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Region 5 News Release: 12-289-CHI
March 6, 2012
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976      312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Falls Stamping and Welding
in Cleveland for workplace violations; proposed penalties exceed $124,000
Company also placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program

CLEVELAND – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Falls Stamping and Welding Co. with a total of 19 — including one willful and three repeat — safety and health violations. OSHA began an inspection after receiving a complaint alleging a failure to lock out and tag out machinery energy sources at the company's Cleveland metal stamping facility, which exposed workers to amputation hazards. Proposed penalties total $124,740.

The willful violation has been cited for failing to ensure workers who lock out machinery, such as mechanical power presses, were trained in lockout and tagout procedures. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The repeat violations include failing to provide machine guarding for equipment including lathes and shears, ensure that hand controls on mechanical power presses were in a fixed position to prevent workers from relocating them and ensure that safety blocks were used when changing the press die. 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. Similar violations were cited at the company's Cuyahoga Falls facility in 2009.

Seven serious safety violations involve failing to develop and document machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures, provide a periodic review of energy control procedures for the mechanical power presses, ensure that guards were in place on the maintenance department grinder, provide safety blocks for workers making adjustments and repairs to a mechanical power press, and ensure that the horizontal band saw's power cable had effective strain relief.

Four serious health violations include failing to perform a required workplace hazard assessment, train workers in the use of portable fire extinguishers, implement a hazard communication training program and evaluate powered industrial truck operators for competency. 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.

Four other-than-serious health violations involve failing to label bottles of oil with their contents and hazard warnings, affix a plate to indicate the load rating for the mezzanine storage level and include a list of hazardous chemicals used in the company's hazard communication program. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

"Failing to train workers in proper lockout and tagout procedures of energy sources in a manufacturing environment places workers at risk of amputations and other serious injuries," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "Employers cited with repeat violations demonstrate a lack of attention to employee safety and health. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."

Due to the willful and repeat violations and the nature of the hazards, OSHA has placed Falls Stamping and Welding Co. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information about the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.

Prior to this inspection, the first of the company's Cleveland location, Falls Stamping and Welding Co.'s Cuyahoga Falls facility had been inspected by OSHA 19 times.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/FallsStampingWelding_106894_0224_12.pdf*.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its most recent 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 materials.


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