Jan. 12, 2007
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
Phone: (303) 844-1302
Kansas City, Mo. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited T.O. Haas LLC, Imperial, Neb., for seven alleged serious, willful, repeat and other-than-serious safety violations. OSHA proposed a $132,500 penalty against the company, following its investigation of a July 15, 2006 fatal accident.
T.O. Haas LLC is a wholesale and retail tire service company with 26 locations and 210 employees throughout Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. The Imperial, Neb., location primarily provides tire sales and service to private, commercial and agricultural customers.
"An investigation was conducted after an employee suffered fatal injuries after being struck in the head while inflating a tire," said Charles E. Adkins, CIH, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City. "This tragic accident could have been prevented if OSHA regulations and equipment manufacturer's instructions had been followed."
The serious citation addressed the employer's allowing employees to inflate tires above the maximum pressure recommended by the manufacturer to "seat" the tire bead firmly against the rim flange. Two willful citations were issued for failure to remove from service any restraining device or barrier exhibiting damage that would decrease its effectiveness and failure to ensure all inflation operations are done inside a tire restraining device or barrier.
The three repeat citations addressed failure to ensure that each employee demonstrated and maintained the ability to service rim wheels safely; failure to adequately guard the pulley on the air compressor and failure to adequately guard the belt on an air compressor in the facility.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. Serious violations are those which could result in death or serious physical harm from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known. Repeat violations involve hazards for which the company was previously cited.
An other-than-serious citation was issued for the employer's failure to make an oral report of the fatality to OSHA within eight hours of the event. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace 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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