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Region 5 News Release: 13-1774-CHI
Aug. 28, 2013
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA fines American Excelsior Co. $65,000 after
2 workers injured by unguarded machines at Norwalk, Ohio, factory

NORWALK, Ohio – American Excelsior Co. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 12 alleged serious safety violations. Proposed penalties total $65,000 following incidents where two workers suffered injuries because of a lack of machine guarding at the Norwalk production facility.

"American Excelsior Co. violated OSHA's machine guarding standards, placing employees at serious risk for injury and amputation," said OSHA Area Director Kim Nelson in Toledo. "Companies have a responsibility to implement and use all safety precautions, and to train workers regarding the hazards that exist in their facilities."

OSHA initiated its inspection in May after receiving multiple complaints alleging unsafe working conditions.

The 12 serious citations include lack of personal protective equipment for the hands, not having standard guard and stair railings, failing to utilize energy control procedures, train workers in lockout/tagout procedures and a lack of machine guarding on various pieces of equipment. Three of the violations were for electrical safe work practices, such as failing to train workers, not providing personal protective equipment for electrical hazards and improper use of equipment.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

The Arlington, Texas-based company has nine locations nationwide. The Norwalk facility manufactures custom foam products for packaging as well as erosion and sediment control products.

American Excelsior Co. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Toledo office at 419-259-7542. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA'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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