US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Florida manufacturer for
willful and serious safety violations, proposes nearly $110,000 in fines
CLEARWATER, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Model Screw Products Inc. of Clearwater for 18 safety violations. OSHA opened an investigation after receiving a complaint alleging that PVC piping was inappropriately being used for compressed air. Proposed penalties total $109,800.
OSHA's inspection found that PVC piping used to transport compressed air had ruptured three times in June and in the third instance caused an employee to suffer hearing loss and trauma. One willful violation with a penalty of $63,000 has been cited for using PVC piping to transport compressed air. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
"Management knew the dangers associated with transporting compressed air through PVC piping but chose to put employees at risk. Unfortunately, the practice resulted in a worker being injured," said Les Grove, OSHA's area director in Tampa. "It is the employer's responsibility to assess workplace hazards and ensure that corrective measures are taken to protect employees."
Nine serious violations with penalties of $42,300 have been cited for failing to develop or utilize lockout/tagout procedures for the energy sources of equipment, having two locks on an emergency exit door that could inhibit exiting from inside, permitting employees to use inappropriate gloves, exposing workers to metal cutting fluids, failing to lock out the energy sources of equipment during servicing, not training workers on how to use fire extinguishers, having an unguarded band saw blade, allowing compressed air to be pressurized in excess of 30 pounds per square inch for cleaning and not training employees on the hazards of the chemicals they use. 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.
Eight other-than-serious violations with $4,500 in penalties include allowing an unauthorized representative to sign the OSHA 300A injury and illness forms for 2008 and 2010, not marking an exit door, failing to certify that forklift operators were trained and evaluated, permitting forklifts to be used prior to a daily inspection, improperly using an outlet box and having an inadequate hazard communications program. 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.
The company's citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Model-screw-products_315763193-1216-11.pdf*.
Model Screw Products, which manufactures small parts using Swiss screw technology, 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. 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 Tampa Area Office at 813-626-1177.
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.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.