Fras-le North America Inc. is facing $67,500 in fines for 17 safety and health violations following a March 2014 inspection at the manufacturer’s Prattville, AL, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Fras-le is one of the five largest companies in its category and manufactures friction materials for the automotive industry, such as brake linings and pads, clutch discs and other items for industrial machines and the railway and subway sectors. Its operations extend to more than 90 countries on five continents. There are 160 employees at the Prattville plant.
The inspection was part of the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program for Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry.
“Our inspection found that employees were exposed to numerous safety and health deficiencies, such as falls, amputations and electrocution hazards, all of which can result in serious injury or death,” said Joseph Roesler, OSHA’s area director in Mobile. “Employers must take responsibility to protect workers and should be proactive in evaluating and correcting workplace hazards before an OSHA inspection.”
Two repeat citations, with $18,000 in penalties, were for exposing workers to slip, trip and fall hazards and for blocking emergency exits. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company faced the same violations in 2013 and 2010.
OSHA cited the employer for eight serious violations, with $47,700 in penalties, for failing to protect workers from moving machine parts during servicing or maintenance; not training employees on the skills and knowledge required when conducting machine maintenance and servicing and exposing workers to fall hazards of up to 40 feet by not ensuring employees were using fall protection equipment. Seven additional violations, carrying $1,800 in penalties, include failing to certify OSHA 300 logs prior to posting and not developing a respiratory protection program. 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.