HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc. of Thomson, GA, and staffing agency Sizemore Inc. are facing $207,100 in fines for 22 safety and health violations, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA initiated its inspection in July 2013 in response to a complaint alleging hazards at the automotive manufacturing facility.
“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.”
HP Pelzer, a supplier of automotive parts for major car manufacturers, employs 10,000 workers across nine facilities in the U.S. and Mexico. The Thomson facility, which produces parts, such as outer dashes and hood liners, employs 256 workers, 176 of which are temporary. Sizemore is the temporary staffing agency under contract with HP Pelzer.
OSHA cited HP Pelzer for 11 serious safety and health violations, carrying $80,100 in penalties. The inspection found the employer failed to prevent using compressed air for cleaning without a means to regulate the pressure. Additionally, workers suffered exposure to potential thermal skin burns from unprotected hot pipes and fittings. Other violations include failing to develop and implement written lockout/tagout procedures for machinery repair; ensure unblocked exit routes; and develop and implement a hazard communication program for those exposed to formaldehyde.
OSHA cited HP Pelzer for three repeat violations, carrying penalties of $121,000, associated with previous inspections in 2008 and 2009. Multiple citations for similar hazards were at other HP Pelzer facilities. Workers ended up exposed to amputation and laceration hazards stemming from a lack of guarding on machine parts.
The contract with Sizemore, which maintains an administrative office at the facility, specifies the staffing agency will provide workers with some of the training before their assignment. As a result, the staffing agency received one serious health citation, with $6,000 in penalties, for not providing temporary workers with training regarding formaldehyde and its hazards.
In April 2013, OSHA kicked off an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers. Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows fatal work injuries involving contractor worker fatalities, including temporary help service workers, accounted for 708 — or 16 percent — of the 4,383 fatal work injuries in 2012.