Region 1 News Release: BOS 2001-007
Tuesday, January 9, 2001
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
OSHA PROPOSES $133,000 IN FINES AGAINST BANGOR & AROOSTOOK RAILROAD FOR 48 REPEAT, SERIOUS AND OTHER SAFETY VIOLATIONS AT ITS DERBY, MAINE, MAINTENANCE FACILITY
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad for 48 alleged Serious, Repeat and Other than Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at its Derby, Maine, maintenance facility. OSHA has proposed penalties against the railroad totaling $133,000.
According to C. William Freeman III, OSHA area director for Maine, the alleged violations were discovered during an inspection initiated on July 11, 2000, in response to a formal complaint from employees at the facility and encompass a cross-section of safety hazards involving exposed live electrical parts, failure to deenergize an electrical circuit before performing maintenance, unguarded moving machine parts, defects involving a crane, lifting hooks and lifting slings, unprotected LPG tanks, unsafe welding practices, improperly modified forklift trucks, the accumulation of water and oil in welding pits, lack of fall protection and inadequate fire safeguards.
"Left uncorrected, the cited conditions expose these workers to the dangers of fire, explosions, electrocution, falls, slips, trips, being struck by falling materials or by moving cranes and forklifts, as well as being injured by or caught in moving machine parts," said Freeman. "There is nothing exotic or arcane about these hazards. They can and should be addressed by employer adherence to basic, commonsense and legally required safeguards."
Specifically, the citations and proposed penalties encompass:
Thirty-two alleged Serious violations, accounting for $95,500 in proposed fines, for:
- numerous instances of unguarded or inadequately guarded moving machine parts, including unguarded shafts, pulleys, chop saw, radial arm saw blades, bandsaw drive wheels, bandsaw spindle and nut, portable hand grinder, and improperly adjusted work rests on bench grinders; forging machines had not received safety checks;
- LPG tanks not protected from vehicular traffic, stored on combustible wooden blocks and stored over or near ignitable bushes, dry leaves and trees;
- blocked access to fire extinguishers or extinguisher locations not marked; fire extinguishers not visually inspected monthly;
- combustible materials not moved, protected or shielded during welding operations; fire extinguisher not readily available during welding; no protective equipment to prevent welding flashback; low pressure manifold system not posted with a sign to prevent attachment of high pressure cylinders; readily accessible shut off valves not provided for propane and oxygen lines; electrode holder with welding rod draped over metal jack stand;
- ground fault alarm turned off; metal fixtures stored adjacent to exposed live parts in an electrical distribution unit; exposed live parts on grinder switches; reversed polarity on an electrical outlet; ungrounded electrical equipment; branch circuit not deenergized prior to replacing an electric receptacle;
- overhead crane not equipped with a warning alarm or rail sweeps;
- lifting rings that had been welded were not tested; a lifting hook was spread more than 30% of its original opening; lifting capacity not marked on chain slings; frayed web sling not removed from service;
-- fall protection not used where required;
-uncapped steel rebar;
- asbestos waste not identified; entrance to asbestos-containing boiler room lacked a warning sign; floor surfaces not maintained free of asbestos;
- exit doors not marked as such;
- no mechanical means to measure air flow in a paint booth;
- excess pressure for a compressed air hose used for cleaning.
Three alleged Repeat violations, with $37,500 in proposed penalties for :
- bench grinders lacked guards or were improperly adjusted;
- forklifts were modified without manufacturer's approval;
- floors not maintained in a dry condition.
[The railroad had previously been cited for substantially similar hazards in citations issued in November 1998, following a prior inspection at this location and in May 2000, following an inspection at the railroad's Northern Maine Junction facility].
Thirteen alleged Other than Serious violations for:
- OSHA 200 illness and injury log not maintained; missing midrail on a work platform; hard hats not provided where needed; hoists not marked with safety signs; no written lockout/tagout procedures; welding curtains or eye protection not provided for employees working adjacent to welding operations; welding cord with exposed conductor and damaged insulation not replaced; exposed copper wires on arc welder's ground clamp lead; frayed power cords; power cord poorly spliced and wrapped with tape; missing knockouts on electrical panels; no strain relief for power cords; unlabeled containers of chemicals.
The Bangor & Aroostook Railroad is headquartered in Northern Maine Junction, Maine. About 45 workers are employed at the maintenance facility which is located on B&A Avenue in Derby.
Freeman urged Maine employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA offices in Bangor or Portland and added that OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) -- may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours.
A serious violation is defined by OSHA as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. An other-than-serious violation is a condition which would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees. A repeated violation is issued when a substantially similar violation has been cited during a previous OSHA inspection and that citation has become final.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.