Fatality in Ohio, Ammonia Leak in Alabama Prompt OSHA Action

OSHA has cited Lorain, Ohio-based Republic Engineering Products Inc. for alleged willful, serious and repeated workplace safety violations following the agency's investigation of a Jan. 27 fatality.

In the incident that led to the OSHA investigation, a worker who was attempting to rig several bundled bars to an overhead crane was struck by two of the nearly 500-pound bars when they were unexpectedly ejected from a conveyor adjacent to the work area.

OSHA issued citations for one alleged willful violation, two alleged serious and one alleged repeat violation of workplace health and safety standards primarily involving a lack of machine guarding and failure to protect workers from loads suspended overhead.

Republic has been the subject of four previous inspections since January 2004, including one that resulted in nine citations for violations of OSHA standards. Among items cited in the earlier inspection were several related to machine guarding.

Alabama Firm Cited After Ammonia Leak

OSHA has cited Cutler at Abbeville LLC for alleged safety and health violations at the company's Abbeville, Ala., egg processing facility. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $81,500.

OSHA began an inspection on Jan. 19, the day after an ammonia leak caused a plant-wide evacuation.

"This company lacked comprehensive management programs to train employees, identify hazardous chemicals and plan for unexpected ammonia releases," said Ken Atha, OSHA's Mobile area director.

OSHA issued one willful citation to Cutler, with a proposed penalty of $36,000, for allegedly failing to conduct a process safety management audit to ensure employees were protected from chemical hazards, as required by OSHA regulations.

The company received another willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $5,000, for allegedly charging employees for required personal protective equipment under their hearing conservation program.

OSHA issued 20 additional serious citations, with proposed penalties totaling $40,500. Cited items included allegedly failing to:

  • Implement engineering controls to reduce noise levels;
  • Inform employees when their hearing levels changed and re-train them in the proper use of hearing protection devices;
  • Label pipes carrying chemicals;
  • Provide employees with personal protective equipment during the ammonia leak; and
  • Provide an adequate lockout-tagout program.

Jacksonville Contractor Cited for Fall Hazards

OSHA cited E. C. Kenyon Construction Co. Inc. for allegedly failing to protect employees from fall hazards at a Jacksonville, Fla., job site. Proposed penalties total $50,000.

"OSHA conducted an inspection at the Park Street site on June 23, after being alerted that workers were exposed to fall hazards, a leading cause of construction fatalities in Florida," said James Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville area director.

The company received one willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $44,000, for allegedly directing an employee to work from a suspended scaffold without fall protection equipment, such as an independent lifeline.

The contractor also was cited for allegedly exposing workers to falls while framing window openings inside the building, which was being renovated. This repeat citation has a proposed penalty of $6,000.

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