The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $229,500 in fines against Dehler Manufacturing Company Inc. of Chicago for alleged willful, serious and repeat violations of federal workplace safety standards.
As a result of a safety and health inspection, OSHA has cited the company for a willful violation with a proposed penalty of $49,500. The citation addresses the company's alleged failure to protect workers from flying sparks while working in and around welding stations. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
The company also has been issued citations for 14 serious violations with proposed penalties of $47,600. Some of the citations allege that the company failed to provide proper guard protection for rotating parts, failed to provide personal protective equipment such as safety glasses or protective lenses for protection against light radiation and did not properly secure overhead portable spot welding equipment. 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.
Dehler also has received 12 citations for repeat violations with a penalty of $132,400. Some of those alleged violations address aisles and passageways not being kept clear of obstructions; lockout and tagout procedures to prevent accidental energy start-up not being followed or training for those procedures not being provided for all employees; spot welding equipment not being inspected properly and electrical equipment not being maintained properly. OSHA issues a repeat violation when it finds a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other of an employer's facilities in federal enforcement states when an initial one previously was cited.
"Injuries and fatalities from accidents such as electrocution, amputation from improper guard protection and falls are preventable," said Diane Turek, OSHA's area director in Des Plaines, Ill. "Employers must remain dedicated to keeping the workplace safe and healthful or face intense scrutiny by OSHA."
Dehler Manufacturing, a fabricator of steel furniture for schools and private businesses, employs 180 workers, has been inspected five times by OSHA since 2000 and has received numerous citations from these past inspections.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.