Monday, October 24, 2005

Silly OSHA Citations

I wrote a story last week about Jancoa Janitorial Services, a (not so) small business that was featured in Business Week as a victim of arbitrary and vicious OSHA inspectors who had fined the company $9,000 (later reduced to $5,000) for "two extension cord violations."

The main point of the article was that the legal costs of fighting such an OSHA violation exceeded the cost of just paying the damn fine, and wouldn't it make sense to pass a law forcing OSHA to reimburse attorney's fees for small businesses when they win an appeal.

But the underlying, unsaid message was that OSHA citations for "extension cord violations" are a good example of how OSHA harrasses honest small business owners for silly, trivial, unimportant "safety" violations that are barely more significant than the size of toilet seats when they clearly don't have the resources to comply with OSHA's "labyrinthine" regulations.

Then I ran across this today:
Companies Fined by OSHA

By Dana Willhoit
The Ledger

LAKELAND, FL -- Two local companies have been cited and fined by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration in the onthe-job deaths of men killed in two electrocution accidents in September 2004.


At Zephyr Egg Co. in north Lakeland in September 2004, Santiago Gomez of Dade City died when the metal cart he and another employee were pushing struck a hanging power cord, according to Polk sheriff's spokeswoman Carrie Rodgers.

The cord was operating industrial fans, Rodgers said.

Zephyr was cited for violations including:
  • Having a flexible power cord, providing power to a fan, substituted for the permanent wiring of the building.
  • Having that flexible power cord not energized from an appropriate outlet.
  • Not having the flexible cord protected from accidental damage.
Zephyr was fined $14,700 in the incident.