The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations for two serious and two repeat violations in connection to an accident in April at Columbus Castings Co., an Ohio steel foundry. The agency is proposing penalties totaling total $89,500.
The company has not commented on the matter. OSHA provides companies 15 business days from receipt of citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
According to OSHA, on April 22 a Columbus Castings worker suffered a broken back, a collapsed lung and partial paralysis of his left leg after becoming pinned in a machine at the steel foundry there. As defined by OSHA, a “serious” violation refers to a hazard, violation or condition that presents “a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result.”
OSHA's interpretation of a “repeat” violation is one that is substantially similar to at least one prior violation by the same employer.
The agency reported Columbus Castings has been cited 11 times in the past 10 years for exposing workers to workplace hazards, including one incident in 2010 when an inspection discovered inadequate machine guards at the site. A similar citation in the recent event resulted in the “repeat violation.”
OSHA area director Deborah Zubaty stated: "This worker suffered life-altering injuries because Columbus Castings failed to implement basic safety procedures. Workers in this plant operate heavy industrial machinery that can produce castings weighing up to 70,000 pounds, and they deserve protection."
OSHA contends its investigation found that during maintenance on equipment hydraulics, Columbus Castings failed to lockout equipment used by the employee, which resulted in two serious safety violations.