OSHA National News Release
US Department of Labor cites Foundation Food Group Inc. for exposing workers to safety hazards, proposes $154K in penalties
March 11 ammonia leak happened 42 days after January incident killed 6 workers
GAINESVILLE, GA – On Jan. 28, 2021, an uncontrolled release of liquid nitrogen at a Gainesville poultry processing facility claimed the lives of six workers. Less than two months later, workers were again subjected to a chemical release at the plant, after an ammonia leak on March 11.
A U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation identified 23 safety and health violations at the facility. OSHA cited Foundation Food Group Inc. for exposing workers to dermal and respiratory hazards associated with the potential unexpected release of anhydrous ammonia and for failing to install a system that protected employees.
In addition, OSHA found Foundation Food Group failed to:
- Guard horizontal shafts on conveyors, which exposed workers to caught-in hazards.
- Provide adequate training and ensure workers used locks to isolate hazardous energy while servicing conveyors.
- Label electrical breakers, cover unused openings in electrical boxes, and use electrical devices as designed, which exposed workers to electrical-shock hazards.
- Provide fall protection while working from equipment at heights over 4 feet.
- Require employees use eye protection while working with compressed air.
- Provide adequate hearing protection, testing, and training for employees exposed to high levels of noise.
- Maintain drainage in areas of wet processes, exposing employees to slip hazards.
The agency proposed $154,674 in penalties.
“There is no situation where employees should be expected to risk serious injury or death, especially on the heels of a tragic incident that took the lives of six co-workers,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick. “Foundation Food Group has again flouted their responsibility to assess workplace hazards and ensure measures are taken to protect employees. This is unacceptable and OSHA will continue its mission to hold employers accountable.”
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OSHA News Release – Region 4
US Department of Labor cites Tavares contractor after finding employer willfully bypassed safety measures that led to worker’s fatal electrocution
United Signs & Signals Inc. failed to ensure electricity was secured
TAVARES, FL – In the early afternoon of March 2, 2021, a 44-year-old electrical technician at an Orlando work site climbed down into a trench to splice electrical wires to power streetlights. Not long after, the worker made contact with live wires and suffered fatal electrocution, a death the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators deemed avoidable had the employer taken required safety measures.
OSHA’s investigation led the agency to cite United Signs & Signals Inc. – operating as US&S – with two willful violations for exposing workers to electrical-shock hazards by failing to de-energize or guard circuits and exposing workers to cave-in hazards by neglecting to ensure the use of protective measures to safeguard employees. OSHA also cited US&S with two serious violations for not ensuring workers had a safe means to exit excavations and allowing employees to work in a trench with accumulated water.
OSHA proposed $237,566 in penalties.
“A man is dead because of US&S’s willful indifference toward protecting its workers,” said OSHA Area Office Director Michelle Gonzalez in Jacksonville, Florida. “This terrible loss should remind employers that safety measures are never optional, and the consequences for ignoring them can be fatal.”
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OSHA News Release – Region 2
The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) has issued a decision affirming all safety and health citations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) against Jersey City Medical Center. OSHA cited the medical center, based in Jersey City, NJ, for electrical hazards after a maintenance employee’s fatal fall after receiving an electric shock. The judge also affirmed OSHA’s proposed penalties totaling $174,593.
In June 2016, the decedent – who was untrained in electrical safety work practices – was repairing a ceiling light fixture when the incident occurred. The judge found that the employer willfully failed to train the employee for the hazardous electrical work he was directed to perform. A three-day hearing was held in New York City in April 2018, and the decision from OSHRC issued on June 17, 2019.
“The outcome of this case shows the employer will be held accountable for willfully exposing employees to serious hazards, and the U.S. Department of Labor stands ready to litigate such issues when employers refuse to accept responsibility,” said the Department’s Regional Solicitor Jeffrey S. Rogoff, in New York.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for American working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.
MACON, GA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a combined 22 citations to Kumho Tire Georgia Inc., Sae Joong Mold Inc., and J-Brothers Inc. after a follow-up inspection found safety and health hazards at the tire manufacturing facility in Macon, Georgia. The three companies collectively face $523,895 in proposed penalties.
OSHA cited Kumho Tire Georgia Inc. for exposing employees to fall, struck-by, and burn hazards; failing to follow hazardous energy control procedures when employees performed service and maintenance on machinery; failing to train employees on energy control procedures; and failing to provide machine guarding on various pieces of equipment throughout the facility. Proposed penalties total $507,299. OSHA initiated the follow-up inspection of the tire manufacturer after the Agency did not receive abatement documents regarding a June 2017 inspection and citations. Kumho has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
OSHA cited Sae Joong Mold Inc. for using damaged slings and electrical hazards. Proposed penalties total $9,093. The Agency cited J-Brothers Inc. for exposing employees to smoke inhalation and burn hazards by failing to mount portable fire extinguishers and failing to perform annual maintenance on fire extinguishers. Proposed penalties total $7,503.
“Potential workplace hazards must be assessed and eliminated to ensure a safe work environment,” said OSHA Atlanta-East Area Director William Fulcher. “This employer exposed workers to multiple safety and health deficiencies that put them at risk for serious or fatal injuries.”
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OSHA News Release – Region 4
$303,657 Proposed in Penalties
NATCHEZ, MS – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited von Drehle Corp. – a paper products manufacturer – for several workplace safety hazards that put employees at risk of injury at its facility in Natchez, Mississippi. The paper manufacturer faces $303,657 in penalties, including one for the maximum amount allowed by law.
An OSHA inspection of the company’s facility resulted in citations for exposing employees to electrical hazards; lack of machine guarding; allowing combustible dust to accumulate on surfaces; failing to lockout machinery to control hazardous energy;exposing employees to arc-flash; and allowing slip, trip, and fall hazards.
“Employers are required to assess potential hazards, and make necessary corrections to ensure a safe workplace,” said OSHA Jackson Area Office Director Courtney Bohannon. “The inspection results demonstrate workplace deficiencies existed putting workers at serious risk of injury or death.”
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