Posted on: December 6, 2022

Top OSHA News Stories - November 2022

top osha news stories

Employers must provide safe and healthy working environments under the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA). OSHA exists to ensure these conditions are met for employees across the U.S. by establishing and enforcing regulations, as well as providing support, training, and education, 

When employers fail to comply and follow OSHA guidelines, they run the risk of facing OSHA fines and OSHA penalties. To keep you up to date and demonstrate the consequences of disregarding OSHA regulations, here are the top OSHA News Stories released in November 2022. 

OSHA News - November 2022

Dollar General Stores continues with an alarming trend where seven Southeast investigations discover willful violations

November 1, 2022

Since 2017, Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC have received more than $12.3 million in initial penalties for 11 willful, 16 repeat, and 4 serious workplace safety violations. Over the past five years, OSHA discovered dangerous work conditions during more than 180 inspections at Dollar General stores in the country.

Seven OSHA inspections from April 28 through June 3, 2022, identified 31 violations, like those found at other Dollar General stores where litigation is pending. OSHA violations issued as the result of the investigation have qualified Dollar General Corp. for participation in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA citations against the company include:

  • Struck-by and blocked exit hazards
  • Failing to label, mount, or make fire extinguishers accessible.
  • Storing boxes in front of electrical panels increasing the risk of fire and electrical accidents.
  • Failing to use exit signs to facilitate safe egress in an emergency.
  • Exposing employees to electrocution by keeping unused openings in electrical cabinets open.
  • Not installing handrails on stairs where required.

The violations found in these recent investigations are like those OSHA found across various Dollar General locations.

Federal workplace safety investigation of Mapleton foundry worker's fatal fall into molten iron finds Caterpillar failed to install required fall protection

November 9, 2022

On June 2, 2022, A 39-year-old employee at a Mapleton foundry fell and was instantly incinerated by an 11-foot-deep pot of molten iron that had been heated to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the federal investigation, if required safety guards or fall protection had been implemented, the 39-year-old employee's ninth day on the job might not have been their last.

Caterpillar of Irving, Texas, is one of the world's most oversized industrial vehicles and equipment manufacturers. They operate the foundry, which produces cast iron engine components.

The OSHA inspection discovered the foundry regularly exposed workers to unsafe fall hazards as they worked within four feet of deep ceramic containers of super-heated molten iron. The deceased worker, a melting specialist, removed a sample of iron from a furnace when it fell into the pot.

Federal safety regulations require employers to install guardrails and restraint systems or to cover or otherwise eliminate the hazard to safeguard employees from falling into hazardous machinery. 

An OSHA citation addressed Caterpillar Inc. for one willful violation and proposed fines of $145,027.

Two contractors cited for demolition, asbestos hazards after mezzanine collapse at former South Boston Power Plant

November 10, 2022 

On May 5, 2022, a concrete mezzanine platform on the west wall of a building of the former Boston Edison power plant in South Boston collapsed when demolition and asbestos abatement operations took place, causing an employee of an Everett demolition contractor to lose his legs. Two additional employees also sustained injuries.

OSHA inspections found NorthStar Contracting Group Inc. and the project's main contractor, Suffolk Construction Inc., based in Boston, had not adequately provided their employees with protection against asbestos and demolition hazards.

For three willful violations, four severe violations, and one other-than-serious violation of workplace safety guidelines, OSHA issued penalties to NorthStar Contracting. $399,864 in fines were requested by the agency.

In addition, Suffolk Construction received two willful and three severe citations from OSHA, along with a proposed $292,116 fine for the company's disregard for rules that guarantee employee safety.

Rivian employees’ warnings of safety hazards, violations at Illinois Assembly Plant

November 21, 2022

A dozen workers filed complaints against the EV startup with federal regulators. A few of the incidents cited in complaints with federal regulators claiming a shift in Rivian’s safety culture are: 

  • A crushed hand 
  • fractured foot 
  • broken ribs 
  • a sliced ear 

Employees at Rivian‘s manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois, accused management of neglecting apparent hazards. Over time, lapsed safety procedures and the focus on increasing productivity led to several accidents and many “close calls,” including industrial vehicles nearly hitting people.

The concerned workers filed complaints over the past several months.

There are currently seven open OSHA investigations looking into the automaker. OSHA previously issued four “serious” citations against Rivian. Settlements were reached for three of them earlier this year.

For more information on OSHA news and OSHA violations and fines, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website.

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