Acting on a complaint and as part of the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program on Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry, OSHA initiated a new inspection – OSHA’s third that identified alleged hazards – at HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc. in March 2016 and cited the company and a staffing agency it employs with 24 alleged safety violations at the Thomson, Ga., manufacturer of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Fiat-Chrysler, Subaru and General Motors parts.
Sizemore Inc., a staffing agency that had approximately 300 temporary employees assigned to HP Pelzer at the time of the inspection, terminated its contract with the company in May 2016 for reasons that included safety concerns for its employees.
HP Pelzer was cited by OSHA for 24 alleged occupational safety and health violations in March 2009, with $135,000 in proposed penalites. The agency said the company was inspected to determine compliance with the National Emphasis Program on Combustible Dust. Citations were issued after that visit, and a follow-up inspection was conducted in October 2009. OSHA subsequently issued additional violations, citing the company with four alleged repeat and one alleged serious violation of the federal standards.
OSHA cited HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc. and Sizemore Inc. for 22 alleged safety and health violations in February 2014. OSHA initiated its inspection in July 2013 in response to a complaint alleging hazards at the automotive manufacturing facility. Proposed penalties total $207,100.
At that time, William Fulcher, the area director for OSHA’s Atlanta-East Office, commented, “HP Pelzer continues to put workers at risk of serious injury or death by failing to correct unguarded equipment and other serious hazards. Additionally, Sizemore must work proactively with its client to ensure temporary workers receive appropriate safety and health training.”
Currently, HP Pelzer and Sizemore face a total of $704,610 in penalties.
“Employers must ensure they provide safe and healthy working conditions – at all times – and not just during or immediately following an OSHA onsite inspection,” said Fulcher. “This is the third inspection of the HP Pelzer plant where OSHA has identified numerous hazards, many repeated, related to unsafe working conditions. Employees, whether permanent or temporary, should not have to be concerned whether they will get sick, injured or killed while providing for their families. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe and healthful workplace.”
OSHA issued 12 repeated citations to HP Pelzer for its failure to:
- Develop, implement and utilize written procedures to prevent machinery from starting-up during maintenance or servicing.
- Conduct periodic inspections of the energy control procedures at least annually.
- Train employees performing work on hazardous energy sources.
- Protect employees from thermal skin burns due to contact with hot metallic surfaces.
- Ensure the repair or replacement of electrical equipment for safe operational condition.
- Protect workers from laceration and amputation hazards due to unguarded machine parts.
The agency also cited HP Pelzer for eight serious violations for exposing workers to fall hazards, not providing electrical protective equipment and failing to train workers about electrical hazards related to their activities.
OSHA issued four serious citations to Sizemore for exposing workers to fall hazards, not providing training on hazardous energy sources, exposing employees to amputation, laceration and electrical live parts.
HP Pelzer Automotive Systems meets the listed criteria for inclusion in OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program, which focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, the agency may inspect any of the employer’s facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations. The companies have 15 business days from receipt of citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with Fulcher or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
HP Pelzer employs approximately 10,000 workers across nine facilities in the U.S. and Mexico. The Thomson facility manufacturers car panels, dashboards and insulation products.