US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Lavonia, Ga., cotton manufacturer
for 16 serious safety and health violations following fatality
LAVONIA, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Parkdale America LLC in Lavonia with 16 safety and health violations following the death of a worker in September 2010, who fell from a rolling ladder while replacing the drive housing unit on a spinning machine.
OSHA cited the company with one serious safety violation related to the fatality for failing to ensure the rubber feet were installed on the bottom of the mobile ladder. Five other serious safety violations include failing to guard nip points on finishing drawing machines; have an adequate drenching and eye wash station where corrosive materials were being handled; ensure fixed wiring was used instead of flexible cords; use proper chip guarding nozzles; and provide the proper electrical outlet approved for use in damp and wet conditions.
A separate health inspection revealed 10 serious violations that include allowing explosive dust to accumulate, failing to establish audiometric testing for employees, using an audiometer that had not been calibrated, failing to establish a noise training program, failing to monitor exposure to cotton dust, failing to measure the effectiveness of the dust ventilation system, exposing workers to 1.2 times the permissible exposure limit for unwashed cotton dust, failing to provide a medical surveillance program for employees exposed to cotton dust, failing to train employees on the exposure to cotton dust and failing to post a warning sign where cotton dust limits were exceeded. A serious citation is issued 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.
"Employers have a responsibility to ensure the equipment workers use is in good condition and does not pose a hazard, as in this tragic case," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "Additionally, this employer has placed other workers in danger by exposing them to unacceptable levels of cotton dust, which has long been recognized as the cause of brown lung in textile workers."
Parkdale America is headquartered in Gastonia, N.C., and has facilities in South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Alabama, as well as in Mexico and Colombia.
Proposed penalties for the citations total $62,337. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-East office, 2183 Northlake Parkway, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga. 30084; telephone 770-493-6644. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (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 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.