US Labor Department's OSHA cites Long Island, NY, swimming pool manufacturer after worker injury; proposed fines exceed $106,000
manufacturer after worker injury; proposed fines exceed $106,000
WESTBURY, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Wilbar International for 20 alleged violations of workplace safety standards after an employee's fingers were crushed while he was feeding material into a power press at the company's plant. The Hauppauge swimming pool manufacturer faces a total of $106,200 in proposed fines.
OSHA's inspection identified numerous machine guarding and energy control hazards associated with power presses. These include guards on presses that created pinch points and did not prevent entry into the presses' points of operation; a lack of training in safe work methods and safety procedures for press operators and maintenance/setup workers; no periodic or regular inspections of presses; inadequate energy control procedures to prevent the unintended start-up of presses during maintenance; and a lack of energy control training and hardware.
"This case illustrates what can and does happen when machinery is not adequately guarded and energy control procedures are deficient," said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA's Long Island area director. "I want employers on Long Island to take note: This is exactly the type of injury OSHA's machine guarding and energy control requirements are designed to prevent."
Inspectors also found electrical hazards, the absence of a hearing conservation program, improper storage of compressed gas cylinders and a blocked exit. All together, the hazardous conditions resulted in citations for 19 serious violations carrying fines of $105,300. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
One other–than–serious violation, with a $900 fine, was cited for incomplete recording of injuries and illnesses. An other–than–serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Wilbar315205450.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Wilbar315535237.pdf.*
"A first step toward preventing hazards such as these is for an employer to develop and implement an illness and injury prevention program in which management and workers proactively identify and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional director in New York.
Wilbar International has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Long Island Area Office, located in Westbury; telephone 516-334-3344. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.