U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

Missoula, Mont., auto body shop faces US Labor Department OSHA penalties following workplace fire

9 serious OSHA violations, $51,100 in proposed fines

BILLINGS, Mont. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Rick's Auto Body of Missoula for nine serious violations of workplace safety and health standards. The employer faces $51,100 in proposed fines as a result of an August inspection.

'In this case, the employer disregarded necessary safety measures, placing employees in harm's way,' said Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in Billings. 'The inspection, prompted by a workplace fire, identified the improper storage of flammable liquids at the facility and inadequate grounding and bonding methods for the transfer of flammable liquids.'

The serious violations identified during the investigation include improper storage of flammable and combustible materials, use of storage containers not approved for flammable goods and failure to store overhead materials securely. The employer was also cited for failing to label emergency exits, ensure adequate controls for leakage or the escape of flammable materials, and ground electrical equipment around combustible materials. Additionally, the site was improperly ventilated and lacked sufficient fire sprinkler systems, endangering individuals in an emergency. A serious citation is issued 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.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed 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.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 or the agency's Billings Area Office at 406-247-7494.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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