The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a Missouri tire wholesaler for alleged willful and serious safety violations and proposed a penalty of $135,100, the government agency said.
Monett-based Friend Tire Co., a subsidiary of Yokohama Tire Corp., was cited following a complaint investigation of its St. Charles, Mo., warehouse, OSHA said. According to the agency, the investigation began in June after an employee fractured his skull when he fell from an elevated, unguarded wooden pallet supported by the forks of an industrial forklift truck. OSHA said company records also identified two previous worker falls involving its storage system.
OSHA said it issued citations for three alleged willful violations for elevating workers by using industrial trucks with pallets as the work platforms, allowing workers to ``free climb'' the frames of the storage racks and having holes in the floors of work platforms through which two employees fell. The alleged serious violations included various physical and training issues, OSHA said.
OHSA said it defines willful violations as those committed with intentional disregard or plain indifference to safety regulations, and serious violations are those in which there is substantial probability of death or serious physical harm from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
In a statement issued to Tire Business, Friend Tire said: ``The safety of our workers is extremely important to us. We have been cooperating fully with the OSHA investigation. We will continue to take all appropriate steps to maintain a safe workplace and safe work practices.''
The wholesaler has 15 days from receiving the citation to comply, request a meeting with OSHA or contest the charges.
Friend Tire operates six warehouses-in Memphis, Tenn., Belton, Texas, Albuquerque, N.M., Salt Lake City, along with Monett and St. Charles-servicing dealers in 22 states. It handles a dozen major tire brands, including the Mohawk private label.