According to OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels, OSHA and its state partners only have enough compliance officers to inspect each U.S. workplace – on average – once every 100 years. Therefore, you know there are red flags when the agency has inspected a company 14 previous times since 1999, resulting in the 56 cited violations.
The most recent OSHA inspection at Reliable Castings Corp. has determined that workers were being exposed to struck-by, crushing and amputation hazards at the Sidney, Ohio, aluminum die castings manufacturing facility. Several of the safety and health violations issued by the agency were for willful or repeat violations. In all, the company was cited by OSHA for 14 safety and health violations, carrying proposed penalties of $293,700.
“OSHA’s inspectors found a facility with multiple hazards and where safety was continually compromised,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “Reliable Castings Corp. has a responsibility to train its workers and to implement all required safety procedures.”
A repeat violation was issued for failing to de-energize an industrial robot and implement lockout/tag out procedures prior to performing servicing and maintenance work on the equipment. 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. A similar violation was cited in April at the same facility.
OSHA issued four willful violations for failing to: develop lockout procedures for servicing and changing molds on various production cells, prevent exposure to molten aluminum splash hazards from the melting furnace, inspect chains on a daily basis and prevent use of an unapproved work platform to lift workers with the fork truck. A willful violation is committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Eight serious violations were issued, involving failing to: install guardrails near ovens and floor openings to prevent fall hazards, perform protective equipment assessments, require the use of face shields and hard hats, ensure adequate guarding on 21 machines in the foundry areas, provide lockout procedures, ensure use of an electrical cabinet is protected from water, label lifting devices with load capacities and provide safety data sheets to workers. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known existed.
Reliable Castings Corp. also was cited for two other-than-serious violations for failing to have a hazard assessment certification and no load rating sign above a storage area. 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.
Due to the nature and severity of violations, the company has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA’s SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.
Reliable Castings Corp. is based in Sidney, Ohio, and employs about 140 workers at that facility and about 130 workers at its Cincinnati location. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with Nelson or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.