Region 4 News Release: USDL: 99-212
Thursday, Nov. 18, 1999
Contact: CLYDE PAYNE
PHONE: (601) 965-4606
SANDERSON PLUMBING PRODUCTS INC. FINED $53,750 FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS AT COLUMBUS PLANT
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Sanderson Plumbing Inc. and proposed penalties totaling $53,750 for safety violations at the company's Columbus, Miss., plant.
According to Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson area director, the plant was targeted for inspection after an explosion in the plant's hardwood silo injured two employees.
During the inspection, OSHA determined that lightning had caused the accident, but other safety hazards unrelated to the explosion resulted in citations for one willful violation with a proposed penalty of $41,250 and four serious violations with a proposed penalty of $12,500.
The plant was cited for hazards associated with confined space, machine guarding and "lockout tagout," a procedure that cuts off energy sources so that machinery remains inoperative during servicing.
"This company allowed employees to work inside the silo while the augers were in operation, a practice that could cause fatal injury," said Payne. "The augers, which were not de-energized, were crossed over by workers when entering and exiting the pine silo. In addition, while working inside the silo, workers were exposed to the moving augers."
Payne added, "If Sanderson Plumbing had an effectively implemented safety and health program, they would have recognized and prevented this unsafe practice."
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations.
A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Sanderson Plumbing Products employs 900 workers at the Columbus plant which produces plumbing fixtures.
The company has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspections of the worksite were conducted by OSHA's area office located at 3780 I-55 North, Suite 210, Jackson Miss. 39211-6323; telephone: (601) 965-4606.
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