GD Cooper, a Copper tubing manufacturer located in Pine Hill, Ala., has been fined $197,000 for “serious safety hazards.” Federal inspectors cited more than a dozen different issues and ordered the plant to address them on or before Aug. 15. According to inspectors, workers at the plant were exposed to fall dangers, shock hazards and unguarded safety equipment. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said that in one case GD Copper workers used a platform 14 feet above a concrete floor, but without “a standard handrail which included a mid-rail.” According to the OSHA report, the plant corrected five of the issues during inspection. Officials have 15 days to contest the findings. Joseph Rosesler, OSHA’s Mobile area director, said in a statement:

Our inspection has identified numerous serious safety hazards that put employees at risk of injury or death. GD Copper must be more proactive in identifying these hazards and taking action to correct them.

GD Copper’s violations included: exposing employees to unguarded machine parts; lacking safety rails that put workers at risk of falls; not conducting annual audits of energy control procedures; not evaluating a permit required for confined space before workers entered it; exposing workers to potential electric shock; failing to train employees on an emergency action plan; not training workers in first aid; and not providing fire extinguishers.

GD Copper, which employs about 390 workers, manufactures precision copper parts for use in appliances like air conditioners, and the work involves heat and fast machines. In two separate citations, OSHA inspectors said an employee faced “amputation hazards” in February from a “partially guarded rotating belt and pulley.” Inspectors also said employees risked electric shock from defective or improperly connected equipment. OSHA’s report said the company addressed some but not all of the machine and electrical violations during inspections.

Inspectors also said walking surfaces had oil, hydraulic fluid or copper tubing scattered over them, creating tripping hazards. The report also faults GD Copper for not providing proper training on the machines used in the plant. Inspectors also said there was “neither an infirmary, clinic or hospital used for treatment of all employees in near proximity to the workplace” and that the plant “did not ensure persons were trained to render first aid” for injured workers.

GD Copper, the American branch of China-based Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube group, opened early 2014 and currently employs about 390 people in Pine Hill. OSHA has previously cited GD Copper for violations. GD Copper had 15 business dates from the citation to comply or contest the findings.

Source: Montgomery Advertiser and AL.com

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