OSHA seeks $106K in fines vs. Graber Concrete Pipe

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $106,300 in fines against Graber Concrete Pipe Company of Bloomingdale, Ill., for alleged multiple willful, serious and repeat violations of federal workplace safety and health standards.

OSHA's investigation was initiated after being notified in January that an employee had become trapped inside a hopper and was engulfed by sand and other material, and that rescue efforts were under way. The rescue effort quickly became a recovery effort, however, as the employee died. As a result of that investigation, OSHA has issued citations for two willful, four repeat and 14 serious violations of federal safety regulations.

"Any commercial manufacturing activity has the potential to be extremely hazardous," said Kathy O'Connell, director of OSHA's area office in North Aurora, Ill. "Employers must remain committed to keeping the workplace safe and healthful."

Serious citations, with $20,100 in proposed penalties, involve safety issues with industrial trucks, electrical hazards, confined space entry violations and unsafe fixed ladders.

Proposed penalties for willful violations total $70,000 and address the lack of guardrails on open-sided floors or platforms, and cages or wells on ladders of more than 20 feet in height.

Repeat violations, based on items previously identified as violations and affirmed as such in previous inspections, include a lack of energy lockout/tagout devices, guard railing violations, failure to guard floor holes to prevent persons from accidental falls, and failure to guard pulleys against accidental entrapment of employees or their clothing. Proposed penalties for repeat violations total $16,200.

Graber manufactures and sells concrete pipe used for storm sewer systems. OSHA opened this investigation in January 2007. The agency has conducted inspections at Graber Concrete Pipe Company on four occasions since 1982 and, prior to this one, as recently as 2006. The company has received numerous citations for safety and health violations.

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