OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 2 News Release: 04-1753-NEW /BOS 2004-213
Monday, September 13, 2004
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Office: (617) 565-2074
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U-Haul of Western New York faces $73,200 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for failing to adequately protect employees working with hazardous chemicals at its Tonawanda, N.Y., truck rental and leasing facility.
The 2843 Kenmore Ave. facility was cited for eight alleged repeat and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following an OSHA inspection begun June 30 in response to employee complaints. Employees work with a variety of hazardous chemicals, including cleansers, antifreeze, paints and germicides, during truck maintenance and cleaning and while refilling propane tanks.
OSHA's inspection found that the company had not adequately informed employees of the hazards associated with these chemicals. Specifically, U-Haul failed to implement a hazard communication program; lacked material safety data sheets for chemicals; failed to train employees in chemical hazards; and did not label containers with chemicals' identities and hazard warnings. In addition, the company failed to maintain an illness and injury log and did not record all worker injuries.
"Hazard communication means informing and training employees about hazardous chemicals in their workplace, the dangers associated with them and steps to take if a worker is exposed," said Art Dube, OSHA's Buffalo area director. "This information, which is critical to preventing worker injuries and illnesses, was lacking at this workplace."
OSHA had cited U-Haul in April for similar hazards at a Littleton, Colo., facility. As a result, these latest citations are classified as repeat and $70,200 in fines are proposed for them. OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has been previously been cited for a substantially similar hazard and the citations have become final.
The company was also fined $3,000 for two serious citations for failing to maintain power tools in a safe condition and for using an extension cord in place of permanent wiring. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm can result to an employee from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
U-Haul of Western New York has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and fines to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. OSHA's Buffalo Area Office, located at 5360 Genesee St., Bowmansville, conducted the investigation. Telephone (716) 684-3891.
In fiscal year 2003, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections, and 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 regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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