March 2022 Enforcement
HARTFORD, CT – An employee of a Watertown metal fabrication company was electrocuted on July 14, 2021, while repairing a portable water heater. An inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that his employer, PM Engineered Solutions Inc., lacked safeguards to protect employees against electrocution, as well as mechanical, chemical, fall and other electrical hazards.
OSHA cited the company for 40 serious and eight other-than-serious violations of workplace safety and health standards found during its comprehensive inspection of the facility. PM Engineered Solutions Inc. now faces a total of $236,201 in proposed penalties.
OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to develop procedures to lockout the water heater’s power source during maintenance or provide lockout training to the deceased employee. They also found the company failed to check energy control procedures periodically.
The purpose of lockout/tagout, also called hazardous energy control, is to prevent the unexpected startup or release of stored electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic or other energy sources in machines and equipment that can result in serious injury or death to workers.
“This employee lost his life due to the employer’s failure to implement required energy control procedures,” said OSHA Area Director Dale Varney in Hartford. “Of equal concern is the broad cross-section of hazards throughout the facility. Left uncorrected, they expose employees to being crushed, caught in moving machine parts, burned, chemical exposures, falling and being unable to exit the workplace promptly in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or explosion.”
OSHA identified additional hazards during its inspection of the plant, including:
PM Engineered Solutions Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.