The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $114,600 in fines against O.S. Kelly Company in Springfield, Ohio, for alleged serious, repeat and failure-to-abate violations of federal workplace safety standards.

OSHA selected O.S. Kelly for inspection as a follow-up to a February 2007 inspection that resulted in citations for overexposing employees to silica. The company manufactures and refurbishes piano plates for Steinway & Sons. As a result of OSHA's follow-up inspection, opened in January 2008, the federal agency issued citations alleging three serious violations with proposed penalties of $5,400, three repeat violations with proposed penalties totaling $19,200 and one citation for failure-to-abate with penalties totaling $90,000.

The serious violations address hazards associated with confined space entry and personal protective equipment. Repeat violations address problems with respirator fit testing and employee overexposure to crystalline silica during cut-off operations. The failure-to-abate violation addresses employee overexposure to silica during the grinding of piano plates.

"This industry is historically well acquainted with the threat that overexposure to silica poses to the health and lives of employees," said Richard Gilgrist, director of OSHA's area office in Cincinnati. "Employers must remain dedicated to keeping the workplace safe and healthful, or face close scrutiny by this agency, including the good chance that we can and do re-inspect businesses to confirm compliance with OSHA standards."

OSHA has inspected O.S. Kelly 22 times since 1973 with multiple serious and repeat citations issued. A 2005 inspection also found silica overexposures, as well as a number of other safety and health violations.