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OSHA News Release
Region 4

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Region 4 News Release: 08-673-ATL (113)
May 16, 2008
Contact: Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA proposes $115,000 in penalties against Pell City, Ala., highway safety products manufacturer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $115,000 in penalties after conducting an inspection of Energy Absorption Systems' Pell City, Ala., manufacturing facilities. Citations were issued for four repeat, three serious and one other-than-serious violation of OSHA's standards. The company had been cited for similar violations after a previous inspection in September 2007.

"Unfortunately, we found that this plant continued to risk its employees' safety by failing to address the deficiencies uncovered during our previous inspection," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham.

OSHA has proposed $100,000 in penalties for the repeat violations, which include failing to utilize lockout/tagout procedures, not having machine guards on all equipment, operating machinery with ineffective guards and not properly training employees to use guards and lockout/tagout procedures. Lockout/tagout refers to preventing accidental start-up of machinery during maintenance.

The company also has been cited for three serious and one other-than-serious violation resulting in $15,000 in proposed penalties for improperly operating power presses with hand trip devices, operating robotic machinery without guards, and not having documented procedures for removing a lockout/tagout device.

A repeat violation is defined as a violation that previously was cited where, upon re-inspection, a substantially similar violation is found. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have an immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.

Energy Absorption Systems, a manufacturer of highway crash cushions and other highway safety devices, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest the violations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The worksite was inspected by staff from OSHA's Birmingham Area Office at 950 22nd St., Room 1050; telephone 205-731-1534.

OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.

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


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