Region 1 News Release: BOS 98-200
Thursday, October 22, 1998
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald, (617) 565-2074
Over $65,000 in Penalties Proposed against ACS Industries, Inc.
OSHA CITES WOONSOCKET, RHODE ISLAND, MANUFACTURER FOR ALLEGED WILLFUL, SERIOUS AND OTHER SAFETY VIOLATIONS FOLLOWING WORKER INJURY
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Labor Department has cited ACS Industries, Inc., a Woonsocket, Rhode Island, manufacturer of wire products, for alleged Willful, Serious and Other than Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and has proposed penalties totaling $65,250.
According to Kipp W. Hartmann, OSHA area director for Rhode Island, the alleged violations were discovered during a safety inspection of the company's automotive mesh department, located in its Villanova plant, at 71 Villanova Street in Woonsocket. That inspection was initiated on July 16, 1998, after OSHA learned of a July 15 accident in which an employee sustained a serious hand injury while operating a crimping machine in that department.
"OSHA's inspection found that the crimping machine lacked adequate guarding to prevent this worker and other employees from coming in contact with -- or being caught in -- its moving parts," said Hartmann. "In this case, the unguarded parts included chains, sprocket wheels, inrunning nip points and rotating parts. Left uncorrected, this type of hazard exposes employees to the ongoing dangers of laceration, amputation and, in this case, crushing injuries."
Hartmann explained that the considerable size of the fine proposed in this case reflects OSHA's classification of the machine guarding citation as willful, the most severe category of OSHA citation. Willful citations are issued only when OSHA believes based on its inspection that the employer knew what specific safeguards were required to protect workers yet apparently elected not to supply them.
"This company is well aware of OSHA's machine guarding requirements and its need to comply with them, having been cited twice before by OSHA for machine guarding violations at its Woonsocket plants," said Hartmann.
In this case, the citations and $65,250 in proposed penalties encompass the following:
One alleged Willful violation, with a proposed penalty of $63,000, for:
One alleged Serious violation, with a $2,250 penalty proposed, for:
One alleged Other than Serious violation, with no cash penalty, for:
Hartmann urged Ocean State employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Providence and added that OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline --1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742)-- may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
A serious violation is defined as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
An other-than-serious violation is a condition which would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.