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Region 4 News Release: 11-1695-ATL (582)
Dec. 12, 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 Mississippi's Howard Industries
for safety violations at Laurel radiator plant; proposes $59,000 in penalties

JACKSON, Miss. – Howard Industries has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for eight safety violations following an inspection of the company's radiator manufacturing plant on Eastview Drive in Laurel. The inspection was initiated under OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program for industries with high occupational injury and illness rates. Proposed penalties total $59,000.

Two repeat violations with $35,000 in fines have been cited for failing to use lockout/tagout devices for the energy sources of equipment to prevent accidental start ups during servicing and permitting employees to operate equipment without an electrical ground. 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 facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company received citations for similar violations at its Laurel plants on Eastview Drive and Pendorf Road in 2007.

Six serious violations with fines of $24,000 have been cited for slip and fall hazards, allowing employees to stand on a wood pallet attached to a forklift without guardrails, failing to provide employees with an apron and face shield when handling chemicals, not conducting a hazard assessment to identify personal protective equipment for workers handling chemicals, permitting employees not to wear face shields while grinding and failing to evaluate the hazards associated with confined spaces. 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.

Howard Industries has six manufacturing facilities in Mississippi, including two in Laurel, two in Ellisville, one in Mendenhall and one in Sandersville. It also has one facility in Weirton, W.Va. The Laurel plant manufactures radiators used in large electrical commercial transformers.

"Although the company is making progress in its safety and health program, it continues to put workers at risk of serious harm at its facilities," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's area director in Jackson.

Howard Industries has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Jackson Area Office at 601-965-4606.

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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