A settlement between the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA and Central Transport LLC has been reached after the company repeatedly put workers’ safety at risk with the use of defective forklifts and lack of fall protection.
OSHA cited Michigan-based Central Transport repeatedly in the past six years, racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in violations including defective powered industrial vehicles, failing to have handrails on stairs with four or more risers, not installing slip-resistant treads on stairs and failing to guard the floor opening on a pit to prevent falls, among others.
“These widespread, recurring hazards required a comprehensive solution,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA in a statement.
The Department of Labor filed the original complaint with OSHA in 2015, seeking an seeking an order to require Central Transport to remove damaged, defective and unsafe forklifts and other powered industrial trucks from service at all the company’s locations.
OSHA discovered in-service, defective forklifts in at least 11 Central Transport LLC shipping terminals in nine states. The use exposed employees to hazards that could cause crushing or struck-by injuries at multiple locations.
“We stated when we filed the complaint that safety cannot be addressed in a piecemeal fashion when employees are exposed to hazards at multiple company worksites,” said Michael Felsen, the department's regional solicitor of labor in Boston in a statement. “With this settlement, Central Transport has committed to taking proactive, ongoing and effective action to identify and eliminate these hazards and improve safety for its workers across the country.”
The settlement agreement commits the company to improving forklift safety at over 100 terminals in 26 states. In addition, Central Transport must hire an independent third party monitor to evaluate, update and improve the company’s existing procedures for preventive maintenance repairs, operator inspections and safe operation of powered industrial trucks.
OSHA will notify those states that have assumed authority for enforcing OSHA standards in which Central Transport has terminals and encourage them to honor or agree to the terms of this settlement.
According to the agreement, Central Transport must also:
- Assign a corporate internal monitor to facilitate effective implementation of the settlement agreement, conduct random, unannounced visits of at least 20 terminals and work with the third party monitor to prepare and submit reports for each terminal assessed, seek employee feedback and monitor progress.
- Work with the third party monitor to assess and monitor compliance with the agreement and seek feedback from employees. This will include unannounced monitoring visits of at least 10 terminals by the third party monitor, including two terminals assessed by the internal monitor.
- Submit written compliance reports to OSHA and allow OSHA to conduct monitoring inspections to measure compliance.
- Remove any damaged, defective and unsafe powered industrial trucks from service.
- Pay a total of $165,400 in penalties.
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).