A good way to get a sense of OSHA’s priorities and focus is to look at the citations it’s recently issued. So this post will highlight just a few of the recent enforcement actions by OSHA Region 1 (MA, CT, VT, NH and ME).
Bantam, Conn. – U.S. Chutes Corp. was cited for nine repeated and 15 serious violations, with a proposed penalty of $94,248. U.S. Chutes is a manufacturer of galvanized laundry chutes. The hazards cited included an out of date respiratory protection program, and other respirator standard violations, the lack of a hazard analysis for personal protective equipment, violations of the hexavalent chromium standard, guarding and electrical issues. The repeat violations are due to similar citations issued in November 2009.
Wallingford, Conn. – R+L Carriers Shared Services LLC, a Wallingford freight shipping terminal, was cited for failing to provide training and personal protective equipment to employees who were exposed to a highly flammable and explosive chemical highly flammable and explosive chemical, tetrahydrofuran. The violations were discovered after a spill to which the employees responded, but without training or proper PPE or equipment. The company faces $86,900 in proposed fines. The repeat violations are due to the fact that OSHA cited the company for similar violations during a 2011 inspection of an R+L terminal in Chicago.
Auburn, Maine – Formed Fiber Technologies LLC uses a variety of machines, including robots, to make polyester carpets and thermoformed trunk liners for the automotive industry. OSHA cited the company for failure to proper safeguards on the machines the employees operate. Specifically, the company was cited for violations of the lock out/tag out and guarding standards. The citations included 2 repeat violations, following a citation by OSHA in 2013 at the company’s Sidney, Ohio, production facility, and five serious violations. The company faces a total of $108,800 in proposed fines.
Nationwide – Central Transport LLC, which has 170 freight shipping terminals nationwide, was cited following multiple inspections over the last several years by OSHA that found that Central Transport repeatedly left dangerously defective forklifts in service in at least 11 shipping terminals in nine states: Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. OSHA alleged that the company has known of the hazards since 2006, when OSHA inspections resulted in 11 citations and final orders requiring Central Transport to remove damaged forklifts from service. However, OSHA inspections in 2014 of company freight terminals in Billerica, Massachusetts, and Rock Island and Hillside, Illinois, found that the company, despite its awareness of the hazards involved, knowingly allowed this dangerous practice to continue at multiple locations.
I’ve tried to write a conclusion several times – and all I can come up with is that these are companies that just missed on the basics. None of these standards – PPE, fork lifts, guarding – are new or exotic or all that complicated. So the lesson – don’t forget the basics.