The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $182,500 in penalties for four safety violations found at Sloss Industries Fiber Division's manufacturing plant in Birmingham, Ala.

OSHA is proposing a $150,000 fine for the company's failure to perform required annual inspections of its lockout/tagout procedures, which are intended to prevent unintended machine startup. Following an OSHA inspection in 2005, the company had agreed to conduct annual inspections to assure that the procedures were being correctly followed. The agency's inspection in March 2008 revealed that the company was not conducting the required inspections.

The company is receiving a $25,000 penalty for allegedly failing to establish lockout/tagout procedures for all of its machinery and equipment at the plant. OSHA inspectors found that the company had instituted lockout/tagout procedures on less than half of its machinery. Two other serious safety violations, with $7,500 in penalties, are being proposed against the company for exposing employees to electrical hazards.

"After agreeing to correct problems found during our previous inspection, management's admitted failure to make those changes seriously jeopardizes the safety and health of the people working in their plant," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham.

Sloss Industries, which operates the world's largest slag wool plant, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest the violations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.