OSHA Fines Amsterdam, N.Y., Firm $120,000 for Alleged Safety and Health Hazards

An Amsterdam, N.Y., pallet recycler's alleged failure to safeguard workers against a wide range of safety and health hazards has resulted in $120,000 in OSHA fines. Power Pallet Inc. was cited for alleged willful and serious safety and health violations following an inspection OSHA began March 15.

OSHA's inspection alleged that the company failed to develop specific procedures for shutting down machines and locking out their power sources to prevent accidental startup during maintenance or repair work. The company also allegedly failed to train workers on these procedures, provide an adequate supply of locks and ensure their use.

"The absence of lockout/tagout procedures, training and tools leaves workers exposed to the potentially fatal hazard of being caught in machinery that's accidentally energized," said John Tomich, OSHA's area director in Albany. "This employer knew these safeguards were required, yet apparently chose not to provide them."

As a result, OSHA cited the company for three alleged willful violations with a proposed penalty of $115,500. Four serious citations, carrying $4,500 in fines, also were issued. These covered alleged hazards involving:

  • Obstructed exit access;
  • Lack of engineering and administrative controls to reduce noise exposure;
  • Not training workers on all required elements of a hearing conservation program;
  • Lack of labeling on a motor disconnect; and
  • Improper machine guarding on nail grinders.
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