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OSHA Cites Kenton Iron Products

July 19, 2010
Ohio foundry faces penalties for 29 safety/health violations
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Ohio’s Kenton Iron Products LLC for 29 alleged serious, willful, and repeat safety and health violations at its foundry in Kenton, OH, following an inspection in January. The violations may carry penalties totaling $214,500 for unsafe working conditions. The company was given 15 business days from its receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Kenton Iron Products operates two foundries in Kenton, OH, a green sand plant and a no-bake operation. It produces castings in gray, ductile, and white iron, as well as Ni-hard alloys, for agricultural markets, heavy industrial equipment components, and compressor, blower, pump, and crane parts, among various others. According to OSHA, Kenton has been inspected 10 times since 1981 and has received 49 previous citations. Following the January inspection, OSHA issued three citations for alleged willful violations that carry penalties of $156,000. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health. These citations concern failure to ensure that some equipment was de-energized and shut down properly, with lockout/tagout procedures in place, before workers conducted maintenance on the equipment to prevent accidental start-up of machinery. Twenty-two serious citations were issued too, with proposed penalties of $50,700. A serious violation is one that may lead to death or serious physical harm, which an employer knew or should have known, exists. These citations include excess amounts of flammable liquids stored in a fire area; lack of or improper capacity labeling on equipment; malfunctioning back-up alarms and hydraulic leaks on equipment; failure to have and enforce electrical lockout/tagout procedures; lack of employee fall protections; lack of proper personal protective gear for workers, and unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals. OSHA also issued $7,800 in proposed fines for three repeat violations at Kenton. Repeat violations are any ones that an employer has been cited for previously, or for a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last three years. Kenton’s citations for repeat violations include failing to provide proper grounding and bonding of flammable liquids; failing to provide safety latches on material handling hooks; and using compressed air over the 30 pounds-per-square-inch limit. Kenton Iron Products also received one other-than-serious citation for using damaged electrical testing equipment. OSHA issues other-than-serious citations when the violation would not directly cause a death or serious physical harm, but would affect the safety and health of employees. "There is no excuse for a company to disregard the safety and welfare of its workers by not following OSHA safety standards," stated Jule Hovi, OSHA area director in Toledo, OH. "Those who ignore safe practices and OSHA regulations are inviting tragedy into the lives of their workers."