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2 Accidents Draw OSHA to Paint Firm

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

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Two accidents in one month at an Alabama paint manufacturer have spurred a wide variety of federal health and safety citations and more than $40,000 in fines for the company.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined Ozark Materials LLC, a maker of dry powder paint, for 10 safety and health violations after the workers were injured just weeks apart at the company's plant in Mount Meigs, AL. The violations include fall hazards, electrical hazards, unguarded machinery, excessive dust exposure and other respiratory hazards.

The proposed penalties total $41,600.

Ozark Materials LLC

Ozark Materials, a dry paint manufacturer in Alabama, was cited by OSHA for 10 violations after two workers were injured within one month.

OSHA began an inspection in December 2012 after a complaint that one worker had suffered a broken arm and another a laceration from unguarded equipment.

Eight of the violations stemmed from the December safety inspection; two resulted from a health inspection Jan. 7, 2013, after a referral to a health officer, according to an OSHA spokesperson.

"These injuries could have been prevented if the employer implemented the recommendations of a safety consultant to provide machine guarding for the conveyor rollers on the mixer hoppers," said Joseph Roesler, OSHA's area director in Mobile, AL.

"The employer needs to take immediate action to eliminate all hazards from the workplace," Roesler said.

Ozark Materials has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, contest, or request a conference with OSHA's area director.

Citations from both inspections were hand-delivered to the employer on April 8, OSHA said.

machine guarding

The company failed to guard machines, exposing workers to amputation hazards, and did not have stair railings, among other hazards, OSHA said.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Crush and Fracture Hazards

A willful violation—one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements or with plain indifference to worker safety and health—was issued for failing to provide machine guarding for the conveyor rollers on the mixer hoppers.

According to the OSHA investigation, employees were exposed to crush and fracture hazards when they were allowed to walk and work around unguarded conveyor rollers under the calcium hopper, glass bead hopper, mixer hopper, and bagging hopper.

The willful citation carries a proposed penalty of $28,000.

One other-than-serious citation was issued because the company failed to maintain the OSHA 300 form for 2012. The form is a log of all work-related injuries and illnesses.

Road striping
Ozark Materials

The company, a maker of dry powder paint products, faces a variety of citations.

An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

OSHA proposed a $400 penalty for this citation.

Unguarded Machines, Inhalation Hazards

Eight serious violations, those that reflect "substantial probability" of death or serious injury from a hazard, were issued for hazards including:

  • Allowing use of fixed stairs with four or more risers that did not have a standard railing, including a midrail ($1,200);
  • Lack of a lockout procedure on a mixer machine ($2,000);
  • Exposure to amputation hazards from walking and working around unguarded sprockets and chains on the bagger ($2,000);
  • Using compressed air not reduced to less than 30 psi for cleaning ($1,600);
  • Using an unguarded vertical portable grinder, exposing employees to struck-by hazards ($1,200); and
  • Electrical hazards that included exposed, unprotected electrical wires going to the main motor on the bagging machine; a breaker panel with an unused opening in the cabinet that had not been effectively closed; a breaker panel that had an LB-conduit body without a cover ($2,000).
half mask respirators

Employees were using half-mask respirators without a written respiratory protection program and were exposed to high dust levels, according to OSHA.

Two serious violations from the January inspection included a citation for not having a written hazard communication program available to employees exposed to dust from titanium dioxide, calcium carbonate, maleic resin, and other hazards. The proposed penalty is $1,200.

The other serious violation, with a proposed penalty of $2,000, alleges that employees were exposed to:

  • Total dust almost five times higher than the eight-hour time weighted average limit; and
  • Particulate inhalation hazards from mixing and bagging powder paint without a written respiratory protection program.


Tagged categories: Enforcement; Fall protection; Health and safety; OSHA; Respiratory Protection Standard

Comment from James Hall, (4/30/2013, 10:53 AM)

The term is powder coating, NOT "dry powder paint". The picture of spray painting is obviously liquid applied coating, as powder coating equipment and application have a distinctive look that is unmistakable. Powder coating would not be used to stripe asphalt as it requires baking to cure it. Other than that, a good article. :-)

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (5/2/2013, 9:58 AM)

James, interestingly the majority of road striping in Texas arrives at the jobsite in powder form. However, it is melted in the truck and liquid-applied - not a powder applied on the surface. Not a true powder coat.

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