US Labor Department's OSHA cites Pocahontas Aluminum in Arkansas for
safety and health violations, proposes more than $154,000 in penalties
POCAHONTAS, Ark. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Pocahontas Aluminum Co. Inc. with 19 alleged serious and five alleged repeat safety and health violations at the company's facility in Pocahontas. Proposed penalties total $154,770.
"This is not the first time this company has exposed its employees to workplace safety and health hazards," said Carlos Reynolds, OSHA's Little Rock Area Office director. "OSHA's standards must be followed to avoid accidents and injuries."
OSHA's Little Rock office opened a planned safety inspection on Oct. 29, 2010, at the company's facility on Industrial Drive under the agency's National Emphasis Program on Fabricated Metal Products. The safety inspection found 10 serious and five repeat safety violations. A health investigation yielding nine serious violations was opened Nov. 15, 2010, based on a referral from the safety inspection.
The serious safety violations include failing to provide proper machine lockout/tagout procedures, repair damaged work platforms and adequately store ladders. Health violations include failing to provide employees with proper personal protective equipment, adequately assess the facility under the hearing conservation program and include emergency response personnel under the bloodborne pathogens program. 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.
Repeat safety violations include failing to provide proper guards for the mechanical power press and power transmission equipment. 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. Pocahontas Aluminum was cited in 2006 for the same violations and assessed penalties of $18,750 at that time.
Pocahontas Aluminum, which employs about 85 workers and manufactures aluminum window and door products, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Little Rock 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 Little Rock office at 501-224-1841 or the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) to report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.
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.