Safety Woes for Rail System Maker

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 @ 05:12 PM gHale


Pandrol USA LP, a rail fastening system manufacturer, is facing $283,500 in fines for 25 safety and health violations, including three willful, at the company’s Bridgeport, NJ, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

A complaint about hazards prompted OSHA’s inspection.

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The willful violations involve the employer’s failure to use energy control, or “lockout/tagout” procedures, for mechanical and hydraulic presses; provide machine guarding; and ensure employees performing maintenance and repairs on machinery have proper training on energy control procedures. A willful violation is one occurring with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

“A lockout/tagout program ensures that machines are shut down and their power sources locked out before employees work on them,” said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA’s Marlton Area Office. “Employers are responsible for ensuring safe and healthful workplaces, and will be held legally accountable when they fail to do so.”

Because of the willful violations, Pandrol is now on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.

Twenty serious violations relate to OSHA’s noise exposure standard, electrical hazards, a lack of machine guarding and personal protective equipment, not periodically inspecting energy control procedures, failing to develop and implement a confined space program, and not mounting fire extinguishers. 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.

Two other-than-serious violations are not having a written hazard communication program and not labeling spray bottles. 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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