OSHA fines Ohio foundry $253K for safety, health violations

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited St. Marys Foundry Inc. of St. Marys, Ohio, and proposed penalties totaling $253,350 for 31 alleged serious violations, three willful violations and two other-than-serious violations of federal workplace safety and health standards.

OSHA initiated the current safety and health inspections on June 28, 2006, as a result of the company being placed on the agency's site specific target inspection list due to St. Marys Foundry's high injury rates and as a result of the state of Ohio's Primary Metals Industry Local Emphasis Program.

The willful citations, with a proposed penalty of $168,000, were issued against St. Marys Foundry for failing to ensure employees wore respiratory protection, thus exposing them to silica dust at up to 2,109 percent of the OSHA permissible exposure limits, not enforcing the required hearing protection program, and for allowing workers to use higher than the allowable compressed air pressure.

Serious citations, with a proposed penalty of $84,350, were issued for lack of personal protective equipment, lack of a medical surveillance program, lack of proper guardrails around casting pits, casting and molds, and for other violations. Two other-than-serious citations with a proposed penalty of $1,000 were issued for not labeling permit-required confined spaces and failing to record silicosis cases on the "OSHA 300" log, which is used to record work-related injuries and illnesses.

"Any one of these violations has the potential to cause serious harm or death to workers," said Jule Hovi, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "Finding hazards and insisting they be corrected are among the best services we can perform for working men and women."

The company had been inspected by OSHA four other times since 1994 and received 14 citations. The company has 15 working days from receipt to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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