OSHA Says Blue Ridge Manufacturing Violated Safety Rules, Put Georgia Workers at Risk of Serious Workplace Injury
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined a truck parts manufacturer $64,400, citing 20 serious safety and health violations at its plant in Blue Ridge, Ga.
Following up on a complaint against Blue Ridge Manufacturing LLC, OSHA inspected the plant in March and found that the truck parts manufacturing workers were exposed to numerous safety problems, the agency said in a press release. It’s the latest of numerous safety violations identified in Georgia’s auto manufacturing industry and truck manufacturing plants in Georgia.
OSHA said “unguarded equipment, missing safety equipment and unsafe noise levels” at the plant exposed the manufacturing workers to risk of common injuries or conditions dangerous enough to cause fatal workplace accidents. Safety inspectors said the manufacturer must address the violations immediately.
Violations OSHA cited included:
- Failure to provide workers with lockout/tagout training to protect them during maintenance and service work on dangerous equipment.
- Failure to train workers to run powered industrial trucks.
- Failure to inspect a crane used for picking up steel parts.
- Failure to ensure exits were unlocked and clearly marked.
In addition, inspectors found workers could be injured by being struck or caught by unguarded equipment, electrical shock and burn hazards. Dust levels also were six times higher than allowable, according to the press release.
Serious violations take place when there is “substantial probability” that a worker could be killed or sustain a serious injury from a hazard the employer knew about or should have known about.
OSHA said the company also failed to keep required injury and illness logs showing where injuries occurred.
Georgia is becoming a national leader in the automotive and parts manufacturing sector, with more than 250 facilities that employ nearly 18,000 workers, according to Georgia.org.
Kia opened its first U.S. manufacturing operation in West Point, and Porsche, Lotus and BBS located their North American headquarters in the state. General Motors also launched a GM Innovation Center in conjunction with the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The developments are encouraging for the state’s economy, ensuring the state will be able to offer high-tech and industrial jobs for many years. But it is also incumbent on the automotive industry to focus on the welfare of its workers and make sure their work atmosphere is free of risks that could cause injury and even death.