Uniform Supplier Faces $196,000 in Penalties for Fall, Shock, Other Hazards

OSHA has proposed $196,000 in penalties against Cintas Corp. for 15 safety violations following an inspection of its Mobile, Ala., facility. The citations include one willful and four repeat violations.

"As a large, national employer with a history of OSHA inspections and citations for hazards at other facilities, we are disappointed to find so many of the same or similar hazards at this facility," said Ken Atha, OSHA's area director in Mobile. "OSHA will take aggressive action when employers show indifference to the safety and health of their employees."

The four repeat violations carry proposed penalties of $112,500 and address failing to develop proper energy control procedures, failing to protect employees from electrical shocks, not providing adequate machine guards, and not instituting proper machinery lockout/tagout procedures. According to OSHA, these four conditions are substantially similar to conditions discovered in other Cintas facilities in New York State in 2004 and 2005.

OSHA also has proposed one willful violation with a $55,000 penalty for a potential fall hazard to employees who periodically unjammed a conveyor. Eight serious violations with $27,500 in penalties have been proposed for unguarded pits and floor holes, a damaged electrical conduit, blocked electrical panels, unsuitable receptacles in wet or damp locations, and a broken emergency stop button. Two other-than-serious violations have been cited for failing to record a work-related injury, resulting in a $1,000 penalty, and for allowing an exit door to be partially blocked.

Over the past three years, Cintas has had approximately 36 inspections at various facilities by federal and state OSHA programs, according to the agency. Citations for safety violations were issued in August at Cintas plants in Tulsa, Okla., following a fatality, with a total proposed penalty of $2,782,000, and in Columbus, Ohio, with a total penalty of $117,500. Cintas is the largest uniform supplier in North America, with more than 400 facilities employing more than 34,000 people. The facility in Mobile has 126 employees.

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