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Howard Industries is facing a fine for eight safety violations following an inspection of the company’s radiator manufacturing plant on Eastview Drive in Laurel, MS, said officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The inspection initiated under OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program for industries with high occupational injury and illness rates.

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Proposed penalties total $59,000, with two repeat violations worth $35,000 in fines for failing to use lockout/tagout devices for the energy sources of equipment to prevent accidental start ups during servicing and permitting employees to operate equipment without an electrical ground.

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 facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company received citations for similar violations at its Laurel plants in 2007.

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Six serious violations with fines of $24,000 are in play for slip and fall hazards, allowing employees to stand on a wood pallet attached to a forklift without guardrails, failing to provide employees with an apron and face shield when handling chemicals, not conducting a hazard assessment to identify personal protective equipment for workers handling chemicals, permitting employees not to wear face shields while grinding and failing to evaluate the hazards associated with confined spaces. 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.

Howard Industries has six manufacturing facilities in Mississippi, including two in Laurel, two in Ellisville, one in Mendenhall and one in Sandersville. It also has one facility in Weirton, WV. The Laurel plant manufactures radiators used in large electrical commercial transformers.

“Although the company is making progress in its safety and health program, it continues to put workers at risk of serious harm at its facilities,” said Clyde Payne, OSHA’s area director in Jackson.

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