Illinois manufacturer faces $300,600 in OSHA penalties

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $300,600 in fines against Dierzen-Kewanee Heavy Industries Ltd. of Kewaunee, Ill., for alleged multiple willful, serious and repeat violations of federal workplace health and safety standards.

OSHA opened an investigation in October 2006 after the company failed to respond to OSHA requests seeking abatement information for two previous inspections. Of the 32 citations issued in the original inspection, fewer than half were found to have been corrected during the follow-up inspection.

"Abatement of hazards is the right thing to do for working men and women," said Nick Walters, OSHA's area director in Peoria, Ill. "Employers who neglect that responsibility can expect follow-up inspections. OSHA will do all it can to find safety and health hazards in the workplace and insist they be corrected."

OSHA issued eight willful, three serious, 13 repeat and two other-than-serious citations alleging that the company failed to adequately train employees on safe application, usage and removal of energy control devices; provide proper operation guarding around machinery and open-sided floors and platforms; and develop and document procedures for the control of hazardous energy.

Dierzen-Kewanee also was cited for electrical issues, lack of high-temperature and carbon monoxide alarms on compressors, inadequate training and use of respirator protection, lack of annual maintenance checks for portable fire extinguishers, unsafe use and improper training for industrial truck operation, lack of a written hazard communication program, and lack of training for handling hazardous chemicals.

OSHA has conducted inspections at Dierzen-owned companies 10 times since 1994. Those inspections have resulted in 70 citations including one failure to abate, three repeat, 55 serious, and 18 other-than-serious violations. Dierzen-Kewanee 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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