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Articles Posted in OSHA Violations

In May 2016, an employee of the Shield Packaging Co. Inc. was seriously injured when he was accidentally injected with a flammable propellant gas. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) investigation into the incident revealed that the Dudley, MA company violated multiple safety protocols. In addition to failing to provide proper training, procedures were not followed to lock the machine against unexpected startups, like the one that injured the employee.

The staffing agencies that supplied over half of Shield Packaging’s workers were also involved in the settlement agreement. Southern Mass Staffing of Worcester, and ASI Staffing Group Corp. of Leominster agreed to pay $12,222 and $12,471 in penalties, respectively. The temp agencies also agreed to develop several safeguards against future incidents, including the implementation of health and safety measures at all host companies, and the hiring of an outside safety consultant.

Shield Packaging agreed to pay $150,000 in penalties, hire an engineer to oversee the design and installation of a safety lock on the machine that injected the employee, establish a health and safety program, hire a consultant to perform a safety inspection of the entire plant, and provide documentation to OSHA that all safety issues have been corrected.

“The Shield Packaging Co. Inc., ASI Staffing Group Corp., and Southern Mass Staffing are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers,” said Mary Hoye, OSHA’s Area Director. “These settlements will help ensure that a comprehensive safety program will be developed to protect all workers – permanent and temporary – from injuries and illnesses.” A MA work injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a work-related accident.

Lockout Tagout Procedures

When a machine unexpectedly starts, anyone working on or near the machine can be seriously injured or killed. Lockout tagout procedures are designed to protect against this type of accident. Failure to implement these procedures, as in the case above, can result in devastating consequences. Lockout tagout injuries are most common in the manufacturing industry. Those most at risk include:

  • Steel workers
  • Food processing workers
  • Construction workers
  • Chemical factory workers
  • Lumber workers

When failure to implement lockout tagout procedures results in injuries, the injuries are often serious. Crushed or amputated limbs are common, and getting caught in a machine can be fatal. In fact, lockout tagout violations occur with shocking frequency; they are consistently one of OSHA’s top 10 violations every year. When employers put productivity before worker safety, they should be held accountable for their actions. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you were injured on the job.

Workplace Injury and Illness Statistics

Work-related accidents can occur in any occupation. The statistics below provide insight into the severity and frequency of this problem in the United States.

  • More than 4.1 million people are injured on the job annually in the US.
  • Of those, more than two million are injured severely enough that they miss work and require ongoing medical treatment.
  • About 18 people die every day from a workplace injury in the US.
  • Work-related illnesses and injuries cost about $155.5 billion annually.

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A behavioral health care facility in Massachusetts is facing a proposed $207,690 penalty for violations discovered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) during an inspection. UHS of Westwood Pembroke, Inc., which conducts business under the name Lowell Treatment Center, was issued a notification for failing to respond properly to incidents of workplace violence. The June 2017 notification followed a serious violation of a similar nature discovered by inspectors in May of 2015.

The 2015 violations resulted in the creation of a Formal Settlement Agreement in 2016 between OSHA and the facility. The agreement established a workplace violence prevention program, providing specific provisions or how the program should be implemented at the facility. Unfortunately, Lowell Treatment Center didn’t hold up its end of the bargain, failing to comply with requests for documentation showing that it had implemented the program. In addition, OSHA officials received a complaint that employees were still at risk. In response, the agency conducted a follow-up inspection on January 5, 2017. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured on the job.

Employees are Still at Risk

During the inspection, OSHA discovered multiple violations, and that the facility had failed to comply with several aspects of its established agreement. ”Our inspectors found that employees throughout the Lowell Treatment Center continued to be exposed to incidents of workplace violence that could have been greatly reduced had the employer fully implemented the settlement agreement,” said Galen Blanton, Boston’s regional administrator for OSHA. A MA work injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured in a work-related accident.

The Lowell Treatment Center is a 41-bed psychiatric hospital for adults and adolescents, and the UHS network is one of the largest health-care management companies in the country. UHS has notified OSHA that it intends to contest the agencies findings.

Common OSHA Violations

OSHA exists to enforce standards for safe working conditions, and to provide related training, outreach and assistance. In 2015, OSHA released its most recent top 10 list for frequently cited violations. These were:

  • Fall protection: Different fall protection systems are required for different jobs and situations.
  • Hazard communication: Employers are required to create a program for informing workers of on-the-job chemical hazards.
  • Scaffoldings: Having a competent person in charge of compliance and supervision is essential to scaffolding safety.
  • Respiratory protection: Toxic gases and fumes can make any workplace deadly without proper respiratory protection.
  • Lockout / Tagout : Workers can be killed when servicing equipment that starts unexpectedly. Lockout / tagout practices should be implemented to control the unexpected release of energy in machines.
  • Powered industrial trucks: These include forklifts, order pickers, and stand-up rider lift trucks.
  • Ladders: OSHA requires that ladders are well maintained to prevent structural defects and wear and tear, and that ladders are only used for their intended purpose.
  • Methods of electrical wiring: OSHA has established strict electrical standards to protect workers who are exposed to the dangers of electric shock, electrocution, explosions, and
  • Machine guarding: This general guarding standard also requires that machines are anchored to prevent dangerous movement.
  • General requirements for electrical work: Employers must install and care for equipment as the manufacturer intends.

