The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $138,200 in fines against Florand Company in Youngstown, Ohio, for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety and health standards.

OSHA opened an inspection at Florand's Youngstown manufacturing plant in January after receiving information that safety guards had been removed from stamping presses. Among the items the company manufactures are strapping seals and tools and metal stampings.

The investigation resulted in citations issued to the Florand Co. alleging six willful, 12 serious and five repeat violations of federal workplace safety and health regulations. The alleged serious violations include an insufficient program to lock out machinery during maintenance; lack of safety guards on various machines; deficiencies with mechanical power presses; several electrical hazards; and an improperly secured liquefied petroleum (LP) gas container.

OSHA issues a serious citation 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.

Violations are categorized as willful where there was either an intentional disregard or plain indifference to employee safety or OSHA regulations. Alleged willful violations include employee exposure to the potential unexpected start-up of machines or equipment (failure to lock out), 21 mechanical power presses that were not properly safeguarded, and failure to inspect and conduct repairs to machines as necessary.

Violations are categorized as a repeat if the employer has been cited previously for the same condition. Alleged repeat violations include the failure to train employees on the use of fire extinguishers, failure to guard drive belts and pulleys, electrical hazards and not maintaining a written hazard-communication program for employees.

"Several of these violations were revealed during a previous inspection, but this employer failed to maintain a safe workplace," said OSHA area director Rob Medlock of Cleveland. "When employers shirk their responsibility to keep the workplace free of such hazards, the results can be tragic for workers and their families."