OSHA Issues Citations to Pa. Company Following Fatality

OSHA issued citations to Ritz-Craft Corp. of Pennsylvania Inc.,\r\nMifflinburg, Pa., for alleged violations of safety and health\r\nstandards, and proposed $64,500 in penalties.

OSHA issued citations to Ritz-Craft Corp. of Pennsylvania Inc., Mifflinburg, Pa., for alleged violations of safety and health standards, and proposed $64,500 in penalties.

The inspection was initiated on Dec. 6, 2000, when an employee died after the fork lift he was operating tipped over. The company manufactures modular homes.

According to Andrew Hedesh, area director of the Wilkes-Barre OSHA office, five repeat violations, with a proposed penalty of $45,000, were issued along with six serious violations, which carry a penalty of $19,500.

"The serious violations include the lack of a restraint system or seat belt on the fork lift," said Hedesh. "The operator''s death may have been prevented if a system had been installed."

The other serious violations issued include: a forklift operator trainee assigned to operate a forklift without supervision; employees required to work under suspended floor sections; restricted egress; and improper storage of compressed gas tanks.

The repeat violations were issued for unguarded machinery; lack of guardrails on catwalks and platforms; failure to develop and utilize lockout procedures for control of hazardous energy; lack of periodic inspections to assure that lockout/tagout procedures are being performed.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to decide to comply or contest them.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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