The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued 22 citations against AAR Summa Technology for exposing workers to safety and health hazards at its Huntsville, Ala., plant. Proposed penalties total $191,500.

"Management needs to show a commitment to worker safety and health consistent with this company's ranking as one of the top defense contractors in the world," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham, Ala.

OSHA began its inspection in February after receiving a complaint about hazards at the facility, which produces military aircraft parts. Two willful safety violations were issued for failing to provide proper lockout/tagout procedures of energy sources for workers performing maintenance and service functions on machinery, and for failing to provide protective machine guards on equipment. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Sixteen serious safety violations were issued for failing to repair or replace hooks used to lift and hold shop fabricated lifting devices, allowing materials to obstruct the exit pathways, failing to properly maintain machinery, exposing workers to electrical hazards, failing to train workers on hazards associated with aluminum dust, and using excessively pressurized compressed air to clean off parts.

Three serious health violations were issued for exposing workers to noise hazards, failing to perform audiometric tests on employees and failing to train workers on hazards related to noise. 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.

A repeat health violation was issued for failing to provide a site-specific written respiratory protection program. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last three years.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.