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Region 5

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Region 5 News Release: 10-1298-CHI
Sept. 21, 2010
Contact: Rhonda Burke Scott Allen
Phone: 312-353-6976 312-353-6976

US Labor Department's OSHA fines Spartech Plastics of Evanston, Ill.,
$54,500 for exposing workers to unsafe working conditions

EVANSTON, Ill. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Evanston-based Spartech Plastics LLC with 16 serious safety violations for exposing employees to unguarded machinery and electrical shock hazards, and for failing to protect workers from fall hazards. Proposed penalties total $54,500.

"There is simply no excuse for an employer to disregard the safety and welfare of its workers by not following OSHA regulations to prevent electrocution, falls and amputations," said OSHA Area Director Diane Turek in Chicago, Ill. "Those who ignore the OSHA standards and safe work practices are inviting tragedy into the workplace."

As a result of an inspection that began in March, OSHA issued the serious citations for failing to provide proper training on lockout and tagout of energy sources, conduct required inspections of forklifts, provide required guardrails on work platforms and stairwells, and implement lockout and tagout procedures for electrical equipment. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

Spartech Plastics LLC, which employs about 100 workers at its Evanston location, also received one other-than-serious violation for failing to have covers on electrical equipment openings.

In a separate, recent health inspection by OSHA, the company was fined $3,500 for allowing workers to be exposed to noise levels in excess of the permissible limit and for failing to maintain records on cases of employees who sustained work-related occupational hearing loss. The company paid the fine and abated the violations.

The company 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 Regional Chicago Office at 312-353-2220. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.

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 assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit


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