The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration charged a Rochester, N.Y., machine shop with a series of safety hazards, and for failing to correct violations for which it was previously cited. Pierce Industries faces fines of $114,750 relating to the violations.
Pierce Industries was cited last December for a number of hazards, including failing to test its piping system to ensure it was gas-tight under pressure, and failing to train workers adequately train workers in the safe operation of forklifts. Pierce agreed to correct these conditions, but a later inspection by OSHA determined the fixes had not been done.
A separate series of charges involves improperly used electrical outlet boxes at the Pierce shop.
OSHA hit Pierce with two citations for failing-to-abate, each carrying $105,750 in proposed fines for the uncorrected hazards. Another citation for a recurring electrical hazard carries a proposed $3,000 fine.
OSHA’s failure-to-abate citations are issued when an employer fails to correct previously cited hazards. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously was cited for the same or similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last three years.
"An uncorrected hazard is an ongoing threat to the safety and health of workers. Employers need to understand that ignoring or putting off corrective action can be costly in financial as well as human terms," stated OSHA area director Arthur Dube, OSHA. "In cases like this, OSHA will check to verify that cited hazards have been corrected and, if not, employers will be subject to additional and potentially much larger fines."
Finally, Pierce Industries was issued two serious citations for two new hazards, incomplete procedures, and inadequate employee training to ensure that machines' power sources were properly locked out of service before maintenance. The fines for these citations total $6,000.
“Serious” citations are issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
Pierce Industries was given 15 business days from the receipt of the citations to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.