Electrical Power Products Producer Charged with $193,000 in Penalties

OSHA has proposed $193,000 in penalties against Howard Industries for 54 violations of federal safety rules at the company's two manufacturing locations in Laurel, Miss. Howard, a producer of electrical power products, is being cited with 36 serious violations and proposed penalties of $123,500 at its Pendorf Road plant, with an additional 15 serious violations and proposed penalties of $41,000 at its Eastview plant. The violations include failing to provide employees with proper protective equipment and lockout-tagout procedures, and failing to provide machine guards.

Two repeat violations with penalties of $27,500 are being proposed for violations similar to those noted during earlier inspections in 2007. Chemical containers lacked identification labels and chains used as slings for lifting loads were shortened using makeshift measures rather than reducing the number of links. One citation with a $1,000 penalty has been proposed for the company's failure to make material safety data sheets readily accessible to employees in their work area.

"It is unconscionable for an employer to tolerate serious injuries, including amputations, as just a cost of doing business, rather than get out into the production areas and fix these numerous problems before employees get injured," said Clyde Payne, director of OSHA's Jackson Area Office, which conducted the inspection.

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