Region 8 News Release: 11-550-DEN
April 25, 2011
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
US Department of Labor's OSHA fines LM Wind Power Blades
of Grand Forks, ND, $136,500 following investigation
BISMARCK, N.D. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited wind turbine blade manufacturer LM Wind Power Blades Inc. in Grand Forks, formerly LM Glasfiber Inc., with 11 alleged health and safety violations for exposing workers to unsafe conditions following an OSHA inspection that began in October 2010. The agency has proposed $136,500 in penalties.
"The employer is well aware of OSHA requirements and has continued a pattern of failing to comply with them," said Tom Deutscher, OSHA's area office director in Bismarck. "Despite having been cited for similar infractions in the past, the company continues to place workers in harm's way by allowing hazards to exist."
Two willful violations are failing to ensure that entry supervisors canceled the confined space permit and terminated the entry operation when prohibited conditions were found, and to ensure entry attendants immediately ordered the evacuation of a confined space upon discovery of conditions dangerous to life or health. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Five repeat violations address failing to provide adequate respirators for conditions immediately dangerous to life or health; purge or ventilate the atmospheric hazards within a confined space; prevent employee overexposure to styrene levels exceeding the time, weighted average and ceilings limits; and implement effective engineering controls regarding ventilation of the confined space. 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.
Four serious violations are failing to provide appropriate personal protective equipment, conduct effective confined space monitoring, perform retraining of employees when required and maintain an accurate count of entrants in permit-required confined spaces. 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.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Prior to contesting, they may request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Bismarck. An investigation was conducted by OSHA's Bismarck Area Office, telephone 701-250-4521. 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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audiotape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.