The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $60,000 in penalties against Citation Corp. for safety and health violations at its
"This employer is failing its employees by not protecting them from overexposure to silica, which can cause silicosis, an irreversible respiratory disease," said Ken Atha, OSHA's area director in
The manufacturing plant uses silica in its production of ductile iron castings.
OSHA inspectors cited Citation Corp. for two repeat violations carrying $50,000 in proposed penalties after finding that employees were exposed to excessive levels of silica, and that the company failed to provide the engineering controls needed to reduce employees' exposure level. The company also did not conduct annual tests to ensure that respirators used by employees were properly fitted. OSHA cited the Brewton location for similar violations in 2006.
The plant also was cited for three serious safety violations with proposed penalties of $10,000 for exposing employees to electrical and fall hazards by not maintaining floors in a dry condition, not ensuring unused electrical openings were effectively closed and not providing strain relief on electrical cords.
OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer previously has been cited for a substantially similar hazard and those citations have become final. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Mobile Area Office,
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of