Adams Thermal Systems Inc. in Canton, SD, is facing fines of $225,000 for 51 safety and health violations following a February inspection prompted by a complaint about multiple concerns at the coolant core manufacturing facility, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.
“The multitude of violations found during this inspection demonstrates this employer’s serious shortcomings toward a commitment to providing a safe and healthful workplace,” said Eric Brooks, OSHA’s acting area director in Bismarck, ND. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so.”
A total of 44 serious safety violations cited include failing to provide proper housekeeping, mark emergency exits and keep pathways free and unobstructed; ensure lockout devices prevented unintended equipment startup; provide fall protection on open-sided platforms, machine guard pulleys, belts and saws; conduct and document forklift and crane inspections; remove defective rigging equipment from services; properly store gas cylinders; provide safety training and label hazardous gas piping. One serious health violation cited is for failing to use personal protective equipment identified on a hazard assessment and ensure the equipment fits affected workers. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
Three other-than-serious safety violations cited involve the labeling of overhead storage areas, confined space evaluation and sprinkler head clearance distance.
Three other-than-serious health violations include a lack of record keeping and noise monitoring programs, and chemical exposures. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a relationship to job safety and health but would not directly cause death or serious physical harm.
Prior to this inspection, Adams Thermal Systems had been inspected by OSHA five times since 2004, including a fatality investigation opened in November 2011 during which the company ended up with citations for lockout of machine energy sources and machine guarding violations. Adams is contesting the case.
Due to the previous fatality and nature of the current hazards, OSHA placed Adams Thermal Systems in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.