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OSHA News Release – Region 6
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 6 News Release: USDL-OSHA-00-40-4-4
Tues., April 4, 2000
Contact: Diana Petterson
PHONE: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222
OSHA PROPOSES $94,500 PENALTY AGAINST KOHLER CO., SEARCY, ARK.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Kohler Co., Searcy, Ark., with proposed penalties of $94,500 for alleged safety and health violations resulting from a programmed planned inspection under OSHA's Site Specific Targeting Plan, announced the U. S. Department of Labor.
Kohler Co. employs about 320 workers at its 920 E. Lincoln Ave. facility in Searcy, where metal sinks are manufactured. The company's corporate headquarters are located in Kohler, Wis.
According to Paul J. Hansen, Jr., Little Rock OSHA Area Director, the alleged violations were discovered during a programmed planned inspection conducted between Oct. 5, 1999 and March 13, 2000.
The company was cited for 17 serious, three repeat and three other-than-serious violations.
A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result. The serious violations consisted of the following:
- Failure to provide places of employment which were kept clean and orderly
- Failure to provide adeauate covers and/or guardrails to protect personnel from open tanks
- Failure to properly guard open sided floors or platforms
- Failure to provide standard stair railings on open sided stairs
- Failure to provide approved electrical wiring and equipment for hazardous locations
- Failure to provide continuous and permanent grounding path for electrical equipment
- Failure to protect temporary lamps from contact or breakage
- Failure to insure that unused openings in electrical boxes were closed
- Failure to provide weatherproof electrical cabinets and equipment in wet locations
- Failure to ensure that flexible electrical cords and cables were not used for prohibited purposes
- Failure to ensure that flexible cords were not without splice or tap
- Failure to ensure that flexible cords were attached to equipment so as to prevent tension on joints or terminal screws
- Failure to ensure that unapproved electrical receptacles were not used in wet locations
- Failure to compare employees' annual audiograms to determine if a standard threshold shift had occurred
- Failure to provide adequate personal protective equipment
- Failure to provide adequate training to employees in the use of personal protective equipment
- Failure to implement an adequate written hazard communication program
A repeat violation is one in which the same or a substantially similar violation was noted during a subsequent inspection. The repeat violations consisted of the following:
- Failure to maintain floors of workrooms in a dry condition
- Failure to provide adequate machine guarding
- Failure to provide adequate approved covers for electrical junction boxes
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 other-than-serious violations consisted of the following:
- Failure to properly mainatin the Log of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA 200)
- Failure to adequately mark disconnecting means for electrical circuits
- Failure to properly monitor employees to determine exposure to formaldehyde
The scheduled inspection of this company was conducted under OSHA's Site Specific Targeting Program. This program uses injury and illness data collected from specific employers. Those with high rates are scheduled for a comprehensive safety and health inspection.
Hansen stated that, "this inspection and the resulting citations are indicative of the appropriateness of this program of targeting establishments with high injury and /or illness rates, thus removing employees from those hazards in the workplace."
Employers or workers who have questions concerning safety and health may contact the Little Rock Area Office at (501) 324-6291. They may also take advantage of the free consultation offered by the Arkansas Department of Labor Consultation Service at (501) 682-4523.
Kohler has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply with the citations, request an informal conference with the area director or contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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