The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $145,800 in penalties against SKAPS Industries for 32 safety and health violations that exposed workers to possible injury or death at their three locations in Athens, Commerce and Pendergrass, Ga.

The Athens and Pendergrass plants are each being cited for one willful violation with a proposed penalty of $44,000 for audiograms not being conducted annually for exposing workers to harmful noise. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The three locations are being cited with a total of 24 serious violations and $51,800 in proposed penalties for not developing or implementing a written hazards communication program, having unmarked emergency exits, not instructing the affected operators with lockout and tag-out requirements and a lack of protection from arc welding rays and electrical hazards. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Additionally, the Pendergrass plant is receiving four other-than-serious violations carrying a $3,000 fine for not correctly filling out OSHA 300 logs for calendar year 2007-2009 and not maintaining separate 300 logs for 2007-2009. The Commerce facility has been given one other-than-serious violation with a proposed penalty of $3,000 for not correctly filling out OSHA 300 logs for calendar year 2006-2008. The Athens and Pendergrass locations are each receiving one other-than-serious violation for not posting hearing conservation standards in the workplace, with no penalty assessed, but the company is required to make the necessary changes to bring it into compliance with all OSHA standards.

"This company should not wait until a serious injury or death occurs to any of its more than 225 employees before making needed changes in its safety procedures," said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "When a company persists in ignoring its responsibilities, OSHA will step in to protect workers' safety."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.