Employee Complaint Leads to 12 Willful Citations, $788,000 in OSHA Fines

Jan. 13, 2006
OSHA cited John J. Steuby Co. of St. Louis for more than 50 alleged safety and health violations, proposing penalties totaling $788,000.

After a July 13 inspection generated by an employee complaint, OSHA issued 12 willful, 37 serious, one repeat and three other-than-serious citations for alleged violations observed during the inspection of the Steuby Co. plant.

Many of the alleged willful violations related to hazards caused by machine operation.

During the inspection, OSHA says it discovered there had been numerous serious machine operation injuries, including seven finger amputations.

OSHA issued separate willful citations for each hazardous screw machine under its instance-by-instance citation policy because the employer allegedly did not address machine guarding issues despite its history of injuries. In addition, the company received warnings from workers' compensation carriers about the unsafe conditions of the machines.

Numerous hazardous grinders were cited in another willful citation.

The company also received a willful citation for failing to perform lockout/tagout to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance or repair. The OSHA inspector observed workers servicing machinery by putting their arms into the equipment without locking or tagging out the power source.

Company Allegedly Allowed Slippery Conditions

A willful citation also was issued for allegedly allowing cooling oil and water to build up on the floors, creating slippery conditions where employees walked by unguarded, operating machinery and where employees drove forklifts.

The remaining willful citations related to alleged:

  • Failure to provide audiometric testing;
  • Inappropriate use of high-pressure air for cleaning; and
  • Failure to train employees in lockout/tagout application, the safe operation of powered industrial trucks and chemical hazards.

John J. Steuby Co. manufactures machined metal products for the automotive, appliance, bearing, ordinance, hydraulic, plumbing hardware and commercial-fittings industries.

OSHA Has Inspected Company 10 Times Since 1993

OSHA has inspected the John J. Steuby Co. 10 times since 1993 in response to employee complaints or referrals, or as part of its plan for inspecting potentially hazardous work places.

Eight of those inspections resulted in citations for a total of 42 serious, repeat and other-than-serious violations. Previous citations addressed hazards associated with lack of machine guarding, failure to use lockout/tagout, hearing conservation program deficiencies, lack of powered industrial truck training and other hazards found again during this inspection, according to OSHA.

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