Repeat Safety Fines for WI Manufacturer

Thursday, April 11, 2013 @ 04:04 PM gHale

Universal Industries LLC in Tomahawk, WI, is facing $61,600 in fines for eight safety violations, including a failure-to-abate, for not enrolling workers in a hearing conservation program, according to officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA initiated its follow-up inspection in November 2012.

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“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 received 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 they had implemented the hearing program.

Two repeat violations were 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 faced citations 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 in February 2011.

Four serious violations were 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 on 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 received one other-than-serious 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.

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