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OSHA cites Georgia steel distributor for repeat, serious safety violations

Some of the violations concerned misuse of forklifts and cranes.

Some of the violations concerned misuse of forklifts and cranes.

Cooksey Iron & Metal Co., a Midville, Georgia steel distributor, failed to inspect overhead cranes, exposing workers to severe, potentially fatal injuries, Robert Vazzi, director of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Savannah Area Office, said in a September 23 press release.

OSHA cited the Midville distributor for twenty safety and health violations, including repeat ones. The recent string of citations stemmed from an April 2014 inspection of the company's facilities, prompted by a complaint regarding the lack of safety precautions for crane operations, forklifts and electrical infrastructure. The penalties OSHA has proposed total $68,838.

In 2013, OSHA cited Cooksey's Tifton facility, the headquarters of the company.

Repeat violations are considered more serious than first-time violations since it's understood that the company had the opportunity to correct its procedures. In this instance, the repeat citations regarded Cooksey's failure to ensure proper inspection of overhead cranes, bar workers from riding on forklifts and implement a hazard communication plan to prevent safety breaches from occurring.

"There are many safety hazards at this workplace, some of which had been identified in previous inspections and not corrected. It is troubling to see that this employer is not applying lessons learned at one of its facilities to all of its entities," Vazzi said. He emphasized the point that these violations put workers at risk for severe injury, some of which could be fatal.

OSHA's recent citation of the Georgia steel distributor serves as a reminder of the importance of proper training and workplace safety standards. A learning management system can help improve safety and compliance.

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