US Labor Department's OSHA cites Guam employer for
safety violations following forklift operator fatality
HONOLULU – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited GM Logistics in Guam for five alleged serious and one other-than-serious safety violation following an inspection that was prompted by a Nov. 16, 2011, workplace fatality.
Barrigada-based GM Logistics collects scrap metal for recycling. The fatality occurred while the crew was preparing to transport a 40-foot-long bus from a privately owned lot to the Formosa Recycling Facility in Harmon. The employee had attempted to jump out of a forklift that was tipping over, and was crushed.
"This fatality could have been prevented had the employer ensured that everyone was abiding by OSHA's forklift safety standards," said Galen Lemke, director of OSHA's Honolulu Area Office. "Instead, a family and a community have suffered an irreplaceable loss."
The serious violations involve permitting employees to operate the forklift without using a seat belt; not examining the forklift for defects prior to operation; allowing the operation of the forklift despite obvious and serious defects affecting the accelerator and steering mechanism, as well as leaking steering fluid and unreadable safety information affixed to the equipment. Additionally, the employer was unable to document whether the worker who was killed had received the required forklift operation and safety training. 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 other-than-serious violation is failing to report the fatality to OSHA within eight hours. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
The citations carry proposed penalties totaling $19,800. GM Logistics has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Detailed information on forklift operation hazards and safeguards is available at http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/products/etools/pit/index.html.
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 Honolulu office at 808-541-2680.
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.
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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.