This month, we focus on a rather unique OSHA citation that points up the fact that every employer – regardless of the nature of their products or services – is subject to OSHA inspections, citations and fines. It also reinforces the fact that no employer is immune from potential hazards related to electrical safety.
Case in point: The United States Postal Service (USPS), whose Clark Street Distribution Center in Chicago recently was cited by OSHA for a number of workplace safety violations. The USPS is therefore subject to penalties exceeding $63,000. That’s chump change for the U.S. Government, but it’s a lot of money for a small business or manufacturer.
Fortunately, no one had to be hurt or killed before OSHA inspectors visited the distribution center, as they had received a complaint of unsafe working conditions. During their visit, the inspectors found that USPS workers were exposed to electrical hazards, but these weren’t your typical “high-profile” hazards like arc flash or failure to lockout or tagout highly dangerous machinery.
In fact, most of us would consider these violations rather mundane. For example, OSHA personnel found that something as ordinary as an industrial fan was not grounded properly, and electrical power taps were not used in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications. In addition, other “serious” violations involved the use of unapproved electrical equipment, improperly spliced power cords, and not providing strain relief for all electrical cords.
Here’s the bottom line: This is an example of highly dangerous – but rather innocuous – electrical safety violations in a U.S. Government facility. These hazards may have been in place for years without notice and without incident. But it would take only one incident to severely injure, maim or kill an employee.
We all know it’s the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace. We all know it’s the employer’s responsibility to provide training. We all know it’s the employer’s responsibility to enforce policies and procedures aimed at protecting employees from hazardous situations. And we all know it can happen to us. It’s all about responsibility.
The risk of financial penalty is one reason to protect your facility from such citations. But the real, overriding, most compelling reason to do so is the well-being of your employees. Do you really want to be responsible for a fatal accident? That’s why you need to let Mitchell & Lindsey conduct a safety audit of your facility. Call us today at (502) 682-8491 for a free consultation.