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Region 5 News Release: 12-290-CHI
Feb. 28, 2012
Contact: Scott Allen Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976 312-353-6976


US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Yaskawa America in Oak Creek, Wis.,
after worker suffers burns from electrical shock at manufacturing plant

OAK CREEK, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Yaskawa America Inc. with six safety ¿ including one willful ¿ violations, after a worker suffered burns from an electrical shock on Sept. 15 at the company's Oak Creek manufacturing facility. Proposed penalties total $91,000. The Waukegan, Ill.-based company produces drives and motion control components for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

"Allowing workers to come in contact with exposed and energized parts without appropriate personal protective equipment demonstrates a lack of concern for their safety," said George Yoksas, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee. "Employers are responsible for knowing the hazards that exist in their workplaces and taking proper safety precautions. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."

The worker suffered second- and third-degree burns on his hand after receiving an electrical shock from exposed parts that had the potential to be energized to 480 volts. The willful violation is allowing the worker to come in contact with exposed energized parts on testing equipment. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Additionally, three serious safety violations include using unapproved electrical equipment, failing to provide personal protective equipment to employees working on energized parts and failing to implement electrical safe work practices, such as utilizing insulated tools while working on energized electrical equipment. 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.

Two other-than-serious violations include not having strain relief on testing equipment and not completing OSHA 300 injury and illness logs as required. 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.

Yaskawa America has 15 business days from receipt of its most recent citations and 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 Milwaukee Area Office at 414-297-3315.

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

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at 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.