OSHA Cites Manufacturing Plant After A Worker Was Fatally Crushed


Canton, SD (WorkersCompensation.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued Adams Thermal Systems Inc. of Canton three citations for willful safety violations that expose workers to unsafe conditions at the engine cooling systems manufacturing facility. OSHA's inspection was initiated after an employee was fatally crushed while operating equipment on Nov. 7, 2011.

"Despite having full awareness of the hazardous conditions and potential for employees to be injured by machinery used in the workplace, the employer failed to take suitable action to ensure employee safety," said Tom Deutscher, OSHA's area director in Bismarck, N.D. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."

The violations are failing to develop energy control procedures, provide machine guarding and effectively train employees on recognizing hazardous energy and taking safety precautions. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Due to the willful nature of the violations, OSHA has placed Adams Thermal Systems in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information about the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.

The facility previously had been inspected four times by OSHA. In 2004, an employee lost four fingers in a machine guarding-related incident and OSHA cited the employer with a willful violation for failing to provide adequate guarding. In 2011, an investigation was initiated after an employee had several fingers crushed while operating a press, and OSHA cited a serious violation for failing to provide adequate protection.

Proposed penalties for the most recent citations total $210,000. To view the citations, visit: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AdamsThermalSystemsCitations2012.pdf.*

Adams Thermal Systems, which employs about 720 workers, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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