Nov. 17, 2014
Hartwell, Georgia-based Tenneco Automotive Operating Co. placed in
OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program for repeat violations
Temporary staffing agency also cited following inspection
HARTWELL, Ga. – Tenneco Automotive Operating Co. Inc., doing business as Tenneco, was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 27 safety and health violations following a May 2014 inspection at the Hartwell plant. Elite Logistic Service Inc., a staffing agency that provided temporary employees to Tenneco at the Hartwell plant, was also cited for one serious safety violation. OSHA initiated the inspection after receiving a complaint alleging improper material handling and machine guarding hazards. Proposed penalties total $342,250.
Tenneco has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program for demonstrating indifference to its OSH Act obligations to provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees. Tenneco is a global transportation components manufacturer with more than 80 facilities on six continents and corporate offices in Lake Forest, Illinois.
"The high number of repeat violations of the same or similar hazards demonstrates that this employer is not concerned with protecting its permanent or temporary employees from occupational dangers," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "Fixing a hazard once, but allowing it to creep back into the workplace, shows that management has priorities other than running an effective safety and health program."
Tenneco was cited for eight repeat violations, carrying $242,550 in penalties. The violations involve exposing workers to slip and fall hazards due to soiled and slippery welding oils on floors; failing to protect workers from moving machine parts during service and maintenance; neglecting to protect employees from dangerous equipment with required guarding; and storing oxygen and acetylene cylinders improperly. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited for these same violations in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
OSHA also cited Tenneco for 16 serious violations, with $93,400 in penalties, for an inoperable stop pull cord used for emergencies and exposing workers to struck-by and crushing hazards. The company failed to ensure emergency exit signs were installed and operational and to affix equipment to the floor, which exposed workers to fire.
Three other violations included failure to label hazardous materials properly, workers using designed safety locks inappropriately and not standardizing safety locks. 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.
Elite Logistic Service employs approximately 110 temporary workers at the Tenneco facility. Elite was cited with one violation, carrying a penalty of $6,300, for failure to remove its employees from exposure to unguarded pallet tippers. The current citations for both companies can be viewed at:
OSHA has inspected the Hartwell plant 11 times since 2009. During the most recent inspection in May 2013, the company was cited for machine guarding, noise and combustible dust hazards.
In January 2014, OSHA's Atlanta Regional Office developed a Regional Emphasis Program for Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry for Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. The REP's focus is to reduce employee exposure to common violations found in the industry, including protecting employees from moving machine parts, machine guarding and electrical hazards.
In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers, who are at increased risk of work-related injury and illness. The initiative includes outreach, training and enforcement to ensure that temporary workers are protected in their workplaces. In recent months, OSHA has received and investigated many reports of temporary workers suffering serious or fatal injuries, some in their first days on the job. Following these investigations, OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health issued a "Recommended Practices"* publication that focused on ensuring temporary workers received the same training and protection as existing workers.
The companies have 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 Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Atlanta-East Area Office at 770-493-6644.
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.
Release Number: 14-2042-ATL (313)
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