Steel Fabricator Faces Safety Fines

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 @ 06:10 PM gHale

Steel Structures of Ohio is facing 17 safety and health violations, including one willful safety violation for unsafe crane operations at its Akron location, said U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

Proposed fines total $134,400, OSHA said. The willful safety violation is for failing to remove a crane from service that required necessary repairs before resuming crane operations. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

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The Akron-based structural steel fabricator also faces four repeat safety violations which involve failing to implement specific requirements to test the effectiveness of energy control procedures and to conduct periodic inspections of those procedures, provide refresher training to employees who operate powered industrial trucks and provide adequate guarding on equipment such as a 250-ton press brake and roller conveyor.

There are also five repeat health violations involving a lack of fit-testing and medical evaluations for respirator use, failing to provide mandatory respirator training, failing to provide a written hazard communication program, storing 675 gallons of flammable and combustible liquids in the open, transferring flammable or combustible liquids without grounding and bonding, and failing to keep spray paint areas free from the accumulation of combustible residue. A repeat violation exists when an employer earned a previous citation for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

“Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to workplace safety and health,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “Employers have a responsibility to maintain safe working environments. OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so.”

There are also seven serious safety and health violations that involve failing to evaluate the workplace for hazards that necessitated the use of personal protective equipment; exposing employees to potential burns and smoke inhalation from a dust collector that contained combustible dust; failing to physically separate spray painting activities from electrical boxes; failing to install electrical equipment in accordance with industry standards; and failing to provide an exhaust or ventilation system in a designated spray paint room to remove vapors, mist or powders from flammable paints. 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.

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