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Region 4 News Release: 11-1099-ATL (378)
Aug. 2, 2011
Contact: Michael D'Aquino      Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076      404-562-2078
Email: d'aquino.michael@dol.gov      wald.michael@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Birmingham, Ala., vinyl and plastic
manufacturer for safety violations; proposes more than $56,000 in penalties

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Homeland Vinyl Products for 13 safety violations following an inspection at their vinyl and plastic extruding factory in Birmingham. OSHA began an inspection as part of its Site-Specific Targeting program, which directs enforcement resources to those workplaces where the highest rate of injuries and illnesses have occurred. Proposed penalties total $56,400.

Three repeat violations with $20,400 in proposed penalties involve using flexible cords that had been spliced, not properly labeling 55-gallon drums of chemicals and not attaching warning labels to other chemical containers. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Nine serious violations with $36,000 in penalties involve floor openings that were uncovered, open areas not guarded by standard railings, not protecting workers from falling off a platform next to rail tracks, not providing proper railings on a railcar unloader platform and a shredder platform, and not providing proper railings on a stairwell leading to a hopper platform. Additionally, passageways were not marked to indicate path of travel for mechanical equipment, machines were not anchored to prevent vibration and movement, machine guards were missing from equipment and a grinding wheel was improperly adjusted. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

One other-than-serious violation with no monetary penalty was cited for not marking doors to indicate that they did not lead to building exits in case of an emergency evacuation. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

"OSHA found a number of violations, each of which could be fixed for relatively little cost, but that potentially could cause major injuries or even death," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham. "These inattentions to safety could have tragic consequences for the workers at this company."

The company, which produces vinyl and plastic for use in the fabrication of fencing and decking, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The work site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Birmingham Area Office located at 950 22nd St., Room 1050, Birmingham, Ala. 35218; telephone 205-731-1534.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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