.”
Twelve violations cited relate to process safety management, including failing to address hazards related to potential engineering and administrative control failures, implement written operating procedures, review and certify operating procedures annually, train workers on the procedures, develop emergency procedures for the shutdown of process equipment or to address deviations from normal operating limits, validate management of change procedures, conduct a compliance audit at least every three years and respond to deficiencies found in compliance audits.
Five other violations involve failing to develop machine-specific procedures for locking and tagging out energy sources, perform periodic inspections of machinery, guard machines, require workers to wear insulating gloves and fire-retardant clothing when working on energized circuits, and conduct an arc flash hazard analysis. 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.
Fontarome Chemical manufactures ingredients for pharmaceuticals and the flavor and fragrance industries. The inspection was OSHA’s third of the St. Francis facility, which previously had been cited for a total of 22 violations. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area office or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Story via biztimes.com
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WI: $123,000 Fine for Electrical Hazards

August 9, 2012 Leave a comment

GRANTSBURG, WI:  Federal officials say a northwest Wisconsin factory committed nine safety violations. The Parker Hannifin plant in Grantsburg was cited by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration – and the agency is recommending $123,000 in fines.

OSHA said the plant committed two repeat violations for not protecting employees from electrical hazards and amputation. And among other things, the government said the plant has not made periodic reviews of its energy control procedures – and has not used machine guards at its mills. OSHA categorizes the violations as serious, saying the hazards pose a quote, “substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result.” OSHA has given similar citations to other Parker Hannifin plants in Ohio and Mississippi in past years.

The Grantsburg plant makes quick couplings for numerous functions. The firm has not commented on the new violations. It has 15 days to decide whether to pay the fine, challenge the citation, or seek a settlement conference with OSHA.

Story via wtaq.com

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WI: OSHA cites Beef Plant for Electrocution

Norwalk, WI: A beef-processing plant in western Wisconsin has been cited with 11 safety violations after a maintenance worker died by electrocution in December.  The citations against VPP Group LLC carry proposed penalties of $186,000.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the worker was electrocuted at the company’s Norwalk plant.  OSHA says workers had been sent to fix a leaking water pipe near equipment that hadn’t been properly weatherproofed. The safety agency says the setup allowed moisture to accumulate in electrical boxes and fixtures.

A worker who answered the phone at VPP declined to comment.  VPP has 15 business days to comply with the fines, contest the citations or request a conference with the agency.

Story via Bloomberg Businessweek 

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UW-Madison Electrician Dies from Injuries

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

July 2011 – University of Wisconsin

A University of Wisconsin-Madison electrician involved in a suspected electrocution on Tuesday has died, according to authorities.

At about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, UW and Madison police officers and the Madison Fire Department responded to a reported electrocution at the Humanities Building in an attic above Mills Concert Hall.

The employee was transported to UW Hospital and Clinics but he was not able to be revived. He was pronounced dead at approximately 5:15 p.m.

His name is being withheld until the completion of notifications of his family. Additional updates will be posted as they become available.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with this employee’s family, friends and colleagues,” says Alan Fish, associate vice chancellor for facilities.

The Employee Assistance Office has been in contact with the Facilities, Planning and Management arm of UW-Madison in order to provide counseling and support.

OSHA Cites WI Utility After Worker Electrocuted

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

GRANTSBURG, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin utility faces nearly $200,000 in fines after a worker was electrocuted trying to restore power after a summer storm.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited North Central Power Co. Inc. of Grantsburg for safety violations.

OSHA says North Central Power failed to make sure employees were protected by wearing insulated gloves and sleeves, de-energizing power lines, and installing protective grounds on lines and equipment.

The company also was cited for allowing employees to operate chain saws without leg and foot protection.

Lineman Glenn Charles Parker of Radisson came in contact with a live wire and was electrocuted Aug. 8 near Winter.

The company has 15 business days to contest the findings. North Central Power vice president Dave Dahlberg says the company had no comment.

Story via Bloomberg.com

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