FedEx Ground Packaging System Inc. failed to guard a conveyor belt properly at its Wilmington shipping distribution center and exposed its employees to potential injuries, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found. OSHA had previously cited the company in 2010 and 2011 for similar hazards at company facilities in Grove City, Ohio, and Syracuse, New York.
After inspecting the Wilmington facility, OSHA's Andover Area Office personnel determined that the belt conveyor system's rotating parts were insufficiently guarded on the periphery to prevent employees' fingers and hands from getting caught. This could result in injuries, including pinched or crushed fingers and hands, concussions, abrasions or nerve damage. Proper machine guarding ensures that no part of an employee's body can come in contact with a machine's moving parts.
"A basic safety concern went unmet here even though this employer has twice been cited for similar hazards in the past four years," said Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA's acting deputy regional administrator for New England. "It is critical for workers' safety and health that an employer with multiple facilities, such as this, ensures that required safeguards are in place and maintained effectively at all times in all locations."
Because of the prior violations, OSHA has cited the company for a repeat violation with a proposed fine of $44,000. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
FedEx Ground Packaging System Inc. 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 & Health Review Commission.