Vestas Towers America Inc. in Pueblo, CO, is facing citations for one willful and 23 serious safety and health violations after an inspection of the turbine-making plant, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The inspection came after an employee suffered a partial amputation of two fingers and a broken wrist last November.
“Vestas Towers America failed to provide its employees with a safe and healthful workplace,” said John Healy, area office director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA. “The numerous hazards uncovered during this investigation are totally unacceptable.”
Safety is a primary concern at Vestas, said Aili Jokela, a spokeswoman for Vestas — American Wind Technology, Inc. Vestas also has plants in Windsor and Brighton, CO.
“We practice ‘safety first’ in every part of our business operations,” she said. She said Vestas fully cooperated with OSHA in its inspection of the incident that occurred last November.
OSHA has proposed $164,000 in fines against Vestas Towers America. The company has 15 business days from the receipt of all OSHA citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Jokela said Vestas has enhanced its safety orientation training and daily briefings, as well as added emphasis on safety training in classrooms and the factory.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. 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.