OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-03-212
Tues., Oct. 14, 2003
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
Bring American Foundry Group $261,500 in OSHA Fines
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A Muskogee employer's alleged failure to protect employees from a wide range of safety and health hazards has resulted in citations for 18 alleged violations of standards from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Proposed penalties total $261,500.
American Foundry Group Inc.(AFGI), in Muskogee, Okla., was cited following an inspection that began April 8 under OSHA's "Specific Targeting Program," focused on workplaces with high injury and illness rates. The carbon steel alloy foundry, a subsidiary of Lionheart Industries Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio, manufactures petro-chemical valves and fittings. About 383 workers are employed corporate-wide. There are 118 at the Muskogee site.
"Workers are being exposed to molten metal splash and this employer is doing very little to protect them," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "Citations have been issued as a result of previous OSHA inspections, including a February 2002 investigation in which an employee was fatally burned due to an explosion caused by molten metal coming into contact with water. We will not tolerate this persistent disregard for worker safety."
The April inspection consisted of both safety and health components.
Citations issued for violations of safety standards included two alleged willful and six alleged serious violations. The willful violations included the employer's failure to ensure the use of personal protective equipment while pouring molten metal and failure to train "authorized" employees under OSHA's Control of Hazardous Energy standard. The serious citations were for failing to ensure compliance with a "lockout/tag-out" program to prevent machines from starting up when workers are doing maintenance or repairs; failing to ensure molten metal does not come into contact with water; and failing to complete guardrail systems on catwalks and staircases.
Citations issued as a result of the health inspection were for one alleged willful and nine alleged serious violations. The willful citation was for failing to address identification, evaluation and surveillance of respiratory hazards in the workplace. The serious violations were for failing to address hazards associated with the use of respiratory protection, failing to involve employees in a respirator program, failing to provide medical evaluations for respirator users and failing to inspect and properly maintain respiratory protection equipment.
A willful violation is an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the OSHA law and regulation requirements. A serious violations is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition about which the employer knew or should have known.
American Foundry has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Oklahoma City area office, or to contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Oklahoma City area office at (405) 278-9560 or OSHA's toll-free hotline number at 1-800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers. OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov.
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