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Company hit with $72,800 in fines from OSHA

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Apr 23, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Metal & Wire Products Co. Inc., which manufactures metal parts for recreational vehicles, has been cited for 25 safety and health violations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration at its Salem facility. Proposed penalties total $72,800. OSHA’s complaint investigation found several violations of machine guarding and lockout/tag out procedures, which protect workers from lacerations, caught-in and amputation hazards. Many of the violations involved the plant’s power presses, which form metal materials.

“Careful operation and safety precautions are vital when operating power presses because of their use in high-production manufacturing and the amount of operator involvement. Injuries related to machinery and equipment often result in death or permanent disability,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “OSHA’s inspection found multiple violations of these safety standards. Inadequate machine guarding and lockout/tagout procedures are among the most frequently cited OSHA standards.”

Several of the 21 serious violations involved unsafe operation of mechanical power presses, including: failing to have disconnect switches and control reliability, lack of brake monitoring safeguards, failing to establish a die-setting procedure and failing to use safety blocks and test and inspect presses at least weekly.

Other serious violations involved failing to develop energy control procedures for placement of lockout/tag out devices and to inspect such procedures at least annually; lack of training on hazardous energy; inadequate machine guarding; failing to provide strain relief for electrical equipment; lack of fire extinguisher training; and failing to provide an eye wash station and cut resistant gloves. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exits.

Metal & Wire Products Co. was also cited for four other-than-serious violations involving failing to annually inspect fire extinguishers, post the load rating on an overhead storage area, provide training on the global harmonization system, and certify and date the workplace hazard assessment. 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.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

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 Cleveland office at 216-447-4194. 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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