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OSHA cited company for 15 safety violations at local factory

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Aug 19, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Okamoto Sandusky Manufacturing LLC has been cited for 15 health and safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration at its Sandusky vinyl automotive products manufacturing facility.

OSHA initiated the inspection after receiving a complaint and has proposed fines of $58,500.

“Failing to have adequate machine guarding and train workers in adequate lockout/tagout procedures to control the unexpected activation of machinery can result in severe injuries,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “As an employer, Okamoto Sandusky Manufacturing has the responsibility to maintain a safe and healthful workplace for all its workers and to train them on hazards that exist in the plant.”

A total of 14 serious violations cited include failing to conduct periodic inspections or training for the lockout/tagout program; not developing an emergency response plan and training; lack of machine guarding on rollers and conveyors; use of non-approved electrical equipment in areas where flammable vapors may be present; inadequate labeling of hazardous chemical containers; and failing to provide information and train employees on the use of hazardous chemicals.

Additionally, the company was cited for failing to implement a comprehensive respiratory protection program and hearing conservation program. 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.

One other-than-serious violation was cited for failing to retain noise exposure monitoring records. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Okamoto USA, Inc., located in Sandusky, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Okamoto Industries Inc. of Tokyo, Japan. Okamoto Industries, established in 1934, has earned an international reputation as a leading manufacturer of quality rubber and plastic products. According the company's website, Okamoto's flexibility has enabled it to adapt existing product lines to the needs and trends of the market, and to pioneer new products through research and development. "Only products achieving the highest standards of quality will display the Okamoto name," the website states.

This was the first OSHA inspection at Okamoto Sandusky Manufacturing. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and notice of proposed penalties to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. If the company does not file or contest within that period, it must abate the cited conditions within the period ordered in the citations and pay the proposed penalties.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Toledo Area Office at 419-259-7542.

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 ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.                    

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