Posts Tagged ‘Citations’

General Duty Clause in Plain English

Monday, November 14th, 2011

The General Duty Clause explained for dealerships and service centers by an OSHA enforcement expert. This video covers how dealerships get cited for General Duty Clause violations, and how to identify and address issues before they become citations. General Duty Clause is one of the top OSHA violations for 2011.

Our engineers have found some rather unusual instances of general duty clause issues at dealerships. How does you facility identify and address general duty clause issues?

OSHA Fines Auto Parts and Used Car Dealer $49,000 for Safety and Health Violations: Conclusion

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Yesterday’s post discussed training violations OSHA issued to a parts and used car dealership in Illinois. Physical hazards were also a large part of the 14 safety and 6 health violations facing the company.
Here is the list of physical hazard citations from Bill Smith Auto Parts, Inc, along with recommendations for improvement.*


Violation image Violation descriptions and recommendations for improvement
Missing machine guarding 

This usually happens on parts grinders. Check the machine for side guards, correct adjustments on the tool rests and tongue guards, and proper anchoring. If in doubt, this 2 min. video gives a good overview of grinder safety.

Improperly maintained industrial trucks 

Check that forklifts and other lift trucks are maintained in working order according to the manufacturer’s recommendations through. You should include documentation of maintenance.


This could also be a housekeeping issue. Outdated and unused equipment should be removed from the premises.

Improperly stored hazardous materials 

If they are flammable, containers need to be grounded, or outfitted with a bonding wire.

All containers need to be approved for their contents, and they need to have lids. Document inspections storage areas, and everything should be labeled.

Lack of guarding on open-sided floors 

All elevated work surfaces, including but not limited to alignment or lube racks, in ground lube pits and storage platforms should have proper fall protection measures.

Failing to properly store compressed gas cylinders 

Compressed gas cylinders should be securely fastened to rigid structures so they won’t fall or be knocked over.

Lack of guarding on pulleys and other equipment lower than 7 feet from the floor: struck-by hazards 

Replace guards/restraints on pulleys to ensure safe operation.

Damaged electrical cords in use 

A very common problem that poses a serious shock hazard. The damaged cord should be replaced. Never splice an electrical cord as a repair method, and make sure the cord is the right length to avoid using extension cords as permanent wiring. This handy Extension Cord Checklist is available for more information about shock hazards.

Unlabeled hazardous material containers  

Apply a “Hazardous Waste” label to the container and fill out the required information. Typically, this violation is cited with language like “potentially hazardous waste” because in general, the inspector does not actually test contents of each and every barrel. That is why all containers need to be labeled, including “non-hazardous waste.”

Use your imagination. Unsanitary conditions in restroom 

You might not be familiar with OSHA code 29 CFR 1910.141, but it requires that all restroom facilities, particularly those accessible to employees, remain clean and sanitary at all times.

Failing to post visible “no smoking” signs in areas where flammable materials were present 

All areas where smoking is prohibited in the facility must be labeled “no smoking or open flame.” Including flammable or combustible storage areas.

For more information, read this post, “Danger in Detail.”

“Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their facilities and for following OSHA standards to ensure the safety and health of their workers,” explains Tom Bielema, director for OSHA’s Peoria office. While Bill Smith Auto Parts is working with OSHA to use the inspection report as an opportunity for improvement, all  of these violations are avoidable, and precautionary measures should be part of your facility’s daily routine.

This is an opportunity for you to look over your facility, check your paperwork, and share this list with your employees as an educational opportunity, because the best environmental health and safety strategies are supported at every level of the company.

Many, if not all, violations and workplace accidents are preventable with KPA’s services. KPA’s Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) service is designed for dealerships to effectively manage and document safety and environmental compliance. EHS services include regular on-site facility visits conducted by a professional with environmental safety compliance experience including OSHA and EPA, an electronic MSDS database, online training courses, required signage and labels, and 24 hour hotlines. All of this information is available at your fingertips through, which features a dashboard indicating your facility’s overall level of environmental health and safety.

