Safety Issues at Auto Parts Maker

Monday, April 9, 2012 @ 02:04 PM gHale


Sunbury, OH-based American Showa Inc. is facing $151,300 in fines for 13 safety and health incidents including two willful violations for assigning maintenance personnel to work on energized equipment without personal protective gear and failing to train workers to recognize unsafe electrical work practices, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

OSHA initially opened an inspection of the company’s automotive parts manufacturing facility in Blanchester, OH, on Nov. 6, under the agency’s National Emphasis Program for Amputations, and then expanded it to a joint safety and health inspection to examine the facility’s aluminum die-casting operations.

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“American Showa is responsible for ensuring that its employees wear personal protective equipment and receive proper training on electrical safety hazards to prevent injuries in its manufacturing plant,” said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA’s area director in Cincinnati.

Specifically, the willful safety violations are failing to train workers on safe electrical working practices for voltage testing and the use of required personal protective equipment. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Seven serious safety violations involve failing to provide adequate machine guarding, ensuring workers locked out all energy sources while making repairs inside robot enclosures, de-energizing a robot trim press to perform repairs, replacing missing grounding prongs on conductive metal-framed pedestal fans that could have become energized and close unused openings on electrical boxes. 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.

One other-than-serious safety violation is failing to develop adequate and understandable confined space permits. Three other-than-serious health violations involve not labeling spray bottles with the identity of dangerous chemicals and hazard warnings, as well as not mounting portable fire extinguishers. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.



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