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American Airlines cited for safety problems at O'Hare (7/31)

July 31, 2007
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American Airlines faces potentially $231,000 in federal safety fines — the highest in its history — for alleged workplace safety problems at Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport.

OSHA proposed penalties on July 25 for a variety of serious, repeat and willful safety violations, including fall hazards, electrical and fire hazards, machine guarding hazards, hygiene issues, blocked exits, and storage of oxygen and acetylene cylinders.

One willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $70,000, alleges that the company failed to protect all open-sided floors and work platforms from potential fall hazards.

OSHA selected the Dallas-based airline for inspection after reviewing the company's occupational injury and illness rates, which were found to be higher than the national average.

Company spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said that while American takes issue with some of OSHA's findings, the airline has already rectified most of the items noted during the inspection and is working to address the rest, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The proposed fine is 13 times higher than the total of $17,550 in safety fines American paid for its O'Hare operations since 2000, according to OSHA. During the same period, O'Hare rival United Airlines paid $7,250 in OSHA fines.

American has been inspected by OSHA 66 times at various locations nationwide since 2004, with 37 inspections resulting in citations.

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