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Region 4 News Release: 08-1292-ATL (221)
Sept. 22, 2008
Contact: Michael Wald
Walter Industries subsidiary receiving penalty for failing to fix previous violation
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $182,500 in penalties for four safety violations found at Sloss Industries Fiber Division's manufacturing plant in Birmingham.
OSHA is proposing a $150,000 fine for the company's failure to perform required annual inspections of its lockout/tagout procedures, which are intended to prevent unintended machine startup. Following an OSHA inspection in 2005, the company had agreed to conduct annual inspections to assure that the procedures were being correctly followed. The agency's inspection in March 2008 revealed that the company was not conducting the required inspections.
The company is receiving a $25,000 penalty for allegedly failing to establish lockout/tagout procedures for all of its machinery and equipment at the plant. OSHA inspectors found that the company had instituted lockout/tagout procedures on less than half of its machinery. Two other serious safety violations, with $7,500 in penalties, are being proposed against the company for exposing employees to electrical hazards.
"After agreeing to correct problems found during our previous inspection, management's admitted failure to make those changes seriously jeopardizes the safety and health of the people working in their plant," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham.
Sloss Industries, which operates the world's largest slag wool plant, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest the violations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The worksite was inspected by staff from OSHA's Birmingham Area Office at 950 22nd St., Room 1050; telephone 205-731-1534.
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department 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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