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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Ameriwood Industries Inc., a wood furniture manufacturer in Tiffin, Ohio, with two alleged serious and two alleged repeat safety violations for failing to train employees in safe work practices and require them to wear proper safety equipment when working on electrical panels. Proposed penalties total $60,000.
"Injuries from electrical shock hazards are very preventable, especially if personal protective equipment is used and workers receive the proper training," said OSHA area director Jule Hovi in Toledo, Ohio. "OSHA is committed to ensuring that all workers are provided a safe and healthful workplace."
OSHA began its inspection in June, resulting in the issuance of two repeat violations for failing to train workers in proper safety procedures, and to ensure workers wore fire resistant clothing and voltage-rated protective gloves when working on 480-volt electrical panels. Those citations carry penalties of $50,000. OSHA issues a repeat violation when an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
The company also received two serious citations for failing to implement safety-related work practices and require employees to wear personal face protection gear when working on electrical panels, resulting in an additional $10,000 in fines. A serious citation is issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Ameriwood Industries Inc. was cited by OSHA in 2009 with 12 violations for exposing workers to hazardous dust, a lack of training, failing to ensure employees wore personal protective equipment, and failing to implement and train employees in lockout/tagout procedures of energy sources. The 2009 case was settled informally and the company paid $70,725 in penalties.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.