The company, a heat-treating facility that processes steel bars and other steel shapes, employs 30 people at its Monaca, Pa., site.
"This employer did not live up to its obligation to keep its equipment in safe working order," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "This administration has set new records for protecting American workers, and this significant $144,250 fine demonstrates how seriously we take health and safety violations."
OSHA, responding to a complaint about improper storage of acid, defective forklifts and unsafe overhead cranes, initiated an inspection in August. The company was cited for three alleged willful violations, with a penalty of $105,000, and 30 alleged serious violations, with a penalty of $39,250.
Willful citations were issued for failure to implement a preventative overhead crane maintenance program based on manufacturer's specifications, failure to make repairs or provide replacements for defective overhead cranes and failure to ensure employees use the proper parts while operating overhead cranes and not position themselves under the loads.
The alleged serious violations include: improper storage of sulfuric acid; defective fork lifts; lack of ventilation; lack of a respirator program, including employee training and fit testing; lack of eye wash/shower facilities near acid operations; use of defective slings; lack of personal protective equipment; lack of employee training in confined space entry procedures for dip tanks and furnaces; and lack of machine guarding.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. Serious violations are those in which a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to comply, to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.