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Region 5 News Release: 13-2063-CHI
Oct. 28, 2013
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA fines Formed Fiber Technologies $115,000
for repeat safety and health violations at fabric manufacturing plant
Company placed in Severe Violator Enforcement Program

SIDNEY, Ohio – Formed Fiber Technologies Inc., a Sidney automotive fabric manufacturing plant, has been cited for 11 violations carrying proposed fines of $115,000 after a complaint was filed and an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"Formed Fiber Technologies has a responsibility to protect workers from amputation, struck-by and crushing hazards by implementing energy control procedures and ensuring adequate machine guarding," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "Repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to worker safety and health."

Three repeat violations cited involve machine-specific energy control procedures, including failing to ensure lockout devices on equipment to prevent energization during servicing and maintenance; conduct annual periodic inspections of energy control procedures; and record complete injury and illness information in the OSHA record logs. 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 same violations were cited in October 2011 in Auburn, Maine, where the company is based.

Seven serious violations include failing to ensure adequate machine guarding, affix locking devices to energy isolation points, ensure adequate training on the control of hazardous energy and provide fire extinguisher training. 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.

One other-than-serious violation involves failing to standardize locks for isolating machinery energy sources. 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.

The current citations may be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Formed_Fiber_Technologies_902258_1016_13.pdf*.

OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations. The company manufactures nonwoven fabrics and polyester staple fibers for the automotive industry. It employs 700 workers corporatewide, with 360 at the Sidney facility, and operates Color-Fi Inc. in Sumter, S.C.

The company 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.

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 Toledo Area Office at 419-259-7542. 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.


* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.


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