Fabricator Faces OSHA Fines

Monday, April 23, 2012 @ 12:04 PM gHale

Escofab Inc. is facing $67,970 in fines for 11 safety and health, including one willful, violations at the company’s metal fabrication shop in Atmore, AL, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

OSHA opened an inspection in October under the agency’s Site-Specific Targeting Program, which directs enforcement resources to workplaces with higher-than-average rates of injuries and illnesses.

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The willful safety violation, which carries a $35,000 penalty, is failing to correct overhead gantry crane deficiencies. Escofab had the cranes inspected by a private consultant in 2008 and 2011 but failed to correct problems identified, including electrical hazards, and missing and broken parts. A willful violation is one with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Nine serious safety and health violations, with penalties of $32,970, include failing to conduct a load test on a gantry crane and on an underhung crane to ensure operators were not exposed to falling loads, protect workers from exposure to electrical hazards while conducting machinery maintenance, protect workers from hazards associated with rotating machinery parts and fan blades, properly adjust a table grinder posing an amputation hazard, mark containers of hazardous chemicals and effectively train employees regarding potential chemical hazards. 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 health violation with no monetary penalty is failing to implement a respiratory protection program necessary for those employees who voluntarily choose to wear respirators while working. 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.

“Failing to correct known hazards places workers at risk, and OSHA will not allow management to let workers’ safety and health be a low priority,” said Joe Roesler, director of OSHA’s Mobile Area Office.

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