Enforcement and Inspection

Got Safety Plans to Ensure Compliance?

Got safety plans to ensure OSHA compliance? These employers didn’t, and look what happened to them.

Here are some recent OSHA enforcement actions that highlight the need to implement effective safety plans to avoid accidents, injuries, and OSHA breathing down your neck.

OSHA Says Manufacturer Willfully Exposed Workers

A manufacturer in Ohio faces $536,000 in fines for inadequate lockout/tagout procedures and for failing to protect workers from fall hazards. The company has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement program.

The agency launched an inspection of the manufacturer’s workplace after a worker was hospitalized with a broken pelvis following a 9-foot fall from a transfer car. The willful violations carry proposed fines of  $480,500. Repeat violations totaling $82,500 were issued for problems that included failing to affix lockout/tagout devices to prevent unexpected equipment start-ups.

OSHA said that there was “no excuse” for the company’s neglect of employee safety and that the company needs to make “a serious effort to comply with commonsense regulations to protect its employees.”

OSHA Turns Up Heat on Pizza Shell Maker for Failure to Abate

OSHA has cited a New York manufacturer of pizza shells for not correcting safety hazards identified during a prior inspection. The company faces a total of $195,200 in proposed fines.

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Following an inspection two years ago, OSHA cited and fined the company for a variety of hazards, which the employer agreed to correct.

A follow-up visit nearly a year later, however, revealed that problems such as unsafe electrical equipment, lack of a written emergency action plan, and potential dust explosion risks, had not been resolved. During the follow-up visit the compliance officer also identified new safety problems.

OSHA said the employer was “given ample opportunity to correct several hazardous conditions…yet failed to do so.”

OSHA Says Machine Maker Ignored Violations

OSHA has issued 33 citations to a Mississippi machine maker, with proposed penalties totaling $487,700. Among the 16 repeat citations issued were those for excessive air pressure in cleaning equipment, failure to conduct inspections of the lockout/tagout process, failing to unblock exit doors and routes, and absence of machine guarding. In addition, a number of serious citations were issued for struck-by hazards, electrical equipment violations, and eye protection issues.

“Companies that cut corners at the expense of worker safety must be held accountable,” said OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels. He went on to say that the employer not only “failed to make safety its top priority, but the company ignored many violations that OSHA previously brought to its attention.”

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Court Supports OSHA Subpoena for Insurer’s Documents

A U.S. District Court has upheld a subpoena issued by OSHA requesting documents from an Illinois employer’s insurance company. At issue were inspections and reports the insurer prepared for the employer that OSHA believed had bearing on the death of two teenage workers.

The employer argued that the subpoena would discourage businesses from allowing insurers to conduct safety inspections if the material contained in the reports could be used against a business during litigation or OSHA enforcement proceedings.

But the court, unimpressed by this argument, ordered that the records be turned over to OSHA.

The employer had been issued 25 citations by OSHA, with penalties of more than $550,000 following an investigation into the two fatalities.

Tomorrow we’ll report more OSHA enforcement cases and tell you how BLR’s Redi-2-Use Libraries can help you develop safety plans to avoid accidents, injuries, and OSHA citations and penalties.

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