OSHA Opens Door on Violations at Haleyville Manufacturer

An Alabama door manufacturer repeatedly failed to protect its workers from machine hazards, leading to the death of one worker and fines from OSHA.

A Haleyville, Ala., door manufacturer repeatedly failed to protect its workers from machine hazards, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Premdor Inc. employs approximately 4,150 workers in the U.S., about 208 of whom are located at the Haleyville plant

A worker was killed at the facility on Aug. 4, 2001, prompting an OSHA inspection that earned the company some $102,000 in proposed penalties. The fatality occurred in the lay-up department where door parts and wooden stiles are fed through a glue machine and placed on a hydraulic scissor lift. The lift is lowered into a pit as more door parts are added until about 50 doors are completed, at which time the scissor lift ascends and the doors are sent to the next operation. While clearing parts and debris from the pit, a Premdor Inc. employee was crushed when the scissor lift slowly descended on him.

"This employer knew about 'lockout/tagout' procedures that render machinery inoperable during service and repair but neglected to enforce them," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's Birmingham area director. "In fact, a full inspection of the Haleyville facility in 1999 resulted in citations for similar violations and Premdor Inc. had been cited previously in connection with a similar fatality at its Tampa plant."

OSHA's investigation of the accident resulted in four repeat citations for: not posting appropriate confined space warning signs at the scissor lift pit; not enforcing the use of lockout/tagout procedures when employees enter the pit for service work and maintenance purposes; failing to conduct periodic inspections of energy control procedures, and unguarded pinch points at the floor level of scissor lifts. The repeat violations resulted in penalties totaling $95,000.

The remaining $7,000 fine was assessed for one serious violation - failure to provide individual locks, tags and blocking devices, and to train employees in their use to prevent release of stored energy or the unexpected start-up of the scissor lift.

OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. A repeat violation occurs when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The company has 15 working days to contest OSHA's most recent citations before the commission.

edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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