US Department of Labor OSHA violations issued for repeatedly exposing workers to amputation hazards at Illinois storage system manufacturer
PONTIAC, Ill. For the second time this year, Interlake Mecalux Inc. has been cited for exposing workers to amputation hazards by failing to have adequate guards on dangerous machinery. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found two repeat and two serious violations following a March 2014 inspection at the company's Pontiac plant. In February 2014, Interlake Mecalux, which manufactures storage and racking systems, was cited for exposing workers to similar amputation hazards at its Melrose Park plant. OSHA proposed additional penalties of $47,520.
"Interlake Mecalux continues to put its employees at risk of amputation and death by not correcting known dangers at all locations," said Tom Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "When a company is cited at one of its locations, it has the responsibility to improve and correct similar violations at all its plants."
OSHA cited Interlake with a repeat violation for failure to provide required machine guarding and protect workers adequately from moving machine parts during servicing and/or maintenance, which is a primary cause of amputations. In 2012, more than 5,000 workers suffered an amputation injury on the job. The complaint inspection was initiated under OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Amputation Hazards.
A second repeat violation was cited for failing to label containers containing hazardous chemicals properly. The company was also cited for this violation in February 2014. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, operation, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Two serious safety violations were also issued for failing to lock a high-voltage electrical room, so that only qualified people could enter and use an unsafe electrical box. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
Interlake Mecalux has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Prior to this safety inspection, the Melrose Park-based company had been inspected by OSHA 10 times since 2011, resulting in 39 violations cited.
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 Peoria office at 309-589-7033.
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.