US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $132,000 in fines against Maine steel
fabricator for electrical, crushing and laceration hazards at Augusta, Maine, plant
AUGUSTA, Maine – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cives Steel Co. for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Augusta production facility. The steel products fabricator faces a total of $132,000 in proposed fines for electrical, crushing, laceration and other hazards identified during an inspection by OSHA's Augusta Area Office begun in January.
"The sizable fines proposed in this case reflect the severity and recurring nature of a number of these hazards," said William Coffin, OSHA's area director for Maine. "For the safety of its workers, this employer must take effective and expeditious action to eliminate these conditions and prevent their recurrence."
OSHA found that maintenance employees were not supplied with and did not use personal protective equipment to protect themselves against the hazards of electric shock, arc flash and arc blast while performing diagnostic work on electrical equipment. This situation resulted in OSHA issuing the plant one willful citation, with a $70,000 fine. 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.
Another electrical hazard cited is the use of extension cords as a substitute for fixed wiring, a condition similar to one for which OSHA had cited Cives Steel's Gouverneur, N.Y., plant in 2010. This situation resulted in the issuance of one repeat citation, with a $22,000 fine. 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.
Nine serious citations, with $40,000 in fines, have been issued for crushing hazards stemming from the plant's failure to label and test the weight capacity of an in-house fabricated lifting device used to lift metal plates weighing up to 900 pounds; laceration hazards from the unsafe practice of drop staring a chain saw; a lack of leg protection while using chain saws; falls from standing on raw and fabricated steel products; an incomplete confined space entry program; inadequate egress from a mezzanine and additional electrical hazards. 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.
The inspection was conducted under OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which directs inspections toward workplaces with a rate of workdays lost due to injuries and illnesses that is higher than the industry average.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CivesSteelCompany_316216969_0706_12.pdf*.
Cives Steel Co. has15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings to the independent Occupational Safety and 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 Augusta office at 207-626-9160.
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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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.