September 14, 2016
CHICAGO – For the third time in less than three years, federal workplace safety investigators have found O’Hare International Airport forklift operators employed by a major cargo-handling company exposed to struck-by and electrical hazards. The workers transport goods from international airline carriers such as Amerijet, Delta, Finnair, Transaero and Virgin.
On Sept. 8, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Alliance Ground International for two willful, one repeated violation, five serious violations and one other-than-serious violation of powered industrial vehicle and electrical safety standards. OSHA has proposed penalties of $338,881. The agency found violations of these hazards at Alliance’s Chicago facility in September of 2014 and its Schiller Park facility in December of 2013.
“Simply securing these portable fuel containers with clamps provided by the manufacture will prevent workers from being exposed to containers jarring loose, slipping or rotating and potentially striking workers who transport goods around the clock at one the nation’s busiest airports,” said Angeline Loftus, area director of OSHA’s Chicago North office in Des Plaines. “Airport terminals are inherently dangerous working environments, and Alliance Ground International needs to re-evaluate its forklift operating procedures to ensure they are protecting workers on the job.”
Acting on a complaint and as part of the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program on Powered Industrial Vehicles, a March investigation by federal inspectors also found Alliance Ground International failed to:
Remove damaged forklifts from service.
Inspect forklifts on a shift-by-shift basis.
Use manufacturer recommended parts when repairing forklifts.
Maintain fully charged fire extinguishers.
Inspect fire extinguishers monthly.
Maintain electrical equipment to prevent employer exposure to open panels and exposed wiring.
View the current citations here.
Based in Chicago, Alliance Ground International provides airline cargo-handling services for 32 airlines. The company also operates at airports in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, Newark, New York, Orlando and San Francisco.
The company 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, 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 Chicago North Area Office at (847) 803-4800.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.