US Labor Department's OSHA cites Republic Engineered Products for repeatedly
exposing workers to fall and energy control hazards at Lorain, Ohio, facility
Proposed penalties total $563,000
LORAIN, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited steel manufacturer Republic Engineered Products Inc. in Lorain for seven willful and three repeat safety violations, with proposed penalties totaling $563,000, for failing to protect workers from fall hazards and implement adequate energy source lockout/tagout procedures to prevent injury from hazardous equipment. The company also has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program, which focuses enforcement resources on employers that have demonstrated indifference to their Occupational Safety and Health Act obligations by committing willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations.
"There is no excuse for Republic Engineered Products to continue to neglect its workers' safety," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "This company has a long history of OSHA violations, including employee injuries and fatalities in several of its plants. It needs to make a serious effort to comply with common-sense regulations to protect its employees."
OSHA began the inspection of the Lorain facility in November 2010 after a worker was hospitalized with a broken pelvis when he fell 9 feet from a coil transfer car in the bar mill. The willful violations carried proposed penalties of $480,500 for exposing employees to falls from the car and an unguarded platform, and for failing to affix lockout/tagout devices to control the unexpected energizing of equipment. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The repeat violations with proposed fines of $82,500 were cited for failing to train employees in lockout/tagout procedures; specify the procedural steps necessary to lock out electrical, hydraulic and gravitational energy sources for the coil transfer car; and isolate all hazardous energy sources. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited in 2008 at both the Lorain facility and its Blasdell, N.Y., facility for failing to develop and adequately train workers on lockout/tagout procedures. Failure to operate energy isolation devices properly also was cited in Blasdell in 2008.
The company's Lorain location, which employs approximately 250 people, also was cited in another incident by OSHA in 2010 for 13 violations and fined $143,000. The Lorain facility has been inspected 25 times since 1990, resulting in 76 violations in addition to those currently being cited.
Republic Engineered Products Inc., which is headquartered in Canton, Ohio, employs more than 2,200 workers companywide and operates additional manufacturing facilities in Canton and Massillon, Ohio, as well as in Blasdell, N.Y.; Gary, Ind.; and Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada. Excluding the Lorain location, the company's combined sites have been inspected 53 times since 1990, resulting in a total of 124 violations.
For more information on the Severe Violators Enforcement Program, visit http://www.osha.gov/dep/svep-directive.pdf*.
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 and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Toledo Area Office at 419-259-7542. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.M.
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