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OSHA Proposes $487,000 in Fines Against Parker Hannifin Plant

On May 3, OSHA proposed $487,000 in fines against the Batesville, Miss., Parker Hannifin Corp. plant for alleged safety and health violations that range from inadequate lockout/tagout training and inspections to electrical deficiencies, failure to unblock exits, lack of machine guarding and more.

Cleveland-based Parker Hannifin Corp. manufactures machinery for hydraulics, air conditioning, refrigeration and aerospace systems and operates 170 facilities nationwide. In all, OSHA issued 33 citations to the plant as a result of an inspection that began in November 2010.

“Companies that cut corners at the expense of worker safety must be held accountable,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. “In this case, Parker Hannifin not only failed to make safety its top priority, but the company ignored many violations that OSHA previously had brought to its attention.”

OSHA issued 16 repeat citations, which were based on previous inspections conducted at other company locations, that totaled to $407,000 in fines. Safety-related repeat violations include allowing the air pressure to exceed more than 30 pounds per square inch for cleaning equipment; failing to conduct periodic lockout/tagout process inspections; failing to train workers on lockout/tagout procedures; failing to unblock exit doors and routes; failing to provide machine guarding; and failing to correct electrical deficiencies. One health-related repeat violation was cited for failing to attach hazardous warning labels to dipping tanks.

The agency also issued 17 serious citations with $80,700 in fines. These violations included exposing employees to struck-by hazards due to a defective safety latch on a hoist and damaged hooks on an overhead crane; allowing unapproved electrical equipment to be used in a hazardous location; failing to remove and replace spiral stairs with a conventional stairways; failing to post signage indicating the direction of travel to the nearest exit; failing to provide a confined space sign; failing to mark a web sling with the rated load capacity; failing to require workers to wear goggles or suitable eye protection while welding; failing to establish an effective hearing program; and failing to provide PPE.

A Parker Hannifin spokesperson told EHS Today that the company is still evaluating OSHA’s citations and cannot yet comment on the proposed fines or violations.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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