US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Caterpillar Inc. in East Peoria, Ill.,
with safety violations for failing to lock out equipment; fines total $66,000
EAST PEORIA, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Caterpillar Inc. in East Peoria with three safety violations for failing to follow proper procedures to lock out and tag out the energy sources of equipment. The company faces proposed penalties of $66,000 following OSHA's investigation into a December 2010 incident in which an employee was injured while attempting to clear a jam on the link orienter in the full link heat treat area. Lockout/tagout provisions for the equipment had not been implemented prior to the employee entering the area.
"Employers have a responsibility to take all necessary safety precautions to protect workers," said Tom Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "Caterpillar previously had been cited for failing to properly lock out and tag out equipment, which should have made them familiar with OSHA's regulations and requirements."
Two repeat violations include failing to train employees on lockout/tagout procedures and to affix a lockout or tagout device to isolate energy to the link orienter. 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. Caterpillar was cited for the same violations at the East Peoria facility in May 2009.
One serious violation was cited for failing to provide a lockout or tagout device to employees for the link orienter. 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.
Caterpillar Inc. 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. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Peoria office at 309-589-7033. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. 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.