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OSHA’s Top 10 most cited violations for 2019

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Penalty Box

This list of OSHA’s highest proposed monetary penalties in fiscal year 2019 comprises those stemming from a single incident or related incidents in which one or more employers are alleged to have failed to adhere to safe work practices. These failures put workers at risk – in some cases fatally. The following information was gathered from press releases issued by federal OSHA between Oct. 1, 2018, and Sept. 30, 2019.

(Note: Dollar amounts may be reduced as part of a settlement agreement or litigation.)

$1.792 million

EMPLOYER: Purvis Home Improvement Co. Inc.
LOCATIONS: Portland and Old Orchard Beach, ME (OSHA Region 1)
BUSINESS TYPE: Roofing contractor
INSPECTION TRIGGER: Worker fatality
EVENT: Inspectors determined that company owner Shawn D. Purvis knowingly failed to ensure worker use of fall protection at worksites in both Portland and Old Orchard Beach, ME. In December 2018 at the Portland site, a residential construction worker was killed after falling 20 feet to the ground after attempting to climb off a roof and onto ladder jack scaffolding. In April, a Portland grand jury charged Purvis with manslaughter and workplace manslaughter, indictments to which he pleaded not guilty in May.
MAJOR CITATIONS: Purvis was cited for 13 willful, three serious and one repeat violation, with eight of the willful violations tied to the Portland worksite incident. Violations stemmed from failure to provide fall protection training to employees, as well as worker exposure to electrocution and eye hazards. OSHA has cited Purvis for seven fall protection requirement violations since December 2006.
“Effective fall protection can prevent tragedies like this when an employer ensures the proper use of legally required lifesaving protection. An ongoing refusal to follow the law exposes other employees to potentially fatal or disabling injuries. Employers cannot evade their responsibility to ensure a safe and healthful workplace.” – David McGuan, OSHA area director in Augusta, ME

 

$1.326 million

EMPLOYER: Dowa THT America Inc.
LOCATION: Bowling Green, OH (OSHA Region 5)
BUSINESS TYPE: Metal heat treatment
INSPECTION TRIGGER: Complaint
EVENT: OSHA inspectors found that the employer knowingly exposed workers to various atmospheric, thermal, electrical and mechanical hazards during interior maintenance work for heat-treating furnaces. Hazards were related to confined spaces, falls, machine guarding, respiratory protection, chemical exposures and electrical equipment. Further, Dowa THT America failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment and hazard awareness training.
MAJOR CITATIONS: Dowa THT America was cited for 32 willful and three serious violations. OSHA placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“The violations identified exposed employees to serious and potentially life-threatening injuries and illnesses. Employers have a legal obligation to assess their workplaces for hazards and establish appropriate safety and health programs to protect their workers.” – Loren Sweatt, acting OSHA administrator

 

$898,692

EMPLOYER: Dollar Tree Inc.
LOCATIONS: Boise, Caldwell, Nampa and Meridian, ID (OSHA Region 10)
BUSINESS TYPE: Discount retailer
INSPECTION TRIGGER: Complaint
EVENT: An inspection at the Boise location in response to allegations of employee exposure to unstable stacks of boxes in the stockroom led to similar complaints at three stores elsewhere in southwestern Idaho. Inspectors discovered improper box stacking practices at each store, as well as blocked aisles and exit routes. At one store, inspectors encountered an employee who was injured and needed assistance as a result of falling boxes. At another store, boxes fell and nearly injured a worker while an inspector recorded footage of working conditions.
MAJOR CITATIONS: OSHA cited Dollar Tree with eight repeat and three serious violations involving hazards such as unsafe storage and stacking of boxes, blocked electrical panels, improper ladder use, and worker exposure to falls from height.
“Dollar Tree stores have a history of exposing their employees to safety and health hazards. Improper storage of merchandise creates unnecessary risks for employees, while blocked exits pose serious risks to the safety of employees and customers in an emergency.” – Loren Sweatt, acting OSHA administrator

 

$782,526

EMPLOYER: Choice Products USA LLC
LOCATION: Eau Claire, WI (OSHA Region 5)
BUSINESS TYPE: Food manufacturer
INSPECTION TRIGGER: Complaint
EVENT: A follow-up resulting from a 2016 inspection in which the company was found to have exposed workers to numerous hazards related to heavy machinery.
MAJOR CITATIONS: The company was cited for seven serious, six willful, three other-than-serious and one repeat violation. Five willful violations – classified as egregious – stemmed from failure to enact worker training on lockout/tagout procedures. Additionally, inspectors found Choice Products did not install machine guarding or comply with forklift regulations. OSHA placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“The company managers developed comprehensive lockout/tagout procedures following the 2016 inspection but failed to implement their own safety program. Employers are required by law to provide workers with safe and healthful workplaces.” – William Donovan, acting OSHA regional administrator in Chicago

 

