Enforcement and Inspection, Training

OSHA Conducted More Inspections and Trained More Workers in 2019

The number of workplace inspections conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) increased in fiscal year (FY) 2019, the agency announced.

OSHA safety enforcement concept

Panchenko Vladimir / Shutterstock.com

Federal OSHA conducted 33,401 inspections in FY 2019, which ended on September 30—more inspections than in the previous 3 years.

“OSHA’s efforts—rulemaking, enforcement, compliance assistance and training—are tools to accomplish our mission of safety and health for every worker,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt said in an agency statement.

Other OSHA FY 2019 accomplishments included:

  • Providing a record 1,392,611 workers with training on safety and health requirements through the Agency’s education programs, including the OSHA Training Institute Education Centers, Outreach Training Program, and Susan Harwood Training Grant Program; and
  • On-Site Consultation Program visits identifying 137,885 workplace hazards and protecting 3.2 million workers from potential harm.

“I am proud of the diligent, hard work of all OSHA personnel who contributed to a memorable year of protecting our nation’s workers,” Sweatt said.

Six-Figure Penalties Continue

OSHA’s practice of handing out six-figure penalties has continued into FY 2020, which began October 1. This week the agency announced a half-million dollars in proposed penalties for an employer it placed on its Severe Violator Enforcement Program list.

OSHA cited Dana Railcare, based in Wilmington, Delaware, for six serious and seven willful safety and health violations following a worker fatality at a site in Pittston, Pennsylvania. An employee became asphyxiated in May 2019, while servicing a railcar containing crude oil sludge. The railcar service provider faces $551,226 in proposed penalties.

“This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had followed proper safety procedures for entering and cleaning railcars,” Sweatt said in an agency statement. “Employers that fail to comply with the law will continue to see full and fair enforcement.”

OSHA cited Dana Railcare for six serious and three willful violations of the permit-required confined space standard. The agency also cited the employer for three willful violations of the respiratory protection standard.

The agency cited Martin Davila of Davila Construction for exposing employees to fall hazards at three separate Missouri jobsites in May, June, and August. OSHA is seeking $205,098 in proposed penalties.

OSHA inspectors found safety violations at jobsites in Wentzville, Grover, and St. Louis and cited Davila Construction for failing to provide adequate fall protection for employees working at heights or personal protective equipment to employees using pneumatic nail guns; as well as, failing to train employees on fall safety hazards and procedures and the safe use of ladders. The agency also alleges the company violated electrical safety standards and allowed the operation of an internal combustion engine in close proximity to a 5-gallon gas can.

OSHA also cited Davila for failing to develop and maintain a safety program, a violation the company was cited for in 2014.

The agency also has cited Chanell Roofing and Home Improvement LLC of Cleveland, Ohio, for exposing employees to fall hazards. OSHA inspectors found violations of its fall protection standards at two separate jobsites in Avon, Ohio, and is seeking a total of $200,451 in penalties.

OSHA has cited the company four times for fall protection violations since 2015. Inspectors most recently cited the company for two willful violations for failing to install and require the use of a guardrail, safety net, or personal fall arrest system while employees worked on residential roofs. OSHA also cited Chanell Roofing and Home Improvement for failing to train employees on fall protection hazards and the proper use of ladders, for failing to develop a safety and health program, and for failing to require head protection.