Fatality Brings OSHA Safety Fines

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 @ 03:10 PM gHale

A 48-year-old supervisor suffered fatal injuries when a metal door struck him while he was performing maintenance at Certified Heat Treating Inc. in Miamisburg, OH, and the company is now facing $64,000 in fines for 10 serious violations, said officials at Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Certified Heat Treating performs vacuum and induction heat treating of metal parts for use in the construction, automotive and transportation industries. The company also has a facility in Springfield.

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Quite a few of the violations involved OSHA’s confined space and lockout/tagout standards for the control of machinery and moving parts.

“If Certified Heat Treating had followed established safety procedures, this tragedy might have been prevented,” said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA’s area director in Cincinnati. “No worker should lose their life because an employer decided to cut corners on safety.”

On March 31, the supervisor, who had worked at the facility for 25 years, had tightened a nut on an elevator cylinder inside an oil-filled quench tank chamber when the outer metal door came down. The door struck his chest and made it impossible for him to breathe. OSHA’s investigation found the company failed to isolate an energy source on the outer metal door, implement lockout/tagout procedures and install an adequate restraining device to prevent the door from operating during service and maintenance. Additionally, workers did not have adequate training on specific procedures to prevent such incidents, and the company did not conduct periodic inspections of equipment.

Certified Heat Treating allowed employees to enter quench tank chambers to perform repair and maintenance without implementing procedures required under OSHA’s permit-required confined space regulations. It failed to have entry permits, post an attendant outside during entry and train workers in hazards, which resulted in serious violations. A confined space is one large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs, has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not for continuous occupancy, such as a tank chamber.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exits.

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