In the event of an emergency – including inspection visits by federal or state inspectors – your KPA engineer is only a phone call away.
*images are from KPA’s database, and do not represent the exact conditions at Smith Auto Parts.

Parts Grinder OSHA violation fixed at KPA dealer safety inspection

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

There’s a reason that Parts Grinders are one of the top OSHA violations. Just last week I visited a dealer who has been a KPA client for more than 14 years and an excellent record when it comes to environmental and safety. Yet, during our quarterly inspection we found that their parts grinder was not mounted properly: see picture. This violates Federal Regulation 29 CFR 1910.212(b) “Anchoring fixed machinery. Machines designed for a fixed location shall be securely anchored to prevent walking or moving.”

Fixed Ops managers should be on high OHSA alert for these situations.

About a month ago we wrote a blog about how your parts grinder can pass an OSHA inspection. The event that triggered this blog was that OSHA issued five citations totaling $75,000 to Pep Boys for a “repeat violation” and at the center of the fines was a parts grinder. Parts grinders, or abrasive wheel machinery, were the third most cited auto dealership violations in 2010. Parts grinders are citable violations because by nature, they involve contact between employees and equipment.

Are your parts grinders safe?


BP has a dismal safety record, do you?

Friday, June 4th, 2010

760 violations at BP versus 1 at Exxon!

ABC News published an article recently about BP’s dismal safety record, citing that OSHA statistics show BP ran up 760 “egregious, willful” safety violations, while Sunoco and Conoco-Phillips each had eight, Citgo had two and Exxon had one comparable citation.

The article goes on: in two separate disasters prior to the Gulf oil rig explosion, 30 BP workers have been killed, and more than 200 seriously injured. In the last five years, investigators found, BP has admitted to breaking U.S. environmental and safety laws and committing outright fraud. BP paid $373 million in fines to avoid prosecution.

How does this story apply to dealerships? 760 violations at BP versus 1 at Exxon; does this happen at dealerships? Our engineers visit about 3,000 dealers annually, inspect them on potential OSHA violations, and develop a comprehensive safety program. While we don’t see such a sharp difference as between BP and Exxon, we unfortunately have to admit that we see very large differences between dealers that have a safety culture and those that don’t.  Regrettably the general answer is “yes, there are dismal safety records at certain dealerships.”

In our February newsletter we wrote an article about Group 1 Automotive and Penske Automotive Group taking the lead in compliance management. Though both groups consist of nearly 100 dealer rooftops, these groups have effectively managed their compliance scores to an unbelievable 97% to  98% and have held this level of compliance consistently. To put this in perspective, the average compliance score for a facility prior to getting started with KPA’s safety program is about 85%. Both Group 1 and Penske Automotive Group are not only reaching high level of compliance across one store, they are doing it for all stores, across all states, regardless of the management hierarchy. Essentially, Group 1 and Penske have managed their compliance program to virtually spot free facilities in less than one year.

Yet another employment discrimination settlement for an Auto Dealership- Are You Next?

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Within the past 60 days three dealerships have reached big dollar settlements with the EEOC for races, age or gender discrimination. Most recently a dealership in Georgia paid out $140,000. With 250 new investigators and a perceived easy target in dealerships I won’t be surprised to see more of these claims in the coming months.  Dealerships seems to be a favorite target for the EEOC these days, and too many make it too easy.

Beyond the four simple steps I offered in an earlier blog “ $1.5 Employment Litigation Recipe” you should also consider EPLI (Employment Practices Liablity Insurance) coverage for your dealership.     Prevention is key- training, a nontolerance attitude and enforcement of policies to ensure that discrimination doesn’t happen or is swiftly dealt with at your dealership will signifcantly reduce your risk  but having EPLI provides peace of mind in the event of claim occur.