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Region 4 News Release: 12-1712-ATL (300)
Aug. 27, 2012
Contact: Michael D'Aquino
Phone: 404-562-2076
Email: d'aquino.michael@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Koswire in Flowery Branch, Ga.,
for willful and serious violations following worker fatality

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Koswire Inc. with 19 safety and health violations, including one willful, following the death of a worker who became caught in moving wire and was pulled into rotating rolls at the company's facility in Flowery Branch.

OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office initiated an inspection March 3 in response to the fatality. The willful violation is failing to provide machine guarding to protect operators and other workers from hazards created by ingoing pinch points and rotating parts on equipment throughout the plant. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Thirteen serious safety and health violations involve failing to develop specific written procedures for the control of potentially hazardous energy for machines with more than one energy source, ensure that authorized employees receive training to recognize hazardous energy sources, provide an emergency eyewash station at the degreasing tank, perform sling inspections, remove slings that are damaged and worn, ensure chemical splash goggles are used when employees handle corrosive chemicals, and properly label drums and tanks containing corrosive materials. Additionally, OSHA identified fall hazards and found that the company did not provide equipment guarding on pulleys or horizontal and vertical belts. 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 safety and health violations include failing to perform monthly inspections of crane hooks and ensure that all hooks had been tested, provide covers on junction boxes, certify workplace personal protective equipment, develop a written respiratory protection program for employees required to wear respirators and provide employees with Appendix D information for the voluntary use of disposable dust masks. 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.

"This incident was preventable. Employers cannot allow employees to be exposed to unguarded equipment or other workplace hazards," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "It is imperative that management find and eliminate hazards before another worker is killed or injured."

Due to the willful violation and the nature of the hazards, OSHA has placed Koswire Inc. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information on the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.

The citations for the willful and serious violations carry $145,530 in proposed penalties. The citations for the other-than-serious violations do not carry monetary penalties. The citations can be viewed at
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Koswire_422203_08_23_2012.pdf,
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Koswire_315742239_08_23_2012.pdf.

Korea-based Koswire draws steel wire that is later used for the production of springs in various products such as pens and spray cans. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Atlanta-East area director or contest the citations and penalties 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 Atlanta-East office at 770-493-6644.

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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-893-7828 or TTY 202-893-7755.


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