Feb. 25, 2008
Contact: Scott Allen or Brad Mitchell
CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $140,000 in fines against Chicago metal forger A. Finkl & Sons for two alleged willful violations of federal workplace safety standards found during a recent follow-up to a 2006 inspection.
OSHA opened its most current inspection in August 2007 to determine if the company had corrected safety hazards found in 2006 as agreed and to determine if other hazards existed. The follow-up inspection found that the company still has not provided adequate guardrails over tanks and pits, and has failed to keep industrial trucks in clean and safe operating condition. The two willful citations issued as a result of these hazards carry a total of $140,000 in penalties.
"It's disappointing when we find on re-inspection that problems which may lead to death or serious injury still exist," said Diane Turek, OSHA's area director in Des Plaines, Ill. "There is no excuse for this kind of attitude toward the safety of employees."
OSHA has inspected the Finkl forging plant 19 times since 1972 with 12 of those inspections resulting in citations for safety violations. The company has had two fatalities during that time. Additionally, an employee was injured in 2003 after jumping from the cab of a powered industrial truck that caught fire due to accumulations of hydraulic oil that ignited while he was transporting a heated metal ingot.
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
A. Finkl & Sons has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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 www.osha.gov.
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