Manufacturers and industrial employers should be aware of a resurgence in federal criminal prosecutions for workplace safety violations.
Historically, OSHA violations generally have not been charged criminally by federal prosecutors. From an evidentiary standpoint, the primary OSH Act crime requires the government prove that the employer willfully violated a safety standard and the violation caused the death of the employee. Also, because an OSH Act crime is a misdemeanor, and not a felony, the maximum punishment is capped at $500,000 as a Class B misdemeanor (although subject to the Alternative Fines Act). And because the crime applies to “any employer,” frequently companies have been charged and sentenced with a fine, rather than individual imprisonment.
Indeed, in an effort to leverage federal prosecutions for worker safety violations, the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) has long had a Worker Endangerment Initiative that seeks to couple Title 18 crimes (obstruction of justice, false statements, conspiracy, etc.) along with environmental crimes to bolster criminal enforcement actions in cases involving harm to human health and the environment, particularly in cases that may not involve a worker fatality when the OSH Act’s criminal provisions do not apply.
Two recent DOJ ENRD press releases highlight cases involving only OSH Act crimes following workplace fatalities:
Machine Guarding: ABC Polymer Industries LLC, an Alabama company, was charged with two OSH Act crimes for machine guarding after a worker was pulled into unguarded moving rollers as part of the manufacturing process involving plastic extrusion assembly lines that pull the plastic sheeting through spinning rollers. As noted in DOJ’s August 15, 2022, press release, “ABC Polymer had a standard practice of operating that machine with the guard in the ‘up’ or unprotected position when the rollers were moving. The automatic mechanism that would have stopped the line and rollers’ spinning when the guard was in the up position was not used, allowing operators to reach between or near the roller drums to cut tangles in the plastic sheet without stopping the line.”
Failure to Hold Pre-Job Briefing: Tampa Electric Company (TECO), a Florida electric company, was sentenced for an OSH Act crime involving the willful failure to brief employees of hazards of the job, work protections, special precautions, energy source controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE). According to DOJ’s press release from August 19, 2022, the court sentenced the company to a $500,000 fine and three years of probation, along with the requirement that TECO comply with a safety compliance plan.
Equally clear, however, is that Justice Department will seek to enhance prosecutions for workplace safety crimes with Title 18 offenses and other charges when it can, particularly environmental crimes:
Combustible Dust Hazards and Title 18 Crimes: Didion Milling: The May 2022 grand jury indictment of Didion Milling and six company officials involved nine criminal counts, including falsifying entries in a cleaning logbook, as well as false and misleading testimony regarding knowledge about combustible dust hazards. A dust explosion killed five workers and injured 15 others. As reflected in OSHA’s press release, “The indictment alleges that Didion Milling willfully violated two federal safety standards in the Occupational Safety and Health Act: by failing to develop and implement a written program to effectively prevent and remove combustible grain dust accumulations, and by not installing venting or suppression on a dust filter collector to prevent an explosion.” The individual offenses charged include incarceration of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million.
Whether the current Justice Department continues to place an emphasis on workplace safety crimes is yet to be seen, but the spate of recent press releases certainly indicates that employers and companies should understand and recognize the types of factors that OSHA and EPA will look at in referring cases to the DOJ for criminal enforcement, as well as the underlying conduct that might signal the likelihood for a criminal investigation and prosecution in cases involving worker fatalities and worker endangerment.
Thanks to EHS Today for the original article. https://www.ehstoday.com/standards/osha/article/21252039/osha-steps-up-prosecution-of-safety-violations?utm_source=OZ+EHS+Today+Daily+Update&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CPS221017003&o_eid=8939J4580489B8C&rdx.ident[pull]=omeda|8939J4580489B8C&oly_enc_id=8939J4580489B8C
Fire Extinguisher Barcode Inspection Software
Fire Extinguisher Barcode Inspection Software system can be used to manage monthly fire extinguisher inspections, annual inspections and 6 year and 12 year inspections and also general fire safety inspections. Allowing Managers to record safety observations while performing facility tours which can improve overall fire safety. A Fire Extinguisher Inspection Software system that can create corrective actions as a result of inspection failures and allocate these corrective active actions to the appropriate persons, with deadlines for resolution will greatly reduce the time, effort and cost of managing NFPA inspections. Implementing a Fire Extinguisher Barcode System, where users scan each fire extinguisher using a Mobile Fire Extinguisher Inspection Software App aids with compliance with NFPA and The joint Commission and other Authorities having Jurisdiction(AHJ’s) within Universities, Colleges, Hospitals, Medical Centers, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas and many other sectors.
Easy to Use – Fire Extinguisher Barcode System
IMEC Inspection Software is an easy to use fire extinguisher barcode system which will schedule, manage, track and report on any type of inspection, including Facility, Equipment, People etc. Use Cases include fire extinguisher barcode system, eyewash stations, emergency showers, equipment or asset inspection system or facilities inspection software. When used as a fire extinguisher barcode system Inspections are performed via the Mobile app which is available on iOS, Android and Windows devices. The user identifies the inspection point by scanning a barcode, or picking from a list based on location. The Mobile App which is part of the fire extinguisher barcode system will then display the list of custom Forms or Checklists. The fire extinguisher barcode system inspections can be performed offline if no internet connection is available.
The IMEC Mobile Safety App can also be used as a Fire Door Inspection App and with the Web based flexible Forms Manager the solution can be used as a Fire Door Inspection Software Solution also. Fire Door Inspection Software is used is large facilities with large quantities of Fire Doors like Hospitals, Universities and also Cruise Ships.
