OSHA enforcement cases relating to hearing conservation
OSHA proposes $101,000 in fines to Michigan-based Kamps Inc. for lack of hearing conservation program at Ohio wood pallet plant
Earlier this year, OSHA cited Kamps Inc. for 10 alleged safety and health -- including one willful -- violations at its Versailles wood pallet manufacturing facility. OSHA's inspection was initiated on Nov. 4, 2011, under the agency's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which expands the scope of a routine inspection to cover all hazards associated with the employer's industry. Proposed fines total $101,000.
The alleged willful safety violation involves a lack of audiometric testing to determine workers' exposure to noise greater than 85 decibels for a time-weighted average of eight hours. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
One alleged serious health violation is failing to provide workers with hearing conservation training and the appropriate hearing protection. Four alleged serious safety violations involve failing to use equipment in a manner consistent with labels, provide safety training to maintenance workers performing live electrical work, ensure that authorized workers conduct periodic inspections of energy control procedures and provide personal protective equipment for employees performing electrical work. 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.
Four alleged other-than-serious health and safety violations involve failing to post OSHA's hearing conservation standard, provide a selection of hearing protection options, ensure that lockout devices indicate the identity of the workers applying the devices and ensure that the path to ground on branch electrical circuits is maintained. 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.
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Kamps Inc. employs approximately 500 workers across the Midwest.
OSHA cites Specialty Metals Processing in Stow, Ohio, for failing to correct violations
Proposes $131,320 in fines
Specialty Metals Processing Inc. was cited by OSHA with five alleged violations at its machine tool manufacturing plant in Stow. The alleged violations include three failure-to-abate citations for not administering an effective hearing conservation program and implementing procedures to control hazardous energy. OSHA initiated its follow-up inspection in January. Proposed fines total $131,320.
"Specialty Metals Processing has a responsibility to protect its workers by ensuring they are enrolled in a hearing conservation program. It also must train them concerning energy control procedures to prevent injuries from the unintentional operation of machinery," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "Employers who are cited for repeat and failure-to-abate citations demonstrate a lack of commitment to worker safety and health."
The inspection found that the company failed to abate three previously cited violations. In February 2012, the company failed to administer a continuing hearing conservation program for workers exposed to noise exceeding the time-weighted average for eight hours. In May 2012, the company failed to develop adequate energy control procedures and conduct periodic inspections to ensure workers followed those procedures correctly. Additionally, the company did not provide OSHA with the required abatement documentation for the three citations.
OSHA cites Universal Industries in Tomahawk, Wis., for 8 safety violations
Proposes $61,600 in fines
OSHA has cited Universal Industries LLC in Tomahawk with eight alleged safety violations, including a failure-to-abate, for not enrolling workers in a hearing conservation program. OSHA initiated its follow-up inspection in November 2012. Proposed fines total $61,600.
"Universal Industries has a responsibility to protect the long-term health of its workers by ensuring they are enrolled in a hearing conservation program and conducting follow-up evaluations," said Frank Winingham, OSHA's area director in Appleton. "Employers who are cited for repeat and failure-to-abate citations demonstrate a lack of commitment to worker safety and health."
The company was issued a citation for failing to have a hearing conservation program in February 2011. The company reached a settlement agreement with OSHA in December 2011, but failed to provide the required abatement documentation to show that they had implemented the hearing program.
Two alleged repeat violations were cited for not having a hazard communication program, and for making modifications to a forklift without manufacturer's approval. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited in February 2011.
Four alleged serious violations were cited for not having a respiratory protection program, exposing workers to fall hazards from an unguarded work platform, lacking carbon monoxide alarms on compressors that supply breathing air, failing to certify worker training on a forklift and to ensure nameplates were attached to forklifts indicating vehicle capacity. 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.
Additionally, the company was issued one other-than-serious alleged violation for not having a written energy control program. 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.