The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $314,000 in fines against Dana Container Inc. of Summit, Ill., for alleged willful, serious and repeat violations of federal workplace safety standards.
As a result of a safety and health inspection, OSHA has cited the company for three willful violations with a proposed penalty of $210,000. The willful citations address the company's alleged failure to have adequate written programs and permits required for working in confined spaces and not insuring proper working conditions before allowing workers to enter those confined spaces. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
The company also has been cited for 16 serious violations with proposed penalties of $86,500. Some of the citations allege the company failed to provide proper training and procedures on uses of personal protective equipment such as respirators; review permit space entry operations and permit required confined space programs; install guardrails on elevated runways; provide proper identification and warnings on hazardous material tanks; and provide an adequate hazard communication program. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Dana also has received one citation for a repeat violation with a penalty of $17,500. The alleged repeat violation addresses failure to provide emergency eyewash and a safety shower for employees working with corrosive materials. OSHA issues a repeat violation when it finds a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any of an employer's facilities in federal enforcement states when an initial one previously was cited.
"Injuries and fatalities from accidents such as asphyxiation due to overexposure of hazardous gases are preventable," said Gary Anderson, OSHA's area director in Calumet City, Ill. "Employers must remain dedicated to keeping the workplace safe and healthful or face strong enforcement actions by OSHA."
Dana Container Inc. is a tank washing company that employs about 375 workers nationally. Its facility has been inspected seven times by OSHA, including two inspections after worker fatalities, and the company has received numerous citations from these past inspections.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.