April 22, 2015
Worker suffers broken wrist and lacerations while performing
machine maintenance work at Atlanta's American Air Filter Co.
Employer has history of safety violations
ATLANTA – A 56-year-old woman suffered a broken left wrist and severe lacerations after coming into contact with moving parts of a high-volume Lebanon machine, a machine used to assemble air filters, at American Air Filter Co. Inc. in Atlanta.
An inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration in October 2014 found that the worker was removing glue from the rails of the machine when she dropped her putty knife. While attempting to retrieve it, she made contact with moving machine parts that were not shut down or turned off properly for maintenance and service. As a result, OSHA cited the air filter manufacturer for three safety violations. Proposed penalties total $115,500.
"Failing to correct known workplace hazards is a sure way to injure workers. Many times these hazards cause death or permanent disabilities," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "American Air Filter was cited recently for similar hazards and still allows workers to operate equipment without proper safety procedures in place."
OSHA issued two repeated citations to American Air Filter for failure to ensure workers were protected from moving machine parts during service or maintenance and not providing protective guards on equipment to prevent workers from being hit-by or caught between moving machine parts. A repeated violation exists when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was issued citations for similar violations in 2014.
One serious violation was also cited for exposing workers to being hit-by and caught-in machines because the employer did not ensure that proper written procedures were followed while employees serviced and maintained equipment. 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. View the current citations at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/americanairfiltercits.pdf*
American Air Filter, with corporate headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, is a privately owned manufacturer of clean air products and systems. The company does business as AAF International and has more than 3,000 employees in 22 countries. It employs approximately 100 workers at the Atlanta facility.
The Atlanta site has been inspected twice in the last five years, resulting in repeated and serious violations in January 2014 and June 2014.
OSHA proposes that American Air Filter be placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program for demonstrating indifference to its OSH Act obligations to provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees.
Bureau of Labor Statistics data from the preliminary Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows fatal work injuries in Georgia accounted for 70 of the 4,405 fatal work injuries* reported nationally in 2013. Additional details are available at http://www.bls.gov.
American Air Filter has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the 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 Atlanta-East Area Office at 770-493-6644.
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/.
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Release Number: 15-635-ATL (117)
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).
*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.