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The Wendt Corporation, a Tonawanda, N.Y., manufacturer of automobile recycling equipment, faces an additional $169,500 in fines from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for failing to fully correct hazards cited during a prior OSHA inspection.
"The severity of these fines reflects both the seriousness of the cited conditions and the importance of correcting hazards completely and expeditiously," said Arthur Dube, OSHA’s area director in Buffalo. "Uncorrected and unaddressed hazards pose an ongoing risk to employees’ health and safety."
In April, OSHA cited the company for 15 serious violations of safety standards at its 2080 Military Road manufacturing plant and fined the company $13,500. The company paid the fine and agreed to correct all the cited hazards. However, a June follow-up inspection by OSHA found that seven of the cited items remained uncorrected.
Specifically, the company had not: established and implemented a respiratory protection program; provided appropriate respirator training and fit-testing for industrial painters required to wear respirators during spray painting operations; provided firefighting information for employees expected to fight incipient stage fires; provided screens or shields to protect employees working adjacent to welding operations; developed and implemented a hazard communication program; and provided hazard communication information and training to employees working with or exposed to welding fumes or hazardous chemicals.
As a result of these conditions, OSHA has issued Wendt Corporation seven failure to abate notices carrying $168,000 in proposed fines. OSHA also has issued the company one serious citation with a $1,500 fine for not medically evaluating employees’ fitness to wear respirators. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
"One effective way that employers can address workplace hazards is to establish a safety and health management program through which employers and employees work together in a systematic and cooperative manner to evaluate, identify and eliminate hazardous conditions in their workplace," said Dube.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the failure to abate notices and citation to meet with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.