OSHA brings $94K in penalties against Dongwon

Published 3:42 pm Friday, September 12, 2008

On Sept. 4, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $94,500 in penalties against Dongwon Autopart Technology Alabama for 11 safety violations found at its Luverne, Ala., manufacturing facility, which supplies parts to Hyundai in Montgomery, Ala.

In March, an employee suffered partial amputation of two fingers when a machine malfunctioned. OSHA found that management was aware of the machine’s problems but had not made effective repairs. OSHA cited the company for one willful violation with a $55,000 proposed penalty for its failure to have authorized employees correctly affix lockout or tagout devices to machinery to prevent accidental start-ups. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

Dongwon Autopart Technology Alabama was cited for an additional 10 serious safety violations with $39,500 in proposed penalties for failing to provide machine guards, not correctly using lockout/tagout devices and not protecting mechanisms from accidental activation. Employees were exposed to electrical hazards with panels that were incorrectly marked and with breaker panels that lacked safety devices.

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“As demonstrated in this instance, the unexpected start-up of machines or equipment can result in serious injuries or death,” said Clyde Payne, OSHA’s acting area director in Mobile. “The OSHA standard is clear as to what the employer must do and this employer knew the requirements.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA’s Mobile Area Office.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees.