Ill. Business Cited for Safety Hazards

October 19, 2005

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $418,200 in fines for Midwest Racking Manufacturing Inc., Madison, Illinois, for reportedly failing to protect workers from numerous workplace hazards identified in a recent OSHA inspection and eight previous inspections.

According to OSHA, the company has consistently failed to correct grave and potentially disastrous workplace hazards, including the lack of such basic worker protections as personal protective equipment, machine guarding, fire prevention measures, safety training, fall protection, and lockout/tagout procedures which render machinery inoperable during maintenance and repair.

“To ensure that injury and illness rates continue to decline, we must make sure that employers protect employees from workplace hazards,” said John Newquist, OSHA’s area director in Peoria/Fairview Heights. “The significant penalty of $418,200 in this case demonstrates OSHA’s commitment to protecting the health and safety of America’s workers.”

The current fine and OSHA citations follow an inspection initiated in April 2005, following receipt of a complaint. The inspection led to 33 alleged violations — five serious, 18 willful and 10 — ranging from electrical hazards and smoking permitted within 20 feet of a spray painting operation to a lack of eye and foot protection and improper use or lack of the use of respirators. OSHA has cited the company numerous times since 1995 and Midwest has failed to correct identified hazards in spite of offers of free assistance through OSHA’s consultation services. Midwest manufactures metal storage rack systems.

The inspection was conducted by OSHA’s area office in Peoria. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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