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Region 4 News Release: 11-1092-ATL (380)
Aug. 3, 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 Department of Labor's OSHA cites Alabama industrial fan fabricator
for 21 safety violations; proposes nearly $45,000 in penalties

STEELE, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Sunbelt Fabricators Inc. in Steele for 21 safety violations after inspecting the company's plant on Feb. 15 as part of the agency's Site-Specific Targeting program for workplaces with the highest rate of injuries and illnesses. Proposed penalties total $44,600.

Sixteen serious violations carrying $42,600 in penalties involve safety latches missing from crane hooks, lack of machine guards on drills and a 400-ton press, lack of machine guards on a radial saw, improper adjustments and missing parts on a grinding machine, locked exit doors and missing exit signs. Additionally, employees operated a forklift without completing training or being evaluated to determine their level of competence, and the forklift had been modified without the manufacturer's written approval; a control for the overhead crane was improperly marked; fans accessible to employees had gaps that allowed workers to be caught in the mechanism; noncombustible or flameproof screens were not provided where welding was being performed adjacent to other workers; splices on welding cables were improperly made; an electrical switch had exposed wires; an electrical panel had exposed wires and uncovered openings; an extension cord used for power hand tools had been spliced improperly; and a flexible cord instead of the required fixed wiring was run through a wall to power equipment. Finally, an energy control program for workers who serviced and maintained the heavy machinery had not been developed. 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.

Five other-than-serious violations carrying $2,000 in penalties involve failing to complete reporting of injuries and illnesses on the OSHA logs for 2008 and 2009; allowing scrap materials to accumulate on the shop floor; allowing scrap material to accumulate where a forklift was operated; and not inspecting the overhead crane. 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.

"There is no reason for a company to wait until an injury occurs or for OSHA to appear before taking seriously its responsibility to ensure workers' safety and health. OSHA will not tolerate hazardous conditions that may lead to injury or worse," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham.

Sunbelt Fabricators, which manufactures industrial blowers and fans, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Birmingham Area Office at 950 N. 22 St., Suite 1050, Birmingham, Ala. 35203; telephone 205-731-1534. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

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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