A Buffalo, N.Y., metal fabrication shop faces an additional $75,000 in penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for failing to fully correct hazards cited during a prior OSHA inspection.
In May, OSHA cited ATECH-S.E.H. Metal Fabricators Inc. for serious violations of safety standards after two employees at the company's 103 Norris Street plant lost parts of their fingers when a mechanical power press they were setting up for operation unexpectedly activated.
OSHA found that the power press had not been de-energized and physically locked out as required under OSHA's hazardous energy control, or lockout/tagout, standard and that the employees had not been adequately trained in lockout/tagout procedures. ATECH-S.E.H. subsequently paid $6,000 in penalties and agreed to correct all cited hazards.
However, a follow-up inspection by OSHA to verify compliance determined that unsatisfactory corrective action had been taken. OSHA found that the lockout/tagout training was incomplete and lockout/tagout procedures were not followed, including one instance in which another employee was injured by the unexpected startup of a power press. As a result, OSHA issued the company two failure to abate notices, which carry $75,000 in new penalties.
"The sizable penalty proposed in this case reflects both the severity and recurrence of these hazards, and the employer's failure to properly correct them," said Arthur Dube. OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "Partial measures don't get the job done. Proper lockout/tagout training and procedures must be implemented and maintained completely, effectively and continuously to safeguard employees against possible injuries."
"In addition, one means of maintaining a safe workplace is to establish a safety and health management system through which employers and employees work together in a systematic and effective manner to evaluate, identify and eliminate hazardous conditions before they cause injury or illness," said Dube.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its failure to abate notices to meet with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.