Dixon Ticonderoga plant in Macon, Ga., cited by US Department of Labor's
OSHA for 23 safety and health violations; $64,000 proposed in fines
MACON, Ga. – Dixon Ticonderoga Co. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 23 safety and health violations at its factory in Macon. OSHA began an inspection after receiving a complaint about possible violations. Proposed fines total $64,085.
Eleven serious safety violations relate to exit routes that were inadequately lit and exit signs that were not illuminated at all, propane containers that were stored improperly, materials that were not stored in a safe manner to prevent sliding or collapse, not marking the aisles where powered industrial trucks traveled and not keeping those aisles free from obstruction. Additionally, the company did not develop lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machinery from unexpectedly starting up during servicing or maintenance, grinding wheels were not adequately guarded to prevent workers from coming in contact with moving parts, and sprockets and chains were not adequately guarded to prevent workers from being struck by or caught up in the equipment. Furthermore, electrical hazards included boxes that lacked covers or had improperly installed covers, conductors entering boxes that were not protected from damage, splices in wiring that were made improperly, flexible cords used instead of required fixed wiring and flexible cords that were not provided with adequate strain relief to prevent pull from being directly transmitted to device joints or terminal screws.
Five serious health violations involve conduits and pallets coated in wood dust that could cause respiratory problems for workers, using electrical equipment near explosives where the equipment was not rated for the hazardous location, failing to develop a hazard communication program where employees were exposed to acetone, failing to create a hearing testing program for workers exposed to loud sounds, and not providing employees with testing, training or a choice of hearing protectors to guard against hearing loss. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Fines for the 16 serious violations total $59,085.
One other-than-serious safety violation with no fine was cited for failing to evaluate powered industrial truck operators as part of the company's training program and to provide operators with training or evaluation conducted by a qualified person.
One other-than-serious health violation with a $4,000 fine was cited for allowing mandatory OSHA logs to be signed by an employee below the level of a company official in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. A second other-than-serious health violation with a $1,000 fine was cited because a mandatory OSHA log was not maintained in 2008, although recordable injuries and illnesses had occurred at this location.
Four more other-than-serious health violations with no fines involve not developing a written respiratory protection plan for employees required to wear a dust mask, not providing required information to workers who voluntarily used respiratory protection, not creating a program to ensure proper care of respirator equipment and not providing employees with a respirator approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"Developing a comprehensive employee safety and health program can lessen the possibility of injury, death and long-term health problems for workers, as well as reduce a company's medical costs. Employers must safeguard their workers' safety and health," said William Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office.
The Macon plant prints custom designs onto pens, pencils and other writing instruments, and prior to this investigation was last inspected by OSHA in 2002. Dixon Ticonderoga Co. is best known as a manufacturer of writing instruments. A subsidiary of the Fila Group, Dixon Ticonderoga's American headquarters is in Heathrow, Fla.
Dixon Ticonderoga has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by OSHA's Atlanta-East office, 2183 Northlake Parkway, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga. 30084; telephone 770-493-6644. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (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 ensure 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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.