OSHA Socks PEP Direct with $170K in FinesMarch 18, 2011
WILTON, NH—The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that PEP Direct has been cited for 17 willful and serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its printing and distribution facility here. PEP Direct, a direct mail/marketing and printing business, faces a total of $170,000 in proposed fines.
“These conditions, left uncorrected, expose workers to potential death or serious injury from being caught in operating machinery, struck by powered industrial trucks and electrocuted. The employer must comprehensively address all of these hazards to eliminate them and keep workers safe,” said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA’s New Hampshire area director, in a release. “The sizable fines proposed here reflect the breadth and gravity of the hazards found at this plant, as well as the employer’s knowledge of and failure to correct some of these conditions.”
OSHA’s inspection found that three of the four printing presses in use at the plant lacked machine guarding to protect operators and other workers against being caught in the presses’ points of operation. The presses remained unguarded despite the company’s knowledge of the hazard and injuries sustained by workers.
The inspection also identified numerous electrical and mechanical hazards, including allowing unqualified and untrained employees to work on and test live electrical equipment; not de-energizing and locking out the power sources for electrical equipment; a lack of personal protective equipment for employees working with electricity; not removing damaged electrical equipment from service; a lack of hazardous energy control procedures to prevent the unexpected startup of machinery during maintenance; untrained powered industrial truck operators; and additional machine guarding hazards.
OSHA issued the company one “willful” citation with a fine of $70,000 for the unguarded printing presses and 16 “serious” citations with $100,000 in fines for the remaining hazards. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health. A serious violation occurs 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.
PEP Direct has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.