OSHA Fines La. Company Following Fatality Investigation

July 20, 2005

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations and proposed penalties totaling $356,700 against Exide Technologies Inc. for 38 alleged safety and health violations.

The citations follow investigation of a Jan. 18 accident in which an employee of the Baton Rouge company was killed while trying to manually clear a jammed conveyor without appropriate safety precautions.

One willful citation was issued for deficiencies in energy control practices related to the fatality. These lockout-tagout procedures render machinery inoperable during maintenance and repair. 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.

A total of 24 serious citations were issued for hazards related to industrial trucks, housekeeping, stairs, guardrails, energy control procedures, unguarded machines, electrical equipment, hazardous waste, emergency response, confined space entry, lead contamination, cadmium exposure, bloodborne pathogens and lack of employee training. A serious violation is a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Ten repeat violations involved hazards related to unsafe floors, cranes, machine guarding, electrical equipment, lead exposure and lead contamination. A repeat violation occurs when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar violation. Three other-than-serious citations noted deficiencies in respiratory protection and lead and cadmium exposure.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Baton Rouge area director or contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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