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Aluminum Foundry Faces $1.67M OSHA Fine

Sept. 28, 2021
Inspectors cited General Aluminum Mfg. with 38 violations of health and safety regulations after a fatal accident at the Ohio producer of automotive castings.

General Aluminum Mfg. Co., an automotive aluminum castings manufacturer, is facing charges for 38 alleged violations of workplace health and safety regulations by the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The charges may bring penalties totaling $1.67 million, according to an OSHA statement.

In an incident on March 30, a 43-year-old worker was loading a part into a machine when he was struck by a barrier door and killed. While the barrier door is meant to protect workers, a malfunction in the door’s optic control that existed previous to the accident was found to be the cause.

General Aluminum Mfg. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties notification to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The OSHA investigation identified problems with machine guarding and a lack of lockout/tagout throughout the plant, and it contends that General Aluminum knew of these problems and failed to address them effectively.

Also, the agency maintains the company lacked effective process safety management procedures and failed to protect employees from burn and explosion hazards, provide personnel with appropriate protective equipment, train workers adequately about hazards and safety procedures, record employee training and develop emergency action plans.

OSHA issued four repeat, 18 willful and 16 serious safety and health violations and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program following the fatality inspection, and two others opened as a result of employee complaints to inspectors.

OSHA terminology identifies “willful” violations as those committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with indifference to worker safety and health. 

“Repeat” violations are 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.

General Aluminum Mfg. is a Park Ohio Holdings Corp. subsidiary, with 220 employees at the Ravenna/Rootstown location. It has other plants at Conneaut and Wapakoneta, OH, and Freemont and Huntington, IN.

The agency reported that General Aluminum management previously signed formal settlement agreements to resolve OSHA citations for machine-guarding and lockout/tagout violations found during inspections conducted between 2015 and 2017; and that it hired a third-party consultant to conduct comprehensive machine-guarding and lockout/tagout audits between 2017 and 2019. The audits identified specific machine-guarding and lockout/tagout program deficiencies and provided recommendations that the company failed to fully implement.

“General Aluminum's failure to learn from recent incidents and follow industry standards and their own company policies created unnecessary and avoidable hazards in its facility,” stated acting assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick. “A worker lost his life because the company put the value of production speed before the safety of their employees. OSHA will continue to hold bad actors accountable and emphasize the importance of complying with safety and health requirements that can save lives.”