OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
OSHA News Release – Region 2
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 2 News Release: 05-1784-NEW/BOS 2005-250
Friday, September 23, 2005
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
ALBANY, N.Y -- An Amsterdam, N.Y., pallet recycler's failure to safeguard workers against a wide range of safety and health hazards has resulted in $120,000 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Power Pallet Inc. was cited for alleged willful and serious safety and health violations following an inspection OSHA began March 15.
OSHA's inspection found that the company failed to develop specific procedures for shutting down machines and locking out their power sources to prevent accidental startup during maintenance or repair work. The company also failed to train workers on these procedures, provide an adequate supply of locks and ensure their use.
"The absence of lockout/tagout procedures, training and tools leaves workers exposed to the potentially fatal hazard of being caught in machinery that's accidentally energized," said John Tomich, OSHA's area director in Albany. "This employer knew these safeguards were required, yet apparently chose not to provide them."
As a result, OSHA cited the company for three willful violations with a proposed penalty of $115,500. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
Four serious citations, carrying $4,500 in fines, were also issued. These covered hazards involving obstructed exit access, lack of engineering and administrative controls to reduce noise exposure, not training workers on all required elements of a hearing conservation program, lack of labeling on a motor disconnect and improper machine guarding on nail grinders. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Power Pallet has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's area office in Albany, 401 New Karner Rd., Suite 300; telephone (518) 464-4338.
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 releases are accessible on the Internet at 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) 693-7773 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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