$724,380

EMPLOYER: Fuyao Glass America Inc.
LOCATION: Moraine, OH (OSHA Region 5)
BUSINESS TYPE: Automotive glass manufacturer
INSPECTION TRIGGER: OSHA performed a planned inspection under its Site-Specific Targeting Program. (According to a July 29 agency press release, OSHA has inspected the employer 12 times in the past four years.)
EVENT: Among its findings, OSHA discovered that employees were exposed to electrical safety hazards, and that the employer failed to evaluate the workplace to determine permit-required confined spaces, train employees on lockout/tagout procedures and entering confined spaces, install machine guarding, provide employees with hearing protection and other personal protective equipment, and require its employees to use fall protection.
MAJOR CITATIONS: Fuyao Glass America was cited for 13 serious, nine repeat and one other-than-serious violation across two inspections.
“This company’s repeated failure to implement and enforce safety and health programs at the workplace is unacceptable. Employers must continually evaluate their facilities for hazards and train employees and managers to use proper safety controls and equipment to keep their workers safe and healthful.” – William Donovan, acting OSHA regional administrator in Chicago

 

$687,650

EMPLOYER: Champion Modular Inc.
LOCATION: Strattanville, PA (OSHA Region 3)
BUSINESS TYPE: Homebuilder
INSPECTION TRIGGER: Worker amputation
EVENT: Inspectors determined that the employer’s failure to use machine guarding, provide fall protection, and train workers on hazard communication and hearing conservation exposed workers to various safety and health hazards.
MAJOR CITATIONS: Champion Modular was cited for 21 serious, eight willful and three other-than-serious violations.
“Employers’ use of machine guards and devices is not optional. Employers are legally responsible for ensuring that machine operators are protected.” – Brendan Claybaugh, OSHA area director in Erie, PA

 

$687,619

EMPLOYERS: Enerfab Process Solutions & Fabricated Products Inc. and Industrial Services Group Inc. (operating as Universal Blastco)
LOCATION: Wilmington, DE (OSHA Region 3)
BUSINESS TYPE: General contractors
INSPECTION TRIGGER: Worker fatality
EVENT: A Universal Blastco employee died after falling 40 feet from a scaffold while working with a crew performing renovations on a 1.5-million-gallon, aboveground storage tank at an orange juice processing facility.
MAJOR CITATIONS: Universal Blastco was cited for seven serious, three willful and three other-than-serious violations over two inspections. Enerfab was cited for seven serious and three willful violations over two inspections. Violations were for hazards involving scaffolding, lack of fall protection, electrical, confined space and respiratory protection.
“Falls continue to be the leading cause of worker fatalities in the construction industry, yet they are preventable when the proper fall protection is utilized. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers from falls, and neither company met their obligations in this case.” – Erin Patterson, OSHA area director in Wilmington, DE

 

$615,640

EMPLOYER: 7 S Packing LLC (operating as Texas Packing Co.)
LOCATION: San Angelo, TX (OSHA Region 6)
BUSINESS TYPE: Meatpacking facility
INSPECTION TRIGGER: Complaint
EVENT: Under the Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program, inspectors found that Texas Packing Co. failed to enact a required PSM program for operating an ammonia refrigeration unit containing more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia. Additionally, the employer failed to provide fall protection, guarded machines or equipment; control hazardous energy; and implement a respirator protection program.
MAJOR CITATIONS: The company was cited for 10 serious and four willful violations.

 

$603,850

EMPLOYER: Navy Contractors Inc.
LOCATIONS: Royersford, Collegeville and Center Valley, PA (OSHA Region 3)
BUSINESS TYPE: Residential construction contractor
INSPECTION TRIGGERS: Referral (Center Valley), program-related (Collegeville) and planned (Royersford)
EVENT: After inspectors saw employees working without using fall protection at each site, OSHA initiated three independent inspections. Previously, agency inspections found that the employer knowingly disregarded its obligation to provide fall protection, and these inspections uncovered similar results. (Note: At the Royersford site, Navy Contractors served as a subcontractor to controlling general contractor Blue Lion Ventures, operating as Storm Guard of Ches-Mont Inc.)
MAJOR CITATIONS: Navy Contractors was cited for six repeat, five serious, five willful and one other-than-serious violation. Violations were related to failure to provide workers with fall protection equipment and training, improper ladder use, deficiencies in walking/working surfaces, and inadequate fire protection.
“All construction employers, regardless of their contracting status, are legally required to comply with regulations to protect workers’ safety and health.” – Jean Kulp, OSHA area director in Allentown, PA

 

$530,392

EMPLOYER: Custom Rubber Products LLC
LOCATION: Houston (OSHA Region 6)
BUSINESS TYPE: Oil and gas industry product manufacturer
INSPECTION TRIGGERS: Complaint and referral
EVENT: Cited in 2014 after a worker was severely injured, Custom Rubber Products failed to correct machine guarding and caught-in hazards.
MAJOR CITATIONS: Custom Rubber Products was cited for four willful violations. The company remains in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“Employers are required to assess potential hazards and make necessary corrections to ensure a safe workplace. The inspection results demonstrate workplace deficiencies existed, putting workers at serious risk of injury.” – Eric Harbin, acting OSHA regional administrator in Dallas

 

 

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