Free Whitepaper: “10 Tips To Implementing A Lockout / Tagout Program”

Lock out tag out program

10 Tips to Implementing a Lockout/Tagout Program

Your LOTO program must address the hazards that workers face when they place any part of their body near a machine’s point of operation, power transmission apparatus, pinch points, or other moving parts during maintenance and servicing activities. If the machine is not properly shut down and secured, it could unexpectedly start up, release stored energy, move, or cycle, causing crushing injuries, amputations, or even fatal injuries. A well-designed LOTO program can prevent these injuries.

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Man Confirmed Dead In Grain Bin Accident In Genoa, Illinois – May 5, 2014 – [Raw Video]

 

Emergency crews pulled the body of a 73-year-old man from a grain bin on an Illinois farm Monday afternoon after a frantic rescue effort.

Around 1 p.m., authorities had begun emptying the grain bin at Madey Farms in Genoa after reports that a man may be stuck inside.

Several hours later, crews removed the body from the grain bin and placed it in a waiting ambulance. Authorities later confirmed that he had died.

DeKalb County Police said a family member found the man’s truck next to the full, 10,000- to 12,000-bushel bin but couldn’t locate him.

He had been working on the bin because it was reportedly clogged, police said.

The 73-year-old man reportedly worked on the Genoa-Kingston Fire Department for several years.

Genoa is located about 25 miles east of Rockford, Illinois.

Crane Collapses While Lifting Precast Wall, Killing Worker In The Woodlands, Texas

 

KTRK TV Report

Chopper Footage

Reporter: Demond Fernandez

A construction worker who was using a crane to lift a large cement wall was killed after that crane collapsed. It happened at the old Garden Ridge on I-45 near The Woodlands which was destroyed by an arsonist last October.

Crews worked all afternoon to lift the large crane from its side. The operator had been trapped in the machine’s cab for several hours.

It’s a disturbing image of a crane toppled over that had a group of worried spectators watching and waiting several hours for help at a construction site near The Woodlands.

Sgt. Joe Smart with the Conroe Police Department said, “It looks like it pinned the cab where the operator sits under the weight of the crane.”

Emergency workers who rushed to the scene couldn’t immediately rescue the crane operator, who has been identified as Luis Ruiz. Police say the man was among a group of contractors on this site rebuilding the Garden Ridge that burned down last year.

Deena Nicholson of The Woodlands said, “It’s really, really sad. It just seems like help is taking so long.”

Eyewitnesses told police something just went wrong.

“It looks like he was lifting one of these concrete walls to begin construction of this building, and I’m told it was the first wall of the new building,” said Sgt. Smart.

The crane operator was trapped inside the cab for nearly five hours before help finally arrived. Police say they were waiting for large trucks and heavy equipment to lift the machine. As for the crane operator, sadly investigators say this accident appears to be tragic.

Family members tell me the operator’s been in construction for about 40 years. They call him a devoted husband and father.

OSHA Investigators were headed to the scene to investigate.

Source: KTRK

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Grand jury indicts executives over workplace accident including EHS Manager

A Butler County grand jury has indicted United Oil Recovery Services Inc. and several of its employees on criminal charges in the death of a worker at the company’s Middletown facility.

The indictments — an unusual move that worries some local attorneys — was announced Wednesday in a statement from the Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray’s office, which is prosecuting the case at the request of the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office.

United Oil and David Weber, the company’s environmental health and safety manager, were charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, violation of wastewater permit, deviation from pre-treatment permit and criminal endangering. Company President David Brown and Plant Manager Jay Black are each charged with one count of criminal endangering.

Bob Dunlevey Jr., senior managing partner with Dayton-based law firm Dunlevey, Mahan & Furry, said the case also could be part of a political statement.

“Our firm emphasizes labor and employment law, and I’ve been doing it for 35 years, and I can’t think of more than a few cases where there has actually been a criminal indictment (similar to this),” Dunlevey said. “Granted, the attorney general has the authority to do this, but I never see the attorney general doing this. This is an eye-opener. Is this the start of a trend of our attorney general? It’s a concern.”

