Maine Autobody Plant Faces $400K in OSHA Citations

Posted on 4/13/2021 by Lauren Scott

An autobody manufacturing facility in Waterville, ME has been issued citations from US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA noted two willful and 10 serious alleged violations of Fall Protection and Noise Safety Standards, totaling $393,992 in proposed fines.

When OSHA visited the facility, inspectors found plant employees working on top of truck bodies without proper fall protection and observed others exposed to excess noise levels while steam cleaning. These alleged violations have been cited as willful violations by the Agency.

Alleged serious violations include the company’s failure to:
  • Provide adequate training to employees on auto lifts and respiratory protection.
  • Prevent struck-by and crushing hazards from homemade attachments used on auto lifts.
  • Guard machinery to prevent employees from contact with operational machinery parts
  • Determine and select the required personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers by conducting a hazard assessment.
  • Provide adequate protective eyewear for individuals near a welding area that does not have noncombustible or flameproof screens or shields.
  • Establish and implement a respiratory protection program, including evaluations of employees' medical fitness to wear respirators, fit-testing, and adequate maintenance and storage of respirators.
  • Secure machines to prevent unnecessary movement.
  • Properly guard electrical openings and avoid using flexible cords and/or cables as a substitute for fixed electrical wiring.
The company has 15 business days from notification of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA’s Top 10 Violations of 2020

Fall protection and respiratory protection are among the top 10 most-cited OSHA violations year after year. In 2020, respiratory protection jumped from fifth to third place on the list with 2,649 violations. Fall protection topped the list once again with 5,424 violations cited. The Fall Protection Standard includes failure to provide proper PPE and fall arrest systems for employees.

OSHA’s annual release of the top 10 list has become a staple of National Safety Council (NSC) events. Although it normally coincides with NSC’s annual Safety Congress & Expo, the latest list was unveiled during an NSC webinar in February 2021.

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Tags: fall protection, fines, osha, penalties, respiratory protection, safety, violations, workplace safety

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