Six Figure Fines Seen in Recent OSHA Enforcement Cases in the South

by Janet Scanlon 10 Sep. 2015

As we continue our blog series this week on recent OSHA enforcement cases,  we look today at cases coming out of the South. One noticeable trend we are seeing, the proposed six-figure fine.

RECENT ENFORCEMENT CASES: SOUTHERN REGION

Alabama: On August 11, 2015 Inzi Controls of Alabama Inc., a Hyundai parts supplier, was issued citations for continuing to expose workers to amputation hazards. Inzi was issued both a repeat citation and a serious citation in light of not having procedures/not following procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing. They face a penalty of $45,500. This is not the first time the company has been cited, as OSHA cited them for similar violations in December 2014.

Arkansas: Bekaert Corporation, a steel wire transformation and coatings company, faces $76,000 in penalties after being cited for 12 different violations relating to the company failing to prevent lead accumulation and contamination as well as failing to safe guard machines from cutting blades and moving parts during operation.

Florida: Latite Roofing, one of South Florida’s largest commercial and residential roofing company, was cited for three repeated and three serious safety violations for exposing workers to dangerous falls. Since 2010, the company has received nine citations for similar hazards. Latite Roofing faces $136,000 in penalties.

Georgia: Over the course of two weeks, two employees of Primex Plastics Corporation sustained finger injuries, resulting in amputation, after having their hands stuck in a shearing machine. As a result, OSHA has cited the plastics manufacturer with “two repeated, 18 serious, and 2 other-than-serious safety and health violations.” The company faces $141,000 in penalties.

Kentucky: This past June, a 19 year old construction worker at Josh LeFevre Construction Company was killed when the 10 foot deep trench he was working in collapsed. Although this case remains under investigation for his death by police and for health & safety compliance by Kentucky’s Labor Department, this incident highlights the dangers faced when working in trenches. According to OSHA, 1,462 citations for trench safety violations were issued nationwide in 2014, resulting in nearly $5 million dollars. Kentucky alone issued 37 citations totaling over $194k in fines.

Louisiana: On August 6, 2015, OSHA citedLouisiana trucking company, Transporter Maintenance & Inspection, LLC, one willful, 27 serious and five other violations for exposing workers to safety and health hazards. According to OSHA, “the willful violation was for failing to provide fall protection and some of the 27 serious violations include noise, respiratory, fire and electrical hazards, along with exposure to silica, failing to train industrial truck operators, and not maintaining unobstructed exit routes. The five other violations include ungrounded electrical equipment, unmarked exits and an uncovered electrical outlet box.” The company currently faces a proposed penalty of $156,800.

Mississippi: On August 31, 2015, OSHA citedTallahatchie Lumber and Mat Co. Inc., with one willful, 22 serious and four other-than-serious citations. The willful citation came after OSHA inspectors found that the company did not ensure that safety devices were used to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing. The serious violations, according to OSHA, “relate to the employer failing to ensure that workers followed safety procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing; exposing workers to unguarded machinery, not providing safety rails on staircases and platforms, and exposing workers to fire and explosion hazards due to combustible dust accumulation.” Tallahatchie Lumber and Mat Co. Inc., faces fines of $78,800.

North Carolina: Tekton Construction Company was recently cited by OSHA after worker is killed working in an unprotected trench at Fort Bragg. The company receive two willful violayions for their lack of cave-in protection and means to enter/exit the trench safely. They also received two serious safety violations after inspectors discovered that the company did not provide hard hats to employees working in the trenches, nor trained workers on how to identify and avoid hazardous working conditions. Tekton Construction Company faces fines of $123,200 and may be placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Oklahoma:  Dan D Drilling face penalties of $221,200 and are placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program after three employees die and two are seriously injured when an open-flame heater on the floor of an oil rig sparks fire. The company received two willful, seven serious and one repeated OSHA violation. According to OSHA, “the willful violations were for using an open-flame heater on the rig floor that exposed six workers to fire hazards and for failing to provide and ensure that employees were wearing flame-resistant clothing. The seven serious violations include failing to provide a quick drenching shower for employees who work with corrosive materials; electrical equipment approved for hazardous locations; and training workers on the chemical and physical hazards of new chemicals at the work site. The repeated violation was cited for failing to provide an emergency egress from the rig derrick platform.

South Carolina:  South Carolina contractor, Jordan Construction Co. of Hilton Head Inc, face a fine of $46,800 after receiving two willful violations for “allowing employees to work in an excavation without cave-in protection and not ensuring the soil pile was at least 2-feet from the excavation edge.” They also received two serious violations for failing to provide trench workers with a safe entrance/exit to/from the trench and for workers not wearing head protection while working in the trench.

Tennessee:  Information unavailable

Texas: D&D Manufacturing in El Paso, Texas was recently issued 13 safety and health citations for “exposing workers to amputations and other serious injuries from unsafe machinery, including a violation for ignoring the danger of allowing employees to work with a defective 500-ton metal press that the company knew had repeatedly dropped without warning,” according to OSHA. This is not the first time the company has been cited, as they received 36 serious safety violations in December 2014. D&D Manufacturing now face fines of $321,750.

Virginia: Colonna’s Shipyard Inc., a full service ship repair facility in Norfolk, Virginia, was cited for 12 safety and health violations, including four repeat. These citations follow a recent OSHA inspection that discovered employees were exposed to life-threatening safety and health hazards while working on a U.S. Navy vessel, including a fall hazard of 30 feet due to three open manholes. According to OSHA, “OSHA inspectors determined that fall protection was not provided for employees working on a barge, which exposed them to a potential fall of more than 18 feet. Inspectors also found that, because of defective equipment, employees were exposed to a number of electrical hazards while welding. Having been previously cited for similar hazards in 2010, the company received four repeat citations, carrying an $85,000 penalty.  Colonna's Shipyard was also cited for four serious violations, with a $16,000 penalty, for expecting workers to use damaged electrical equipment and unguarded machinery. Four additional violations were cited for other guarding, electrical and fire extinguisher hazards.” The company now faces potential fines of $101,000.

West Virginia: Recent OSHA inspection at Morgantown, West Virginia work site results in three willful violations, and one serious violation for K&F Construction. According to OSHA, “OSHA cited the contractor for three alleged willful violations for not providing fall protection for an employee exposed to a fall of up to 25 feet while working from a platform insecurely placed on the forks of a forklift, and for two employees exposed to a 30-foot fall while installing felt paper on the roof. Additionally, K&F did not ensure workers wore eye protection while using a pneumatic nail gun to lay the felt paper. One alleged serious violation was due to the company's inappropriate use of a forklift to support a scaffold platform that employees used while working on a wall structure.” This is not the first time the company has been cited, for in 2006 the company received citations for the same violations.
 
(Please note this is by no means a comprehensive listing of all current enforcement cases, but instead a handful of cases seen throughout the 50 states over the past year that we at Enhesa have been following.)

Interested in reading more in-depth details of the cases mentioned above? Check out OSHA's Enforcement Press Releases. 


We wrap up this week's blog series on recent OSHA enforcement cases tomorrow as we look at cases out of the Northeast region of the U.S.