OSHA Fines N.Y. Auto Parts Manufacturer

October 14, 2004

A Massena, New York automobile parts manufacturer’s reported widespread failure to record work-related hearing losses and other occupational injuries, as well as a variety of safety hazards, has resulted in $160,000 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

General Motors Powertrain Corp. has been cited for alleged willful, serious and other violations of health and safety standards at its Route 37 East plant. OSHA began its inspection on April 13 in response to an employee complaint.

OSHA’s inspection reportedly identified 98 instances where the company did not record on the OSHA 300 Log work-related noise-induced hearing losses and other injuries and illnesses suffered by employees at the plant.

The Massena plant’s failure to record work-related injuries led to the issuance of two willful citations, carrying $140,000 in fines. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

Six serious citations, with $12,000 in proposed fines, were issued for a variety of safety hazards including an obstructed exit route, inadequate guarding of moving machine parts, no load rating for an elevated work platform, failure to assess the need for personal protective equipment for workers, lack of warning signs and a non-exit door not marked as such. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

An additional $8,000 in fines is proposed for two other citations concerning improper recording of injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log of occupational illnesses and injuries.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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