US Labor Department’s OSHA proposes $125,000 in fines to Munnsville, NY, plant of Wisconsin-based Briggs & Stratton for repeat, serious safety hazards

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: November 29th, 2011
Topics: Electricity | Fall Protection | Machine Guarding |

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group LLC for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Munnsville manufacturing plant. The lawnmower manufacturer faces a total of $125,000 in proposed penalties, chiefly for mechanical, electrical and fall hazards identified during an inspection begun in June by OSHA’s Syracuse Area Office.

“The sizable fines proposed in this case reflect both the gravity of these hazards and the fact that several are substantially similar to conditions cited in an earlier OSHA inspection,” said Christopher Adams, OSHA’s area director for central New York. “It’s imperative that this employer not only corrects these latest hazards but also takes effective steps to ensure that they are corrected once and for all.”

OSHA found several recurring hazards similar to those cited during a 2007 inspection of the same location, including unguarded rotating parts and points of operation on machinery, open-sided floors lacking railings or guarding to prevent falls and a lack of electrical grounding. These conditions resulted in citations for five repeat violations, with $95,000 in proposed fines. 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.

Additionally, this latest inspection identified electrical and machine guarding hazards, inadequate training to ensure that machines are de-energized and their power sources are locked out to prevent unintended startup during maintenance, defects with lifting chains and slings, unguarded floor holes, and uninspected overhead hoists and hook devices. These conditions resulted in citations for eight serious violations, with $30,000 in fines. 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.

“An important means of preventing initial and recurring workplace hazards is for employers to implement effective illness and injury prevention programs in which they work with their employees to identify and eliminate hazards,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

The citations can be viewed at

Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group LLC is a subsidiary of Wauwatosa, Wis.-based Briggs & Stratton Corp. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet 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-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Syracuse office at 315-451-0808.

Source: OSHA Regional News Release