US Labor Department's OSHA fines Mahle Engine Components USA $369,000
for 26 violations, including lead exposure, at McConnelsville, Ohio, plant
Company also placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program
McCONNELSVILLE, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Mahle Engine Components USA Inc. with 26 health and safety violations, including eight repeat, for exposing workers to electrical, lead and machine guarding hazards at its McConnelsville automotive parts manufacturing facility. Proposed fines total $369,000.
"Employers cited for multiple safety and health violations have a responsibility to review their safety and health procedures, evaluate the hazards that exist and train workers to ensure a safe and healthful working environment," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional director in Chicago. "When an employer, such as Mahle, is cited for repeat violations, it shows a lack of commitment to protecting the safety and health of workers. OSHA will not tolerate such negligence."
Six repeat safety violations were cited for failing to mount and identify fire extinguishers, provide machine guarding, ensure safe work practices when exposed to electrical hazards, ground pins from electrical equipment, and train workers on recognizing electrical hazards. Two repeat health violations were cited for lead exposure, including failing to record employees' blood lead levels to monitor exposure to lead, and test the clean room for lead contamination. Lead can cause damage to the nervous system and other organs if inhaled or ingested in dangerous quantities.
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. Mahle Engine Components USA was previously cited for these violations during inspections in 2009 and 2011 at the McConnelsville location as well as at facilities in Manchester, Mo., and Trumbull, Conn.
A total of 18 serious violations were cited for lack of machine guarding; improper storage of acetylene and oxygen cylinders; electrical hazards; lack of load ratings on hook lifting devices; allowing operators to carry loads traveling over people creating a struck-by hazard; improper storage of respirators; failing to provide appropriate personal protective equipment and require its use; and keep the tables in the lunch room clean and free of lead accumulation. 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.
Because of the hazards and the violations cited, Mahle Engine Components has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.
The company, headquartered in Morristown, Tenn., has operated the McConnelsville facility since 2008 and is a subsidiary of the Mahle Group, which employs about 50,000 workers and operates about 100 production plants worldwide. Inspected in 2009 and 2010, the McConnelsville facility has been cited with a total of 17 violations.
The current citations may be viewed at:
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.
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 Columbus Area Office at 614-469-5582.
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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