Nearly $180K in penalties proposed

iStock Sawmill SawHomerville, Georgia – OSHA initiated an investigation of the Dupont Yard Inc. facilities in October 2014, after receiving a complaint alleging safety hazards. As a result of the investigation, OSHA issued 14 citations, including eight repeated violations, to the employer for not keeping the floors and walkways free of debris, exposing workers to falls due to missing guardrails, as well as shock and burn hazards from uncovered wiring in junction boxes and electrical panels, and not providing workers with forklift training. Additionally, the employer was cited for not training employees to operate fire extinguishers and exposing workers to unguarded machine parts while the machines were in operation. Proposed penalties of $179,388 were levied against the company.

Dupont Yard manufactures posts for agricultural projects and highway construction and also produces timber and wood chips.

Since 2010, Dupont has received 47 citations for safety hazards at its Homerville, Georgia facility. The company has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities or job sites.

“Every day, Dupont Yard employees are being put at risk of serious injury, including amputations, burns or blindness, and in some cases even death,” said Robert Vazzi, director of OSHA’s Savannah Area Office. “Management’s continual disregard for safety standards is endangering workers, and as long as this is happening, OSHA will hold employers’ accountable for providing a safe and healthful workplace.”

View the citations here:

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iStock_000011040755SmallMany workers and their employers do not fully understand that tobacco use in their work­places can increase — sometimes profoundly — the likelihood and/or the severity of occupational disease and injury caused by other hazards present. This can occur in various ways. A toxic industrial chemical present in the workplace can also be present in tobacco products and/or tobacco smoke, so workers who smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoke (SHS) are more highly exposed and placed at greater risk of the occupational disease as­sociated with those chemicals.

For the past half century, public health efforts to prevent disease caused by tobacco use have been underway, but more still needs to be done to achieve a society free of tobacco-related death and disease. Marking 50 years since the first Surgeon General’s Report on the health consequences of smoking, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released new scientific information about the occupational hazards of smoking in a bulletin entitled Promoting Health and Preventing Disease and Injury through Workplace Tobacco Policies.

Issues addressed in the bulletin include:

  • Tobacco use among workers.
  • Occupational health and safety concerns relating to tobacco use by workers.
  • Existing occupational safety and health regulations and recommendations prohibiting or limiting tobacco use in the workplace.
  • Hazards of worker exposure to SHS in the workplace.
  • Interventions aimed at eliminating or reducing these hazards.
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Lenovo3LARGEName of product:  ThinkPad Notebook Computer Battery Packs

Recall Number:  15-117

Recall Date:  April 21, 2015

Hazard:  The battery packs can overheat, posing a fire hazard.

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately turn off their ThinkPad notebook computer, remove the battery pack and contact Lenovo for a free replacement battery pack.  Consumers can continue to use their ThinkPad notebook without the battery pack by plugging in the AC adapter and power cord.

Consumer Contact:  Lenovo at (800) 426-7378 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at and select Support at the top of the page, then click on the link to the recall page in the News and Alerts section at the bottom right of the page for more information.

Units:  About 148,800 in the United States and 17,700 in Canada (About 34,500 in the United States and 2,900 in Canada were recalled in March 2014.)

Description:  This recall involves Lenovo battery packs sold with the following ThinkPad notebook computers: the Edge 11, 13, 14, 15, 120, 125, 320, 325, 420, 425, 430, 520, 525 and 530 series; the L412, L420/421, L512 and L520 series; the T410, T420, T510 and T520 series; the W510 and W520 series; and the X100e, X120e, X121e, X130e, X200, X200s, X201, X201s, X220 and X220t series.

The battery packs were also sold separately. The black battery packs measure between 8 to 11 inches long, 1 to 3 inches wide and about 1 inch high. Recalled battery packs have one of the following part numbers starting with the fourth digit in a long series of numbers and letters printed on a white sticker below the bar code on the battery pack: 42T4695, 42T4711, 42T4740, 42T4798, 42T4804, 42T4812, 42T4816, 42T4822, 42T4826, 42T4828, 42T4834, 42T4840, 42T4862, 42T4868, 42T4874, 42T4880, 42T4890, 42T4944, 42T4948, 42T4954, 42T4958, 45N1022 and 45N1050.

