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Region 4 News Release: 09-1361-ATL (409)
Nov. 24, 2009
Contact: Michael D'Aquino     Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076     404-562-2078

US Labor Department's OSHA proposes more than $128,000 in penalties against Macon, Ga., fiber cement manufacturer for safety and health failures

MACON, Ga. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $128,560 in penalties against Nichiha USA Inc.'s Macon plant for 27 safety and health violations.

"Following a fatality in 2008, OSHA inspected this plant and identified several deficiencies," said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "Despite management's agreement at the time, our return inspection in 2009 has found that the company continues to endanger its workers' safety and health. The size of these penalties reflects management's failure to address its problems."

After inspecting the plant in May and June, OSHA issued citations against the fiber cement manufacturer for 11 repeat safety and health, 11 serious and five other-than-serious violations.

Alleged repeat violations from the 2008 inspection include the employer's failure to cover or install guardrails around slurry pits, lack of guards around an exposed chain and no specific energy control procedures for equipment that had more than one energy source. Employees did not receive adequate training when using corrosive and hazardous chemicals, and the company did not identify, evaluate or provide adequate training for employees working in confined spaces. Emergency eyewashes were not available to employees who worked around corrosive chemicals. The proposed repeat penalty totals $97,760.

Alleged serious violations with proposed penalties of $29,200 include hazards associated with falls, lockout/tagout of energy source, improper storage of compressed gas cylinders, electrical dangers, hazards rel