An Athens, Ga., car wash company faces nearly $43,000 in federal fines for multiple safety violations, some of which led an employee to suffer the accidental amputation of two fingers.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it cited Swifty Car Wash LLC for 11 safety violations, all but one of which the agency classified as serious, after a July 30 inspection of the company’s car wash location on W. Broad St. in Athens.
Swifty operates five car wash facilities in Georgia and employs approximately 45 workers.
OSHA’s investigation was prompted by a workplace accident that occurred May 28 when an employee slipped on a wet floor. The employee’s hand entered an improperly guarded ventilation fan, severing two fingers and requiring the employee to be hospitalized.
“Hoping that no one gets hurt is not a safety program,” said William Fulcher, OSHA’s area director in the Atlanta-East Office. “Every employee deserves a workplace free of hazards that may cause injury, illness or worse. Employers must identify and remove hazards before their workers can get hurt.”
Mr. Fulcher reminded employers that even small businesses like Swifty Car Wash can receive free consultation services from OSHA to help them find and correct workplace hazards before they can injure an employee.
In addition to exposing employees to unguarded machine parts and equipment, OSHA found the car wash exposed workers to falls because of missing safety rails; failed to provide eye protection for employees working with corrosive chemicals; failed to develop safety procedures to prevent machines from suddenly turning on during maintenance and servicing; exposing workers to electrical shock hazards; and failing to properly advise employees on chemical hazards.
OSHA proposed fines of $43,700 for the violations and gave the company 15 business days to respond.