OSHA’s Most “Interesting” Cases

Source: National Safety Council

OSHA presented a list of some of its most interesting cases over the past three years at the 2018 NSC Congress and Expo in Houston this week.

The cases included:

  • An employee sustaining a third-degree burn on his foot after slipping on a tank;
  • A temporary worker having a mixture of butane and propane injected into his finger and arm; and
  • A platform system failure high above one of Miami’s busiest streets.

As reported in Safety + Health, the Congress’s official magazine, Janelle Madzia, an OSHA compliance officer from the Cleveland area office, gave another example that involved a plating company employee who was burned and missed months of work after slipping and momentarily dipping his foot into a tank containing a strong acid (pH of less than 1) that was about 170° F.

The company’s only method of clearing equipment jams on one of its production lines was to have employees climb on top of the tanks. Even though similar incidents of slips and falls into tanks had occurred since the 1980s, the company contended that all other engineering controls were not feasible.

“They just went back to their old ways until an injury would occur again,” Madzia said.

The company had 16 injuries related to slipping and tripping into tanks in its OSHA 300 logs from 2011 to 2015, Madzia said. It was hit with 11 serious violations, one willful and another with fines totaling more than $250,000.

In the end, the company took “a number of corrective actions,” including improved fall protection and a personal protective equipment vending machine that included chemical-resistant gloves.

“Correct the hazard when it’s identified,” said Madzia, reviewing the lessons of the case. “Listen to employee concerns. Review OSHA 300 logs and look for patterns. Audit health and safety programs, procedures, policies and the facility.”

Lockout/Tagout Standard violations totaled 2,944 in fiscal year 2018, according to preliminary data from OSHA.

The Congress ends on Friday, Oct 26.