Region 2 News Release: NY 188
September 28, 1999
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
FORD MOTOR COMPANY SETTLES OSHA CITATIONS FOLLOWING INSPECTION
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Ford Motor Company, Hamburg, New York, for 16 alleged repeat violations, six alleged serious violations, and three alleged other-than-serious violations of OSHA standards. The company has agreed to pay $175,000 in penalties.
According to OSHA area director David E. Boyce, the action results from an investigation at Ford's Buffalo stamping plant, begun in March and completed September 24 under OSHA's interim targeting process, which focuses on industries with higher-than-average injury and illness rates.
The company was cited for 16 alleged repeat violations carrying a penalty of $160,600, including deficiencies in guarding power presses, shafts, belts, pulleys, conveyors, and other machinery; electrical hazards; failure to maintain adequate aisle widths; storage of oxygen and acetylene cylinders together; and not conducting adequate inspections of power presses.
A repeat violation is one for which an employer has been previously cited for the same or a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The repeat violations in this instance were based on conditions previously cited in October, 1998, in Brook Park, Ohio; December, 1998 in Cincinnati; April, 1999 in Chicago Heights, Illinois, and elsewhere prior to that.
The alleged serious violations, carrying a total penalty of $14,000, for which the employer was cited included:
- failure to guard openings in the floor;
- failure to comply with requirements for mechanical power presses;
- failure to properly guard rotating shaft couplings;
- failure to equip fan motors with means to be disconnected;
- failure to provide training or fit-testing to employees using respirators.
The firm was also cited for having aisles restricted by parked vehicles, missing railings on stairways, and lock-out locks used for other purposes, three alleged other-than-serious violations carrying a total penalty of $400.
A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
Boyce said OSHA's Buffalo area office and the Ford Motor Company reached an agreement that includes language to allow a closer working relationship between OSHA, Ford management, and the United Auto Workers at the Ford Buffalo stamping plant. The company agreed to provide safety and health training to supervisors, committee persons, and the safety audit teams for a better understanding in addressing safety and health issues. Ford and the UAW also agreed that enforcement of safety rules would be done jointly by union and management. The company agreed to retrain any employee disciplined for violating a safety rule before the employee returns to work.
The local plant management team has agreed with the union and OSHA to assess provisions on power presses concerning testing of stop-time-a safety delay from the moment of pressing the control to machine activation-as well as assuring adequate distance from the operator's position to the point of press impact, and performing a hazard assessment on scrap-chute openings during the retooling or repair of power presses.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo area office, located at 5360 Genesee Street, Bowmansville, New York, telephone (716) 684-3891.
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