US Labor Department's OSHA fines Interlake Mecalux $71,700 for exposing
workers to amputation, serious hazards at Illinois storage system manufacturer
MELROSE PARK, Ill. – Interlake Mecalux Inc., a manufacturer of storage and racking systems, has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 17 serious safety violations, many of which expose workers to amputation hazards*. OSHA has proposed penalties of $71,700, following the October 2013 complaint inspection of the Melrose Park-based plant.
"Interlake Mecalux workers were exposed to dangerous hazards daily, putting them at risk of amputation due to a lack of required safeguards," said Angie Loftus, OSHA's area director for the Chicago North Office in Des Plaines. "The company must identify and correct workplace hazards and provide workers with required safety training."
The failure to provide required machine guarding and protect workers adequately from moving machine parts during servicing and/or maintenance activities are primary causes of amputations. In 2012, more than 5,000 workers suffered an amputation injury on the job.
The complaint inspection was initiated under OSHA's National Emphasis Program on amputation hazards.
Eleven serious safety violations were cited, including exposing workers to amputation hazards by failing to protect workers adequately through lockout/tag out devices during machinery servicing; failing to train workers in energy control procedures; failing to inspect procedures annually; and lack of machine guarding on presses and other mechanical equipment.
Other serious violations involve issues, such as unguarded floor and wall openings exposing workers to fall hazards; failing to provide electrical personal protective equipment for employees doing electrical work; and use of damaged extension cords.
An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
Additionally, the company was cited for six other-than-serious violations for improper use of ladders and failing to maintain records on crane inspections and maintenance. 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.
Interlake Mecalux has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.
A health inspection also was opened in October 2013. The company was cited for nine violations on Jan. 22, carrying proposed penalties of $21,550.
Prior to this safety and health inspection, OSHA has inspected the company six times in the past five years, resulting in 13 violations cited. The company also operates a facility in Pontiac, IL.
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 Chicago North Office at 847-803-4800.
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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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
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