The U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration issued four citations for workplace safety violations at General Aluminum Manufacturing Co. in Conneaut, OH, following a March 23 incident in which a worker suffered a crippling hand injury. The two repeat and two serious violations carry proposed penalties of $218,244, according to OSHA.
The agency allows businesses to 15 business days from the receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHAs area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA terminology identifies “repeat” violations as those about which an employer has been cited within the preceding five years, at any other facility in federal enforcement states. A “serious” violation is one from which death or serious physical harm may result, and about which an employer knew or should have known exists.
The agency noted that since 2013, General Aluminum Mfg. operations have been the site of four other serious workplace injuries resulting from machine safety violations.
General Aluminum Mfg. is an aluminum diecasting manufacturer with five plants in Indiana and Ohio.
In the March incident, a mold-tilting machine crushed a 53-year-old worker's left hand between the center core and bottom plate. The worker now has limited use of the hand, and he has been unable to return to work. OSHA’s inspectors found General Aluminum allowed workers to service the mold table without powering it down or locking out machine parts to prevent workers from coming in contact with gravitational energy from moving machine parts.
The agency stated the company "routinely failed to follow proper procedures to fully power down equipment to prevent sudden movement or starts from gravitational, hydraulic, and electrical energy sources. The injured worker was training a co-worker on procedures when the injury occurred."
According to OSHA, from 2013 to 2015, the company was cited for machine safety violations following injuries at its plant in Wapokaneta, OH, in April 2015, and at Ravenna, OH, in March 2015. Those violations are being contested, the agency noted.
Previously, workplace injuries were reported at Conneaut in September 2013 and Ravenna in August 2013. General Aluminum settled those violations with OSHA.
"General Aluminum has written an unfortunate legacy of failing to protect its workers from machine hazards," stated Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director. "All too often, OSHA finds employers are complacent with machine safety features. Each year hundreds of workers suffer crushing injuries and amputations. The company needs to immediately address its legacy of worker injuries and make immediate improvements to its procedures, training and monitoring of machine safety procedures to ensure they are effective."