Region 2 News Release: 11-1619-NEW/BOS 2011-383
Nov. 29, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $125,000 in fines to Munnsville, NY,
plant of Wisconsin-based Briggs & Stratton for repeat, serious safety hazards
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group LLC for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Munnsville manufacturing plant. The lawnmower manufacturer faces a total of $125,000 in proposed penalties, chiefly for mechanical, electrical and fall hazards identified during an inspection begun in June by OSHA's Syracuse Area Office.
"The sizable fines proposed in this case reflect both the gravity of these hazards and the fact that several are substantially similar to conditions cited in an earlier OSHA inspection," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director for central New York. "It's imperative that this employer not only corrects these latest hazards but also takes effective steps to ensure that they are corrected once and for all."
OSHA found several recurring hazards similar to those cited during a 2007 inspection of the same location, including unguarded rotating parts and points of operation on machinery, open-sided floors lacking railings or guarding to prevent falls and a lack of electrical grounding. These conditions resulted in citations for five repeat violations, with $95,000 in proposed fines. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Additionally, this latest inspection identified electrical and machine guarding hazards, inadequate training to ensure that machines are de-energized and their power sources are locked out to prevent unintended startup during maintenance, defects with lifting chains and slings, unguarded floor holes, and uninspected overhead hoists and hook devices. These conditions resulted in citations for eight serious violations, with $30,000 in fines. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
"An important means of preventing initial and recurring workplace hazards is for employers to implement effective illness and injury prevention programs in which they work with their employees to identify and eliminate hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/BriggsandStratton_314352576_1116_11.pdf*.
Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group LLC is a subsidiary of Wauwatosa, Wis.-based Briggs & Stratton Corp. The company 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. To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Syracuse office at 315-451-0808.
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 ensure 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 news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF documents.