June 10, 2008
Contact: Michael Wald
JACKSON, Miss. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $193,000 in penalties against Howard Industries for 54 violations of federal safety rules at the company's two manufacturing locations in Laurel, Miss.
The producer of electrical power products is being cited with 36 serious violations and proposed penalties of $123,500 at its Pendorf Road plant, with an additional 15 serious violations and proposed penalties of $41,000 at its Eastview plant. The violations include failing to provide employees with proper protective equipment, and to provide machine guards and lockout-tagout procedures. Lockout/tagout refers to preventing accidental start-up of machinery during maintenance.
Two repeat violations with penalties of $27,500 are being proposed for violations similar to those noted during earlier inspections in 2007. Chemical containers lacked identification labels and chains used as slings for lifting loads were shortened using makeshift measures rather than reducing the number of links.
One citation with a $1,000 penalty has been proposed for the company's failure to make material safety data sheets (MSDS) readily accessible to employees in their work area. A MSDS provides both employees and emergency personnel with information that is of particular use if a spill or other accident occurs.
"It is unconscionable for an employer to tolerate serious injuries, including amputations, as just a cost of doing business, rather than get out into the production areas and fix these numerous problems before employees get injured," said Clyde Payne, director of OSHA's Jackson Area Office.
The company has 15 business days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Jackson area office, 3780 I-55 North, Suite 210, telephone 601-965-4606.
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 www.osha.gov.
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