Safety + Health magazine’s “OSHA Roundup” for the week of December 7, 2015 lists seven new OSHA fines that have been proposed this week. Most of these fines have to do with problems that safety inspections and self-audits could have solved, and all of them are upwards of $40,000.
The 5 most severe fines proposed this week are as follows:
- $122,000 to a New Jersey flavoring and fragrance manufacturer for allegedly exposing employees to diacetyl hazards. OSHA cited Symrise, Inc. for exposing its employees to diacetyl chemicals, which can result in respiratory illness or organ damage if not properly controlled. Luckily, employees were identified as being seriously at risk but not suffering any acute effects. Had Symrise followed a routine self-audit and checked for chemical safety procedures, the problem could have been solved in-house and employees would have had a shortened period of exposure to the chemicals.
- $108,200 to a gutter and roof cleaning company in New Jersey for fall protection violations. Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning & General Contracting, LLC was cited this week after inspections in both May and October of this year revealed several hazards. Among these hazards was the failure to provide proper fall protection, which the company had already been cited for in 2013 and 2014 both! Knowing this, they still chose not to follow the inspection guidelines provided and so wound up facing larger administrative fines and putting their employees in more direct danger.
- $103,200to a box manufacturer in Pennsylvania for lockout/tagout, guarding, powered industrial truck and failure-to-abate violations. OSHA issued citations to the Midvale Box Paper Company for several serious violations. The company also received citations for a few repeated violations, which had continued to expose employees to on-the-job dangers for an unnecessarily extended period of time and resulted in heightened fines for the company. Failure to respond to OSHA citations is not only dangerous — it’s costly!
- $103,000 to an Illinois roofing contractor for fall protection violations at a residential framing project. Roofing contractor Don Bosco, LLC was cited for one willful and several other serious violations, summing over $100,000 in fines. The hazards that the company created were mainly to do with fall protection violations, a key component of protecting workers whose worksite is elevated more often than not. A preliminary self-audit would have revealed these egregious violations before OSHA had to come and establish fines as retribution, as well as kept workers from conditions where they might have to experience unnecessary falls.
- $77,000 to a Delaware ice plant for allegedly failing to guard machinery, which resulted in an employee’s leg amputation. When OSHA cited Seaford Ice, Inc. for nine serious safety violations, they did so in response to a severe accident that had been caused by weak spots in the company’s safety and health plan. Fortunately, the 20-year old worker who fell into an unguarded machine survived the incident, but he did lose both of his legs. Seaford had left the screw conveyor in question unguarded, and had also failed to address key ways in which young workers’ needs are different from other workers’. Because the company had neglected to conduct any audit comprehensive enough to reveal these large flaws, they are now facing financial repercussions as well as the severe blow that exposing an employee to such dangerous hazards deals.