Repeat Safety Offenders Hit With Severe Penalties

3 contractors are, combined, facing penalties in excess of $800,000 for offences ranging from fatalities to exposing workers to falls.

Alpha Technical Services (ATS) – doing business as Quala Rail and Specialty in Pasadena, Texas – has been hit with $497,920 in penalties, after two employees were fatally overcome by fumes while cleaning a tank trailer.

OSHA investigators determined that one employee became unresponsive after entering the trailer’s confined space. After a non-entry retrieval system used to rescue the worker failed, several employees entered the tank in an attempted rescue when a second employee became unresponsive.

OSHA cited ATS for a willful and two repeat violations for confined space hazards, including failing to conduct appropriate tests to ensure atmospheric conditions were safe for entry.

OSHA states that employers must recognize the dangers of assigning work in confined spaces, and properly identify, test, control, and ventilate the atmosphere to ensure the safety of workers. 

In the second fatality case, an employee was struck by a piece of wood while attempting to clear a jammed machine.

Lumber and flooring manufacturer, Miller & Co. Inc. faces $218,192 in penalties for failing to protect employees from struck-by hazards after a worker was fatally injured at the company’s Selma, Alabama, facility.

OSHA cited the company for failing to lockout equipment prior to beginning maintenance, ensure machines were properly guarded, and train employees on lockout/tagout procedures.

OSHA reports that Miller & Co. had developed an alternative energy control procedure for clearing equipment jams after an employee suffered an amputation in 2018, but the company failed to implement the procedure.

OSHA has cited Jerry Turnbaugh – a roofing contractor based in Dublin, Ohio – for exposing employees to falls at three separate residential home sites in Pickerington, Ohio. Turnbaugh faces penalties of $148,430 for five willful safety violations.

OSHA opened all three inspections under the local emphasis program for falls:

  • On May 7, 2020, inspectors observed employees working on a residential roof without adequate fall protection.
  • On June 3, 2020, and June 22, 2020, inspectors again observed company crews exposed to fall hazards while working on separate residential home sites.

OSHA cited the company for failing to provide appropriate fall protection, train employees to recognize and minimize fall hazards, and develop safety programs.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.