The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has completed its investigation into a February 2022 incident when a worker suffered serious arm burns at International Cushioning Company in Fremont, Ohio. During the incident, the worker was removing polyethylene foam from an extruding machine when a fire started. A static discharge ignited a release of gas. As a result, heated foam melted on the workers arm.
The OSHA investigation found that the “industrial fans positioned on the foam line were not properly rated for use in hazardous atmospheres, and that the employer failed to provide workers with spark-resistant hand tools – violations that exposed workers to potential ignition hazards.” Following the investigation, OSHA issued multiple citations. OSHA found numerous regulations were violated, including the following:
- 29 CFR 1910.22(a)(1): The employer did not ensure that all places of employment, passageways, storerooms, service rooms, and walking-working surfaces are kept in a clean, orderly, and sanitary condition.
- 29 CFR 1910.22(a)(2): The employer did not ensure that the floor of each workroom is maintained in a clean and, to the extent feasible, in a dry condition. The employer did not ensure that when wet processes are used, drainage is maintained and, to the extent feasible, dry standing places, such as false floors, platforms, and mats are provided.
- 29 CFR 1910.95(c)(1):The employer did not administer a continuing, effective hearing conservation program as described in 29 CFR 1910.95(c) through (o) whenever employee noise exposures equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average sound level of 85 decibels measured on the A scale, or equivalently a dose of fifty percent.
- 29 CFR 1910.119(d)(3)(i)(C):Information pertaining to the equipment in the process did not include the electrical classification.
- 29 CFR 1910.119(d)(3)(i)(D): Information pertaining to the equipment in the process did not include relief system design and design basis.
- 29 CFR 1910.119(j)(2): The employer did not establish written procedures to maintain the on-going integrity of process equipment.
- 29 CFR 1910.119(n): The employer did not implement an emergency plan for the entire plant in accordance with the provisions of 29 CFR 1910.38.
- 29 CFR 1910.110(b)(17)(ii): Open flames or other sources of ignition were permitted in pumphouses, container charging rooms, or other similar locations.
- 29 CFR 1910.132(a): Protective equipment was not used when necessary whenever hazards capable of causing injury and impairment were encountered.
- 29 CFR 1910.136(a): The employer did not ensure that each affected employee used protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, or when the use of protective footwear will protect the affected employee from an electrical hazard, such as a static-discharge or electric-shock hazard, that remains after the employer takes other necessary protective measures.
- 29 CFR 1910.176(a): Aisle(s) and passageway(s) were not kept clear and in good repair with no obstruction across or in aisles that could create a hazard.
OSHA has proposed penalties totaling $177,950.00.
Workers face risks and hazards that must be planned for before work begins. It goes without saying that safe companies must have adequate policies and procedures to protect their workers. It is not just workers who are at risk, but also members of the public or employees of other companies. Of course, adequate training of workers is also required.
Our experienced lawyers have handled personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits of all kinds and have the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously injured in an industrial fire. The experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident at a plant.
Our lawyers have represented numerous workers who have sustained serious and catastrophic injuries on a job site as a result of the negligence of another party. There are strict and short time limits on making claims, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your legal rights.