Company Cited for Unsafe Forklift Operation

August 8, 2014

Exel Inc.'s automotive parts warehouse and distribution center in Toledo, Ohio, which distributes Chrysler brand parts, has been cited for one repeat and two serious safety violations involving unsafe operation of powered industrial vehicles. OSHA initiated the inspection Feb. 12, 2014, after receiving complaints of a forklift incident at the facility. No injuries were reported. Proposed penalties total $52,500.

"Forklifts expose workers to serious safety hazards. It is an employer's responsibility to ensure that workers are trained to use them safely," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "When incidents occur involving forklifts and other powered industrial vehicles, refresher training must occur, and Exel failed to provide it."

A repeat violation was issued for failing to conduct immediate refresher training on the safe operation of powered industrial vehicles for the operator involved in the incident. Exel was previously cited for this violation in 2013 at its Shelby facility. 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 the same facility or any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Yearly, thousands of workers are injured, sometimes fatally, while operating powered industrial vehicles. A local emphasis program* on powered industrial vehicles was implemented to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries caused by these vehicles. Powered industrial vehicles have been the source of 105 occupational fatalities during fiscal years 2005 through 2013 in Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio-all states within OSHA's federal jurisdiction.

Excel was cited for two serious violations for failing to remove from service a defective forklift and leaving unattended forklifts in an unsafe condition. 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.

Exel has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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. The Westerville-based company employs about 200,000 workers worldwide and 278 at the Toledo facility.