Kirkhill Manufacturing of Athens, Ga., fined more than $125,000 by
US Department of Labor's OSHA for safety and health hazards
ATLANTA - Kirkhill Manufacturing Co. of Athens, Ga., has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing workers to carbon black combustible dust and other safety and health hazards. Penalties total $125,650.
Following a February inspection, OSHA has cited Kirkhill with one willful safety violation carrying a proposed penalty of $56,000 for hazards associated with failing to establish a lockout/tagout program for energy control procedures. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employees' safety and health.
The company also has been cited with 17 serious safety violations with proposed penalties of $46,550. These include hazards related to a combustible dust transport system made of non-conductible PVC piping; poor housekeeping of carbon black combustible dust; allowing employees to use a spreader bar for lifting when it had not been tested or rated for capacity; unguarded walking and working surfaces, failing to mount portable fire extinguishers, a lack of forklift operator training, machine guarding hazards and various electrical deficiencies.
A separate health inspection revealed eight serious violations with $23,100 in proposed penalties. The violations include hazards associated with the assessment, use and appropriateness of personal protection equipment; lack of development and implementation of a respiratory protection program; overexposure to carbon black dust; failing to evaluate permit-required confined spaces; failing to make the material safety data sheets readily accessible, and failing to provide hazard communication training.
"Kirkhill Manufacturing exposed its workers to potential workplace hazards by not having a lockout/tagout program established and allowing carbon black dust to accumulate," said Kimberly Austin, acting area director for OSHA's Atlanta-East Office. "OSHA's safety and health standards must be followed to prevent injuries and fatalities."
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office, which is located at 2183 Northlake Parkway, Building 7, Suite 110; telephone 770-493-6644. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.
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 assure 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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