An engine cooling manufacturing company has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) following a fatality last year and previous serious injuries to workers. The company now also owes OSHA $210,000.
Adams Thermal Systems of Canton, SD, faces three willful citations.
On Nov. 7, 2011, an employee, Larry Kinzer, was caught in a machine and crushed to death. He was 42.
The three violations are for failing to:
- develop energy control procedures
- provide machine guarding, and
- effectively train employees on recognizing hazardous energy and taking safety precautions.
Due to the willful categorization of the violations, OSHA placed the company in the SVEP which mandates targeted follow-up inspections.
An OSHA spokesman tells the Argus Leader there is no specific list of actions Adams Thermal must take or benchmarks it must achieve for the company to be released from the SVEP. However, the company must show it has corrected its safety problems. The OSHA spokesman says the company could remain in the SVEP for a year or two.
The OSHA solicitor could also recommend criminal charges, according to the spokesman.
The company disputes OSHA’s claims. CEO Mike Adams says the company will appeal the citations. Companies that are fined by OSHA have 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Two employees at the company have been seriously injured in the last eight years:
- In 2004, an employee lost four fingers in a machine. OSHA says the company willfully failed to provide adequate machine guarding.
- In 2011, an employee had several fingers crushed while operating a press. OSHA said the company failed to provide adequate protection.
While payment of OSHA fines can be delayed by appealing them, SVEP status kicks in right away before an appeal can be heard. Should the SVEP status be delayed until after an appeal is completed? Also, should OSHA spell out specific steps a company has to take to be released from the SVEP? Let us know what you think in the comments below.