Syracuse, NY Company Needs to 'Venture' Toward Safety

New Venture Gear of New York LLC, an East Syracuse, N.Y., manufacturer of transfer cases for 4-wheel drive vehicles, exposed employees to an extensive list of safety hazards, including unguarded moving machinery and electrocution hazards, according to recent OSHA citations.

The agency proposed penalties totaling $133,500 for New Venture Gear, citing the company for 32 alleged violations of safety standards.

OSHA conducted an inspection of the company from Aug. 6 through Jan. 3, as part of its "site-specific targeting program," under which it inspects certain worksites with high rates of lost workday injuries and illnesses. The company was previously inspected in 1999 under a similar program and was issued citations with a proposed penalty of more than $100,000 at that time.

"OSHA standards are aimed at keeping the workplace safe and healthy," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "This employer placed workers at risk by not eliminating hazards that had been pointed out more than two years ago."

According to Diane Brayden, OSHA's area director in Syracuse, 27 of the citations were classified as serious. Examples include failure to provide fall protection on aerial lifts, failure to maintain dry floors and failure to guard floor openings. Poor maintenance was also cited for ladders and stairs, fire extinguishers, exits, forklifts and slings, as well as failure to provide guarding on grinders, shafts, belts and pulleys and to maintain electrical equipment, conduit and flexible cords and guard electrical equipment.

Three alleged "repeat" violations include the company's failure to maintain overhead hoists, below the hook lifting devices and bridge rails; inadequately guarded moving parts on machinery; and inadequately guarded points of operation on machinery. Two alleged "other-than-serious" violations were cited for the company's failure to provide adequate general housekeeping and to properly maintain stairway treads.

A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. A repeat violation occurs when a company has been cited for similar violations within the past three years. And, an other-than-serious violation is a hazardous 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.

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