OSHA Fines Company for Heat Stress
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed to fine Eaton Corp. $7,000 for allowing an employee to be overcome by excessive heat at the company’s plant in Kearney.
Eaton spokesman Jim Michels says the company has cooperated with the agency’s investigation, but the facts don’t fit the citation and Eaton is working with OSHA to resolve the issue.
OSHA says a 53-year-old unidentified Eaton employee suffered dehydration and acute kidney failure while working in extreme indoor heat at the company’s automotive parts manufacturing plant on July 11 of this year, when the heat index rose to 101 degrees.
The worker later recovered after being hospitalized for more than 24 hours to treat the illness, the agency said.
An OSHA inspection found the company failed to protect workers from exposure to excessive heat, a health violation classified as serious. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Eaton Corp. is a global manufacturer based in Ireland since 2012, when it acquired Cooper Industries. The Kearney plant employs about 540 people. The plant in Kearney manufactures gears and intake and exhaust valves for sport utility vehicles and light trucks. Some of the gears made in Kearney are used in marine engines and all-terrain vehicles.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.