The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Houston-based IFCO Systems North America Inc. with 10 serious, three repeat and six other-than-serious violations for exposing workers to safety and health violations at its facility on Tacco Drive in San Antonio. Proposed penalties total $163,900.
The serious violations include failing to refit employees for and retrain them on hearing protection when annual tests revealed that they had experienced notable hearing loss, secure dock boards when driven over by forklifts and ensure that copies of material safety data sheets were on hand.
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.
The repeat violations include failing to provide machine guarding for rotating shafts on a wood chipping machine and properly maintain an electrical conduit that was pulled back, exposing internal conductors on a terminal box.
A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
In February and June of 2010, the company’s San Antonio facility was cited for similar violations with penalties totaling $17,500 and $4,620, respectively. Additionally, OSHA cited the company’s Henderson, Colo., facility in March 2011 for machine guarding and other violations with penalties of $67,765.
The other-than-serious violations at the San Antonio site include failing to adequately describe occupational injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log, and record a case on the log when an employee experienced a work-related hearing loss.
An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
IFCO Systems North America performs pallet recycling, reverse logistics, and crating and packaging operations. The company, which employs about 70 workers in San Antonio and 3,000 nationwide, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s San Antonio Area Office or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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