December 27, 2006 — The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing fines totaling $253,350 for St. Marys Foundry Inc., St. Marys, OH, as a penalty for 31 alleged serious violations of workplace safety and health standards, according to a release by the U.S. Dept. of Labor agency. The violations, including three that are characterized as willful violations and two as other-than-serious violations of OSHA standards, are the result of safety and health inspections at the foundry on June 28, 2006. These inspections were the result of St. Marys Foundry being placed on OSHA's site specific target inspection list because of high injury rates and Ohio's Primary Metals Industry Local Emphasis Program.
St. Marys Foundry has been inspected by OSHA four other times since 1994 and received 14 citations.
The "willful" violations that OSHA cites were issued because St. Marys Foundry allegedly failed to ensure employees wore respiratory protection, leaving them exposed to silica dust at up to 2,109% of the OSHA-permissible exposure limits; failing to enforce the required hearing protection program; and allowing workers to use compressed air pressure higher than what is allowed by regulation. The fines proposed for these charges total $168,000.
OSHA's "serious" citations against St. Marys were issued because workers there were found to lack personal protective equipment; the operation lacks a medical-surveillance program, and the plant was found to lack of proper guardrails around casting pits, casting operations and molds; and for other violations. These violations carry proposed fines totaling $84,350.
The two citations labeld "other-than-serious" citations concern St. Mary's failure to label confined spaces that require permits for access, and failure to record silicosis cases on the "OSHA 300" log (which records work-related injuries and illnesses.) The penalties proposed for these total $1,000.
According to OSHA's area director, Jule Hove, "Any one of these violations has the potential to cause serious harm or death to workers."
Per OSHA regulations, St. Marys Foundry has 15 working days from the date of the citations to contest the citations and the proposed penalties.