The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc. and staffing agency Sizemore Inc. for violations totaling $207,100 in penalties.
HP Pelzer employs 256 workers at its Thomson, Ga., plant, 176 of which are temporary employees provided by Sizemore. OSHA conducted its inspection in response to a complaint alleging hazards at the plant.
The contract with Sizemore, which maintains an administrative office at the facility, specifies that the staffing agency will provide workers with some of the training before their assignment. As a result, the staffing agency was issued one serious health citation, with $6,000 in penalties, for not providing temporary workers with training regarding formaldehyde and its hazards.
In 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers.
OSHA cited HP Pelzer for 11 serious safety and health violations, carrying $80,100 in penalties. Violations included failing to prevent compressed air from being used without a means to regulate the pressure; exposing workers to potential thermal skin burns from unprotected hot pipes and fittings; failing to develop and implement written lockout/tagout procedures for machinery repair; blocking exit routes; and failing to develop and implement a hazard communication program.
The company was also cited for three repeat violations, carrying penalties of $121,000, which were associated with previous inspections in 2008 and 2009. Multiple citations for similar hazards were previously issued at other HP Pelzer facilities, where workers were exposed to amputation and laceration hazards stemming from a lack of guarding on machine parts.
“HP Pelzer continues to put workers at risk of serious injury or death by failing to correct unguarded equipment and other serious hazards,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “Additionally, Sizemore must work proactively with its client to ensure temporary workers receive appropriate safety and health training,” he said.
Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows fatal work injuries involving contractor worker fatalities, including temporary help service workers, accounted for 708 (16 percent) of the 4,383 fatal work injuries in 2012.
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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