OSHA Cites Pa. Firm for Exposure Hazards to Workers

October 13, 2004

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations and proposed penalties to Gunton Corporation, doing business as Pella Windows and Doors Co., of Norristown, Pennsylvania for allegedly failing to protect workers from falls and other hazards.

“Strong enforcement is a key part of this Administration’s efforts to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. “The significant penalty of $103,050 in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers.”

OSHA initiated an inspection on April 1 in response to a complaint about safety and health hazards. The inspection resulted in one willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $63,000; 14 alleged serious citations, with a proposed penalty of $40,050; and one other citation.

The company, which assembles and distributes windows and doors and employs 160 workers, received the willful citation for reportedly not providing fall protection for employees working from elevated platforms.

Alleged serious violations included failure to provide a permanent exit route, lack of machine guarding, exposed live electrical parts, lack of personal protective equipment, lack of eye wash or other suitable flushing facility, using workspace for storage, and deficiencies in safeguards for employees working in a spray paint booth. The other citation was issued for using flexible cords as a substitute for permanent wiring.

Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company has 15 working days to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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