OSHA Settles Ergonomics Citations

March 31, 2003
Last month, OSHA announced the first two companies to be cited for failing to abate ergonomic hazards. On March 27, the agency announced it entered into settlement agreements with both organizations, Security Metal Products Corp. of Clinton, Okla., and Alpha Health Services of Post Falls, Idaho.

Both companies were also cited for other violations, and under the terms of the agreement, both have agreed to work with OSHA to correct the ergonomic hazards and waive the right to contest the citations in exchange for reduced penalties. Security Metal Products' penalty was reduced from $102,600 to $51,300, while the total penalty for all seven establishments of Alpha Health Services has been cut from $11,500 to $2,200.

"We are pleased that these companies have agreed to make specific changes to protect their workers," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "Both agreements represent a commitment by the company's management that they're serious about eliminating workplace hazards."

Security Metal Products Corp. is a metal fabricating corporation that manufactures custom door frames. The agreement settles citations issued by OSHA following an August 2002 planned inspection. The company was cited for an ergonomic violation relating to materials handling, as well as violations of other safety and health standards. In addition to providing OSHA with a written detailed plan of abatement for violations, the company agreed to revise its safety and health program and to include an ergonomics program for worksite analysis, medical management and training and education.

Alpha Health Services is a health care services provider that operates several nursing homes in the Post Falls area. During inspections held last November, seven of its facilities received citations for various workplace violations.

Three of those facilities were cited for ergonomics issues relating to resident handling. Park House and Third Street, both of Post Falls, and Cassia House of Rathdrum, Idaho, have all agreed to implement a new policy for transferring and lifting residents using mechanical devices. That policy will include a worksite analysis, occupational health management, training and education, and hazard prevention and control.

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