OSHA Proposes Over $360,000 in Fines Against Railcar Repair Facility

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The U.S. Department of Labor'sOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $364,350 inpenalties against Frit Car Inc. in Brewton, Ala., for alleged safety and healthviolations. The inspection began April 3 when four workers were overcome byvapors while working in a confined space.

The company is being cited with five willfulviolations with a proposed penalty of $315,000 relating to failing to have anassigned attendant outside a limited space work area; not having procedures foralerting emergency services for rescuing workers in a confined space; nothaving a procedure that would prevent unauthorized personnel from attempting arescue; failing to train workers who perform work in a confined space; failingto ensure the entry supervisors verified that all the entries were known; andfailing to train each member of the emergency response team in confined spacerescue.??

The facility is also being cited with 17 serioussafety and health violations with $47,950 in proposed penalties. The safetyhazards include several deficiencies in the company's enclosed and limitedspace program, hazards associated with poor housekeeping, no guardrails onwalkways, unsuitable eye wash and shower facilities, inoperable safetyinterlocks on a baler machine, no tongue guard on a bench grinder and a damagedtool. The health violations concern hazards associated with severaldeficiencies related to noise overexposure, the employer's respiratory programand a damaged welding lead on the mobile service truck.??

Two other-than-serious citations with a $1,400proposed penalty are being issued to the company for recordkeeping deficienciesand not properly storing air-supplied air respirators after usage.??

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committedwith plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety andhealth. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability thatdeath or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which theemployer knew or should have known. An other-than-serious violation is one thathas a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would notcause death or serious physical harm.??

"This incident could have resulted in fatalconsequences because Frit Car management knowingly violated OSHA safety andhealth standards," said Kurt Petermeyer, director of OSHA's Mobile AreaOffice.??The company has 15 business days from the receipt of the citations tocomply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Mobile orcontest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and HealthReview Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Mobile AreaOffice, 1141 Montlimar Drive, Suite 1006, Mobile, Ala.; telephone 251-441-6131.

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