October 31, 2016
PATASKALA, Ohio – For at least two years, an Ohio manufacturer of thermoplastic lining systems for truck bodies and trailers exposed workers to the risk of amputation and other serious injury by disabling safety devices to speed production.
On Oct. 26, 2016, The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued one willful, two repeated and six serious citations, and one other-than-serious citation for safety violations to Ridge Corporation. In its investigation, the agency found the company deactivated light curtains that prevent workers from coming in contact with operating machine parts. Investigators determined Ridge disabled the devices to produce products more quickly.
In 2015, OSHA cited the company for a lack of machine safety procedures and for failing to require employees to wear gloves when handling materials at its Frazeyburg facility. The Pataskala-based manufacturer faces proposed penalties of $214,857.
“OSHA’s investigation found the company’s leadership created a culture that routinely tolerated willful and serious safety violations in favor of production,” said Larry Johnson, OSHA’s area director in Columbus. “When companies prioritize profit over the health and safety of their workforce, too often it is the workers that pay the price. Lack of machine safety procedures injury hundreds of workers each year and continue to be among the most frequently cited by OSHA.”
OSHA complaint investigation found Ridge Corporation failed to:
Install machine guards on multiple pieces of equipment.
Remove defective forklifts from service.
Cover exposed electrical connections.
View current citations here.
The company 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Columbus office at 614-469-5582.
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.