May 2, 2008
Contact: Scott Allen or Brad Mitchell
Federal action proposes $215,500 in penalties
CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $215,500 in fines against United Airlines Inc. in Chicago for alleged multiple serious and repeat violations of federal workplace safety standards.
OSHA selected United Airlines for inspection after reviewing occupational injury and illness data, which included ramp services, customer service areas, air freight, aircraft and ground equipment maintenance, building/facility maintenance, business operations, strategic procurement, medical facilities and flight attendant operations. As a result of its inspection, OSHA issued 43 serious violations and four repeat violations.
The serious violations address hazards associated with fall protection, hazardous energy control procedures and training, storage of oxygen and fuel-gas cylinders, platform load ratings and electrical hazards. The four repeat violations, based on citations issued and affirmed in 2006 and 2007, cover machine guarding and electrical issues. Proposed penalties for the repeat violations alone total $57,500.
"Falls, electrical hazards and machine guarding issues, as well as energy lockout/tagout procedures, which are intended to prevent accidental start-up of machinery during maintenance, are problems that should not exist at any worksite," said Diane Turek, director of OSHA's Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines, Ill. "They are problems that can be avoided if an employer is dedicated to protecting employees. Employers must remain dedicated to keeping the workplace safe and healthful, or face close scrutiny by this agency."
Since 2004, OSHA has inspected United Airlines 22 times at various locations nationwide. United Airlines operations at O'Hare International Airport have been inspected eight times since 2000 with only three of those inspections resulting in citations.
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.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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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