KREAMER, Pa. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Wood-Mode Inc. for exposing workers to safety and health hazards at its Kreamer facility. OSHA initiated an inspection as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Amputations that found one repeat, 25 serious and four other-than-serious violations. Proposed penalties total $122,200.
"Each of these hazards puts the workers at this facility at risk of serious injury and possible death," said Mark Stelmack, director of OSHA's Wilkes-Barre Area Office. "Employers need to be proactive in identifying and correcting hazardous conditions, rather than waiting for an OSHA inspection to occur."
The repeat violation, with a $38,500 penalty, reflected the company's failure to use a standard railing to protect workers positioned at the edge of a roof approximately 19 feet above the ground. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited 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. The company was cited for the same violation at the Kreamer facility in August 2010.
The serious violations, with $83,700 in penalties, involve unguarded floor and wall openings; improperly maintained emergency exits; a lack of personal protective equipment; improper machine guarding; improper energy control procedures; poor welding practices, including the use of damaged equipment; exposed electrical wiring; and a lack of respirator fit-testing and training for employees. 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.
The other-than-serious violations, with no monetary penalties, were cited for failing to provide a hazard communications plan and a lack of respiratory protection. 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.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/WoodModeInc_314164039_11-29-11.pdf*.
Wood-Mode Inc., which manufactures and installs kitchen cabinets, employs about 1,190 workers at the Kreamer site. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Wilkes-Barre office; telephone 570-826-6538.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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