US Labor Department's OSHA cites Komatsu America Corp. with 4 safety
violations after worker is killed at Peoria, Ill., manufacturing plant
PEORIA, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Komatsu America Corp. in Peoria with four safety violations, including two repeat, after a worker was injured while testing hydraulic cylinders for leakage. During that process, the hydraulic coupler on the return line of the hoist stand failed and released pressurized hydraulic fluid, which struck the worker. The employee died two days later from injuries sustained at the truck manufacturing plant in August 2012.
Two repeat violations were cited for failing to develop machine-specific energy control procedures and training to ensure workers understood energy control procedures. 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 other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited at the Peoria facility in January 2011.
Two serious violations were also cited for failing to evaluate and correct repeated catastrophic failures of critical machine parts, include authorized employees while conducting annual inspections, document annual inspection reviews of energy control procedures and include each authorized employee in the review. 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.
"Komatsu America has a responsibility to ensure equipment is maintained in good working order and that employees are properly trained in the safe operation of equipment they are required to use," said Tom Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "This unfortunate incident might have been prevented had the employer addressed previous incidents where the hydraulic coupler had failed."
Komatsu America Corp. is a U.S. subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd., and is headquartered in Rolling Meadows. The company has been inspected 43 times in 12 states in the past 21 years for safety issues, such as the control of hazardous energy and machine guarding.
Proposed penalties total $82,000. The company has 15 days from receipt of the citation and proposed penalty to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the finding 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 Peoria Area Office at 309-589-7033.
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.
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