Federal regulators have cited Nissin Brake Georgia Inc., for 11 safety and health violations uncovered in a June inspection of the company's Rock Spring, Ga., facility.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing a $53,000 fine against Nissin for the workplace infractions, which include nine "serious violations" of employee safety standards.
"Nissin Brake Georgia has failed in its responsibility to protect employees from workplace hazards associated with unguarded equipment, electrical hazards and training workers on safety practices," said Christi Griffin, director of OSHA's Atlanta office.
The citation issued this week is the first against the Nissin Brake plant, which opened its Rock Spring automotive equipment plant in 2000 and expanded the facility this year to 300 employees.
OSHA said inspectors found that Nissin workers were allowed to adjust and bypass safety guards when servicing potentially dangerous machines. Inspectors also found that the company failed to protect workers with required machine guards.
Nissin was also cited for lack of safe-practices training associated with electrical shock and arc flash hazards and failure to provide personal protective equipment to employees who worked with electrical equipment.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Jim Owen, executive vice president for Nissin Brake Georgia, said associate safety is its number one priority.
"We stand behind our safety record - our DART Rate (days away from work or restricted duty rate) is less than half of our industry average," he said. "We are very proud of the efforts of our associates in achieving this accomplishment."
Owen said the company does not agree with all of OSHA's findings and associated fines, but it has addressed or will address all of the findings before the OSHA imposed deadline.
"NBG will also pursue all available measures to have our concerns addressed by OSHA," he said. "All of our 300 associates have been fully briefed on the OSHA findings, our commitment to address these findings, and our plan to seek a resolution to our concerns."
OSHA also cited Nissin for two lesser violations involving improper storage of electrical equipment and lack of training for designated emergency response personnel.
The OSHA inspection was initiated as part of the agency's Regional Emphasis Program for Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry.
Nissin Brake Georgia supplies brake systems for automotive and nonautomotive applications, primarily for Honda and Harley-Davidson.
Nissin has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.