Below is the third installment of large OSHA enforcement cases about which OSHA continues to issue no press releases. None. (OSHA did finally issue an “enforcement” press release earlier this week, although that was actually a whistleblower case against Wells Fargo, not a safety or health case.) OSHA has still not issued a single press release about a health and safety enforcement case since January 18.
While most of the largest cases are state plan cases from earlier this year that have only recently been added to the federal OSHA database, there are a couple of federal cases that stand out — and worker safety would have benefited from some publicity. Those cases are a health case for $113,533 and a safety case for $148,192 case against A&D Wood Products from Elida, OH. The health case involved four willful and three repeat violations, while the safety case involved three willful and 14 repeat violations. A&D was put on OSHA’s Severe Violator Program in 2015 after a $65,000 citation and a $67,000 citation, which is why OSHA went back in for these re-inspections. Clearly OSHA did not find much improvement. Shouldn’t the public be aware of a company that continuously breaks the law?
OSHA’s Severe Violator Program was launched in 2010 (and replaced the earlier Enhanced Enforcement Program) in order to “concentrate resources on inspecting employers who have demonstrated indifference to their OSH Act obligations by committing willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.” A list of SVEP “members” can be found here.
Another company that doesn’t seem to get the message is U.S.A Foods, in Dallas Texas. They received a $60,950 citation including 4 repeat violations. U.S.A. Foods had received almost $72,000 in fines for three previous inspections on 2016.
The standout among the state plan cases was at the Danville, VA Goodyear plant that was fined over $965,000 after a the death of William Scheier last fall. Scheier was struck by a machine that had not been locked out. Another $750,000 will be used by the company to fix hazards and train workers. This was the fourth death at the Goodyear Danville plant since August 2016 and received a fair amount of attention:
Lack of proper machine control-devices led to the death of Jeanie Strader, 56. Strader was attempting to straighten part of a machine in August 2015 when the operator turned it on and she became caught.
Six months later, 54-year-old Kevin Waid Edmonds was killed when he became pinned between a wall and a pallet containing rubber.
The fourth fatality occurred on Aug. 12, 2016, and violations in that death were detailed for the first time in Friday’s settlement agreement. William Scheier was adjusting a machine that hadn’t been properly turned off or shut down when it activated and a part struck him, according to a citation.
This list also includes three public sector citations, the Borough of Moonachie in New Jersey, the City of Long Beach, California, Financial Management Bureau Fleet Services and the Newport Mesa School District in California. These are notable because in 24 states, public sector employees are still not covered by OSHA, and have no right to a safe workplace. The Newport Mesa case involved a fatality as a result of a fall from a ladder. Interestingly, the school district was reluctant to share information, which angered a local blogger.
The Long Beach fleet services citation responded to the death of Stevaughn Matthews, 28, an auto-repair worker for the city. Matthews was crushed by a trailer that fell on him.
Also on the list is a $69,300 CalOSHA citation against Bolthouse Farms related to the death of Silvio Jose Beltran Campuzano, a temporary agency employee who “got his arm caught in a piece of machinery,.” and a 51,000 Minnesota OSHA citation again Agassiz Drain after a trench fatality last fall.
A few considerations: The only narrative information that is generally possible to retrieve are for cases that involve fatalities because those are likely to have news articles when the fatality (or catastrophe) occurred. There were no fatality-related citations issued by federal OSHA during this time period.