July 11, 2007
Contact: Brad Mitchell
LORAIN, Ohio -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $163,000 in fines against Republic Engineered Products Inc. of Lorain for alleged multiple willful, serious and repeat violations of federal workplace safety and health standards.
OSHA opened an investigation following the death of an employee in January and later expanded it to cover the entire facility. As a result, OSHA issued one willful citation with a proposed penalty of $70,000, alleging that the company failed to protect all open-sided floors and work platforms from potential fall hazards.
The agency issued citations for 16 serious violations with proposed penalties of $43,000 covering a variety of concerns, including machine guarding and energy lockout hazards, as well as training and health monitoring deficiencies.
Two repeat violations, based on citations issued and affirmed in 2006 and previously corrected by the employer, covered the failure to lock out hydraulic and electrical energy when necessary. Proposed penalties total $50,000.
"Steel mills are potentially dangerous workplaces," said Jule Hovi, director of OSHA's area office in Toledo, Ohio. "Employers must remain dedicated to keeping the workplace safe and healthful, or face close scrutiny by this agency."
The Republic Engineered Products Inc. mill in Lorain is engaged in the melting of scrap metal and metal pellets into molten steel to manufacture rolled steel.
OSHA has conducted inspections at the site multiple times with citations covering many of the same issues, particularly the failure to ensure that lockout procedures are developed and followed.
OSHA's mission is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by preventing injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The agency has a vigorous enforcement program, having conducted more than 38,000 inspections last year and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last seven years. In fiscal year 2006, OSHA found nearly 84,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
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 assure 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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