The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued AK Steel Corporation five willful and three other-than-serious citations for failing to record occupational injuries at its Middletown, Ohio, facility. The company, which produces flat-rolled and tubular steel products, is facing proposed penalties of $53,000.
"AK Steel has implemented policies where a portion of its managers' bonus money often involves taking disciplinary action against workers for reporting injuries," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "If accurate records are not compiled because workers believe they will be fired or disciplined for reporting an injury, or supervisors fear they will lose their bonuses if workers report injuries, real safety is not being achieved. Accurate workplace injury and illness records are vital tools for identifying hazards and protecting workers' health and safety."
OSHA has issued AK Steel willful citations for failing to properly record occupational injuries on the OSHA 300 Log for more than three years, from January 2007 through the inspection in April 2010. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
"By not properly recording injuries and creating an environment that discourages employees from reporting occupational hazards, AK Steel has demonstrated a blatant disregard for the safety and welfare of its workers," said OSHA area director Dick Gilgrist of Cincinnati. "OSHA is committed to seeing that the workers at this facility are provided a safe and healthy workplace."
AK Steel also has been issued other-than-serious citations for failing to record cases of occupational noise-induced hearing loss.
AK Steel's facilities have been inspected more than 138 times and have received 496 citations from OSHA since 1972. The company, which is headquartered in West Chester, Ohio, was cited in 2008 for recordkeeping violations at its Coshocton, Ohio, facility. AK Steel also operates facilities in Mansfield and Zanesville, Ohio, as well as Ashland, Ky., Butler, Pa., and Rockport, Ind.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.