The SST program focuses agency enforcement efforts on workplaces where injury and illness data show workers to be at higher risk of exposure to safety and health hazards. During the comprehensive OSHA inspection, which began Jan. 22, inspectors observed over 15 safety and health hazards at the Rincon plant, which forms turbine blades from steel rods. OSHA proposed $41,650 in penalties.
"Preventing workers' injuries, illnesses and deaths is our goal," said John Deifer, OSHA's Savannah area director. "This program gets us to work sites where injury and illness rates are high."
Deifer added that data alone cannot predict that an accident will occur, so a percentage of employers with low rates are also scheduled for an inspection.
The company was cited for 12 alleged serious violations, with proposed penalties of $22,950. Included in the citations were the lack of: a lockout/tagout program that renders machinery inoperable during maintenance or repair; eye wash stations and showers for employees working with corrosive chemicals; audiometric testing and training for employees working in areas with noise above the permissible levels; and properly guarded machinery parts.
OSHA also issued three alleged repeat violations, with proposed penalties of $17,700, for an improperly positioned work rest on a bench grinder, which also lacked a guard; exposing employees to flying debris; and failure to close electrical panel box openings, called "knockouts." The agency issued an additional $1,000 proposed penalty for failing to maintain an accurate injury and illness log.
The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.