The failure of a Victor, N.Y.-based optical equipment manufacturer to correct serious safety hazards has resulted in $131,600 in additional fines from OSHA and a tongue-lashing from OSHA’s area director.
“Employers must understand that they cannot ignore their responsibility to provide safe working conditions for their employees and to correct hazards when identified. Ignoring OSHA citations means that employees remain at risk of serious injury or even death,” said Christopher Adams, OSHA’s area director in Syracuse. “These large, additional fines are the direct result of this employer’s lack of action.”
OSHA’s Syracuse Area Office first cited Wordingham Machine Co. in March 2013 for seven violations of workplace safety standards at the company’s 580 Fishers Station Drive manufacturing plant. OSHA proposed $16,100 in fines for those violations.
OSHA began a follow-up inspection in June 2013 after the company failed to respond to the citations or submit proof that it had corrected the cited hazards. The follow-up inspection found that six specific hazards remained uncorrected. These include unguarded moving machine parts; no procedures to prevent the unintended startup of machinery during maintenance; unapproved use of electrical equipment; excess pressure for a compressed air hose used for cleaning; and not providing workers with fire extinguisher training.
These conditions resulted in OSHA issuing six failure-to-abate notifications to Wordingham, with $126,000 in fines. OSHA also issued a repeat citation, carrying a $5,600 fine, for a locked exit door, a condition similar to one that had been cited in the previous inspection.
A failure-to-abate notice applies to a condition, hazard or practice for which the employer was originally cited and, upon reinspection, was found uncorrected. A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any of its facilities in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Wordingham Machine has 15 business days from receipt of its latest citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with Adams or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.