Region 2 News Release
Tues., Jan. 26, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $71,000 in fines against Schweizer Aircraft Corp. for hazards at Horseheads, NY, plant
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $71,000 in fines against Schweizer Aircraft Corp., for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of safety and health standards following inspections of the company's Horseheads, N.Y., helicopter manufacturing plant.
OSHA found workers were exposed to electrocution hazards from the company's failure to first de-energize live electrical parts before having employees work on them. This situation resulted in the issuance of one willful citation, carrying a proposed fine of $55,000. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for worker safety and health.
"Failing to de-energize live electrical parts exposes workers to swift and serious injury or death from electric shock," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. "This employer must ensure that the proper safeguards are in place and in use to protect workers against this and other potentially deadly hazards."
The inspection also identified several other hazards, including misused extension cords, unlabeled electrical circuits, unguarded open-sided roof areas and work platforms, lack of protective gloves, inadequate chemical hazard communication and allowing a buildup of combustible residue in a flammable spraying area. These conditions resulted in seven serious citations, with $14,000 in fines. Serious citations are issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
Finally, the company has been issued one repeat citation, with a $2,000 fine, for failing to properly record an injury on its illness and injury log. OSHA had cited the company for a similar condition in June 2008.
"One means of preventing hazards such as these is for employers to establish effective comprehensive workplace safety and health programs involving workers in proactively evaluating, identifying and eliminating hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Schweizer Aircraft Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Syracuse Area Office; telephone 315-451-0808.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.