July 1, 2008
Contact: Michael Wald
Agency found company willfully endangered employees by ignoring fire department warning
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $64,250 in penalties following an inspection of Konie Cups International's Medley, Fla., manufacturing plant, which revealed 12 alleged safety violations.
OSHA is proposing one willful violation with a $49,000 penalty. Despite an earlier warning given to the company by local fire officials, OSHA discovered during its inspection that an exit door was locked and the key not easily accessible to all employees in case of an emergency. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
The company is receiving seven serious safety violations with penalties totaling $12,750. Employee safety was at risk because liquid propane tanks were stored near an exit route and too many tanks of the explosive gas were stored inside the building. Other problems included electrical hazards, slip and fall hazards, lack of eye protection, lack of a hearing conservation program, exposing employees to amputation hazards and lack of an established lockout/tagout program to prevent machines' unintended startup.
OSHA also has cited Konie Cups International for four other-than-serious violations with proposed penalties of $2,500.
"If a fire occurred in this plant, employees could die because this employer chose to ignore basic safety precautions," said Darlene Fossum, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale.
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 Fort Lauderdale Area Office, 8040 Peters Road, Building H-100, telephone 954-424-0242.
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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