Noise, Unguarded Machines, Fall Hazards and Fines for Texas Company

Citations for allegedly exposing employees to hazards associated with noise, having unguarded machines and improper electrical wiring, and exposing employees to falls from elevation resulted in $153,500 in proposed fines against American Homestar Corp. in Lancaster, Texas.

The mobile home manufacturer, doing business as Oak Creek Homes, employs about 170 workers at the site and was cited with 28 alleged serious and two alleged repeat violations following an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection that began Feb. 6 under OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program. Under the program, manufacturing work sites were selected for inspections based on high rates of lost workday injuries.

American Homestar was cited with alleged serious violations for failing to protect employees from falls, emergency exit problems, lack of guarding for various pieces of power woodworking equipment, improper training for forklifts, electrical problems, noise and chemical exposures, and fire hazards associated with spray applications of coatings. A serious violation involves a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

Two alleged repeat violations were issued for failing to provide employees with personal protective equipment necessary to prevent falls and to prevent head injuries. A repeat violation is issued when an employer has been cited for an identical or substantially similar condition within the past three years.

"An increase in workplace injuries and accidents warrants an OSHA inspection," says Kathryn Delaney, OSHA area director in Dallas. "As safety problems increase, so does the number of employees being hurt."

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