The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Ford Motor Co.’s stamping plant in Hamburg over alleged violations, but the automaker is disputing the claims.
OSHA cited Ford for eight “serious” violations of the agency’s asbestos and respiratory protection standards at its Route 5 plant, which produces stamped metal parts for vehicles. Ford faces $41,800 in proposed fines.
OSHA defines “serious” violations as “a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.”
OSHA said in one alleged violation that a pipe fitter working on a steam line was exposed to asbestos-containing material in its insulation. In other alleged violations, respiratory protection was not worn by workers exposed to asbestos-containing material, and the work was not conducted within a “regulated and properly demarcated area” to minimize the number of workers in the area.
OSHA’s Buffalo-area director, Art Dube, said in a statement that it is an “employer’s responsibility to ensure that proper and effective safeguards are in place and in use at all times.”
Ford spokeswoman Kristina Adamski said in a statement, “The safety and well-being of our employees is of utmost importance.”
“We have fully cooperated with the local OSHA officials, and we don’t believe the citations are warranted,” Adamski said. “We’ll work with the government to resolve the matter in an appropriate manner.”
OSHA gave Ford 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either comply, meet with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which is an independent body.