OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 4 News Release
Release Number: 05-37-ATL (013)
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Contact: John Deifer Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (912) 652-4393 (404) 562-2076
Lack of Fall Protection Brings Over $50,000 in Proposed Penalties
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Diversified Ag Services Inc. for exposing workers to fall hazards at the company's bulk fertilizer warehouse in Albany. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $51,250.
"Falls are preventable," said John Deifer, OSHA's Savannah area director. "This tragic accident would not have occurred if management had used safety equipment readily available."
OSHA began an investigation on Aug. 26 after being notified that a worker had died from injuries sustained in a fall from an elevated forklift platform. According to the OSHA investigative report, the employee was struck by a piece of electrical conduit as it was being removed from overhead beams, causing him to lose his balance and fall eight feet to the floor below.
The company received one willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $49,000, for failing to provide standard guardrails on the pallet or fall arrest equipment for the employee. A "safety cage" equipped with standard guardrails was available in the warehouse. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer has shown an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
OSHA also issued two serious citations unrelated to the fatal accident, with total proposed penalties of $2,250, for failing to have a "lockout-tagout" program that would prevent workers from being caught in or struck by energized equipment during repair or maintenance, and for operating a forklift with a defective safety signal.
The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Savannah area office located at 450 Mall Boulevard, Suite J; phone: (912) 652-4393.
Fall-related fatalities increased last year in the Southeast. Companies are encouraged to contact OSHA for information about its fall protection program to reduce these needless deaths. The program is separate and distinct from the agency's enforcement efforts.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. 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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