US Department of Labor's OSHA cites American Pulses for multiple safety
violations after follow-up inspection at Hingham, Mont., facility
BILLINGS, Mont. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited American Pulses Ltd. with 13 safety – including six repeat – violations for exposing workers to multiple hazards at the company's facility in Hingham. OSHA has proposed $82,500 in penalties based on a February inspection that was conducted as a follow-up to an April 2011 inspection.
American Pulses is a crop processor and exporter of peas and lentils. The 2011 inspection resulted in citations for 12 violations, and the findings were resolved under a settlement agreement. However, OSHA found during the most recent inspection that the company had failed to abate some of the violations.
"This employer's failure to follow through with correcting safety violations identified in 2011 left employees exposed to grave hazards that could result in serious injury or even death," said Jeff Funke, director of OSHA's Billings Area Office. "It is unacceptable for an employer to renege on its legal responsibility to provide workers with a safe and healthful work environment."
Six repeat violations include failing to provide lighting in elevators, guardrails on platforms, handrails on stairs, and guarding on horizontal shafts, pulleys and shaft ends. The citations carry $51,480 in penalties. 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. Similar violations were cited based on the April 2011 inspection.
Seven serious violations include failing to use a readable compressed gas regulator, ensure that floor holes around boot pits are guarded, provide a confined space program, implement housekeeping to ensure that combustible dust does not accumulate, implement a fall protection program to prevent fall hazards, use approved electrical components and have an effective respiratory protection program. The citations carry $31,020 in penalties. 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.
American Pulses Ltd. has 15 business days from receipt of the current citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Billings office or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321- OSHA (6742) or the agency's Billings office at 406-247-7494.
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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.