OSHA levies $157K in fines against pallet manufacturer

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $157,200 in fines against Inca Presswood Pallets Ltd. of Dover, Ohio, following the death of an employee in September 2006, for alleged multiple willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety standards.

OSHA opened an investigation after receiving notification that an employee was crushed while servicing a hydraulic press that had been disabled but not protected against accidental energizing by locking out potentially hazardous energy sources. OSHA issued four willful citations with proposed penalties totaling $126,000, alleging that the company failed to control potentially hazardous energy during machine repair or maintenance, adequately train employees on energy control procedures, and establish an energy control procedure.

"Taking certain safety steps with regard to hazardous energy sources, in circumstances such as this one, can make all the difference in preventing fatalities and serious injuries," said Deborah Zubaty, director of OSHA's area office in Columbus, Ohio. "It should not have been difficult to recognize the hazard and prevent this occurrence."

OSHA also issued 15 serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $31,200, alleging deficiencies in fall protection and confined space entry programs, inadequate machine guarding and personal identification of lockout devices, and incorrect electrical wiring.

OSHA has conducted inspections at Inca's Dover and Sardis, Miss., plants 11 times since 1986, including a 2002 fatality inspection in Sardis where citations were issued for failure to comply with lockout/tagout procedures. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the current citations to appeal them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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