Big Safety Fines for Tire Retreader

Monday, June 2, 2014 @ 03:06 PM gHale

American Made Tires, an Elmira Heights, NY, tire retreader, is facing fines of $160,280 for failing to correct 12 hazards cited during a 2013 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection.

“The company’s inaction exposed employees to ongoing hazards of fire, falls, chemicals and to being caught in or crushed by unguarded or unexpectedly activated machinery,” said Christopher Adams, OSHA’s area director in Syracuse, NY. “The sizable penalties proposed reflect the severity of these conditions and the employer’s failure to follow through on its obligation and commitment to correct hazards that never should have existed.”

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OSHA’s Syracuse Area Office initially cited the company for 16 serious violations of workplace safety standards in July 2013, following an inspection conducted between March and July 2013. American Made Tires agreed to correct the cited hazards and pay the required fine of $20,100. When the company failed to submit proof that it had corrected the hazards, OSHA opened a follow-up inspection in November 2013.

The new inspection found ongoing hazards, including improperly constructed flammable adhesive spray booths located within 20 feet of spark-producing equipment; failure to implement lockout/tagout procedures to protect workers who service or maintain machines; lack of machine guarding for a tire buffer machine; and lack of a communications program and training for employees working with hazardous chemicals.

Because of these uncorrected hazards, OSHA issued American Made Tire 12 failure-to-abate notices, carrying $144,000 in fines. A failure-to-abate notice applies to a condition, hazard or practice for which the employer was originally cited, and upon reinspection, was found uncorrected.

Three repeat violations were for hazards similar to those cited in the earlier inspection. These included use of hazardous electrical equipment, accumulation of combustible dust and use of a spark-producing grinder in a flammable area. These violations carry $14,080 in fines.

One serious citation, with a $2,200 fine, was for use of a portable electric lamp in a spraying area during operations. 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.

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