The charges stem from an incident in Middletown on June 21, 2008, where wastewater was allegedly being improperly treated using sodium hydrosulfide. As a result, a chemical reaction took place and lethal doses of hydrogen sulfide were released, killing United Oil employee Thomas Rogers. The Warren County Coroner’s Office concluded that the cause of Rogers’ death was hydrogen sulfide poisoning.

Company officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide are both third-degree felonies that carry penalties of up to five years incarceration and a $10,000 fine for individuals and $15,000 for an organization. Criminal endangering is a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to 180 days incarceration and a $1,000 fine for an individual.

United Oil was incorporated in 1998, according to state records. The company is a division of Cincinnati-based United Waste Water Services Inc., treats and recycles non-hazardous waste, according to its Web site.

Kansas City, Missouri Worker Dies After Fall Through Roof

A roofing worker fell to his death through an opening in a roof of a Kansas City, Mo., building Saturday afternoon.The fall happened at about 4:25 p.m. in a building in the 1300 block of Chouteau Trafficway. The building in the complex is owned by Kansas City’s Municipal Works and Public Works departments. Workers from Kierber Roofing were working on a building that’s being rented out to a manufacturing company called Ameristeel.

OSHA officials investigated the fall. One worker said the man who fell was a signal man, meaning he directs the crane operator from the roof of the building. One worker told KCTV5 said a signal caller is one of the safest jobs on the site.The worker who spoke to KCTV5 said the accident happened during the deck change, a portion of the job where the old materials on the roof are stripped and new ones are put down.Police said the victim was not wearing a safety harness.

Construction workers at the scene said workers are only required to wear a harness when working within six feet of the building’s edge.”There are some guidelines where people can work in an environment without safety harnesses, such as if they have in place a safety monitoring system,” OSHA spokesman Jay Vicory said. “Again, whether a harness was in place or not that needs to be determined.”

An OSHA investigation is standard procedure whenever there’s a workplace accident. Vicory said OSHA finished their work Saturday and will review the investigation Sunday or sometime during the week.

12 Dead, 10 Missing In West Virginia Mine Explosion (Updated)

A mine safety administrator says 12 workers are dead and 10 trapped deep underground after an explosion rocked a remote West Virginia coal mine.

The explosion happened Monday at Massey Energy Co.’s sprawling Upper Big Branch mine about 30 miles south of Charleston.

Rescuers are looking for 10 more trapped miners.

The cause of the blast was not known, however, the operation has a history of violations for not properly ventilating highly combustible methane gas, safety officials said.

Kevin Stricklin from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says miners were leaving on a vehicle that takes them in and out of the long shaft when the blast happened.

Stricklin says rescuers are getting closer to airtight chambers set up for miners to go if they become trapped.

Kevin Stricklin, an administrator with the Mine Safety and Health Administration, says there are two rescue chambers near the blast site that, if the trapped miners can reach them, are stocked with food, water and enough air to survive four days.

Stricklin says officials don’t believe there was a roof collapse, but they don’t yet know what caused the explosion.

Dozens of rescuers were trying to find 19 missing miners Monday night.

Nine rescue crews usually made up of six members each were at the southern West Virginia mine that covers several square miles, said federal Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere.

State mining director Ron Wooten said the blast happened around 3 p.m. at Massey Energy Co.’s Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County, about 30 miles south of Charleston. The company did not provide details on the extent of the damage or if other miners had made it out on their own at the mine that has had three other fatalities in the last dozen years.

“We want to assure the families of all the miners we are taking every action possible to locate and rescue those still missing,” said Massey CEO Don Blankenship, who confirmed the number of dead and missing in a statement.

He said the names would not be released until next-of-kin were notified.

Read the latest news from CBS affiliate WHCS-TV

One injured miner was in intensive care at Charleston Area Medical Center, spokeswoman Elizabeth Pellegrin said.

“We are preparing for other patients,” she said.

