Steel plate falls on, kills worker: $162K OSHA fine

A struck-by incident killed an employee of this company. OSHA visited after having fined the company just last year in a separate incident. Douglas N. Higgins Inc., a utility company, faces $162,596 in proposed penalties following an incident in which an employee suffered fatal injuries when a steel plate fell on him as he installed sewer lines.

Fine: $162,596

Company: Douglas N. Higgins Inc., Naples, FL

Business: Utility company

Reasons for fine:

Two willful, one repeat, one serious and one other-than-serious violations, including failure to:

  • require adequate cave-in protection for employees working in trenches
  • provide safe entry and exit from a trench
  • perform atmospheric testing


Deadly explosion leads to fines for manufacturer

A New York cosmetics factory is looking at $281,000 in fines after multiple explosions in November 2017 killed one worker and injured 125 others. OSHA cited Verla International for multiple safety violations leading to the deadly fires, including failure to properly dispose of flammable materials and failure to develop an emergency response plan.

Fine: $281,220

Company: Verla International LTD, New Windsor, NY

Business: Cosmetics manufacturer

Reasons for fine:

Nine serious and two repeat safety violations, including failure to:

  • take adequate precautions to prevent the ignition of flammable vapors
  • familiarize employees with fire extinguisher use
  • properly store combustible waste material


2 workers burned to death after pipeline ignited

An energy company and a pipeline operator both failed to protect workers from potential fires at a gas pipeline, and the businesses are facing serious OSHA fines after two workers were fatally burned. The employees were clearing a blockage in a gas pipeline when flammable vapors and gases from a vacuum truck leaked, igniting the pipeline and starting a fire.

Fine: $79,004

Companies: DCP Midstream LP, Denver; Complete Energy Services Inc., Houston

Business: Pipeline operator; energy supplier

Reasons for fine:

Three safety violations, including failure to:

  • control potential ignition sources in a work area
  • isolate hazardous energy sources using lockout/tagout procedures


Workers repeatedly exposed to lead hazards

A Midwest company faces $147,822 in OSHA fines for exposing employees to lead and other hazards. OSHA says 14 employees were exposed to airborne lead at levels 11 times the permissible exposure limit.

Fine: $147,822

Company: C & D Technologies Inc., Milwaukee

Business: Battery manufacturer

Reasons for fine:

Two repeat and six serious violations, including failure to:

  • implement sufficient controls to prevent lead exposure
  • monitor ventilation for the presence of lead
  • provide respiratory protection
  • install machine guarding

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About the Author

Jon Knight

Jon Knight leads the NASP Team’s media creation department. He has been involved with workplace safety training since 2017 with a focus on course creation. He also provides video production and voiceovers for NASP content.
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