Region 4 News Release: 09-192-ATL (056)
March 9, 2009
Contact: Michael Wald
Company's failure to correct previous violations alone result in more than $202,500 in fines
MOBILE, Ala. ¿ The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing $293,700 in penalties for 36 safety and health violations found at Phenix Lumber Co. in Phenix City, Ala.
The total proposed penalties include $202,500 for four safety citations and one health citation resulting from the company's failure to correct violations identified during a previous OSHA inspection. Those citations include the company's failure to obtain audiograms for employees exposed to noise hazards, not implementing specific lockout/tagout procedures to prevent accidental start-up of machinery and three instances where machine guards had not been installed in a timely manner.
In addition, OSHA is proposing $23,100 in penalties for one repeat and seven serious health violations; and $68,100 for 17 serious, five repeat and one other-than-serious safety violations. The health violations relate to poor housekeeping of combustible dust, lack of safety signs, lack of safety equipment, and using incorrect electrical and forklift equipment. The safety violations include unguarded machinery and pit openings, not utilizing lockout/tagout procedures, dangers to employees from unstable piles of lumber, lack of signage and improper use of electrical equipment.
"These financial penalties are the direct result of the company's failure to correct violations found in 2007," said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's area director in Mobile. "Even when OSHA staff pointed out problems during previous inspections and management agreed to correct them, the company did not follow through on its obligations."
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Mobile or contest the proposed citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The sites were inspected by staff from OSHA's Mobile Area Office, 1141 Montlimar Drive, Suite 1006; telephone 251-441-6131.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit 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.