Region 2 News Release: NY 129
April 16, 1999
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
PHONE : 212-337-2319
FREEPORT, NEW YORK METAL PRODUCTS PLANT CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED
WILLFUL SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS FOLLOWING AMPUTATION
OF WORKER'S FINGERS; $125,200 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cove Four Slide and Stamping Corporation, of 195 East Merrick Road, Freeport, New York, and proposed penalties of $125,200 against the firm, for two alleged willful and 24 alleged serious violations of OSHA standards. The company, which manufactures metal products such as pail handles and hanger hooks, has until May 5 to contest the citations.
According to OSHA area director Anthony DeSiervi, the action results from an investigation conducted from October 16, 1998, to April 14, 1999, following an accident on October 15 in which an employee's fingers were amputated while doing maintenance on a wire-forming machine.
"The investigation disclosed serious deficiencies in the program to prevent accidental start-up of these wire-forming machines," DeSiervi said. "It is not acceptable for an employer to maintain a workplace where workers are exposed to serious safety hazards. Our inspection also disclosed other machine guarding hazards with the potential for amputation-a condition of such significance that it has been targeted for reduction nationally under OSHA's strategic plan," he added.
OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA's lockout-tagout standard by failing to have a program of procedures, including employee training, and periodic inspections, to lock or tag machines to prevent their accidental start-up during servicing or repair. The alleged willful violation carries a proposed penalty of $44,000.
The other alleged willful violation, which carries a proposed penalty of $35,500, stems from the firm's failure to properly guard the point of operation on wire-forming machines to ensure that operators did not place their hands in the danger zone.
The alleged serious violations for which the employer was cited included:
failure to provide an adequate railing system on stair platform;
failure to keep an exit door unlocked and unobstructed;
failure to inspect an automatic sprinkler system;
failure to minimize spills and leakage of mineral spirits;
failure to properly align liquid petroleum gas cylinder on a forklift vehicle;
failure to keep the amount of LP gas stored in the workplace from exceeding an appropriate level;
failure to train forklift vehicle operators;
failure to provide a brake monitor and control system and establish an inspection program on a power press;
failure to guard belts, pulleys, blades, chucks, and other moving parts of machines;
failure to ensure that oxygen and acetylene cylinders were not stored together or next to an exit;
failure to have a written hazard communication program and provide training to employees in the hazards associated with materials in the workplace;
failure to have a hearing conservation program.
The serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $45,700.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA act and regulations. A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Long Island area office, located at 1400 Old Country Road, Suite 208, Westbury, New York, telephone (516) 334-3344.
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