OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 4 News Release
Release Number: 04-99-ATL (38)
Thurs., Feb. 19, 2004
Contact: John J. Deifer   Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (912) 652-4393   (404) 562-2076
Agency proposes Over $37,000 in penalties
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a Richmond Hill Travel Centers of America franchise for exposing workers to safety hazards that contributed to a fatal forklift accident on Aug. 26. The agency is proposing total penalties of $37,725.
OSHA's investigation found that an employee was reportedly driving a forklift to a parking area when it tipped over, ejecting him from the driver's seat. A section of the forklift cage fell on the driver, causing fatal head injuries.
"Ensuring that drivers are trained to operate forklifts safely and maintaining equipment in safe operating condition are critical to preventing such tragic accidents," said John Deifer, OSHA's Savannah area director.
OSHA issued five serious citations, including two related to the accident: failing to train and evaluate employees assigned to operate forklifts and allowing the operation of defective forklifts. The three other serious citations included failing to provide handrails on steps leading into the service pit area, emergency training, and emergency equipment. The five citations carry proposed penalties totaling $14,225.
Between October 2002 and September 2003, OSHA investigated 11 forklift-related fatalities in the Southeast.
OSHA also issued two repeat citations, with $22,500 in total penalties, for exposing employees to fall hazards from unguarded floor openings around service pit areas and failing to train employees in "lockout-tagout" procedures, which render machinery inoperable during maintenance or repair. The agency also assessed a $1,000 penalty for failing to complete a required injury report form.
The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The worksite was inspected by staff from OSHA's Savannah area office located at 450 Mall Boulevard, Suite J; phone: (912) 652-4393.
The agency issues serious citations when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting the safety and health of America's workers. Work-related fatalities declined 6.6 percent in 2002, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at <http://www.dol.gov>. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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