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Region 5 News Release: 12-586-CHI
April 9, 2012
Contact: Scott Allen Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976


US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Sign Source USA for exposing
workers to safety and health hazards at Lima, Ohio, manufacturing plant

LIMA, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Sign Source USA with 26 safety and health violations, including exposing workers to fire and explosion hazards. OSHA initiated a safety inspection of the Lima-based custom sign manufacturer's plant on Dec. 19 based on a complaint and opened a separate health inspection on Jan. 5. Proposed penalties total $67,400.

Eleven serious safety violations involve failing to remove wood and metal scraps from work areas that presented trip and laceration hazards, provide machine guarding on router tables, provide forklift training, mark forklift attachments properly with their load capacities and require the proper personal protective equipment - such as helmets and other headgear - to be worn during welding operations. Several of the violations relate to electrical safety, including a lack of personal protective equipment, failing to require the use of nonconducting headgear and not training workers to recognize unsafe electrical practices.

Several of the eight serious health violations involve fire and explosion hazards, including using paint spray booths with wooden beams covered in flammable materials; improperly discarding spray booth filters, rags and other materials with flammable residue; not grounding metal parts in the spray booth; and not installing a gauge on the spray booth to ensure that proper air velocity was maintained. Additionally, the employer failed to provide a hazard communication training program and conduct medical evaluations for respiratory protection. 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.

Four other-than-serious safety violations include failing to record forklift inspections and maintain OSHA illness and injury logs for 2009, 2010 and 2011. Three other-than-serious health violations related to the company's respirator protection program include a lack of fit testing and training, and allowing respirators to be used by individuals with facial hair. 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.

"Sign Source USA is responsible for ensuring that its employees are properly trained and protected from known workplace safety and health hazards that can cause fires, explosions and other incidents that result in injury or illness," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job."

The company previously was inspected by OSHA in 2006, resulting in citations for 11 violations involving a lack of machine guarding, personal protective equipment, respiratory protection and hazard communication. Sign Source USA 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 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

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at 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.