OSHA cites gym for repeat safety violations
By Judy Masterson firstname.lastname@example.org December 31, 2012 5:42PM
XSport Fitness in Libertyville was cited by OSHA for not providing employees with safety equipment when handling pool chemicals. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s hotline at (800) 321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Chicago North Area Office at (847) 803-4800.
Updated: March 2, 2013 2:35AM
A company that operates a gym in Libertyville may have to pay $60,000 in fines levied by OSHA for allegedly failing to protect workers from hazardous chemicals.
Capital Fitness Inc., which operates XSport Fitness, 1163 S. Milwaukee Ave., and 20 other gyms throughout the state, has been cited with four repeat safety violations by OSHA, which claims that owners failed to provide personal protective equipment to employees working with hazardous chemicals, according to a statement released Monday by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The citation resulted from a complaint inspection in November.
“XSport Fitness has a responsibility to know the hazards that exist in their workplace and to provide employees with appropriate personal protective equipment,” said Diane Turek, OSHA’s area director at the Chicago North office in Des Plaines. “Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to employee safety and health.”
Capital Fitness is based in Big Rock, west of Aurora. Vice President Dennis Pierrot said the Libertyville gym had received no previous citations from OSHA.
“We are very concerned about the health and safety of our employees and members,” Pierrot said in a phone call on Monday. “After all, we are a health club.”
“We never had anyone hurt up there (in Libertyville) or any complaints,” said Pierrot, who noted that XSport gyms include lap pools.
OSHA claims that the company failed to provide eye, face and hand protection for workers using liquid and other hazardous chemicals, and failed to develop and implement a written hazard communication program, provide material safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals in use and train workers and provide them with information regarding hazardous chemicals in their work area.
According to Department of Labor spokesman Allen Scott, a repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Capital Fitness was cited with similar violations in May 2012 at its Fullerton Avenue facility in Chicago.
“We don’t issue $60,000 of violations for something minor, especially if it’s something that can be corrected rather easily,” Scott said.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the 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.
Pierrot said Capital Fitness has hired a former OSHA inspector to lead a review of all its facilities, “including looking at cleaning products and equipment.” He said the company will meet with OSHA on Jan. 10.
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 such conditions by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.