Articles Posted in OSHA Violations

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A trackhoe operated by an outside contractor punctured a portion of the Colonial Pipeline in Shelby, Alabama, causing a massive fuel-fed explosion, killing one and sending six to the hospital. The trackhoe was apparently excavating over the pipeline during repair work related to a previous leak which occurred two months ago.

The Colonial Pipeline Explosion has caused fuel shortages up and down the east coast, and caused gas prices to rise. Atlanta based Colonial Pipeline has been cited twice by federal investigators since September by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Pipeline safety remains a serious problem, as shown by the recent Alabama pipeline explosion .

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The Flynn Law Firm is pleased to report that it has resolved an industrial accident lawsuit brought by a Procter & Gamble employee against the Procter & Gamble Company and others responsible for designing and installing an industrial system in Augusta, Georgia.

On January 1, 2010, Plaintiff Michael Bradley was performing maintenance on a paste agglomeration (PAG) supply line when, without warning, a caustic solution used in the manufacture of household detergents struck him in the face, causing severe injury. The Defendants had a role in the design, construction, installation or maintenance of the system upon which Mr. Bradley was working at the time of his incident or, alternatively, manufactured products which were a part of that system. Procter & Gamble Company was the parent company of Plaintiff’s employer, Procter and Gamble Manufacturing Company, and was added as a separate party to the case.

The PAG system upon which Mr. Bradley was working at the time of his injury is a complicated piping system used to make paste agglomerate, an ingredient in powdered laundry detergents such as Tide and Gain. In 2004, P&G initiated “Project Flood to change the PAG system so that the paste agglomerate it created could be made using new ingredients and different processes. In the area where Michael Bradley was injured, the piping was reconfigured to allow for splitting of paste between one of two mixers. In so doing, two manual valves were moved from the fourth floor of the building to the ceiling of the third floor. Because the valves were in the ceiling of the third floor, over twenty feet from the ground, the valves were automated. Michael Bradley was injured when one of the valves failed to open Continue reading →

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One of the victims of the Louisiana Plant Explosion in Giesmar, Louisiana, 29 year-old Zach Green of Hammond, Louisiana, was laid to rest yesterday. Zach Green had a “heart of gold” according to his friends. “Zachary was very energetic,” Giovingo said. “He had a heart of gold. He loved, loved, loved his sister Holly…He would do anything for friends and family. He was one of those rare gems that God had blessed you with.”

At least 77 others were injured in the blast, and Williams Olefins explosion victims have been sent to burn units in Baton Rouge and Gonzales for burn care. It’s unclear what caused the explosion and subsequent fire, but the plant manufactures propylene and ethylene, chemicals that are highly flammable.
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According to published reports. investigators have not identified the root cause of the Williams Olefins Explosion last week. But officials at the Williams Olefins facility confirmed Friday that propylene, the chemical that caught fire, had been identified as leaking from a corroded pipe just six months ago. While the OSHA and CSB investigations are not complete, it appears that the corroded pipe—at a petrochemical facility–was likely a potential cause of the massive deflagration.

Louisiana State Police confirmed Thursday the fire that raged at the Williams Olefins Refinery after the early morning blast was fed by propylene, one of two highly flammable chemicals produced by the plant. On Friday, plant manager Larry Bayer added that a major expansion project — which will increase the plant’s annual production capacity by 600 million pounds — was ongoing near the blast site and that the facility was busy with additional construction personnel.

But the company said it doesn’t yet know what triggered the propylene combustion that resulted in two fatalities and 77 injuries. It has also not answered questions about a December leak of propylene from a corroded pipe that was significant enough to trigger a shutdown of work in the immediate area and a response by the plant’s emergency brigade, according to a report sent by Williams to the state Department of Environmental Quality.
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Mississippi’s Howard Industries, Inc., in Ellisville, Mississippi was recently cited by OSHA for 17 safety violations following the electrocution death of Benjamin Edwards Spoon while testing transformers. According to the OSHA citation, Spoon’s employer failed to have an adequate lock out-tag out procedure, failed to conduct PPE hazard assessments, and failed to provide insulated gloves.

In this situation, the power company Spoon’s employer was hired by could have some liability for using a contractor with known unsafe work practices and/or failing to adequately monitor the work. The Flynn Law Firm has represented injured workers in Mississippi, last year concluding two cases against International Paper for a boiler explosion at the Vicksburg mill. The Flynn Law Firm currently represents an injured lineman in a case pending in Smith County, Mississippi.

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Charles Grundy, of St. George, Utah, was killed in a workplace accident when he was hit by a front-end loader driven by a co-worker. The work injury occurred on Interstate 15 in an area near the Utah-Nevada border. According to news reports, Grundy was standing in the Southbound Lane of I-15 with his back turned while talking on his cell phone. A co-worker did not see him and simply ran him over.

When someone dies on the job, or when three or more employees are hospitalized in a single event, OSHA is automatically called to investigate. The co-worker who ran him over probably did not have adequate training, and the jobsite was obviously not adequately monitored or supervised.

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Shawn Allen Austin was killed in a flash fire at the John W. McDougall Metals Plant in Nashville, Tennessee. The John W. McDougall plant fabricates custom sheet metal. Because there was a workplace death, OSHA will be investigating the incident. Immediately after the flash fire, Mr. Austin was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he ultimately succumbed to his burn injuries. Another worker, Saul Hernandez, suffered a work injury in the flash fire, and was treated and released.

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Construction accidents keep the best Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers busy, with worksite injuries becoming more and more common. Often, work injuries are not isolated incidents—and are often preventable.

One such work accident recently occurred in Knoxville, Tennessee, when Solin Estrada Jiminez was killed when a chunk of concrete fell off a support beam of the Henley Street Bridge. Jiminez was an undocumented worker for Britton Bridge, LLC.
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A flash fire at the Hoeganaes Corporation facility in Gallatin, Tennessee has killed one worker and severely injured another. Wiley Sherburne, of Castalian Springs, TN was killed and Vernon Wayne Corley was injured when a flash fire occurred during maintenance on on a burner

The Hoeganaes facility makes liquid metal for gear parts, and was reported to be a dusty facility. Dust in the workplace can, and in this case did, pose a combustion hazard. These types of combustible dust explosions can often cause work injury and lead to Workers Compensation claims. With adequate housekeeping, however, dust explosion like this can be avoided.

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110628_hl0409tank1.jpgJon Martinez and Jason Steele, both of whom worked for United Fire Protection in St. Petersburg, Florida, were recently killed in an industrial accident while working for United Fire Protection at a former Georgia Pacific Plant in Lake Placid, Florida. The workers were fixing a pump inside a concrete block building adjacent to a water tank, when the tank (or the pump) exploded. When the tank exploded, it caused a “rush” of water, which caused the building to collapse. OSHA and local law enforcement are investigating the work accident.