No one has said what might have caused the explosion, but federal records say the Eagle coal seam releases up to 2 million cubic feet of methane gas into the mine every 24 hours. That is a large amount, said Dennis O’Dell, health and safety director for the United Mine Workers labor union.

Methane is one of the great dangers of coal mining. The colorless, odorless gas is often sold to American consumers to heat homes and cook meals. In mines, giant fans are used to keep methane concentrations below certain levels. In 2006, 12 miners died in a methane explosion at the Sago Mine in West Virginia. If concentrations are kept between 5 percent and 15 percent, the gas can explode with a spark roughly similar to the static charge created by walking across a carpet in winter.

The sprawling Upper Big Branch, which cannot be seen from the road, has 19 openings and roughly 7-foot ceilings. Inside, it’s criss-crossed with railroad tracks used for hauling people and equipment. It is located in one of the state’s more heavily mined areas. Along the main two-lane road lined with emergency vehicles Monday night are several plants where coal is prepared for shipment by train.

The bulk of the coal is removed with machine called a longwall miner that uses a cutting head to move back and forth across the working face somewhat like a 1,000-foot-long deli slicer. Hydraulic roof supports shield the miners and equipment as the machines cut deeper into the mountain, with the roof in the mined-out areas caving in by design after workers move on, according to Massey’s Web site.

The mine, run by Massey subsidiary Performance Coal Co., also has caches of extra oxygen along emergency escape routes and airtight chambers designed to provide enough air to keep people alive for four days, according to Randy Harris, an engineering consultant who oversees installation of high-tech gear.

The mine produced 1.2 million tons of coal in 2009, according to the mine safety agency, and has about 200 employees, most of whom work underground. They would not have all been working the same shift. The mine has two production shifts and one maintenance shift and extracts coal from the 72-inch Eagle coalbed, a thick seam for the region in 2010.

Firefighters in nearby Whitesville asked the town’s First Baptist Church to keep its doors open in case family members of miners come looking for information, Pastor Brian Kelly said. No family members had arrived by early Monday evening.

Gov. Joe Manchin was out of town, but working to get back, according to his office. Chief of Staff Jim Spears went to the mine. President Barack Obama spoke Monday night with Manchin to express his condolences and to offer any assistance, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

At the mine, a worker was electrocuted while repairing equipment in 2003. An equipment operator died when a chunk of rock fell on him from the roof in 2001. Another worker was crushed in a roof collapse in 1998.

Massey Energy is a publicly traded company based in Richmond, Va., that has 2.2 billion tons of coal reserves in southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia and Tennessee, according to the company’s Web site.

Massey ranks among the nation’s top five coal producers and is among the industry’s most profitable. It has a spotty safety record.

The federal mine safety administration fined Massey a then-record $1.5 million for 25 violations that inspectors concluded contributed to the deaths of two miners trapped in a fire in January 2006. The company later settled a lawsuit naming it, several subsidiaries and Chief Executive Don Blankenship as defendants. Aracoma Coal Co. later paid $2.5 million in fines after the company pleaded guilty to 10 criminal charges in the fire.

The United Mine Workers said it has personnel nearby and would help non-union Massey if the company asks. The UMW said it also is ready to help families of workers at the mine. Massey is virulently non-union and CEO Blankenship’s television set with a UMW fired bullet in it still sits in his office.

West Virginia requires all underground mines to have wireless communications and tracking systems designed to survive explosions and other disasters.

Last year, the number of miners killed on the job in the U.S. fell for a second straight year to 34, the fewest since officials began keeping records nearly a century ago. That was down from the previous low of 52 in 2008.

U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration documents show 18 of the deaths occurred in coal mines, down from 29 in 2008; and 16 were in gold, copper and other types of mines, down from 22 in 2008.

The deadliest year in recorded U.S. coal mining history was 1907, when 3,242 deaths were reported. That year, the nation’s deadliest mine explosion killed 358 people near Monongah, W.Va.

