A marine terminal operator in Seattle is facing a $448,200 fine from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for failing to correct serious worker health hazards for which it was previously cited. The fine is one of L&I’s largest in recent years.
In an inspection at Seattle Bulk Shipping Inc.’s Harbor Island facility, L&I found that the company failed to correct serious violations that it was cited for last year, leaving workers exposed to serious hazards for more than a year.
The company performs several operations at the facility including transferring large quantities of highly flammable ethanol fuel from rail cars to tanker trucks, loading grain on rail cars and transferring it between trucks.
L&I’s follow-up inspection found that Seattle Bulk Shipping failed to correct a “confined space” violation it was cited for in 2015. The employer did not develop an adequate confined space entry program to protect employees who work around or inside grain pits or other confined spaces. Without safety precautions, confined spaces can be deadly to workers and would-be rescuers. Failure to correct this serious violation carries a penalty of $324,000.
The company was also cited for a second violation that hadn’t been corrected for failing to provide an approved emergency eyewash station for workers who transfer ethanol from rail cars and tanker trucks. Ethanol is a strong irritant in addition to being highly flammable; without an eyewash station, workers could suffer serious eye injuries. Failure to correct this violation carries a penalty of $108,000.
The employer was cited for three additional serious violations related to emergency procedures for potential ethanol release and confined space rescue. Each of those violations has a $5,400 penalty.
Investigation Began Following Worker Injury
L&I began investigating the company in 2014, when a worker was hospitalized after falling into an underground grain storage pit.
After comprehensive safety and health inspections, the company was ultimately cited for more than 50 workplace violations and fined $424,850. Those violations are currently under appeal. The company is considered a severe violator, which means it is subject to follow-up inspections to determine if the conditions still exist.
Seattle Bulk Shipping was given 15 business days to appeal the violations.
[via workerscompensation.com]OSHA Fine For Lack of Proper Eyewash Equipment
February 8, 2014
A mining company was fined by OSHA totaling $5,776. In their inspection, they found that employees were exposed to fire hazards and risk of eye injuries.
“The second violation designated as serious states that employees were at risk of eye injuries while handling corrosive chemicals, such as hydrated lime, copper sulfate and sodium hydroxide, without access to a suitable eyewash facility in the immediate area.
This violation brought with it a fine of $1,951.”
To read the full article on Star Mine Operations OSHA citations, click here.
Helping avoid unnecessary OSHA fines
In June of this year, an insulation plant in Phenix City, Alabama was fined $27,500 by OSHA solely for not having a sufficient place, such as a wash station or shower, to flush fluids from the body in an emergency. In this case, the plant had been cited previously, which resulted in the large fines they received.
Unfortunately, this case is not unique. OSHA fines are detrimental but can be avoided by staying proactive with emergency response best practices. So why aren’t more companies following the ANSI guidelines and avoiding these potentially large fines? Feedback has told us that equipment can be expensive or difficult to replace.
Recently, Haws® launched the AXION Advantage a retrofit system designed to upgrade existing units to an ANSI compliant solution. The cost-efficient system can fit on many competitive emergency eyewash or shower units with technology that improves your emergency response option.
Upgrading old equipment in your facility is easy, simply remove the existing head, select one of the supplied connectors, and attach the new (compliant) AXION Advantage head. Included in the system is a complete ANSI testing kit to help walk you through the final steps of compliance. Small steps to avoid big fines.
Here are some helpful ANSI Z358.1 facts on requirements for your emergency equipment:
- Emergency wash unit must be accessible within 10 seconds
- Unit must be free of obstructions and also on the same level as the hazard
- Be identifiable through highly visible signage
- Deliver tepid fluid for a full 15 minutes
We frequently hear comments from safety professionals that showers and eyewashes are rarely used and in turn they receive little attention. Yet, small overlooks can lead to large repercussions that can affect a company financially. Recently, a company was fined over $25,000 for safety violations including not providing the appropriate emergency eyewashes and showers at a plant that works with caustic chemicals. These types of violations are common and while the financial impacts are great, the increased injury damage to a victim who did not receive the adequate emergency response can be greater.
To read more, see the article below:
OSHA has cited Alabama-based Industrial Insulation Group for five serious health and safety violations for exposing workers to caustic chemicals, among other hazards. According to a report from OSHA, the agency began an inspection following a January 2014 complaint about the facility’s allegedly hazardous working conditions. The company faces $41,800 in proposed fines.
OSHA issued one repeat violation ($27,500 in proposed penalties) for failing to provide workers exposed to gamma-aminopropyltriethoxysilane with an eyewash station and shower, as the chemical can cause irritation and damage to the eyes, skin, and kidneys. The company was cited for a similar violation at the same facility in February 2013. In addition, the company was cited for three serious violations for not providing an eye and body wash shower for employees working with formaldehyde, failing to provide training on safety and health hazards for workers exposed to formaldehyde, and exposing workers to dangerous moving machine parts ($14,300 in proposed fines).
“It is troubling to know that while this employer initially corrected the hazard after OSHA issued a previous citation, it did not maintain the necessary safety standards. Although, this employer knew to provide eyewash and a shower for employees working with caustic chemicals, it continued to expose workers to the same hazard,” said Joseph Roesler, OSHA’s area director in Mobile.