Notable OSHA Enforcement Activities
The following are recent Region 1 OSHA enforcement actions:
Amputation at Tootsie Roll Plant
A candy-wrapping machine surgically amputated part of a temporary worker’s left index finger at a Cambridge, Mass., subsidiary of Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. of Chicago on Jan. 6, 2016, an incident that his employer might have prevented by meeting federal safety and health standards.
MJR, a Boston staffing company that does business as Snelling Staffing Services, supplied the worker to Cambridge Brands Inc.’s production facility at 810 Main St., in Cambridge.
OSHA began an inspection on Feb. 2, 2016, soon after learning of the injury. OSHA’s inspection found that:
- Cambridge Brands failed to guard moving parts of the candy-wrapping machine against unintended contact, exposing workers to possible broken bones, soft tissue damage, and amputation.
- Neither Cambridge Brands nor MJR trained the worker adequately in mechanical and noise hazards and safeguards.
- Cambridge Brands did not certify that it had performed periodic inspections of its energy control procedures to prevent the unintended startup of machinery during servicing and maintenance.
- Cambridge Brands failed to report the amputation to OSHA within 24 hours, as required.
“This was a joint employment situation in which MJR supplied and paid the worker, and Cambridge Brands, as host employer, supervised and dictated temporary employees’ work,” said Anthony Covello, OSHA’s area director for Middlesex and Essex counties in Massachusetts.
We found that the temporary workers did not receive the same level of training as permanent employees.
"We found that the temporary workers did not receive the same level of training as permanent employees at Cambridge Brands. Adequate and effective training is essential so employees can identify and avoid work-related hazards and injuries."
As a result of its findings, OSHA cited Cambridge Brands for two repeat, three serious, and one other than serious violations and MJR Management for two serious violations of workplace safety standards.
The repeat violations to Cambridge Brands stem from OSHA's citing Tootsie Roll Industries in 2010 and 2014 for similar machine-guarding hazards at its Chicago location.
Cambridge Brands faces a total of $46,000 in proposed penalties while MJR Management faces $9,000 in penalties.
"Neither employer informed OSHA of the worker's injury," said Covello.
"We remind employers that OSHA's reporting requirements for employers were strengthened beginning Jan. 2015.
"Employers are now required to report to OSHA within 24 hours any workplace incident that results in the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye of one or more employees."
Ammonia Leak, Alarm Failure
Responding to a complaint from employees at a Taunton, Mass., facility operated by one of the nation's largest food service distributors, OSHA found that a check valve in the food plant's pump room leaked about nine pounds of anhydrous ammonia on Oct. 21, 2015.
Inspectors also found the ammonia sensor in the pump room did not sound an alarm as expected.
OSHA's inspection identified several deficiencies in Reinhart Food Service LLC's Process Safety Management program, a comprehensive and effective program that covers every aspect of any process in the workplace involving large amounts of highly hazardous chemicals.
An uncontrolled release of anhydrous ammonia can be lethal and catastrophic.
Reinhart is the fourth largest food service distributor in the U.S., serving independent restaurants, delis, sporting venues, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, the military, and chain accounts.
"The leak was relatively small but the consequences could have been enormous," said Kenneth Shedden, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts.
"Exposure to even as little as 300 parts per million of anhydrous ammonia is immediately dangerous to life and health. An uncontrolled release can be lethal and catastrophic."
The deficiencies included:
- Inadequate procedures for inspecting, testing and replacing valves and ammonia sensors consistent with the manufacturer's recommended safety procedures.
- Not ensuring that ammonia sensor alarms worked properly.
- An inadequate emergency response plan.
- Not ensuring that employees who responded with and provide support to hazardous materials technicians demonstrated competency.
- Not taking adequate precautions to identify responders' maximum exposure limits to ammonia.
OSHA's inspection also identified two hazards similar to those cited during earlier inspections of Reinhart's New Bedford and Taunton facilities: unsecured and inadequately anchored large steel commercial storage racks that could have fallen and struck or crushed employees and unclosed openings on electrical cabinets and boxes.
As a result of its findings, OSHA cited Reinhart Food Service on April 20, 2016, for six serious and two repeated violations of workplace health standards. The company faces a total of $72,000 in proposed penalties.
Worker's Fall Was Preventable
Two employees of Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning and General Contracting of Massachusetts were doing their job atop a roof at 19 Columbus St. in Newton on Nov. 29, 2015, when one of them fell.
He initially a hit a lower roof 11 feet below then fell another 15 feet to the ground and was injured. An OSHA inspection found that his fall was preventable if his employer ensured the use of proper and effective safeguards.
“Fall hazards are a persistent and common violation, one we encounter almost daily. Falls are a leading cause of death, particularly among workers in construction," said OSHA's Anthony Covello.
Falls are among the most easily preventable hazards.
In the Newton case, Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning failed to ensure the use of protective equipment when the workers went atop the roof and also failed to guard two skylights through which the workers could also have fallen.
OSHA had also previously cited the company in 2014 for lack of protective equipment at a Leonia, New Jersey, jobsite.
As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning on April 25 for one repeated and one serious violation of workplace safety standards. Proposed fines total $45,500.
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