OSHA Issues $145K Fine for Multiple Violations at Illinois Trucking Terminal

File:US-OSHA-Logo.svgOfficials at Central Transport found out the hard way that when inspectors from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration order you to make changes to improve safety at your trucking terminal, you should probably do it.

On October 23, the federal regulatory agency hit the trucking firm with a fine of $145,420 for multiple violations at its facility in Hillside, Illinois. The penalty comes less than two months after a fine of $108,020 was issued against the company for similar violations at its trucking terminal in Rock Island, Illinois.

Five Repeat Violations

Five of the violations found at the Hillside terminal were repeat violations, meaning that OSHA had previously cited the company for the issues but that follow-up inspections determined that they had not been corrected. The problems included failure to provide platform guardrails in place on platforms, which exposed workers to falls of more than four feet, and failure to maintain terminal dock and bay floors clean and dry.

OSHA inspectors also discovered at the Hillside facility that Central Transport failed to train workers on chemical hazards before assigning them to work with the substances, did not provide eye-drenching facilities for areas where corrosive chemicals were in use, and failed to maintain the yard and terminal roadway free of potholes and hazards.

Similar Problems in Rock Island

In September, OSHA investigators found that the company also had a lack of fall protection at its Rock Island property. It also was cited for not removing a forklift that needed repair from service after being ordered to by OSHA inspectors, failure to inspect forklifts before use, and not grounding electrical equipment properly.

In both cases, Central Transport is contesting the OSHA findings and will appear before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to plead their case.

‘Risk of Serious Injury and Death’

Angeline Loftus, OSHA’s area director for Chicago North, said that when companies like Central Transport are told to correct problems and fail to do so, this is what happens.

“Central Transport has been repeatedly cited for unsafe conditions and equipment,” Loftus said in an OSHA news release. “Companies that repeatedly violate basic safety standards consistently put their employees at risk of serious injury and death.”

OSHA visited the Hillside facility on March 28 after it received a complaint. The company’s forklifts were included in the inspection as part of its Local Emphasis Program for Powered Industrial Vehicles program, which was implemented to reduce facilities and injuries caused by forklifts. More than 105 people have been killed in forklift-related accidents in Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio since 2005.

As a result of that inspection, Central Transport was also cited for a “willful violation” for failing to remove forklifts from service that needed repair. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

According to OSHA, Central Transport also was cited in 2009, 2010 and 2013 at locations in Georgia, Ohio and Mississippi for similar violations. A repeat violation exists when a company 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.

Central Transport — which is headquartered in Warren, Michigan — has about 4,300 workers at 170 locations in the US. The Hillside facility employs about 100 workers.