April 25, 2008
Contact: Brad Mitchell or Scott Allen
MARION, Ohio -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $169,200 in fines against Semco Inc., a beryllium/copper foundry in Marion, for willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety and health regulations.
OSHA opened its inspection in October 2007 to determine if the company had corrected safety hazards found during a 2005 inspection as agreed. In addition, inspectors wanted to ensure that no other hazards existed as part of OSHA's Toledo, Ohio, area office site-specific targeting program. The inspection found, among other concerns, that the company remained in violation of beryllium over-exposure. Specifically, OSHA has alleged three willful and 21 alleged serious violations of OSHA standards.
Willful violations include employee over-exposure to beryllium, failing to require that employees be clean-shaven when required to wear respirators, and a lack of engineering controls and personal protective equipment in molten metal furnace and pouring operations. Serious violations include issues involving employee exposure to beryllium, lack of or inadequate personal protective equipment, electrical hazards and lockout/tagout violations, which refer to procedures intended to prevent accidental start-up of machinery during maintenance.
"It's disappointing when we find on re-inspection that problems which may lead to death or serious injury still exist," said Jule Hovi, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "There is no excuse for this kind of attitude toward the health and safety of employees."
OSHA has inspected the Semco plant four times since 2003 and has previously cited the company for 11 serious and two repeat violations of the agency's standards.
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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