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International Bridge & Iron Company, a manufacturer of structural steel bridge parts, faces a total of $225,500 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for new and recurring safety hazards at its Newington, Conn., manufacturing plant.
OSHA opened an inspection in February in response to a complaint and found several hazards similar to those cited in a 2007 OSHA inspection. These included unguarded stairs; lack of eye protection; incomplete and uncertified employee training to prevent the unintended startup of machinery during maintenance; cranes lacking bridge bumpers; unguarded moving machine parts; uninspected ropes and lifting hooks; slings not marked with their lifting capacity; unguarded grinders and pulleys; and ungrounded, uninspected or damaged electrical equipment or wiring.
These conditions resulted in the issuance of 17 repeat citations, carrying $150,000 in proposed fines. OSHA issues repeat citations when an employer has previously been cited for substantially similar hazards and those citations have become final.
"The sizable fines proposed here reflect both the breadth of hazards found in this workplace and this employer's failure to prevent the recurrence of hazardous conditions that can, if left unaddressed, lead to falls, lacerations, electrocution and crushing injuries," said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director in Hartford.
An additional $75,500 in fines have been proposed for 16 serious citations encompassing uninspected overhead cranes; uninspected lifting hooks; defective and unmarked lifting slings; unguarded live electrical parts; damaged electrode holders and insulation; incorrectly stored compressed gas cylinders; unmarked and unchecked fire extinguishers; and slipping hazards from an oil spill in a work area. 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 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the items before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.