One of the nation’s largest furniture retailers has reached a corporate-wide settlement agreement for alleged violations of OSHA work safety regulations. As part of the agreement, the company will pay a $1,750,000 fine, abate workplace hazards, and train employees in line with the machine safety requirements at 29 CFR 1910.147(c)(7).
The violations in question stem from failure to implement lockout/tagout procedures on certain hazardous machinery. Lockout/tagout is a procedure that prevents a machine from unexpectedly starting up while an employee is performing maintenance or cleaning—which could lead to severe injuries, amputations, and worse.
The retailer is taking corrective actions (including paying the nearly $2 million fine) after being placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) for similar safety violations over the past two years. In July, OSHA reported that an employee lost a finger
“because the company has continued to ignore safety requirements to protect workers from moving machine parts.” In addition to the lockout/tagout violations, the company also failed to meet OSHA injury reporting requirements in the past.
Because of the history of violations and work injuries, the company is no longer permitted to use the “minor servicing” exception to the lockout/tagout rules until a third-party consultant completes an evaluation. Also, the company must develop a Machine Safety and Health Program (MSHP) and implement the program across all its facilities. See the full OSHA settlement here.
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