The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, a manufacturer of automotive and truck tires, with nine alleged safety and health violations for failing to provide proper hazardous chemical protection to its workers, unnecessarily exposing them to fire and explosion hazards, and failing to provide fall protection from distances of more than 9 feet. Proposed penalties total $206,500.
"The lack of employee protection from fire, explosions and hazardous chemicals is completely unacceptable," said Jule Hovi, OSHA's area director in Toledo, Ohio. "OSHA is committed to ensuring workers have a safe and healthful workplace, and failing to follow proper safety and health procedures puts workers at unnecessary risk."
Cooper Tire has been cited with two alleged willful violations for failing to protect workers from fire and explosion hazards by not providing fire suppression controls on processing equipment that contains explosive combustible dust, and failing to limit the accumulation of combustible dust on equipment and the building superstructure. The violations carry proposed fines of $140,000. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
The company also has been cited with five serious violations, with proposed fines of $31,500, for failing to assure flammable liquids were safety dispensed; ensure proper electrical tools were used in areas where flammable vapors and liquids were present; provide proper eye and face protection to workers handling flammable liquids; protect workers from electrical shock hazards; and train workers on combustible dust 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.
OSHA also has issued two repeat violations, with a proposed penalty of $35,000, for failing to provide workers with chemical protective equipment when exposed to contact with flammable liquids and to provide required fall protection. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
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.