Region 2 News Release: NY 212
Monday, November 2, 1998
Contact: Chester J. Fultz, 212-337-2319
BUFFALO AUTO HEATER PARTS MAKER CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED
SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS; $106,650 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
Firm inspected under OSHA program targeting plants with above-average injury rates
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Fedco Automotive Components Company, Inc., of 57 Tonawanda Street, Buffalo, New York, and proposed penalties of $106,650 against the firm for one alleged willful, 19 alleged serious, and four alleged other-than-serious violations of OSHA standards. The company has until November 23 to contest the citations.
According to OSHA area director David Boyce, the action results from an investigation begun in May at the plant, which manufactures copper, brass, and aluminum automotive heater cores, under an OSHA program to focus on companies whose injury and illness rates are at least two times the national average for their industry.
"This interim targeting program replaces OSHA's Cooperative Compliance Program, now under a stay, which would have offered a choice of partnership or traditional enforcement to companies with these above-average injury and illness rates," Boyce said. "Our inspection also disclosed that in this establishment there is the potential for amputations--a condition that has been targeted for reduction under OSHA's strategic plan," he added.
OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA's noise protection standard by failing to ensure employee participation in a noise training program. The alleged willful violation carries a proposed penalty of $49,500.
The alleged serious violations for which the employer was cited included:
failure to comply with provisions of the hearing conservation program including proper oversight of audiometric testing by qualified individuals, notifying employees of hearing loss, training, and fitting of hearing protectors when required;
failure to properly carry out a lockout-tagout program to prevent the accidental start-up of machines during servicing or repair;
failure to have a magnetic restart on radial arm saw and power presses;
failure to provide safe operating controls and conduct safety inspections on power presses;
failure to establish safe die-setting procedures, such as the use of die blocks, for power presses;
failure to reduce the pressure at compressed air nozzles to safe levels;
failure to notify employees in writing of the results of blood-lead-level monitoring, failure to institute a lead-hazard training program, and not maintaining complete records of lead exposure monitoring.
The serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $57,150.
Alleged other-than-serious violations for which the firm was cited included inadequate maintenance of the required log of injuries and illnesses, failure to provide annual fire extinguisher training, and failure to notify employees of their right of access to exposure and other medical records.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA act and regulations. 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.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo area office, located at 5360 Genesee Street, Bowmansville, New York, telephone (716) 684-3891.
This information will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (212) 337-2319; TDD phone: 800-347-8029; OASAM TDD message referral phone number: 800-326-2577.