US Dept of Labor

Occupational Safety & Health AdministrationWe Can Help

OSHA News Release - Table of Contents
Trade News Release Banner Image

Region 4 News Release: 09-1361-ATL (409)
Nov. 24, 2009
Contact: Michael D'Aquino     Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076     404-562-2078

US Labor Department's OSHA proposes more than $128,000 in penalties against Macon, Ga., fiber cement manufacturer for safety and health failures

MACON, Ga. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $128,560 in penalties against Nichiha USA Inc.'s Macon plant for 27 safety and health violations.

"Following a fatality in 2008, OSHA inspected this plant and identified several deficiencies," said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "Despite management's agreement at the time, our return inspection in 2009 has found that the company continues to endanger its workers' safety and health. The size of these penalties reflects management's failure to address its problems."

After inspecting the plant in May and June, OSHA issued citations against the fiber cement manufacturer for 11 repeat safety and health, 11 serious and five other-than-serious violations.

Alleged repeat violations from the 2008 inspection include the employer's failure to cover or install guardrails around slurry pits, lack of guards around an exposed chain and no specific energy control procedures for equipment that had more than one energy source. Employees did not receive adequate training when using corrosive and hazardous chemicals, and the company did not identify, evaluate or provide adequate training for employees working in confined spaces. Emergency eyewashes were not available to employees who worked around corrosive chemicals. The proposed repeat penalty totals $97,760.

Alleged serious violations with proposed penalties of $29,200 include hazards associated with falls, lockout/tagout of energy source, improper storage of compressed gas cylinders, electrical dangers, hazards related to confined spaces and the lack of a bloodborne pathogens program for workers responding to emergencies.

Management allegedly committed recordkeeping violations and failed to ensure that workers inspect their full-face respirator for damage, resulting in five other-than-serious violations with penalties totaling $1,600.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal meeting, or indicate that it plans to contest the citations and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office, 2183 Northlake Parkway, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga.; telephone 770-493-6644.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit


U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at 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

OSHA News Release - Table of Contents

Thank You for Visiting Our Website

You are exiting the Department of Labor's Web server.

The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.