CBS News legal analyst Jan Crawford reports that Massey Energy Company is no stranger to controversy. It was at the center of a major Supreme Court case in 2008, after its CEO Don Blankenship was sued and then accused of basically buying a friendly seat on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

The US Supreme Court ruled that state supreme court justice Brent Benjamin should have recused himself from an appeal of a $50 million jury verdict against Massey, because Blankenship spent $3 million to get him elected to the state court.

In the case at issue, a rival mining company had sued Blankenship and Massey, saying they’d tried to drive him out of business, and the jury agreed. The state supreme court overturned that verdict – with Blankenship in the 3-2 majority – which led to the US Supreme Court appeal.

CBS News investigative producer Laura Strickler reports that according to the Mine Safety & Health Administration, Massey Energy was fined $897,325 in 2009 and paid $168,393 of that fine. In 2010, the mine was fined $188,769 and has paid $2,676 to date.

Chocolate factory fined for fatal fall into vat in Camden, Pa.

Federal safety officials fined a Camden chocolate plant $39,000 yesterday for safety violations following the death of a factory worker who fell into a vat of chocolate last summer.

Inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Moorestown-based Lyons & Sons Inc. and Cocoa Services L.P. for failing to install railings above the tanks or post signs warning workers of potential hazards.

“It is absolutely imperative these companies rectify these violations to prevent other workplace tragedies from occurring,” OSHA director Paula Dixon-Roderick said in a prepared statement.

A woman who answered the phone at a number shared by Lyons & Sons and Cocoa Services said the company had no comment.

On the morning of July 8, Vincent Smith II, a temporary worker who had started at the plant two weeks earlier, was loading raw cocoa into an eight-foot mixing and melting tank when he fell into the liquid chocolate and was struck on the head by a rotating paddle.

After the accident, Lyons & Sons was temporarily closed and eventually fined $1,152 by the City of Camden when inspectors discovered the plant had been operating without a mercantile license.

Inspectors also found plumbing and electrical problems on the property, which, in a July interview, company officials said had been corrected.

ConAgra agrees to reduced penalties at plant in Garner, NC

ConAgra Foods and the North Carolina Labor Department have agreed to reduced financial penalties and stiffer safety policies in a settlement of a fatal explosion last June at the company’s Slim Jim plant in Garner, N.C.

In the settlement, released Tuesday, the Omaha-based packaged foods giant agreed to a reduced fine of $106,440, which is 21 percent less than the initial $134,773 penalty.

Additionally, ConAgra said it will implement a number of safety measures, including prescreening contractor safety records, holding safety meetings with contractors and making written changes to its current safety program to meet Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) guidelines.

The agreement follows a meeting between ConAgra representatives and North Carolina labor officials last month.

Reducing financial penalties is typical when a company pledges to increase safety precautions for workers, according to the North Carolina Labor Department. ConAgra also waived its right to further appeal.

The June 8 explosion, which resulted in the deaths of four people, was caused when a worker from a Hickory, N.C.-based firm, Energy Systems Analysts, purged a natural gas line indoors while working on the factory’s water heating system.

Investigators believe the explosion was sparked by electrical equipment.

Energy Systems Analysts was fined $58,100 for OSHA violations. That matter is still pending, according to the North Carolina Labor Department.

ABB shooting: Economy may play role in workplace violence

The shooting at ABB Group in St. Louis Thursday that ended with four people dead, including the shooter, raises the prospect that the recession could be a strong contributor to workplace violence.

The Associated Press reports that the shooter, Timothy Hendron, was among several plant employees suing the company and its trustee, Fidelity Management Trust, for an unspecified amount over “unreasonable and excessive fees” related to their retirement benefits. The federal trial was already under way in Kansas City, Mo,. and was expected to last three weeks.

Mr. Hendron had worked at ABB, a company that makes electrical transformers, for 23 years.

The downturn in the economy may be creating more circumstances that lead to violent outbursts, says Larry Chavez, an expert on workplace violence.

“There’s more pressure put on people recently because of the economy,” he says. “More people have faced a dissolving of their whole career. It’s too hard to face for some people. When you have 23 years invested, that’s a lot.”

