Enforcement and Inspection

Recent Enforcement Actions Prove Costly to Employers

Yesterday, we talked about OSHA’s new regulatory and enforcement agenda. Today, we highlight some recent cases of enforcement action that have resulted in pricey penalties.

Imperial Sugar Company has agreed to pay more than $6 million in a settlement with OSHA. The case stems from a 2008 combustible dust explosion at Imperial’s Port Wentworth, GA, plant and from safety and health violations the agency subsequently discovered at the company’s Gramercy, LA, facility. The 2008 explosion killed 14 workers and seriously injured dozens of others. In the agreement, Imperial Sugar will pay $4,050,000 in penalties for the 124 violations found at its Port Wentworth plant after the explosion, plus an additional $2 million for 97 violations found at its Gramercy plant. OSHA says this agreement requires Imperial Sugar to make extensive changes to its safety practices, and it underscores the importance of rigorously addressing workplace safety and health hazards.

BP North American Inc. and BP-Husky Refining LLC have been cited for 42 alleged willful violations at BP-Husky’s Oregon, OH, refinery. Proposed penalties total $3,042,000. "OSHA has found that BP often ignored or severely delayed fixing known hazards in its refineries," says Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

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Milk Specialties Companyof Whitehall, WI, has agreed to pay $535,000 in penalties as part of a settlement resulting from OSHA citations alleging willful, repeat, and serious violations. Problems at the facility included combustible dust hazards, untrained employees working in dangerous areas, and lack of confined space permits.

New Jersey Transit will pay an employee who filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA more than $500,000 for retaliating against the worker by disciplining him for reporting a work-related illness.

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