Not Just A Fire Extinguisher Barcode System but a Complete Fire Life Safety Inspection Software Solution
IMEC Inspection Software can be deployed as a full Fire Life Safety Inspection Software solution that can be used to manage an organization’s full range of fire and life safety inspections. The IMEC Fire Life Safety Inspection Software can manage any type of inspection, use cases include Fire Doors, Fire Pumps, Eyewash Stations, Emergency Lights, Emergency Showers, Grease Traps, AED’s and many more. The IMEC Fire Life Safety Inspection Software can manage any type safety equipment or asset inspection. The user identifies the inspection point by scanning a barcode, or picking from a list based on location. The Mobile App will then display the list of custom Forms or Checklists. The solution can be used within Hospitals as a Hospital Inspection Software solution to manage all hospital inspections and Environment of Care Rounds. Hospital Inspection Software makes Daily, Weekly and Monthly Inspections more efficient and accurate. IMEC’s Hospital Inspection Software allows health care and facility managers to monitor the inspections across their entire organization to aid compliance and increase efficiency.
EH&S Inspection Software
IMEC’s EH&S Inspection Software can be used to manage any type of EHS Inspection and allows manager to record safety observations while performing facility tours which can improve overall workplace safety. This EH&S Inspection Software solution that can create corrective actions as a result of inspection failures for inspections performed using the Safety Inspection Software Mobile App. Corrective actions are allocated to the appropriate persons, with deadlines for resolution which will greatly reduce the time, effort and cost of managing compliance inspections. Implementing an EH&S Inspection software solution, where users using the Safety Inspection Software Mobile App can easily perform inspections in the field aids compliance, reduces risk and standardizes the inspection process within your organization.
Lock Out Tag Out Software Solutions
IMEC’s Lock Out Tag Out Software Solutions allow a LOTO procedure to be defined for each piece of equipment that requires LOTO to be managed within the system. Equipment can be managed from both Mobile and Web App. Isolation points for the each piece of equipment are managed, images associated with both the piece of equipment and isolation points can be annotated to include energy source icon, arrows, sequence etc. Lock Out Tag Out Procedures can be authored using the Mobile App with version control and with an approval workflow. Lock Out Tag Out Procedures are executed using the Mobile App on any Smart Phone or Tablet. Lockout Tagout procedures are initiated by the user identifying the piece of equipment by either scanning QR Code or selecting the piece of equipment from a list. A complete history of completed Lockout Tagout Procedures is recorded. The status for the piece of equipment can be updated after LOTO is complete – Locked / Unlocked. An Audit option on the Mobile App allows a procedure to be reviewed without performing LOTO on the piece of equipment. Corrective Actions can be created for any Non-conformances or changes required recorded during the Procedure Review. Data Analytics within the IMEC Lock Out Tag Out Software Solutions provide machine downtime analysis to aid in operational efficiency and investment decisions.
Hazardous Waste Management Software
HazMat T&T is a hazardous waste management software solution designed for Environmental Service Companies and companies who generate a large quantity of hazardous waste. The solution tracks hazardous waste from cradle to grave aiding compliance, providing accurate waste inventory, increasing waste handling efficiency, reducing risk and also helps manage waste costs. HazMat T&T Hazardous Waste Management Software can be deployed in a number of deployment scenarios, from Large Hazardous Waste Generators, tracking their hazardous waste at their site to Environmental Service and Waste Management Companies using it track and manage hazardous waste at transfer and disposal sites.
IMEC Technologies provides Safety Management Software to increase worker safety and aid compliance. IMEC’s Safety Management Software will manage inspections and audits, provides hazard identification, incident reporting, management of corrective and preventative actions from generation to closure. IMEC provides lock out tag out software solutions that will allow users to create lockout tagout procedures using an intuitive Mobile App and Manage Lockout Tagout Procedures, also the Review and Execution of those Lockout Tagout Procedures using the Mobile App. Annual Lockout Tagout Procedures audits are conducted using a Mobile App. The Mobile Inspection App allow users to perform inspections and audits, for example the system can be used as a Fire Extinguisher Barcode Inspection Software system to manage monthly fire extinguisher inspections and general fire safety inspections and also to record safety observations and manage corrective actions, anywhere and anytime. The solution can be used as a fire extinguisher barcode inspection software system or life safety inspection system to aid compliance in Higher Education, Healthcare, Industrial and Commercial Organizations. Benefits from a Fire Extinguisher Barcode System include the elimination of paperwork and reducing the burden of compliance with regulations such as NFPA, The Joint Commission. The Mobile App can also be used as a Fire Door Inspection App and with the flexible Forms Manager the solution can be used as a Fire Door Inspection Software Solution also. Fire Door Inspection Software is used is large facilities with large quantities of Fire Doors like Hospitals, Universities and also Cruise Ships. The Incident Reporting App allows users to easily and quickly report incidents, hazards and near-misses, these are then sent to the appropriate people for action and are managed to closure. Web Apps provide features such as, setup, management, scheduling tools, analysis, reporting and dashboards etc with the ability to report incidents to government bodies such as OSHA and RIDDOR. HazMat T&T is a hazardous waste management software solution designed for Environmental Service Companies and companies who generate a large quantity of hazardous waste. The solution tracks hazardous waste from cradle to grave aiding compliance, providing accurate waste inventory, increasing waste handling efficiency, reducing risk and also helps manage waste costs. HazMat T&T Hazardous Waste Management Software can be deployed in a number of deployment scenarios, from Large Hazardous Waste Generators, tracking their hazardous waste at their site to Environmental Service and Waste Management Companies using it track and manage hazardous waste at transfer and disposal sites. For more information visit our website www.imectechnologies.com