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Review Commission recently cited two MA contractors for safety violations after a scaffolding accident injured three workers. When the 2014 accident occurred at a Wenham worksite, Daryl Provencher and A.C. Castle Construction Co. Inc. were conducting business as Provencher Home Improvements. As such, OSHA cited the two companies as a single employer.

At the time of the accident, the three employees were working on a ladder jack scaffold. When the plank on which they were working broke, they fell about 20 feet to the ground. An OSHA investigation revealed that the plank was not approved for use on scaffolds; this fact was even stated on the product’s invoice. The investigation turned up additional violations, including a lack of fall protection for workers and deficiencies with other scaffold components. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you have been injured in a work-related accident.

In 2015, due to the common management and worksites of the two companies, OSHA cited Provencher and A.C. Castle as a single employer. Both companies contested their citations and associated penalties. A.C. Castle contended that it was not responsible for worksite safety, as the general contractor. In February 2017, Administrative Law Judge Sharon D. Calhoun ruled that, at the time of inspection, the companies were operating as a single employer. Although A.C. Castle attempted to review the decision, the request was declined by the commission, and on April 17, 2017, the ruling was made final.

Judge Calhoun’s decision cited multiple factors, including instances in which A.C. Castle acted as more than a general contractor. For example, the presence of A.C. Castle signs and the lack of Provencher signs, and A.C. Castle’s ability to fire and discipline employees. In addition, when A.C. Castle applied for building permits, it represented that it had no subcontractors. As a result of these violations, OSHA has fined A.C. Castle $173,500. As Daryl Provencher passed away in 2016, the claims against him have been removed.

“The judge’s decision, now a final order of the commission, upholds OSHA’s findings that A.C. Castle exercised a degree of control and oversight over Provencher’s operations sufficient to render the two a single employer under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, making them responsible as one entity for their employees’ safety,” said the regional solicitor of labor for New England, Michael Felson. A MA work injury lawyer can help if you’ve been harmed due to another’s negligence.

Most Common OSHA Safety Violations in 2016

“Serious” violations are defined as those “in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.” The most common OSHA safety violations change little from year to year. In 2016, the top ten list included:

  • Fall protection
  • Hazard communication
  • Scaffolding
  • Lockout / tagout
  • Respiratory protection
  • Ladders
  • Machine guarding
  • Powered industrial trucks
  • Electrical – wiring methods
  • Fall protection training

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In October 2016, two employees of Atlantic Drain Service Co. Inc. died when the trench they were working in collapsed. The trench was adjacent to a fire hydrant supply line, which broke in the collapse, filling the trench with water and killing Robert Higgins and Kelvin Mattocks.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched an investigation into the incident, and found that Atlantic Drain had failed in its duty to provide safety training and safeguards against collapse. A MA work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you have been injured in a work-related accident.

“The deaths of these two men could have and should have been prevented. Their employer, which previously had been cited by OSHA for the same hazardous conditions, knew what safeguards were needed to protect its employees but chose to ignore that responsibility,” said OSHA’s New England regional administrator, Galen Blanton.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has declared the death of a worker at a Bellingham Massachusetts used auto parts business as preventable, and the result of a lack of proper safety training.

The employee was inflating a tire while working at John’s Used Autos and Parts LLC when he was struck in the head by a “chain come-a-long” device that is used to mount rim wheels onto tires. The incident occurred on Oct. 31, 2016 and the employee perished from his injuries on Nov. 11.

An investigation into the workplace fatality was launched by OSHA’s Braintree office and found that the employer did not:

A contract packaging company based out of Dudley, MA is facing hefty fines from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after their negligence and subsequent actions seriously endangered one of their temporary workers in May of 2016.

On May 26, 2016, an improperly-trained temporary worker for Shield Packaging Co. Inc., which specializes in filling, packaging and shipping products stored in pressurized aerosol cans, was cleaning the filling nozzles along a production line when the equipment unexpectedly turned on, violently piercing his finger with the sharp filling nozzle and “inflating” his arm with pressurized, propellant gas.

The incident alone was gruesome enough, but Shield Packaging truly blundered in their reaction to the horrible accident. The worker’s employers did not even call 911 in the immediate aftermath. The injured employee was the one to initiate a 911 call. After the call was made, the employee was taken in a private vehicle to the hospital where they underwent emergency treatment and was hospitalized.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has found a Cincinnati-based food company to be guilty of multiple safety violations that led to a worker having one of his arms amputated below the elbow after an avoidable accident occurred at their factory.

Klosterman Baking Co. now faces close to $150,000 in citations due to their negligence, which involved not enforcing proper safety precautions in the cleaning and maintenance of their machinery. The 28-year-old employee eventually lost his arm after it was injured while cleaning a machine and a conveyor belt with a compressed air wand.

Even worse, the follow-up OSHA investigation revealed that Klosterman Baking Co. continued to expose its employees to the same risks that wound up severely injuring their employee. Even after somebody was seriously injured, they continued to operate without the proper safety precautions and made no attempts to protect other employees from the same potential harm.

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