Wednesday, February 8, 2017

12 repeated and two serious violations....

Governmental safety organizations are tasked to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. Many companies in our industry far exceed the minimum standards that their relevant government organizations require. The Aluminium Plant Safety Blog has posted stories involving fines levied by government safety organizations. Here is a story from 2016 that we failed to post last year. Regardless, we hope our readers will take this information and review their facilities for these hazards noted in this story.

A federal workplace safety and health inspection found workers exposed to the risks of amputation, hearing loss and respiratory damage at aluminium foundry in the USA due to same hazards identified by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration at the foundry in 2012.

In June, 2016, OSHA issued the foundry 12 repeated and two serious violations, and one other-than-serious violation. The violations, found during the agency's January 2016 follow-up inspection, carry penalties of €134,000.

"(The Foundry) continues to maintain an environment where employees are exposed to serious noise, dangerous machinery and debilitating respiratory hazards," said the area director of OSHA's office. "The company needs to re-evaluate its safety and health programs and ensure workers are provided the training and equipment necessary to protect them from injury and illness on the job."

OSHA's follow-up inspection found the employer:

  • Allowed a machine to operate without safety guards.
  • Failed to review procedures to prevent unintentional operation of machinery during service and maintenance periodically for accuracy.
  • Allowed multiple violations of respiratory protection standards, such as not providing fit testing and medical evaluations for employees.
  • Did not train workers about noise hazards or evaluate them annually for occupational exposure to noise.
  • Allowed the use of devices not capable of lifting loads within the rated capacity.
  • Failed to train employees on hazardous chemicals used in the facility.
  • Did not require workers to wear required personal protective equipment, including head and face protection.
  • Allowed the use of damaged personal protective equipment.
  • Did not close electrical openings and junction boxes as required.

The foundry had 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The Aluminium Plant Safety Blog hopes that this aluminium foundry corrects all the items listed above. Almost every hazard cited the APSB has sadly posted an incident involving an injury or fatality. Some of the items listed above could have resulted from a failure to record their daily activities. For example, when the editors of the APSB visit a facility and provide training we always request that our meetings/presentations are documented. That way there is a paper record of the training we provided to the aluminium company.

The hazard of excessive noise in our industry is universal throughout every type of plant in our industry. This company was cited for “not train(ing) workers about noise hazards or evaluate them annually for occupational exposure to noise.” The Aluminium Times magazine recently had an article about excessive noise hazards:

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