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OSHA fines Cintas $196,000 for safety violations (10/31)

October 31, 2007
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OSHA has proposed $196,000 in penalties against Cintas Corp., the largest uniform supplier in North America, for 15 safety violations following an inspection of its Mobile, Ala., facility.

"As a large, national employer with a history of OSHA inspections and citations for hazards at other facilities, we are disappointed to find so many of the same or similar hazards at this facility," said Ken Atha, OSHA's area director in Mobile.

OSHA has proposed four repeat violations with penalties of $112,500 for failing to develop proper energy control procedures, failing to protect employees from electrical shocks, not providing adequate machine guards, and not instituting proper machinery lockout/tagout procedures. These four conditions are substantially similar to conditions discovered in other Cintas facilities in New York state in 2004 and 2005, says OSHA.

One willful violation with a $55,000 penalty has been proposed for a potential fall hazard to employees who periodically unjammed a conveyor. Eight serious violations with $27,500 in penalties have been proposed for unguarded pits and floor holes, a damaged electrical conduit, blocked electrical panels, unsuitable receptacles in wet or damp locations, and a broken emergency stop button.

Two other-than-serious violations have been cited for failing to record a work-related injury, resulting in a $1,000 penalty, and for allowing an exit door to be partially blocked.

Over the past three years, the company has had approximately 36 inspections at various facilities by federal and state OSHA programs. Citations for safety violations were issued in August at Cintas plants in Tulsa, Okla., following a fatality, with a total proposed penalty of $2,782,000, and in Columbus, Ohio, with a total penalty of $117,500.

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