Company faces $50,000 penalty from OSHA

Lack of energy control procedures leads to penalty.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Sep 10, 2013

Ameriwood Industries Inc. faces a $50,000 penalty from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for one alleged repeat safety violation for failing to utilize energy control procedures on foam cutting machines at its Tiffin wood furniture production facility.

“Ameriwood Industries is putting workers at risk for amputation and other serious injuries from the unexpected energization of equipment,” said OSHA Area Director Kim Nelson in Toledo. “Companies must be aware of the hazards that exist in their facilities and take all possible precautions to minimize the risk of injury.”

OSHA initiated its inspection in March after receiving a complaint alleging unsafe work practices in the manufacturing facility.

OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Ameriwood was cited for this violation in 2009 and 2010 at the Tiffin facility.

The company has been inspected by OSHA 10 times since 2004, resulting in the issuance of 10 repeat, 31 serious and 14 other-than-serious violations.

Ameriwood Industries employs 380 workers corporatewide with 240 employees at the Tiffin location. The company also has manufacturing facilities in Dowagiac, Mich., and Wright City, Mo.

Ameriwood Industries Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA’s Toledo office at 419-259-7542. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.