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OSHA News Release
Region 7

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Region 7 News Release: OSHA/06-505-KAN
Date: Monday, May 15, 2006
Contact: Norma J. Conrad
Phone: (816) 426-5481

OSHA Fines Palleton of Fremont $126,500 for 33 Safety and Health Violations

FREMONT, Neb. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Palleton of Fremont Inc. for 33 alleged safety and health violations and proposed penalties totaling $126,500.

"The wooden pallet repair and refurbishment company was selected for a comprehensive joint safety and health inspection under the agency's site-specific targeting program," said Charles E. Adkins, CIH, OSHA regional administrator in Kansas City. The inspection was initiated November 4, 2005, making it the facility's second OSHA inspection since 2003.

OSHA's safety citations alleged one willful, 24 serious, and three repeat violations; the health inspection cited three serious, one repeat and one other-than serious violations.

The willful safety citation alleged that Palleton failed to provide machine guarding for point of operation, in-going nip points, rotating parts and flying chips. The serious safety citations included the employer's failure to address forklift-related hazards, such as employees operating fork lift trucks without seatbelts, unapproved modification of forklifts, lack of inspections and inadequate operator training. Other hazards cited as serious were improper maintenance of floors and emergency exits; lack of guardrails on stairs; failure to develop and implement lockout/tagout procedures to render machinery inoperable during maintenance and repair; failing to install guards belts, pulleys and shafting; and failure to insure proper use and installation of electrical equipment and conductors. The repeat safety violations included not providing lockout/tagout training; lack of guarding for chains and sprockets, and not securing stacked materials.

Health citations for serious violations included the company's failure to: implement a hearing conservation program; conduct a hazard assessment for employees requiring personal protective equipment; and label process tanks with the identity of chemicals and associated hazards. Palleton received a repeat health citation for failing to provide hazard communication training to employees working with chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite. The remaining other-than-serious citation addressed the company's failure to provide necessary respirator information to employees who voluntarily used the N95 respirator.

Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations. Serious violations are those which could result in death or serious physical harm, about which the employer knew or should have known. Repeat violations involve hazards for which the company was previously cited. Other-than-serious violations occur when the accident or illness that would most likely result from the hazardous condition would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.

The firm has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


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