Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Contact: Clyde Payne Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (601) 965-4606 (404) 562-2076
Agency is proposing penalties totaling more than $164,000
JACKSON, Miss. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Mountain Pure MS and proposed penalties totaling $164,150 following the investigation of a fatal May 24 accident at the company's Magee, Miss., facility.
"This tragic accident could have been prevented if OSHA regulations and equipment manufacturer's instructions had been followed," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson area director. "Significant penalties are proposed when employers are aware of unsafe conditions and fail to abate them."
OSHA's investigation revealed that employees were routinely allowed to operate unguarded machinery and to service and repair equipment while machinery was energized. The fatality occurred when a worker was caught in an unguarded palletizer, part of a conveyer system used to move pallets.
The company received two willful citations directly related to the fatal accident, each with a proposed penalty of $49,000. Cited items were failure to train employees and develop energy control procedures that rendered machinery inoperable during repair, maintenance or servicing, and failure to install machine guards on moving parts of equipment. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer has shown an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
The drinking water bottler also received 28 serious citations, with penalties totaling $66,150 for safety and health hazards. Alleged violations include lack of eye wash stations and personal protective equipment for employees working with corrosive materials; exposing workers to ozone well above the permissible levels; failing to train and certify forklift operators; improper use of a rough terrain forklift; lack of a hearing conservation program; lack of proper electrical equipment; improperly stored chemicals; and lack of machine guarding on other equipment not involved in the accident. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The worksite was inspected by staff from the OSHA's area office in Jackson located at 3780 I-55 North, Suite 210; phone: (601) 965-4606.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace 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 about trenching safety and other safe work practices, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.