Drum Maker Fined $215k in Accident
TUMWATER, WA--A major steel-container supplier with a history of safety violations is facing a new federal case and six-figure fine after an employee became entangled in a piece of machinery.
The State of Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has fined Industrial Container Services (ICS) $215,250 for more than a dozen hazardous conditions that expose workers "to serious harm or even death,” according to an L&I announcement released Monday (July 6).
The fines, reflecting 15 alleged violations, follow an incident in January in which an employee became trapped in a rotating shaft inside a drum refurbishing unit.
The state had previously cited the company for similar hazards.
ICS declined Tuesday (July 7) to comment on the case but is appealing the citations, according to L&I.
History of Safety Violations
Industrial Container Services has been the subject of 15 health and safety inspections since 2011, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection data.
Various U.S. ICS facilities were issued citations for 12 violations in 2011, 30 violations over two inspections in mid-2012, and 32 violations over five inspections in 2013.
Those cases include an accident in January 2013, in which an employee's arm became pinned between two conveyors as he was clearing paint off a sensor. The worker was hospitalized with fractures. The company was fined $13,000 in but later had that reduced to $4,500.
In all, fines for the cases that were settled totaled $74,484.
That total does not include the new case.
In the January incident, the employee was injured while working inside a 24-foot drum shot-blaster unit with rotating shafts. Metal drums move through the unit as they are being shot-blasted to remove paint and coatings.
Confined-space hazards can prove quickly fatal and are a common source of OSHA citations.
L&I inspectors found that workers were entering the unit regularly to perform maintenance and repair without taking necessary safety precautions.
Industrial Container Services was cited for 15 serious violations after the post-accident inspection. Eleven of those were for repeat offenses for serious violations that L&I had cited in 2013.
The list of violations includes:
The company had until July 2 to correct the violations. According to the citations, one violation—ensuring implementation of procedures for completing entry permits before entry into a confined space—had been completed by the required date.
A lockout/tagout risk assessment is critical before employees began working inside equipment.
The new case landed Industrial Container Solutions in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which targets inspection and other enforcement resources toward chronic violators.
ICS bills itself as the largest U.S. supplier of reusable containers, with more than 900 employees in 28 facilities across 17 states.
The company is based in Maitland, FL.