I was recently reading through OSHA's news releases for May (yes, I do that) and a recent case caught my eye.
This was the headline:
U.S. Department of Labor Cites Steel Storage Tank Company
For Exposing Employees to Repeat Safety and Health Hazards
And after digging into the issue a bit more, it would appear that this company manufactures steel storage tanks and they were fined over $238,000 for the following:
OSHA cited Alexander Tank Company for 10 repeated and 12 serious safety and health violations, including failing to implement lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machines from unintentional startup, provide required machine guarding, and control permit-required confined space hazards while tanks were being welded. OSHA also cited the company for not providing employees with adequate respiratory and hearing protection.
So, no lockout/tagout, poor machine guarding, no confined space program, no respiratory protection or hearing protection. Big fine. Ouch.
I am not privy to the details of this situation so I won't speculate too much other than to wonder what the original cause was for OSHA going out there in the first place. That is, a lot of these types of inspections get sideways really quickly because of a lack of documentation, whether the employer did what they were supposed to do or not. In many instances, OSHA will show up to look at one thing and then because the company isn't prepared at all, you end up in a situation like this one. Best to know your options for an appeal and mitigation. As of this writing, it was not evident if they were going to request an informal conference or appeal to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. One would think that that would be the case.
And besides the financial penalty, the damage to the reputation could be devastating. But that is only if the folks with whom they do business with actually vet their trade partners...but that's a post for another day.
To circle back around, though, one of the reasons for LowRisq to come into being is to avoid exactly what happened to this company. The training they were deficient in is so easy to obtain, the written programs so easy to produce, and the record-keeping so easy to implement, it's just a shame. The LowRisq Safety Management Gateway solves all of these problems at a price that would buy about 30 years of uninterrupted service instead of that nasty fine, interrupted production, and damaged reputation.