Shock Case Brings OSHA Fines

Monday, March 5, 2012 @ 05:03 PM gHale

Yaskawa America Inc. is facing fines of $91,000 for six safety – including one willful – violations, after a worker suffered burns from an electrical shock on Sept. 15 at the company’s Oak Creek manufacturing facility, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials said.

The Waukegan, IL-based company produces drives and motion control components for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

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“Allowing workers to come in contact with exposed and energized parts without appropriate personal protective equipment demonstrates a lack of concern for their safety,” said George Yoksas, OSHA’s area director in Milwaukee. “Employers are responsible for knowing the hazards that exist in their workplaces and taking proper safety precautions.”

The worker suffered second- and third-degree burns on his hand after receiving an electrical shock from exposed parts that had the potential to energize up to 480 volts.

The willful violation is for allowing the worker to come in contact with exposed energized parts on testing equipment. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Additionally, three serious safety violations include using unapproved electrical equipment, failing to provide personal protective equipment to employees working on energized parts and failing to implement electrical safe work practices, such as utilizing insulated tools while working on energized electrical equipment. 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 include not having strain relief on testing equipment and not completing OSHA 300 injury and illness logs as required. 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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