Although there are no hard data connecting violence with economic downturns, periods of economic difficulty have been linked to increases in violent behavior.

For instance, a study released last March by the Florida Department of Children and Families revealed that the state saw an almost 40 percent increase in demand for domestic-violence centers, which it said was related to the poor economy.

Hendron fits the profile of many of the people who have killed at their workplace: He is male (95 percent are men in these cases), he showed no previous signs of violent behavior, and he was a veteran employee, which made him more susceptible to company layoffs or benefit alterations, notes Mr. Chavez.

Unlike employees with little history with the company, job veterans have years to develop grudges that ultimately can lead to desperation if they feel they are treated unfairly. Negative evaluations, termination, or, in Hendron’s case, an apparent problem with retirement benefits are common factors leading to sudden violent behavior, Chavez says

“Things may go fine for 20 years and all the sudden, something may go awry,” he adds. “They resort to violence because they feel there’s nothing else left.”

Workplace violence was on the wane in 2006, the most recent year tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Between 1992 and 2006 there were 11,613 workplace homicide victims, which averages to about 800 homicides each year.

The largest number of homicides in one year was 1,080 in 1994; the least was 540, in 2006.

But Chavez says workplace casualties are classified not just by death, but also by threats and physical violence. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates there are 2 million cases of workplace violence each year.

Among the recommendations offered by OSHA are a zero-tolerance policy for threats made by one worker to another, implementation of a workplace violence prevention program, and increased security technology, from video cameras to increased lighting and alarm systems.

Explosion at Beta Steel, Portage, Indiana Kills 1, Injures 4 – Updated

An explosion Thursday in the Beta Steel plant’s furnace area in Portage killed one man and injured four others, Portage Fire Chief Bill Lundy said.

The names of the dead and injured were not available Thursday night. All five are employees of Beta Steel, Lundy said.

The workers, three millwrights and two supervisors, were investigating a water leak in the furnace when the explosion occurred, said Kensey Alsman, president of International Longshoremen’s Association 2038, which represents the nearly 250 unionized workers at the plant.

“Water got into the furnace and somehow got under the molten steel and caused the explosion,” Alsman said. “Anytime you have water around hot molten steel, that’s always dangerous.”

There was no fire in the explosion, only steam, Lundy said.

The man who died likely was closer to the explosion than the other workers, Alsman said.

Two of the injured were taken to the Porter Portage Hospital Campus. One was taken to the Porter Valparaiso Hospital Campus, and one was taken to the Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary, Lundy said.

All of the workers were wearing protective gear, Alsman said.

Two were taken to the hospital with advanced life support, typically meaning they were seriously injured, Lundy said. Two required basic life support, with less serious injuries, he said.

The Portage Fire Department evacuated the plant and was continuing to secure it late Thursday.

Joe Gazarkiewicz, a spokesman for Beta Steel, did not return a call seeking comment Thursday night.

Beta Steel was the location of an explosion Nov. 14.

In that incident, slag erupted in the company’s melting shop. Workers — including four who were sent to hospitals — suffered injuries such as blunt trauma and burns, Lundy said at the time.

The accident Thursday appears to be similar to the one in November, Alsman said.

“There’s going to be a lot of investigation,” Alsman said.

Alsman, who is a millwright at the plant, said he was on his way home from an earlier shift when the explosion occurred and he was called back.

“That would have been me up there investigating if it happened an hour earlier,” he said.

Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesman Sean Keefer said the agency no longer is investigating the November incident.

Keefer said at the time that IOSHA was satisfied “that Beta Steel had the proper safety protocols in place, and one of the employees veered away from these protocols during their shift leading to the accident.”

In March 1996, three workers were killed and nine more injured when an explosion rocked the mill.

Beta Steel produces hot-rolled coil for steel service centers and tube and pipe manufacturers.

It has an electric arc furnace with a 700,000-ton annual production capacity and a 60-inch hot-strip rolling mill with a 1.1 million-ton annual production capacity.

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