US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Alabama metal fabricator
for 17 safety and health hazards; proposed fines exceed $50,000
THEODORE, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited S & K Machineworks Co. Inc. with 17 safety and health violations after conducting two inspections at the company's production facility in Theodore. A planned safety inspection began in December 2011 as part of OSHA's emphasis programs to prevent amputations and injuries related to powered industrial trucks. The identification of exposure to hexavalent chromium and silica triggered a separate health inspection. Proposed penalties total $50,645.
Eleven serious health violations, with $43,400 in fines, involve workers' exposure to hexavalent chromium and silica, both of which can cause irreversible health problems. The company also lacked both an effective hearing conservation and respiratory programs. Three serious safety violations, with $6,545 in fines, include the presence of floor openings that risked fall hazards, a lack of machine safety guards on an abrasive wheel, and unused openings in cabinets, boxes and fittings that exposed workers to electrical hazards. 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.
One other-than-serious safety violation, with a $700 penalty, has been cited for not maintaining a complete and adequate log of injuries and illnesses at the workplace. Two other-than-serious safety violations, with no monetary penalties, include the use of an improper electrical conductor and of a pressure vessel in the sand blasting yard missing the proper markings and pressure gauge. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"Companies must protect employees from both immediate and long-term hazards. Employers need to take proactive measures to prevent exposure to hazards rather than wait for an OSHA inspection," said Joseph Roesler, OSHA's area director in Mobile.
S & K Machineworks, which fabricates and services storage tanks and pressure vessels, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Mobile or contest the citations and the proposed penalties 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 Mobile office at 251-441-6131.
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.