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Region 5 News Release: 11-1482-CHI
Oct. 17, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976       312-353-4807
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Steel Structures of Ohio
for endangering employees' safety and health; fines total nearly $135,000

AKRON, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Steel Structures of Ohio for 17 safety and health violations, including one willful safety violation for unsafe crane operations at its Akron location. Proposed fines total $134,400.

The willful safety violation was cited for failing to remove a crane from service that required necessary repairs before resuming crane operations. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Four repeat safety violations involve failing to implement specific requirements to test the effectiveness of energy control procedures and to conduct periodic inspections of those procedures, provide refresher training to employees who operate powered industrial trucks and provide adequate guarding on equipment such as a 250-ton press brake and roller conveyor.

Five repeat health violations involve a lack of fit-testing and medical evaluations for respirator use, failing to provide mandatory respirator training, failing to provide a written hazard communication program, storing 675 gallons of flammable and combustible liquids in the open, transferring flammable or combustible liquids without grounding and bonding, and failing to keep spray paint areas free from the accumulation of combustible residue. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

"Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to workplace safety and health," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "Employers have a responsibility to maintain safe working environments. OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so."

Seven serious safety and health violations involve failing to evaluate the workplace for hazards that necessitated the use of personal protective equipment; exposing employees to potential burns and smoke inhalation from a dust collector that contained combustible dust; failing to physically separate spray painting activities from electrical boxes; failing to install electrical equipment in accordance with industry standards; and failing to provide an exhaust or ventilation system in a designated spray paint room to remove vapors, mist or powders from flammable paints. 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.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Steel_Structures_of_Ohio_315443663_1013_11.pdf*
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Steel_Structures_of_Ohio_315443689_1013_11.pdf*

This investigation falls under the requirements of OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program. Initiated in 2010, SVEP is intended to focus on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information on the program, visit http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id=4503.

The Akron-based structural steel fabricator 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 216-615-4266.

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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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. 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.


* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF documents.


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