Safety Fines for Auto Parts Maker

Monday, May 13, 2013 @ 04:05 PM gHale


Tenneco Automotive Operating Co. is facing $62,000 in fines for 13 repeat and serious safety and health violations, said officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The fines come as a result of an inspection at Tenneco’s manufacturing facility in Hartwell, GA.

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One repeat safety violation, with a penalty of $22,000, involves the employer failing to reduce the pressure in a compressed air device to less than 30 pounds per square inch when using it for cleaning. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Tenneco had previous citations for the same violation during an inspection in 2011.

Nine serious safety and health violations, with $37,800 in penalties, include the manufacturer exposing workers to burn hazards due to the accumulation of combustible dust, and tripping hazards related to poor housekeeping in the wash area. Tenneco also received a citation for failing to provide face shields and chemical goggles for employees working with corrosive materials; provide an eyewash station; not informing workers of the hazards of being exposed to noise beyond the permissible exposure limit; permitting a powered industrial truck with severely damaged tires to be utilized; allowing a worker to leave a loaded forklift unattended with the load raised; having an obstructed emergency exit; and multiple instances of inadequate machine guarding. 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.

Three other-than-serious violations, with $2,200 in penalties, involve failing to record threshold shifts on the OSHA 300 log, not having workers’ hearing retested within 30 days when there was a threshold shift and failing to properly log the number of restricted days when a worker experienced a hand contusion and another received a laceration. 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.

“Tenneco continues to put its workers at risk of serious injury or illness by exposing them to inadequate machine guarding, burn and trip hazards,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “It’s imperative that management is proactive in eliminating hazards from the workplace and doesn’t rely on an OSHA inspection to identify deficiencies.”

Tenneco Automotive Co. is a division of Tenneco, a global transportation components manufacturer with more than 80 facilities on six continents. Corporate offices are in Lake Forest, IL.



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