Incidents/Injuries:  Lenovo has received four reports of incidents of battery packs overheating and damaging the computers, battery packs and surrounding property. One incident included a consumer’s skin being reddened and burn marks on the consumer’s clothing.

Sold at:  Computer and electronics stores, authorized dealers nationwide, and online at from February 2010 through June 2012 for between $350 and $3,000 when sold as part of ThinkPad notebook computers. The battery packs were also sold separately for between $80 and $150.

Importer(s):  Lenovo Inc., of Morrisville, N.C.

Manufactured in:  China

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Staffing company fails to train temporary workers in safety procedures

Work AccidentCHICAGO – Left unguarded, dangerous machines with moving parts cause hundreds of thousands of workers to suffer finger, hand or foot amputations and other serious injuries each year in the United States. Despite these dangers, one Chicago-based manufacturer has repeatedly ignored the risks and has been found in violation of safety and health standards four times in the last five years.

Edsal Manufacturing Co. was inspected again in September 2014 by OSHA investigators and cited for five repeated and 16 serious violations, including electrical hazards and failing to train workers in forklift operations and machine hazards. Edsal faces proposed penalties of $294,300 and has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“When a machine lacks safety features, one slip and a worker can lose a hand,” said Kathy Webb, area director of OSHA’s Calumet City office. “With stakes this high, Edsal Manufacturing must ensure the safety and health of its 1,200 employees. This company has shown, time and time again, it does not take worker safety seriously. That attitude needs to change.”

Responding to a complaint, agency investigators saw workers endangered by machine hazards. While operating mechanical power presses, workers were exposed to unguarded foot pedals, point of operation and chains and sprockets. The inspection resulted in five repeated violations. Edsal Manufacturing was cited for similar violations at this same facility in 2010 and 2012. The company also failed to store pallets of paint properly; provide training to workers on hazardous chemicals in the workplace; maintain fire extinguishers; inspect cranes periodically for safety issues; and provide welding screens and eye protection. Electrical safety hazards and lack of training were also noted. A total of 16 serious safety and health violations were issued.

OSHA has also cited KG Payroll & Staffing Services Corp., which provides temporary labor to the plant, for failing to train workers on personnel protective equipment needed for the job and the potential hazards of chemicals used in the facility. The company has a contract with Edsal Manufacturing to provide training for any temporary workers it assigns to the plant. The Berwyn company was issued two serious safety violations with proposed penalties of $11,000.

View the current citations at:

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Discount chain retailer has history of OSHA violations

iStock_000017378933XSmallBOWDON, Georgia – Dollar General Corp. has been cited again by OSHA, this time for four repeated safety violations found in a December 2014 inspection of the Bowdon store at 203 Wedowee Street. OSHA initiated the inspection after receiving a complaint and has proposed penalties of $83,050.

Dollar General stores around the country have received more than 40 citations after more than 70 OSHA inspections since 2009. The violations typically found include blocked exits and electrical panels and improperly maintained fire extinguishers.

“Dollar General has been repeatedly cited for blocked exits and electrical panels in stores around the country, but we continue to find these hazards. This appears to be an example of a corporation not sharing safety information with all its entities and employees,” said Christi Griffin, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-West Area Office. “The company needs to address these issues at its locations immediately.”

Repeated citations were issued for the employer failing to ensure that exit doors were unlocked and exit routes and electrical access panels were not blocked by merchandise, display racks or supplies. Store management also failed to have portable fire extinguishers inspected annually.

A repeated violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. This employer was previously cited for these same violations in 2014 and 2010.

With headquarters in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Dollar General is a discount retailer with more than 100,000 employees nationwide. Workers are typically engaged in stocking shelves and selling merchandise.

