Colorado Employer Faces $129,200 in OSHA Fines for Guarding Violations

Professional Plastics Inc. of Denver is facing multiple citations and proposed fines of $129,200 for two alleged willful and two alleged serious violations of workplace safety and health standards.

The alleged willful violation is for inadequate guarding at the point of operation on a saw used to cut plastic materials. The company also was cited for a willful violation for failure to use lockout/tagout procedures that ensure machines will not start-up accidentally while they are being fixed or undergoing maintenance.

The alleged serious violations include failure to provide appropriate electrical disconnects and wiring and failure to provide training on hazardous chemicals.

"Professional Plastics Inc. failed to protect its employees from hazards which could contribute to amputation injuries," said Adam Finkel, regional director in Denver for OSHA. "The U.S. Labor Department will ensure that this employer takes responsibility to correct safety and health hazards for the long term."

The inspection of Professional Plastics Inc. was conducted in September 2002 by OSHA's Denver area office as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program to reduce amputation hazards. OSHA inspections are conducted at establishments with a history of amputations and industries with an increased incidence of amputation hazards.

A serious violation is one where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, involving a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. A willful violation is one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

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

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