Region 1 News Release: BOS 2000-009
Thursday, January 20, 2000
Contact: John M. Chavez
PHONE: (617) 565-2075
LACONIA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, EMPLOYER CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED WILLFUL SAFETY VIOLATIONS AFTER FOLLOWUP INSPECTION REVEALS UNCORRECTED HAZARDS; $44,000 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor has cited Tangent Tool & Stamp Co. of Laconia, New Hampshire, for alleged WILLFUL violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and has proposed penalties totaling $44,000 for those violations.
According to George Kilens, acting OSHA area director for New Hampshire, the company had previously been inspected in May 1999 and was subsequently cited for various workplace hazards, including violations of the OSHA safety standard requiring that energy sources to various machines be physically blocked, locked and tagged before maintenance work can be performed on the machines. This is to prevent accidents in which an employee in one part of a plant might start up a machine that is being worked on by another employee elsewhere in the plant.
Kilens noted that the company had entered into a settlement of that case with OSHA in which they agreed to correct that particular hazard by September 20, 1999. "In October," he said, "we received a complaint to the effect that this particular hazard still had not been corrected and that employees were still being exposed to potentially serious injuries when they were required to change dies on mechanical power presses that were not properly locked out and tagged."
The subsequent inspection which began on October 22, 1999, at the company's facility located at 72 Primrose Drive in the O'Shea Industrial Park, Laconia, N.H., has resulted in the company now being cited for an alleged willful violation of the "lockout/tagout" standard. Specifically the citation alleges that sufficient numbers and kinds of energy isolating devices were not available and used when dies were changed on mechanical power presses; and energy isolating devices such as safety blocks were not physically located in such a manner as to isolate the equipment from the energy source.
He explained that OSHA defines a "willful" violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the law's regulations. It is, he noted, the most severe category of OSHA violation.
Kilens urged New Hampshire employers and employees with questions regarding safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Concord. He added that OSHA's toll-free nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) -- may be used to report workplace accidents and fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially those situations which occur outside of normal business hours.
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, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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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.