Region 2 News Release: 10-1120-NEW/BOS 2010-360
Thurs., Aug. 19, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes nearly $115,000 in fines against
Rochester, NY, machine shop for uncorrected and recurring hazards
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed $114,750 in additional fines against Pierce Industries, a Rochester, N.Y., machine shop, chiefly for failing to correct hazards cited during a previous OSHA inspection. The company was cited in December 2009 for a variety of hazards, including failing to test its piping system to ensure it was gas-tight under pressure and to adequately train its workers in the safe operation of forklifts.
The company agreed to correct these conditions, but OSHA's follow-up inspection found this had not been done. A recurring hazard of improperly used electrical outlet boxes also was identified. As a result of these conditions, OSHA has issued the company two failure-to-abate citations with $105,750 in proposed fines for the uncorrected hazards, and one repeat citation with a $3,000 fine for the recurring electrical hazard. OSHA issues failure-to-abate citations and additional penalties when an employer fails to correct previously cited hazards. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously was cited for the same or similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last three years.
"An uncorrected hazard is an ongoing threat to the safety and health of workers. Employers need to understand that ignoring or putting off corrective action can be costly in financial as well as human terms," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "In cases like this, OSHA will check to verify that cited hazards have been corrected and, if not, employers will be subject to additional and potentially much larger fines."
Pierce Industries also has been issued two serious citations with $6,000 in fines for two new hazards, incomplete procedures and employee training to ensure that machines' power sources were properly locked out of service before maintenance. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
"One means of eliminating recurring hazards such as these is for employers to establish a safety and health program in which workers and management jointly work to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Pierce Industries has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office, telephone 716-551-3053. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.