OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 4 News Release
Release Number: 04-1316-ATL (159)
Date: July 26, 2004
Contact: John Deifer Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (912) 652-4393 (404) 562-2076
OSHA Proposes $159,000 in Penalties
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Elberta Crate & Box Company for failing to protect workers from safety hazards at the company's Bainbridge plant.
"We must make sure that employers protect employees from workplace hazards to ensure that injury and illness rates continue to decline," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $159,000 in this case demonstrates the Labor Department's commitment to protecting the health and safety of America's workers."
The company received two alleged willful citations, with proposed penalties totaling $110,000, for exposing workers to serious injuries from unguarded "points of operation" on box-making machinery and uncovered, energized electrical connections. The investigation, which began on Jan. 27, 2004, found that management had been made aware of the requirement to install machinery guards following a 2002 accident, and that maintenance crews were routinely failing to replace covers on electrical panels and connections after cleaning operations.
Additionally, the company received 17 alleged serious citations, with proposed penalties of $49,000, for exposing workers to fall hazards from unguarded stairs and work platforms; failing to provide employees with personal protective equipment and follow lockout-tagout procedures that render machinery inoperable during cleaning and maintenance; failing to maintain an emergency eye wash station; blocking emergency exits; improper use of compressed air; and additional machine guarding and electrical hazards.
OSHA initiated the inspection, as a "follow-up" to an August 2003 fatality investigation.
The agency issues a willful citation when a company has shown intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A serious citation is issued 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 company, which also operates plants in Florida and North Carolina, 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 U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections in fiscal year (FY) 2003, an increase of more than 2,000 over (FY) 2002 inspection levels; more than half focused on high-hazard industries. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) 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. DOL is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulat5ions. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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