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Region 4 News Release: 09-168-ATL (057)
March 11, 2009
Contact: Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2078

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA cites Thomson, Ga., automotive parts supplier, H P Pelzer, with $135,000 in proposed penalties

ATLANTA -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is issuing citations for 24 occupational health and safety violations against H P Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc. in Thomson, Ga. The agency is proposing $135,000 in penalties against the company.

A health inspection of the plant revealed seven serious violations resulting in penalties of $32,500. The health violations include the company allowing combustible dust to accumulate, not protecting employees from noise hazards and exposing employees to an airborne concentration of formaldehyde.

The company is also being cited with a repeat health violation and a $25,000 penalty for using high pressure compressed air to clean equipment resulting in clouds of resin dust, and a second repeat violation with a $25,000 penalty for exposing employees to high concentrations of airborne particulates. This location had been cited for similar violations after inspections conducted in 2006.

OSHA is issuing an additional 15 citations with proposed penalties of $52,500 after a subsequent safety inspection found serious violations including lack of guardrails, improper lockout/tagout procedures to prevent accidental start-up of machinery, electrical hazards and employees using defective equipment.

"OSHA conducted this inspection as part of its national emphasis program on combustible dust," said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "No employee needs to risk their health and their life by working under these conditions."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them 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, 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.

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