July 25, 2007
Contact: Brad Mitchell
Phone: (312) 353-6976
O'Hare International Airport for workplace safety violations
Federal agency proposes $231,000 in penalties
CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $231,000 in fines against Dallas-based American Airlines Inc. for alleged multiple serious, repeat and willful violations of federal workplace safety standards at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.
OSHA selected American Airlines for inspection after reviewing the company's occupational injury and illness data. At O'Hare International Airport, agency officials inspected the airline's ramp services, cargo building, automotive shops, ticket and gate services, tower, two hangars and baggage room.
As a result of the inspection, OSHA has issued one willful citation with a proposed penalty of $70,000, alleging that the company failed to protect all open-sided floors and work platforms from potential fall hazards.
The agency has issued citations for 15 serious violations with proposed penalties of $61,000 for a variety of concerns, including machine guarding, electrical issues, trip and fall hazards, blocked exits and storage of oxygen and acetylene cylinders.
Six repeat violations, based on citations issued and affirmed in 2005, cover machine guarding issues, electrical and fire hazards, fall protection, review of lockout/tagout procedures and hygiene issues. "Lockout/tagout" procedures protect employees from unexpected startup of machinery and equipment during service or maintenance activities. Proposed penalties for repeat violations total $100,000.
"Falls, electrical hazards, machine guarding and energy lockout issues are problems that should not exist at any worksite and can be avoided if an employer is dedicated to protecting employees," said Diane Turek, director of OSHA's Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines, Ill. "Employers must remain dedicated to keeping the workplace safe and healthful or face close scrutiny by OSHA."
Since 2004, American Airlines has been inspected by OSHA 66 times at various locations nationwide, with 37 of those inspections resulting in citations. American Airlines at O'Hare International Airport has been inspected 10 times since 2000, with five of the inspections resulting in citations.
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 assure 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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