HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc., a Georgia auto parts manufacturer, was recently cited by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration for multiple common violations. As a result of these violations, the plant and its staffing agency will pay over $700,000 in penalties. These companies are also responsible for working to resolve the issues that led to the violations in the first place.
Dangers in the Auto Parts Industry
Because of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, United States employers are required to provide their employees with a safe workplace free from obvious hazards. The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, exists to ensure that all employers are complying with these rules and that employees are as safe as possible. Unfortunately, in the auto parts manufacturing industry, ongoing safety hazards are far too common. Upon inspection, federal safety personnel often find that employees working at auto parts plants face a variety of hazards in the course of their jobs. Some of the most common hazards present in these plants include falls, electrocutions and limb amputation.
HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc., a manufacturer of General Motors, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Fiat-Chrysler and BMW parts, was no exception. This company, which maintains nine facilities in the United States and Mexico with approximately 10,000 workers, was recently cited by OSHA for multiple violations of federal safety codes.
About the Citations
OSHA inspectors recently visited HP Pelzer Automotive Systems in Thomson because of a complaint filed against the manufacturer. OSHA cited the manufacturer and its staffing agency, Sizemore Inc., with 24 different safety violations. Three hundred of the staffing agency’s temporary employees were assigned to the HP Pelzer when the inspection occurred. Sizemore Inc. had begun working with HP Pelzer only a few months prior, after a different staffing agency ended its contract with the plant, due in part to safety concerns.
Some of the citations issued to the plant and its staffing agency include:
- Eight counts of exposing employees to fall hazards
- Failing to train employees to recognize and manage electrical hazards
- Not providing electrical protective equipment
- Exposing employees to live electrical parts
- Exposing employees to laceration and amputation hazards
- Failure to protect employees from contact with hot metallic surfaces which may cause thermal skin burns
- Failure to repair and replace electrical equipment to ensure safe operation
- Failure to conduct regular inspections of energy control procedures
- Failure to develop and implement written procedures designed to prevent equipment from turning on during servicing.
As a result of all of these citations, HP Pelzer and the staffing agency Sizemore will owe $704,610 in total penalties.
Ongoing Inspections and Employer Responsibilities
Because of its repeated violations, HP Pelzer Automotive Systems will now be a part of OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program. Under this program, OSHA can investigate the plant’s facilities at any time if they have reason to believe that more violations have occurred. Once citations are received, HP Pelzer has 15 business days to comply or contest the agency’s findings.
Employers who are injured because of safety violations may be able to take legal action against their employers. If you have been injured on the job because your employer violated federal safety codes, contact an experienced legal professional to learn more about your options.