Complaint to OSHA Leads to Detailed Inspection for Auto Parts Maker

OSHA has cited Sewon America Inc., an automotive parts supplier in LaGrange, Ga., for a variety of safety violations after receiving a complaint. OSHA initiated a comprehensive inspection of the company's facility in March. Penalties total $135,900.

The company, which manufactures assembly panels and other car components, has been cited with two willful violations and proposed penalties of $99,000 for failing to provide workers with appropriate hand protection and to protect workers from arc welding flash burns. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employees' safety and health.

OSHA also cited the facility for 12 serious safety violations and proposed penalties of $36,900 for failing to train or evaluate all workers operating industrial trucks, failing to guard against confined sparks during wielding operations, failing to provide lockout/tagout procedures for energy sources, failing to provide proper machine guarding on various machines, and various electrical deficiencies. A serious citation is issued 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.

In addition, the company received a citation for one other-than-serious violation and no proposed penalty. The violation concerns electrical outlets missing covers and exposing employees to shocks. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

"There is no reason to leave employees unprotected," said Andre Richards, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Office. "Management is aware of the deficiencies in their safety and health program and needs to take action."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-West Office.

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