Jan. 21, 2015
Miami freezer manufacturer exposes employees
to serious electrical, machine and chemical hazards
OSHA cites Arctic Industries for repeated safety and health violations
MIAMI – Employees at Arctic Industries Inc. faced the dangers of electrocution, amputation and serious illness at work at the Miami-based freezer manufacturer. As part of its continued oversight of the company and its history of safety failures, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors returned in July 2014 and identified 16 safety and health violations, with penalties of $64,680.
Violations found in 2013 and again during two visits in 2014 led OSHA to include the company, which does business as Arctic Walk-in Coolers & Freezers, in its Site-Specific Targeting Program, which concentrates on companies with above average injury and illness rates.
"Management at Arctic Walk-in is lucky no one was hurt or sickened by its failure to take safety seriously. They should have created a safety program to protect workers from workplace hazards like machines with missing safety guards and unsafe chemical usage," said Juan Torres, acting director of OSHA's Fort Lauderdale Area Office. "OSHA holds employers accountable for correcting conditions that threaten worker safety and health."
OSHA issued a repeated citation for Arctic not ensuring proper installation of guards to protect users from operating machine parts. The agency cited Arctic in June 2014 for similar violations at this facility.
Inspectors discovered 14 serious violations, including not labeling containers of hazardous chemicals; exposing employees to dangerous operating machines without protection; allowing improper wiring, ground electrical circuits and other equipment; and not removing a defective or damaged powered industrial truck from service. The employer also gave no gloves, face shields or other protective gear to workers handling chemicals containing isocyanates, which are powerful irritants to the eyes, skin and lungs. Another violation for not posting load limits for supply and material storage areas was also issued.
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.
OSHA inspected Arctic in 2013 and found eight violations related to unsafe machinery and electrical hazards.
OSHA has created a National Emphasis Program concerning hazardous machinery and dangerous chemicals.
Arctic manufactures walk-in coolers and freezers for commercial and residential applications. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference 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 Fort Lauderdale Area Office at 954-424-0242.
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.
Release Number: 14-2304-ATL (18)
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