Reducing Risk, Protecting People

OSHA’s Fatal Citations from January 2023

Posted by Clarion Safety Systems | 8th Feb 2023

Every month, OSHA recaps their impactful regional and national safety violation citations from across workplaces. Many of these breaches in safety procedure result in serious worker and operator injuries or death, and are almost always preventable with the right safeguards and procedures.

This month, to help you stay informed and focus on prevention, we’re highlighting 2023’s January safety citations that related to severe burns and chemicals, hazardous electrical exposures, and machinery guarding issues.

Avoidable Electrical Safety Violations
This past month, two significant fatal citations by OSHA were made regarding arc flash and arc blast exposure, and electrocution. In regards to the fatal arc flash explosion, this was caused as a maintenance employee placed the equipment back in place in an underground electrical vault. The company responsible for the employee was found to NOT do the following:

  1. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations for the equipment
  2. Make a reasonable estimate of the heat energy that employees could be exposed to in the possible event of an arc flash
  3. Adequately train employees on electrical equipment hazards
  4. Provide rescue equipment
  5. Test oxygen levels in the enclosed space before entering

Those responsible for the other electrocution death were cited because they failed to train the employee on proper de-energizing procedures to prevent an automatic startup and not conducting the proper hazard risk assessments for the correct PPE. These lapses in safety could have been avoided with proper risk assessments and visible instructions, none of which were enacted here. Both of these citations occurred late last month, in January 2023, and continue to set a precedent of expectations for those conducting business with electrical work.

Injury Prevention with Machine Guarding
A severe and once again fatal citation posted last month was a machinery entanglement incident that occurred due to a variety of safety violations. The manufacturing company responsible for this operator’s death was found by OSHA to willfully violate the following:

  1. Absence of adequate machine guarding
  2. Not using lockout/tagout producers during maintenance
  3. Not training workers on lockout/tagout procedure
  4. Exposing workers to slip and fall hazards from fluid leaks from the same machinery

According to OSHA, this was all started off by a lack of proper training, with the cause of operator death coming from duct tape being placed over the machine’s safety interlock which prevented the machine from shutting down in the emergency where the operator was stuck inside.

Burn and Chemical Hazards in all Environments
Last month, OSHA cited several deadly burn-related incidents that occurred, which align with this week being Burn Hazard Awareness Week. This year’s awareness event focuses on scalding burns and, at several companies, severe steam explosions caused extreme scald injuries and a death. These were preventable occurrences that have been cited before and happened due to a lack of employee training and not providing at risk workers with adequate PPE for working around molten materials.

Another avoidable death that was officially investigated and cited in January was that of a worker transporting dry ice. This was an incident where, according to OSHA, the worker died due to improper training on handling from several workers, not being able to close the container in which the ice was stored, resulting in asphyxiation during the transport. In addition to this, the company was also found to not have developed or put in use a written hazard communication program, or develop and provide safety data sheets (SDS) for hazardous chemicals.

Minimizing and Preventing Hazardous Situations
Many, if not all, of these recent citations could have been prevented if the proper safety protocols were in place. These maintenance personnel and operators were all found to be deprived of the proper basic safety training and PPE materials to keep them safe. Violations like these happen again and again, even though the citations often look the same, mainly due to a lack of proper hazardous risk assessments and updating your visual warnings and instructions.

Keep in mind that our team at Clarion Safety is here to provide much more than just your safety labels, tags, and signage. You can rely on us to help with:

  • A Holistic Approach To Machinery Safety: Together, we can look at your product safety program as a whole, whether that means focusing on the labels you use across a product or product lines – or taking an even wider approach, as we offer services for OEMs and machine builders, like product risk assessments, manual audits/writing, and CE/UKCA/UKNI mark compliance. Not sure where to start? Try a safety label assessment. You’ll get personalized optimization opportunities for your warnings – free of change, with no strings attached.
  • Workplace Safety Services for Machine Users: In addition to services for machine builders, noted above, we offer machine safety and compliance services for machine users. This includes risk assessment programs and machine safeguarding, functional safety/control reliability, and specialized training for EH&S professionals. Our TUV-certified safety engineers specialize in OSHA, ANSI, NFPA, RIA, and ISO/EN – and are ready to help today!

If you have questions, contact our team now!

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