US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $75,000 in fines to Minnesota pipe
manufacturer for machine guarding, other hazards at Chatsworth, Ill., facility
CHATSWORTH, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Prinsco Inc. for 14 alleged serious safety violations, including a lack of machine guarding, at its Chatsworth pipe manufacturing facility. An inspection was initiated under OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which focuses enforcement efforts on workplaces with high injury and illness rates. Proposed penalties total $75,000.
"Employers such as Prinsco that record a higher-than-average rate of days lost due to injuries demonstrate a need to re-evaluate their safety procedures," said Tom Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "It is the responsibility of every employer to know and correct safety and health hazards that exist in their workplaces."
The violations involve failing to identify emergency exits; provide adequate guardrails and safe wooden ladders; properly list or label electrical equipment; close unused openings in circuit breaker boxes; and guard corrugating machines, belts, pulleys, and woodworking machines such as radial and table saws. 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.
Willmar, Minn.-based Prinsco, which employs about 40 workers at its Chatsworth facility, manufactures high-density polyethylene corrugated pipe used for drainage purposes in the agriculture, landscaping and residential construction industries. The company has other facilities in Fresno, Calif.; Jesup and Fort Dodge, Iowa; Prinsburg and Fairfax, Minn.; Bethany, Mo.; Fargo, N.D.; Beresford, S.D.; and Appleton, Wis. Prinsco facilities were inspected on five previous occasions by OSHA, resulting in citations for violations involving machine guarding and electrical hazards.
Prinsco has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties 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 Area 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.
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