Mississippi's Howard Industries cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA for safety violations following fatal worker electrocution
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Howard Industries Inc. in Ellisville for 17 safety violations following the January death of a worker who was electrocuted while calibrating a transformer test station.
Two serious violations related to the fatality include not requiring employees to use work safety practices when dealing with live electrical circuits, and failing to use locks and tags when de-energizing test equipment. Ten additional serious violations include failing to develop specific lockout/tagout procedures, failing to conduct a personal protective equipment hazard assessment, missing a mid-rail on an elevated platform, exposing employees to potential electric shock hazards without providing them insulated gloves or other protective equipment, allowing a plasma cutter operator to not wear safety glasses and having an unguarded shaft. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Four repeat violations include failing to provide machine guarding on the press brake and the welder, noncombustible welding screens for employees and flexible cords in place of fixed wiring. 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. The company was cited for all four of these same violations at its Laurel plant in June 2009.
One other-than-serious violation was cited for failing to install metal receptacles in accordance with listing and labeling instructions. Another-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"Tragic incidents can be avoided by following OSHA standards and safety requirements," said Clyde Payne, the agency's area director in Jackson. "It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that workers are trained and provided the appropriate protective equipment so they can perform their duties safely."
Howard Industries has two manufacturing facilities in Ellisville, two in Laurel, one in Mendenhall, one in Sandersville, Miss., and one in Weirton, W.Va. The Ellisville plant develops, designs and manufacturers power transformers, and employs approximately 167 workers.
Proposed penalties for the citations total $169,500. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by OSHA's Jackson Area Office, 100 W. Capitol St., Suite 749, Jackson, Miss. 39269; telephone 601-965-4606. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).