Company Cited Following Fatal Crane Accident

Exposing employees to potential falls, crushing accidents, electrocution hazards and unguarded machines has led to citations and $71,000 in penalties for a Watervliet, N.Y., company.

OSHA paid a visit to ALTX Inc. following a crane accident in August in which an employee was killed.

"We are citing ALTX Inc. for 12 alleged serious violations, six repeat violations and one other-than-serious violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act," said John Tomich, OSHA area director in Albany, whose office inspected the steel products manufacturer in response to the accident.

The alleged serious violations include failure to maintain a clean, orderly workplace. The OSHA citation notes that oil or hydraulic fluid on floors and crane bridges at the facility created slip and fall hazards.

Additional serious citations were issued for improperly guarded floor openings, failure to maintain clear aisles leading to exits, failure to train employees in the use of personal protective equipment and to require its use, a lack of eyewash stations where corrosive materials were used, failure to properly store material to prevent hazards, and failure to properly enclose live electrical parts, properly inspect and maintain overhead cranes and properly guard or enclose belts and pulleys on machines.

The alleged repeat violations concern the company's failure to guard open-sided floors, provide proper personal protective equipment, properly guard machines to protect employees from rotating parts, properly guard bench grinders, reduce the pressure of compressed air used for cleaning purposes, and properly train employees with regard to hazardous chemicals used in the workplace.

An other-than-serious citation alleges that the employer failed to provide frequent inspection of energy control procedures to protect employees performing maintenance on equipment.

OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. A repeat violation occurs when the same or similar violation for which the company has been previously cited is found again upon reinspection. An other-than-serious violation is a condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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