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Region 5 News Release: 12-559-CHI
April 5, 2012
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $151,300 in fines to Ohio-based
American Showa for lack of personal protective gear, electrical hazards training

BLANCHESTER, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited American Showa Inc. with 13 safety and health violations – including two willful violations for assigning maintenance personnel to work on energized equipment without personal protective gear and failing to train workers to recognize unsafe electrical work practices. Proposed fines total $151,300.

OSHA initially opened an inspection of the company's automotive parts manufacturing facility in Blanchester on Nov. 6, 2011, under the agency's National Emphasis Program for Amputations, and then expanded it to a joint safety and health inspection to examine the facility's aluminum die-casting operations.

"American Showa is responsible for ensuring that its employees wear personal protective equipment and receive proper training on electrical safety hazards to prevent injuries in its manufacturing plant," said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so."

Specifically, the willful safety violations are failing to train workers on safe electrical working practices for voltage testing and the use of required personal protective equipment. 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.

Seven serious safety violations involve failing to provide adequate machine guarding, ensure that workers locked out all energy sources while making repairs inside robot enclosures, de-energize a robot trim press to perform repairs, replace missing grounding prongs on conductive metal-framed pedestal fans that could have become energized and close unused openings on electrical boxes. 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.

One other-than-serious safety violation is failing to develop adequate and understandable confined space permits. Three other-than-serious health violations involve not labeling spray bottles with the identity of dangerous chemicals and hazard warnings, as well as not mounting portable fire extinguishers. 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.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/americanshowa_107658_107482_032712.pdf*.

Sunbury-based American Showa Inc. has plants in Sunbury and Blanchester, as well as Corona, Calif. 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 Cincinnati Area Office at 513-841-4132.

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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