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OSHA News Release
Region 4

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Region 4 News Release: 07-1314-ATL (235)
Sept. 4, 2007
Contact: Dan Fuqua Michael Wald
Phone: (404) 562-2078 (404) 562-2076

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA proposes $76,500 in fines against Vidalia, Ga., manufacturer for willful and serious safety violations

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties totaling $76,500 against Savannah Luggage Works, a Vidalia, Ga., manufacturer of military and commercial products, including body armor vests.

The Labor Department proposed a fine of $63,000 against the company for willfully failing to provide machine guards to protect employees and penalties of $13,500 for four other serious safety violations.

"Despite warnings and the company's own experiences, management chose not to undertake a basic and easily implemented action that could prevent employees from being injured while operating mechanical rivet/snap machines," said John J. Deifer, OSHA's area director in Savannah.

The willful violation was issued after OSHA inspectors determined that the company did not take corrective action despite having been notified by a safety consultant in 1993 that the machine guards were necessary. Two employees have been injured as a result of the missing guards, which came with the original equipment that was purchased but were later removed from the machines.

The four serious safety violations included exposing employees to electric start-up hazards by not implementing a lockout program, exposing employees to electrical shocks by using a metal-cased duplex electrical receptacle, not providing guards on machine drive pulleys and belts, and not having a written exposure control plan for employees assigned as first-aid responders.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest them and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's office in Savannah, 450 Mall Boulevard, Suite J; telephone (912) 652-4393.

OSHA's mission is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by preventing injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The agency has a vigorous enforcement program, having conducted more than 38,000 inspections last year and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last seven years.

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 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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