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OSHA Cites Ford Motor Co. for 'Unsafe' Overhead Cranes

Complaint from workers spurs investigation at Buffalo plant.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says Ford Motor Co. failed to remove unsafe overhead cranes from operation and fix the safety hazards at its Buffalo Stamping Plant. The agency's inspection of the plant, located in Hamburg, N.Y., was initiated in January 2010 following complaints from workers at the plant.

According to OSHA, its inspection found five instances in which overhead cranes remained in service after defects were identified during inspections in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The alleged defects included worn brake drums, loose or sheared coupling bolts or damaged gears. OSHA standards require that employers inspect cranes for unsafe conditions and remove them from service until the necessary repairs are made.

OSHA cited the Ford plant for a willful violation of safety standards. A willful violation, by OSHAs definition, indicates that the violation was committed "with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for worker safety and health."

The citation carries a proposed fine of $70,000.

The automotive plant has 15 days from receipt of its citation and proposed penalties to comply, contest the findings or meet with an area OSHA director.

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