According to OSHA, the company has consistently failed to correct grave and potentially disastrous workplace hazards, including the lack of such basic worker protections as personal protective equipment, machine guarding, fire prevention measures, safety training, fall protection and lockout/tagout procedures which render machinery inoperable during maintenance and repair.
"To ensure that injury and illness rates continue to decline, we must make sure that employers protect employees from workplace hazards," said John Newquist, OSHA's area director in Peoria/Fairview Heights. "The significant penalty of $418,200 in this case demonstrates OSHA's commitment to protecting the health and safety of America's workers."
The current fine and OSHA citations follow an inspection initiated in April 2005, following receipt of a complaint. The inspection led to 33 alleged violations, ranging from electrical hazards and smoking permitted within 20 feet of a spray-painting operation to a lack of eye and foot protection and improper use or lack of the use of respirators. OSHA has cited the company numerous times since 1995 and the agency claims Midwest has failed to correct identified hazards in spite of offers of free assistance through OSHA's consultation services. Midwest manufactures metal storage rack systems.
The inspection was conducted by OSHA's area office in Peoria. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.