A 54 year old male employee was fatality injured while cleaning the de-stacker area of the mogul machine in the gummies department when he was crushed between a tray of product, and the frame of the de-stacker mechanism of the mogul machine. The mogul machine would become obstructed during the day with falling and shifting gummy trays, and starch. The track that moved the trays would get covered with these materials and would need to be cleaned with a pneumatic air wand. The victim performed the company lockout/tagout procedure for the mogul machine, and locked out the vertical movement of the de-stacker. As the victim entered the machine for cleaning, he inadvertently struck a positional sensor inside of the track system, and advanced the candy trays into the machine. The victim was standing directly adjacent to the metal frame of the de-stacker mechanism when a stack of trays began to advance into the machine, crushing him between a tray of product and the frame of the de-stacker.
A 38 year old male was fatality injured when his arm, and upper body was pulled into an operating auger as he leaned over the catwalk railing to clean, and sanitize a poultry processing chiller tank. The victim, along with other employees, were cleaning, and sanitizing the reverse flow, cold water chillers in a poultry processing plant. The victim was told to stay on the central catwalk, and left alone to spray down the tank interior of Chiller #2 with hot water, and sanitizing solution while the auger was in operation. During the cleaning process, a nearby employee heard a noise, and saw the victim’s legs extending from beneath the guard rail positioned approximately 15 inches above the top of the tank. The emergency pull cable was activated immediately. The victim was fatality injured by blunt force trauma to the body. There were no witnesses to the actual incident, but it remains a possibility the employee moved from the central catwalk, to the outer catwalk of Chiller #2 reaching in with his arm, and body to clean the interior of the tank, and was caught by the auger blade, pulling the employee into the tank from the catwalk. This was his sixth day of employment.
So does every single energy isolation REQUIRE a written procedure/plan that identifies the types of energy, their magnitude, the means used to isolate them, and the means used to verify zero energy state (ZES)? YES... there is ONLY ONE (1) special exemption that excuses us from having a task specific isolation procedure/ plan and that exemption can be found in 1910/147(c)(4)(i). But before we get too excited about OSHA giving us a loophole to having a WRITTEN ISOLATION PLAN for every LOTO, we need to see the eight (8) criteria that OSHA has set forth for the "exception" to apply and I do think many will be sorely disappointed...
This week OSHA issued a willful violation for Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) deficiencies involving a spray dryer absorber (SDA) at a power generation plant. What is shocking is the fact that a 46 year old worker lost four (4) fingers on his right hand in the December 2015 accident and during the course of its investigation into the December 2015 accident, OSHA found that multi-finger amputations also occurred on this SAME SDA in August 2011 and October 2012. Folks this happened, not at a "mom and pop shop", but rather a power company with generating capacity of 26 GW, capable of supplying more than 21 million households, operates 35 Power Plants across 8 states, has 830,000 retail customers, residential customers and 23,000 commercial, industrial and municipal customers, and Annual Revenues of over $5 billion! (Source) And here we sit in 2016 not able to comply with one of the most fundamental OSHA standards that is now over 25 years old and three (3) workers have suffered debilitating - life changing injuries.
Here is a look at the citations:
This was a significant decision by the OSHRC as it answered the debate... do isolation plans associated with complex energy isolations need to include the means to verify Zero Energy State (ZES) for each isolated source? There answer... YES and it MUST be DOCUMENTED in the isolation plan/worksheet. The arguments the refinery put forth that the means to verify ZES was not required to be part of the written plan seemed only to annoy the ALJ. It all started in response to a fire in refinery’s crude oil unit, OSHA conducted an inspection of the Refinery on October 24, 2013. The fire broke out after hydrocarbons leaked into the air during the removal of a pump (line break/process opening) when a valve was not able to be closed 100% and was not recognized by the authorized employees. OSHA issued a citation alleging two serious violations and a proposed penalty of $14,000.00. Respondent withdrew its Notice of Contest as to Item 1 of the Citation. Thus, the only item under consideration is Citation 1, Item 2, and its associated penalty of $7,000.00. Respondent timely contested the Citation. The trial took place on April 29–30, 2015. Five witnesses testified at trial: