Sept. 24, 2014
OSHA proposes $130,200 in fines for Canton, Ohio, aluminum plant
for willfully exposing workers to serious hazards
CANTON, Ohio – Employees at Matalco US Inc. in Canton were exposed to amputation*, fall hazards and unsafe crane operations, according to a U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection. OSHA has issued two willful, one repeat and two serious safety violations, carrying proposed penalties of $130,200. The inspection at the manufacturing facility that produces aluminum material for use in automotive rims and other parts was initiated following a complaint. The company has also been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
"This company allowed workers to stand on blocks elevated by a forklift, and that's just one visible example of the total disregard for worker safety and health at this plant," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "By placing Matalco US in our Severe Violator Enforcement Program, OSHA is putting the company on notice that this is unacceptable."
OSHA's March 24, 2014, inspection found one willful violation for insufficient machine guarding on a robot cell that exposed workers to amputation hazards. A second willful violation was cited for failing to remove a crane with broken safety mechanisms from service. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Employees were exposed to a fall hazard of more than 23 feet because the company had not installed guardrails over an open pit, and employees that worked in the pit area were not provided fall protection. Matalco was previously cited at this facility for this same violation in 2012.
OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer was previously cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
During the inspection, workers were found standing on aluminum blocks elevated by a forklift to perform tasks on the furnace. This was an inappropriate use of the forklifts, and it exposed workers to falls of at least 8 feet. OSHA found that live electric equipment operating at high voltages was not guarded against human contact. These hazards resulted in the issuance of two serious violations. 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.
View the current citations: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/MatalcoUSInc_965790.pdf*
Matalco US, based in Canton, is a subsidiary of Matalco Inc. of Ontario, Canada. The U.S. plant employs 50 workers.
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 Cleveland Area Office at 216-447-4194.
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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Release Number: 14-1701-CHI
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