OSHA Proposes Fines at Ohio BeCu Foundry

Semco faces penalty for workplace safety and health violations

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Marion, OH’s Semco Inc. for willful and serious workplace safety and health violations. The agency has proposed fines totaling $169,200 against the company.

Semco Inc. is a beryllium copper foundry that manufactures plunger tips, ranging from 1 to 8 in. diameter.

OSHA inspected the plant in October 2007 to determine if Semco had corrected safety hazards discovered during a 2005 inspection. Also, according to OSHA, inspectors wanted to ensure that no other hazards existed. Among other problems, the inspectors discovered that Semco “remained in violation of beryllium over-exposure. Specifically, OSHA has alleged three willful and 21 alleged serious violations of OSHA standards.”

The agency says it conducted four inspections at Semco since 2003, and has cited the company for 11 serious and two repeat violations of OSHA standard during those inspections.

In the new citations, “willfull” violations include over-exposure of employees to beryllium; failing to require that employees be clean-shaven when respirators are required; and a lack of engineering controls and personal protective equipment in place near molten metal furnace and pouring operations.

The “serious” violations involve employee exposure to beryllium; lack of, or inadequate, personal protective equipment; electrical hazards and lockout/tagout violations for processes that would prevent accidental start-up of machinery during maintenance.

"It's disappointing when we find on re-inspection that problems which may lead to death or serious injury still exist," said Jule Hovi, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "There is no excuse for this kind of attitude toward the health and safety of employees."

TAGS: Testing/QC
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