Safety and OSHA News

Employer and staffing agency face almost $280K in OSHA fines after complaint

An OSHA practice started during the Obama administration appears to continue: fining both an employer and staffing agency for the same case. 

Following a complaint, OSHA inspected Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas in Monroe, GA, in August and October 2016. The agency issued citations to Hitachi totaling $237,923.

The motor vehicle parts manufacturer was cited for one willful, one repeat and 11 serious health and safety violations, including failure to:

  • establish and maintain an audiometric testing program for all employees whose exposures equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels (willful)
  • provide facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body where employees were exposed to corrosive materials (repeat)
  • provide hearing training to employees exposed to noise at or above an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels
  • require employees to wear protective eye and face equipment where there was a reasonable probability of injury
  • review an emergency action plan regarding fires with each temporary employee
  • ensure containers of hazardous chemicals were labeled, tagged or marked with the identity of the chemicals
  • provide proper hazardous chemical training
  • provide training about safety data sheets (SDSs)
  • provide documentation about lockout/tagout procedures in a language that could be understood by employees (Japanese employees who were deemed Lockout Authorized didn’t read lockout procedures provided only in English), and
  • require employees to use lockout procedures.

OSHA also issued six serious health and safety violations totaling $39,835 to Express Employment which supplied Hitachi with temporary workers. The employment agency’s violations include failure to:

  • provide baseline audiograms for workers
  • provide hearing training to each employee who is exposed to noise at or above an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels
  • require employees to wear protective eye and face equipment, and
  • review an emergency action plan with employees.

Both companies have 15 business days after receiving the citations to comply and pay the fines, enter into settlement talks with OSHA, or contest them to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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