Region 2 News Release: 10-827-NEW/BOS 2010-251
Tues., June 22, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Ford Motor Co. for not repairing damaged
overhead cranes at Buffalo Stamping Plant in western New York
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the Ford Motor Co. Buffalo Stamping Plant in Hamburg, N.Y., with an alleged willful violation of safety standards for not repairing or removing unsafe overhead cranes from service. The citation follows an OSHA inspection opened in January 2010 in response to a complaint from workers at the plant.
OSHA standards require that employers inspect cranes to identify unsafe conditions and remove the cranes from operation until the hazards are corrected. OSHA's inspection found five instances where overhead cranes used to lift and set dies or lift coils of steel were allowed to remain in service after defects were identified during inspections conducted in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The defects included worn brake drums, loose or sheared coupling bolts, and worn or damaged gears.
"Management's ongoing knowledge of and failure to correct these repeatedly recognized defects exposed workers to potential crushing injuries had one or more of these cranes failed," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director for western New York. "It should not take an OSHA inspection and enforcement action to prompt an employer to complete necessary repairs that should have been made months, even years, ago."
The willful citation carries a proposed fine of $70,000. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for worker safety and health.
"One means of preventing hazards such as these is to establish an effective comprehensive workplace safety and health program, in which workers and employers work together to proactively evaluate, identify and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Ford has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet 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 Buffalo Area Office; telephone 716-551-3053. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://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 http://www.dol.gov/compliance.