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Workers Repeatedly Exposed to Hazards at 100-Year-Old Steel Plant

Aug. 10, 2015
Republic Steel continues to expose workers to fall and chemical hazards, OSHA said.

Despite investments in safety, Republic Steel still is exposing workers to serious fall and chemical hazards at its century-old steel mill in Lorain, Ohio, OSHA said.

In a 2014 corporate settlement with OSHA, Republic Steel agreed to fix earlier health and safety violations. Yet the company on Aug. 7, 2015 received three repeated and eight serious safety violations from OSHA and fines of $162,400.

OSHA inspected the plant in both February and April of this year after receiving complaints.

"Republic Steel has made a significant investment in workplace safety and health programs. The company must remain vigilant and protect workers from hazards while it updates equipment, trains workers and instills a culture of safety in its mills," said Kimberly Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "Steel manufacturing is a high-hazard industry. OSHA will continue to monitor worker safety and health at this and other facilities."

The citations come just weeks after Republic Steel announced it would temporarily lay off 125 workers at the plant as a result of a decline in the energy market.

In 2010 and 2014, OSHA issued three repeat violations at Republic Steel facilities in Lorain, Canton and Massillon for: exposing workers to falls of about 20 feet while removing slag and debris in the billet caster where molten steel converts to a solid; not marking lifting devices with rated weight capacity for loads; and improperly labeling a hydrochloric acid dip tank for chemical hazards.

The serious violations identified at that time were for: exposing workers to molten metal hazards; not providing an emergency eyewash station; not requiring workers exposed to hydrochloric acid splash hazards to use protective equipment; and violating respiratory protection standards.

Republic Steel is a supplier of special bar quality steel, a highly-engineered product used in axles, drive trains, suspensions and other critical vehicle components and industrial equipment.

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