Region 4 News Release 01-200
Wed., Oct. 10, 2001
Contact: Ramona Morris
Phone: (205) 731-1534 ext. 0
FATAL ACCIDENT LEADS TO $86,500 FINE FOR FORTE POWER SYSTEMS
HEFLIN, ALA. -- An Alabama cable manufacturer's failure to adhere to proper machine guarding procedures contributed to the death of one worker and will cost the company $86,500 in proposed penalties, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced today.
On April 17, an employee of Forte Power Systems, Inc. was rewinding scrap cable on a large wooden reel. During the procedure, he became caught in the unguarded machine and suffered severe head injuries. He died two days later.
"This employer displayed an intentional disregard of OSHA's machine guarding standard," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's Birmingham acting area director. "Management was aware that at least three other employees had been injured in previous accidents because of the unguarded machine, but took no action to abate the hazard."
OSHA's investigation resulted in the company being issued an alleged willful violation with a proposed penalty of $70,000 for failing to guard the machine's nip points and rotating parts so that workers could not become entangled in the cable. The company also received three alleged serious citations for failing to use permanent electrical wiring and proper strain relief devices, and failing to guard nip points of a tensioning device. The serious violations were accompanied by a $16,500 proposed penalty.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. Serious violations are those in which a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Forte Power Systems, Inc., a cable manufacturing plant is based in Heflin, Ala., and is owned by the Carrollton, Ga-based Southwire Company. The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Birmingham area office located at 2047 Canyon Rd., phone: (205) 731-1534.