OSHA Cites Ohio Steelmaker Following Fatality

July 14, 2005

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Republic Engineering Products, Inc., Lorain, Ohio, for alleged willful, serious and repeated workplace safety violations following the agency’s investigation of a Jan. 27, 2005 fatality.

“Strong enforcement is a key element in reducing workplace injuries and illnesses,” said OSHA Area Director Jule Jones, Toledo. “The significant penalty of $98,500 in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers.”

OSHA issued citations for one alleged willful violation, two serious and one repeat violation of workplace health and safety standards primarily involving a lack of machine guarding and failure to protect workers from loads suspended overhead. In the Jan. 27 incident that led to the OSHA investigation, a worker who was attempting to rig several bundled bars to an overhead crane was struck by two of the nearly 500-pound bars, when they were unexpectedly ejected from a conveyor adjacent to the work area.

Republic has been the subject of four previous inspections since January 2004, including one that resulted in nine citations for violations of OSHA standards. Among items cited in the earlier inspection were several related to machine guarding.

Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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