OSHA Proposes Fine of $192,500 at United

Federal officials on Tuesday proposed fining United Airlines $192,500 for multiple violations of worker health standards that inspectors uncovered during an audit of the carrier's O'Hare International Airport operations.

The alleged hazards ranged from the design of flammable-liquid storage cabinets to a failure to conduct a survey for the presence of asbestos. They were found during an examination of United's largest hub by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from November through February.

"United worked with OSHA throughout the inspection and took immediate action to address a number of issues raised," said Megan McCarthy, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based United.

Earlier this month, OSHA proposed fining United $215,500 for workplace safety violations that were discovered during the same review.

However, United likely will pay far less than the total $408,000 fine if it can prove it has taken steps to correct the safety problems, said OSHA spokesman Brad Mitchell.

"Our first concern is getting the hazards corrected," he said.

McCarthy said the nation's second-largest carrier plans to meet with OSHA to evaluate the latest unsafe workplace citations and to detail steps it has taken to eliminate potential health hazards.

"There is nothing more important than the safety of employees and customers, and United considers this assessment an opportunity to focus on strengthening key areas of workplace safety," she added.

Federal officials last year conducted a similar sweep of O'Hare's other major tenant, American Airlines, and proposed fines totaling more than $450,000.