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OSHA cites company for 2 willful, 4 repeat, 12 serious safety violations

welderBARRON, Wisconsin – Once again, workers were exposed to dangerous amputation hazards while fabricating metal products because safety mechanisms were not in place at Koser Iron Works Inc. During an October 2014 inspection, OSHA inspectors found two willful, four repeated and 12 serious safety violations, including lack of training and personal protective equipment. The agency has proposed fines of $102,180 for the Barron-based company, a  facility that primarily cuts, forms and welds steel and steel products.

“Workers pay the price when companies fail to follow safety standards,” said Mark Hysell, OSHA’s area director in Eau Claire. “Machine hazards are among the most frequently cited by OSHA. All manufacturers should examine their procedures to ensure they are in compliance. It takes seconds for a worker to be severely injured, but often a lifetime to recover.”

While Koser employees made die changes on punch presses, the company failed to use energy control procedures, including powering off and affixing locking devices to prevent unintentional operation of a press. The company also failed to ensure safety mechanisms were in place on its power presses and lathes. Similar hazards were found in a 2013 investigation after a complaint prompted an inspection at the same facility.

Inspectors also found that lift truck operators were not trained before operating equipment, a violation also noted in 2013, which produced a second repeated violation. OSHA issues repeated violations if an employer was previously cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the past five years.

Workers were also found to be exposed to explosion and fire hazards because Koser failed to store flammable liquids properly; electrical equipment and lift trucks were not approved for areas with flammable atmospheres; and the company failed to install a required ventilation system in the storage room.

Koser Iron Works also failed to ensure the use of eye protection or to evaluate employees medically before they used respirators. Damaged welding and electrical equipment were also noted. In total, 12 serious violations were issued.

To view the current citations, visit

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Proposed penalties exceed $49,000

iStock_000002377862XSmallIn October 2014, OSHA initiated an inspection of the main post office in Des Moines after receiving an employee complaint alleging that unsafe forklifts were being used at the facility. OSHA issued one repeated and two serious safety violations involving standards for powered industrial vehicles, tugs and forklifts being the most commonly used.

“The Postal Service has a responsibility to make sure equipment is maintained in good working order,” said Larry Davidson, OSHA’s area director in Des Moines. “Each year hundreds of workers are injured after being hit by forklifts. Having operating lights and other safety equipment helps to prevent such incidents.”

OSHA’s investigation found one forklift and two tugs were operating without such functioning flashing lights. OSHA previously cited the same facility for this violation in 2010. OSHA issues repeated violations when an employer has been previously cited for the same or a similar violation in the past five years.

Two serious violations were cited for failing to make repairs on a forklift and to remove it from service until fully functioning.

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R+L Carriers faces $86,900 in penalties for serious violations

iStock_000018872028_ExtraSmallBRIDGEPORT, Connecticut – Employees at a Wallingford freight shipping terminal faced dangerous chemical, fire and explosion hazards on October 6, 2014, as they tried to contain a highly flammable and explosive chemical spill without proper training and personal protective equipment, OSHA investigators have determined.

As a result of these conditions, OSHA found two repeated and four serious violations of workplace safety standards by R+L Carriers Shared Services LLC. The company faces $86,900 in proposed fines. The repeated violations stem from similar hazards cited by OSHA during a 2011 inspection of an R+L terminal in Chicago.

“These workers were essentially defenseless. They did not know how to evaluate the hazards involved, what personal protective equipment to use and what steps to follow to contain the spill safely. Worse, no one present at the terminal did,” said Robert Kowalski, OSHA’s area director in Bridgeport. “These deficiencies in emergency response* by R+L Carriers put its employees at risk of death or serious injury.”

The investigation determined a forklift was being used to move a pallet of tetrahydrofuran, a highly flammable liquid with a flash point of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, from one truck to another when a 55-gallon drum containing the liquid was punctured accidentally. The chemical began leaking through the truck bed to the ground. R+L employees attempted to contain the spill with sorbent material beneath the truck and by cordoning off the area. OSHA investigators found that Wallingford terminal’s management lacked an emergency response plan and had not trained employees as first responders.

