Region 3 News Release: III-01-08-050-NEP
Fri., June 8, 2001
Contact: Kate Dugan
OFFICE: (215) 861-5101
After Hours: (610) 522-9484
OSHA ISSUES SAFETY AND HEALTH CITATIONS TO MIFFLINBURG, PA COMPANY AFTER WORKER FATALITY
WILKES-BARRE, Pa.-The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations to Ritz-Craft Corporation of Pennsylvania, Inc., Mifflinburg, Pa., for alleged violations of safety and health standards, and proposed $64,500 in penalties. The inspection was initiated on Dec. 6, 2000 when an employee died after the fork lift he was operating tipped over. The company manufactures modular homes.
According to Andrew Hedesh, area director of the Wilkes-Barre OSHA office, five repeat violations, with a proposed penalty of $45,000, were issued along with six serious violations, which carry a penalty of $19,500.
"The serious violations include the lack of a restraint system or seat belt on the fork lift," said Hedesh. "The operator's death may have been prevented if a system had been installed."
The other serious violations issued include: a forklift operator trainee assigned to operate a forklift without supervision; employees required to work under suspended floor sections; restricted egress; and improper storage of compressed gas tanks.
The repeat violations were issued for unguarded machinery; lack of guardrails on catwalks and platforms; failure to develop and utilize lockout procedures for control of hazardous energy; lack of periodic inspections to assure that lockout/tagout procedures are being performed.
Serious violations involve a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard. Repeat violations occur when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citations have become final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to decide to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The inspection was conducted by the Wilkes-Barre OSHA office, The Stegmaier Bldg., Suite 410, 7 North Wilkes-Barre Blvd., Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 18702, telephone (570) 826-6538.
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