MIOSHA issues $690,500 in Fines to Royal Oak Firm

The failure of a Royal Oak, Mich., company to correct a range of workplace safety hazards and comply with commitments to improve overall safety and health for employees has resulted in proposed Michigan Occupational Safety and Health (MIOSHA) fines more than six times the amount of the original fine.

"Veltri Products has been given ample opportunity to correct serious hazards which are endangering their employees. Their refusal to protect their workers will not be tolerated," said David C. Hollister, director of the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services (CIS). "We are putting Veltri Products on notice that they must fulfill their obligations under the MIOSHA Act and provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees."

MIOSHA program issued fail to abate notices with penalties of $268,800 to Veltri Metal Products after a follow-up investigation conducted in 2002. Despite a formal settlement agreement from an inspection conducted in 2000, the follow-up inspection found that the firm refused to abate hazards identified in the earlier inspection.

Specifically, the company failed to plan for and protect employees during confined space entry, failed to ensure adequate procedures for mechanical power presses, and failed to conduct inspections of its energy control (lockout) procedures.

In addition, during the follow-up inspection, new violations were noted including: three willful violations for inadequately guarding mechanical power presses; two serious violations for lack of fall protection for employees working on top of mechanical power presses and lack of training for maintenance personnel; and eight repeat-serious violations for previously cited items including housekeeping, conveyor and shear guarding, personal protective equipment, exposed live electrical parts, lack of enforcing or providing adequate training for machine lockout, and inadequate employee right-to-know training. These additional violations carry proposed penalties of $325,200.

Finally, the firm failed to comply with provisions of the formal settlement agreement to resolve the 2000 inspection. The agreement called on Veltri to improve overall safety and health for employees by working to strengthen lockout procedures and training, mechanical power press safety, and confined space training. The agreement included a reduction in the initial assessed penalty of $96,500. The reduction was revoked due to noncompliance with the terms of the agreement.

The fail to abate notices ($268,800), new violations ($325,200) and the additional penalty from the settlement recision ($96,500), add up to a total penalty of $690,500. If Veltri Metal Products had fulfilled their abatement obligations under the settlement agreement, their total penalty would be $104,500. Because of their refusal to protect their workers, the company faces an additional penalty of $690,500.

MIOSHA set up a payment plan for the original $104,500 penalty, of two payments of $52,250. The first payment was due March 10, 2002, and was paid by the company. The second payment is due March 10, 2003.

Veltri Metal Products Inc., formerly known as Hawthorne Production Stamping, produces automotive metal stampings with 240 employees at the Royal Oak location.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and notices to comply or contest the violations and penalties.

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