THOMSON, Ga. – Federal authorities have cited a Georgia automotive parts manufacturer with 22 safety and health violations for exposing workers to a multitude of hazards, including the risk of amputation, laceration, and burn injuries.
Inspectors with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc. and staffing agency Sizemore Inc. for 22 violations of federal safety codes at the HP Pelzer’s Thomson-based manufacturing facility. The violations amount to more than $207,000 in proposed fines.
HP Pelzer makes and supplies numerous automotive parts to major car manufacturers and employs about 10,000 workers in nine facilities in the U.S. and Mexico. The Thomson facility employs 256 workers, but 176 of those are temporary workers hired by Sizemore, which has a staffing contract with HP Pelzer and maintains an administrative office at the manufacturing facility.
OSHA’s inspection of the plant found that HP Pelzer exposed workers to injury by requiring them to use compressed-air cleaning equipment with unregulated air pressure and exposing them to burn injuries from uninsulated hot pipes and fittings. Workers were also exposed to amputation and laceration hazards due to a lack of guarding on machinery, a violation that carried $121,000 in penalties because OSHA found and cited the company for the same problems in 2008 and 2009.
HP’s contract with Sizemore stipulates that the staffing agency is to provide workers with partial training before their work assignment. However, because OSHA found that temporary workers had not received proper training for formaldehyde exposure and handling, which was Sizemore’s responsibility to provide, OSHA cited the agency for one serious violation and a $6,000 fine.
In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative designed to enhance workplace safety and health for temporary workers. Preliminary 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows fatal work injuries involving contracted and temporary service workers accounted for 708 (16 percent) of the 4,383 fatal work injuries in 2012.