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OSHA proposes $79,000 in fines to Danbury, Conn., firm for machine guarding and lockout/tagout hazards (9/24)

September 24, 2009

OSHA has cited Emhart Teknologies with 22 alleged serious, repeat and other-than-serious violations of safety standards at its Shelter Rock Lane plant in Danbury, Conn. The maker of fasteners, wire and brass inserts for the automotive and aerospace industries faces a total of $79,000 in proposed fines.

"The bulk of these citations address inadequate safeguards to prevent employees from being caught in the moving parts of machinery due to a lack of guarding against contact with those moving parts or the absence of procedures to prevent machines from unexpectedly starting up during servicing or maintenance," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport, Conn.

OSHA's inspection found numerous instances of unguarded or inadequately guarded moving parts and switches on power presses and other machinery. The absence of such guarding exposes employees to crushing, laceration and amputation injuries. The inspection also identified a blocked exit door, incomplete training of powered industrial truck operators, electrical hazards, a lack of periodic inspections of hazardous energy control procedures and failure to exchange hazardous energy control information with outside service contractors.

These conditions resulted in the issuance of 17 serious citations, carrying $52,000 in proposed penalties. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA also has issued Emhart Teknologies one repeat citation, with a $25,000 fine, for not developing and implementing specific hazardous energy control procedures for all machinery at the plant. OSHA had cited the company for a similar hazard in February 2007. Finally, the company was issued four other-than-serious citations, with $2,000 in fines, for an incomplete and uncertified illness and injury log.

Emhart Teknologies has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office; telephone 203-579-5581.