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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited steel mill Republic Engineered Products Inc. in Lorain, Ohio, with one alleged willful and one alleged repeat citation of federal workplace safety and health standards. Proposed fines total $82,500.
OSHA began a follow-up safety inspection at the Lorain site in April to verify that previous violations had been corrected and that the company remained in compliance with OSHA standards. The inspection revealed a willful violation for fall hazards and a repeat violation for failure to conduct inspections necessary for the control of lead exposure.
"Steel mills remain a dangerous place to work, and it is inexcusable to fail to correct serious dangers, particularly after they've already been identified by OSHA," said OSHA area director Jule Hovi in Toledo, Ohio. "Falls are a leading cause of serious injury and fatalities in the workplace, and the destructive dangers of lead to working people and their families has been well documented. We expect better. I believe that all of us share a common interest and desire in seeing that every worker goes home safe and healthy at the end of every work shift."
Republic Engineered Products Inc. previously has been inspected by OSHA 44 times nationwide since 1991, including three fatality investigations, and has received a total of 183 citations. From October 1999 through July 2002, the Lorain site was inspected eight times, including one fatality investigation, under the ownership of Republic Technologies Inc. From November 1989 through January 1999, the Lorain site was inspected 19 times, including five fatality/catastrophe investigations, under the ownership of U.S.S. Kobe Steel Company. There are currently 150 workers at the Lorain site and a total of 500 workers companywide.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. OSHA issues repeat violations when a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order is found at any other facilities in federal enforcement states.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Toledo or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.