OSHA Fines Screw Maker

Thursday, December 29, 2011 @ 02:12 PM gHale

Model Screw Products Inc. of Clearwater, FL, is facing fines for 18 safety violations including inappropriately using PVC piping for compressed air, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

Model Screw Products manufactures small parts using Swiss screw technology. Proposed penalties total $109,800.

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The company used PVC piping to transport compressed air, OSHA officials said. The piping ruptured three times in June and in the third instance caused an employee to suffer hearing loss and trauma.

The company earned one willful violation with a penalty of $63,000 for using PVC piping to transport compressed air. A willful violation is intentionally knowing or voluntarily disregarding the law’s requirements, or showing plain indifference to worker safety and health.

“Management knew the dangers associated with transporting compressed air through PVC piping but chose to put employees at risk. Unfortunately, the practice resulted in a worker being injured,” said Les Grove, OSHA’s area director in Tampa. “It is the employer’s responsibility to assess workplace hazards and ensure that corrective measures are taken to protect employees.”

The company also earned nine serious violations with penalties of $42,300 for failing to develop or utilize lockout/tagout procedures for the energy sources of equipment, having two locks on an emergency exit door that could inhibit exiting from inside, permitting employees to use inappropriate gloves, exposing workers to metal cutting fluids, failing to lock out the energy sources of equipment during servicing, not training workers on how to use fire extinguishers, having an unguarded band saw blade, allowing compressed air to pressurize in excess of 30 pounds per square inch for cleaning and not training employees on the hazards of the chemicals they use. 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.

Eight other-than-serious violations with $4,500 in penalties include allowing an unauthorized representative to sign the OSHA 300A injury and illness forms for 2008 and 2010, not marking an exit door, failing to certify training and evaluations of forklift operators, permitting the use of forklifts prior to a daily inspection, improperly using an outlet box and having an inadequate hazard communications program. 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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