OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
News Release USDL: 97-14
Tuesday, January 14, 1997
Contact: Frank Kane, (202) 219-8151
OSHA Proposes $720,700 In Fines Against Solvay, N.Y., Firm For Grossly Underrecording Worker Injuries And Illnesses
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued citations against Landis Plastics, Inc., of Solvay, N.Y., for alleged willful failures to record worker illnesses and injuries over a two-year period. Proposed penalties total $720,700, primarily for the alleged recording violations, in addition to violations for machine guarding and ergonomic-related hazards.
OSHA found that Landis failed to record 63 injuries and illnesses in 1995 and 1996 in logs they are required to keep under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Known as OSHA 200 logs, these are used to record injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace and are an important means of determining where hazardous conditions exist. More than half of the unrecorded injuries and illnesses were related to ergonomic hazards.
The company had been warned specifically by OSHA about injury and illness recording deficiencies during previous inspections.
"OSHA regards the failure to record injuries and illnesses suffered by workers as a very serious violation," said Gregory R. Watchman, acting assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Without proper recording, hazards remain undetected and may lead to unnecessary pain and suffering that could have been prevented."
Patricia A. Clark, OSHA Regional Administrator, said, "By misrecording injuries and illnesses over the last two years, this company allowed hazards to remain unaddressed, resulting in continuous harm to employees."
The Solvay plant, which employs about 170 workers, makes custom-molded plastic food containers. Landis Plastics has about 1,200 employees in four manufacturing sites in New York, Illinois, and Indiana.
OSHA's action results from a complaint inspection of the facility conducted July 15, 1996, through Jan. 14, 1997.
For each of the 63 alleged willful violations of the recordkeeping requirements, OSHA's Syracuse, N.Y. area office issued citations carrying a proposed penalty of $10,000, for a total of $630,000 as the penalty for an alleged egregious willful violation, the most serious classification of OSHA citations. An additional alleged willful violation, with a combined penalty of $10,000, cited 50 instances of failure to provide full descriptions in the OSHA logs of injuries and illness that occurred.
Landis Plastics not only failed to meet OSHA recording requirements, but also did not report injuries and illnesses to the New York State workers compensation system. Landis was self-insured for workers compensation and paid compensation directly to injured workers without notifying the state. As a result, Landis was the first company to be fined for not reporting injuries to the state system. Penalties of $48,000 were assessed by New York State for 21 unreported injuries and illnesses in November 1996.
Additional alleged willful violations deal with the company's failure to establish a hearing conservation program. A hearing conservation program requires the employer to provide yearly audiograms to employees exposed to excessive noise; train employees on the effects of noise, and provide hearing protection at no cost to the employees. The proposed penalty for these violations is $5,000.
Landis Plastics also was cited for alleged repeat violations involving failing to adequately guard machinery, not certifying the completion of lockout/tagout training, and not making hazard assessments for personal protective equipment. The company had been cited for similar violations in previous years. The proposed penalty totals $57,700.
The firm also was cited for four alleged serious violations, including failure to provide a workplace free from ergonomic risk factors likely to cause carpal tunnel syndrome and back and shoulder injuries. The proposed penalty for the serious violations totals $15,000.
In addition, OSHA cited Landis Plastics for three alleged other-than-serious violations for failing to complete supplemental records (required for each recordable occupational injury and illness), failure to complete a written certification for personal protective equipment training and failure to conduct period inspections of energy control procedures used to safely lock out equipment. Proposed penalties for those alleged violations total $3,000.
A summary of alleged violations is attached.
The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Failure to record on the OSHA 200 log recordable injuries and illnesses, 63 instances with proposed penalties of $10,000 per instance, total proposed penalty of $630,000.
ALLEGED WILLFUL VIOLATIONS
Failure to properly record items on the OSHA 200 log, 50 instances, proposed penalty of $10,000.
Lack of a hearing conservation program, charging employees for replacement of hearing protection, and failure to provide employees with more than one type of hearing protection, proposed penalty of $5,000.
ALLEGED SERIOUS VIOLATIONS
Violation of Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which imposes a general duty on the employer to provide employment and a place of employment free from known and recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious injury, by having employees perform tasks with ergonomic risk factors, proposed penalty of $7,000.
Exit and access door in conference room locked, proposed penalty of $1,500.
Failure to require necessary splash goggles, proposed penalty of $1,500.
Failure to conduct periodic inspections for energy control procedures, proposed penalty of $2,500.
Failure to provide training on energy control procedures, proposed penalty of $2,500.
ALLEGED REPEAT VIOLATIONS
Failure to adequately guard machines to protect employees from rotating and reciprocating parts and ongoing nip and pinch points, proposed penalty of $50,000.
Failure to provide written certification for personal protective equipment hazard assessment, proposed penalty of $7,500.
Failure to provide certification of lockout/tagout training, proposed penalty of $200.
ALLEGED OTHER-THAN-SERIOUS VIOLATIONS
Failure to complete supplementary records within six working days, proposed penalty of $3,000.
Lack of written certification for personal protective equipment training, no penalty.
|TOTAL OF PROPOSED PENALTIEs||$720,700|
A serious violation is defined as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
A repeat violation is a violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order where, upon reinspection, a substantially similar violation is found. To be the basis of a repeat violation, the original citation must be final, and not under contest.
An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm, but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and/or health of employees.
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