Safety and OSHA News

Top 10 OSHA fines of 2017 (plus one big reversal)

Some thought a Republican administration in the White House would lead to lower OSHA fines. Our 2017 recap shows that’s not the case.  

In the last 12 months, OSHA issued several fines to companies well over $1 million.

Here’s Safety News Alert’s list of the top 10 OSHA fines of 2017:

  1. Aluminum Shapes LLC, Delair, NJ, $1,922,895. OSHA found two employees of this company had been hospitalized in separate incidents. Now, Aluminum Shapes faces 51 safety and health violations. The first incident occurred when employees entered a tank to drain it. Workers experienced chemical burns. The second incident occurred when a machine operator broke his pelvis after being caught between unguarded moving parts of a machine.
  2. Didion Milling, Cambria, WI, $1,837,861. Following an explosion that killed five employees, OSHA issued 14 willful and 5 serious citations to this company. OSHA attributed the explosion to a buildup of combustible dust.
  3. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Danville, VA, $1,750,000. The company agreed to pay the fine in connection with four separate incidents at its plant that claimed the lives of four workers. The agreement laid out a process to eliminate numerous hazards identified in 11 inspections during an 18-month period.
  4. Great White Construction Inc., Jacksonville, FL, $1,523,710. At two construction sites, OSHA observed employees working without using proper fall protection. The company faces 14 violations.
  5. Atlantic Drain Service Co. Inc., Boston, $1,475,813. An unprotected trench collapsed, then a nearby fire hydrant instantly flooded the excavation with water. Two men met their deaths in Boston that way, and now their employer faces 18 willful, repeat, serious and other-than-serious violations.
  6. Chevron, Richmond, CA, $1,000,000. Chevron agreed to pay the fine in a settlement with California regarding the August 2012 Richmond Refinery fire. The company will also spend at least $20 million upgrading equipment and procedures beyond what’s required by state regulations.
  7. Arrow Plumbing LLC, Kansas City, MO, $714,142. An Arrow employee died on Dec. 15, 2016, in a trench collapse. One month later, OSHA found another Arrow employee working in a similarly unprotected trench at another job site. OSHA issued 14 violations.
  8. Fraser Shipyards, Superior, WI, $700,000. Fraser had been fined $1.39 million after OSHA found workers had lead levels up to 20 times the allowed exposure limit. It settled for about half that amount. The company also agrees to establish a safety management plan, work directly with OSHA for three years, and undergo two independent health and safety audits over the next two years.
  9. Autoneum North America Inc., Oregon, OH, $569,463. A man lost part of his arm due to machine hazard violations, according to OSHA. Autoneum was issued five violations.
  10. Marshall Pottery Inc., Marshall, TX, $545,160. This company reached a settlement with OSHA following the death of an assistant plant manager inside a kiln. OSHA said failure to abide by lockout/tagout and confined space regulations resulted in the death.

While gathering the information for this summary from Safety News Alert’s 2017 posts, this $2.38 million fine popped up. But in this case, it was thrown out.

A judge vacated the fines against the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, WA. The judge of the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals said the Washington Department of Labor and Industries didn’t make its case to issue 45 violations (39 willful) and the highest workplace safety fine in the agency’s history for the explosion that killed seven workers. L&I is appealing the decision.

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