Nov. 5, 2010
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Harbison-Walker Refractories Co.
of Vandalia, Mo., for serious workplace hazards
ST. LOUIS — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued Harbison-Walker Refractories Co. of Vandalia, Mo., 17 workplace safety violations with $119,625 in proposed penalties.
OSHA's inspection of the masonry block manufacturing company's facility, initiated under OSHA's site-specific targeting program addressing employers with high injury and illness rates, found 16 serious violations and one repeat violation.
"There is no excuse for such a lack of attention to safety and particularly a repeat violation," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for all of their employees to prevent accidents from occurring."
The serious violations stem from deficiencies in floor guarding, wall openings, mobile ladder stands, exit routes for emergency egress, powered industrial truck operation, machine guarding, use of compressed air, and electrical wiring and equipment. A serious citation is issued 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.
The repeat violation addresses a hazard associated with the working space around electrical equipment. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facilities in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Harbison-Walker Refractories Co. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in St. Louis 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 St. Louis Area Office at 314-425-4249. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace 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 http://www.osha.gov.
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