Management also did not evaluate the hazards associated with tetrahydrofuran; failed to provide the responding employees with appropriate respiratory protection and personal protective equipment; and did not have a qualified person on-site to oversee the response. The terminal’s emergency action plan also did not include procedures for timely reporting of emergency events. It was also noted that employees had not been briefed on updates to the plan. Finally, the forklift that punctured the drum was not operated properly.

R+L Carriers is a nationwide freight shipping company of 9,000 employees headquartered in Wilmington, Ohio; 45 work at the Wallingford terminal.


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Kansas City, Missouri, store receives 11 violations

iStock_000001167898SmallKANSAS CITY, Missouri – A worker alleging the existence of asbestos, mold and hygiene hazards led to an inspection of an Advance Auto Parts store in Kansas City, where OSHA found one repeat and 10 serious safety and health violations with fines of $60,000.

“Exposure to asbestos is a dangerous workplace issue that can cause loss of lung function and cancer, among other serious health effects. When Advance Auto uses an older building with presumed asbestos-containing material, such as floor tiles, it has a responsibility to conduct periodic air monitoring and must post warning signs for workers,” said Barbara Theriot, OSHA’s area director in Kansas City. “The company also has a responsibility to maintain the building in a sanitary and safe manner. OSHA found persistent flooding, which caused mold growth and created lower-level slip and fall hazards. This is unacceptable.”

OSHA inspectors tested bulk samples of furnace room floor tiles and found they contained 3 percent chrysotile, a form of asbestos. Sample air monitoring did not detect asbestos fibers circulating in the heating and air conditioning system. However, particles could become airborne from deteriorating tiles and persistent flooding, a consistent issue throughout the building.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber used in some building materials before its health dangers were discovered. Asbestos fibers are invisible and can be inhaled into the lungs unknowingly. Inhaled fibers can then become embedded in the lungs.

Inspectors also found electrical safety violations and blocked exit routes at the store, resulting in the 10 serious violations. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

OSHA also noted a repeated violation for failing to provide inspectors with injury and illness logs. Based in Roanoke, Virginia, Advance Auto Parts was previously cited for this violation in a Delaware, Ohio, store in 2010 and a Lakeland, Florida, store in 2011. OSHA issues repeated violations if an employer was cited previously for the same or a similar violation within the last five years.

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OSHA cites Hussmann Corp. for 3 willful, 12 serious violations

iStock_000023698673XSmallBRIDGETON, Missouri – A 58-year-old maintenance worker was killed after he was pinned between a scrap metal table and a railing at Hussmann Corp.’s Bridgeton facility.  An investigation by OSHA found the company failed to prevent the table from lowering unintentionally. As a result, Hussmann received three willful and 12 serious safety violations after the September 2014 incident. The company was also placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“This tragic loss could have been prevented,” said Bill McDonald, OSHA’s area director in St. Louis. “OSHA inspectors found workers at risk of life-threatening hazards because Hussmann Corp. failed to train its workforce to prevent unintentional operation of dangerous machinery. This company needs to fix safety procedure deficiencies, so no other family is forced to suffer.”

OSHA cited Hussmann Corp. for three willful violations for not placing devices on machinery to prevent the sudden startup or movement of equipment during service and maintenance. The company also failed to correct numerous problems related to its lockout/tagout procedures, such as using electronic gate switches as a substitute for an energy-isolating device.

Hussmann Corp. also failed to train workers on safety procedures and lacked effective safeguards for moving parts on machinery. Inspectors identified unsafe practices related to powered industrial trucks, including allowing employees to work under a load held aloft by the vehicle, exposing them to crushed-by hazards. OSHA also discovered electrical safety hazards involving cabinets that were not closed properly to prevent contact with energized wires and using damaged electrical cables. In total, OSHA cited the company for 12 serious violations and has proposed penalties of $272,250.

To view current citations, visit

Hussmann Corp. employs about 5,000 workers worldwide and 580 at its headquarters in Bridgeton. The company’s products include refrigerated and non-refrigerated display merchandisers, specialty display cases, self-contained display cases, LED lighting, glass doors and lids, refrigeration systems and other related products.

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