Department of Labor: Wright Pallet exposes workers to hearing loss, amputation hazards

Company releases statement acknowledging severity of violations

By John Bush -

LIMA — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued 14 “serious safety violations” to Wright Pallet Inc. of Lima.

The agency found that Wright Pallet’s workers were exposed to multiple hazards including hearing loss and amputation, according to a statement from the labor department. The violations will result in a $51,590 fine.

“Each year, thousands of workers suffer occupational hearing loss, which can be permanent and debilitating,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “Hearing loss is preventable with proper hearing protection, training and annual audiogram testing to monitor the effects of occupational exposure.

“Employers like Wright Pallet have a responsibility to implement training and safety procedures that protect workers on the job.”

During its investigation, the agency found that the company:

•Allowed workers to wear hearing protection improperly.

•Failed to train workers in hearing conservation and electrical safety related work practices.

•Allowed machines to operate without safety guards.

•Lacked adequate lockout/tag out procedures to prevent unintentional machine starts during service and maintenance such as clearing jams, and adjusting operating parts.

•Lacked electrical safe work practices, including not providing personal protective equipment.

•Allowed forklift drivers to handle unstable loads and operate with a limited view of travel.

•Improperly stored compressed gas cylinders.

Representatives from Wright Pallet, also known as Allen County Pallet, released a statement regarding the violations.

“We, at Wright Pallet Inc., acknowledge the severity of the violations issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration,” the statement read. “Although our company was cited for fourteen serious violations, there have not been any reportable workplace injuries associated with the equipment or lack of processes and procedures reported in their findings.”

The statement continued: “We will take all violations into careful consideration as we move forward and implement a more up-to-date, OSHA compliant safety program. Our company has, and will, strive for continuous improvement in this area as we believe that employee safety is of utmost importance.”

Wright Pallet has the right to contest these citations and fines, though the statement the company released did not say whether company officials planned to do so.

Company releases statement acknowledging severity of violations

By John Bush

Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima.

Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima.

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