Uniontown fabricator facing $166K in OSHA penalties

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $166,400 in fines against Shane Felter Industries Inc. for multiple alleged workplace safety and health violations. The Uniontown, Pa., company, which fabricates and paints steel beams used in bridge and road construction, has 62 employees.

OSHA initially selected Shane Felter for inspection after reviewing the company's occupational injury and illness data. The inspection later was expanded to follow up on previously cited hazards that had not been abated.

OSHA has issued one willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $56,000, alleging that the company did not repair or replace defective parts to ensure the safe operation of seven overhead cranes.

Sixteen repeat violations, with proposed penalties of $67,200, were issued due to violations involving crane operators, forklift operations, hazardous materials, obstructed exits, an inadequate hearing conservation program and inadequate personal protective equipment.

Twenty-five serious violations, with proposed penalties of $40,800, were issued for a variety of hazards, including a deficient lockout/tagout program, which is intended to prevent inadvertent machine start-ups; use of damaged equipment; exposed live electrical parts; lack of explosion-proof equipment; and use of open flames or spark-producing equipment near flammable liquids.

Four other-than-serious violations with proposed penalties of $2,400 also were issued.

"Shane Felter Industries' refusal to remove hazards ultimately threatens the safety and health of its employees," said Robert Szymanski, director of OSHA's area office in Pittsburgh. "It is imperative that this employer correct these violations to prevent a potential tragedy."

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Repeat citations are issued when an employer has previously been cited for a substantially similar violation and that citation and its penalty have become final. Serious violations are issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious injury could occur from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Shane Felter Industries has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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