Pelzer auto plant facing $135K in OSHA penalties

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is issuing citations for 24 occupational health and safety violations against H P Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc. in Thomson, Ga. The agency is proposing $135,000 in penalties against the company.

A health inspection of the plant revealed seven serious violations resulting in penalties of $32,500. The health violations include the company allowing combustible dust to accumulate, not protecting employees from noise hazards and exposing employees to an airborne concentration of formaldehyde.

The company is also being cited with a repeat health violation and a $25,000 penalty for using high pressure compressed air to clean equipment resulting in clouds of resin dust, and a second repeat violation with a $25,000 penalty for exposing employees to high concentrations of airborne particulates. This location had been cited for similar violations after inspections conducted in 2006.

OSHA is issuing an additional 15 citations with proposed penalties of $52,500 after a subsequent safety inspection found serious violations including lack of guardrails, improper lockout/tagout procedures to prevent accidental start-up of machinery, electrical hazards and employees using defective equipment.

"OSHA conducted this inspection as part of its national emphasis program on combustible dust," said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "No employee needs to risk their health and their life by working under these conditions."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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