The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited AP Specialty Metals in Alpharetta, Ga., for 13 safety violations. OSHA began its investigation following the death of an employee in April who was trapped and crushed in a large machine that polishes heavy-gauge steel.
AP Specialty Metals received a willful citation for failing to install machine guards that would prevent employees from being caught up in machinery. OSHA is also issuing a serious violation for failing to develop and implement an energy control program that would protect workers from the unexpected release of energy or start-up of machinery.
"Company management had the experience and knowledge to recognize and correct these hazards before the fatality, but they placed production ahead of worker safety, resulting in this tragedy," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office.
OSHA also issued nine other citations for serious violations including fall hazards, lack of training on use of industrial trucks, two incidents of exposing workers to flying debris, exposure to unguarded chains and sprockets, misuse of compressed air for cleaning, using damaged parts on electrical equipment, using flexible cords as a substitute for fixed wiring and dispensing flammable liquid from a drum that was not grounded.
Two other-than-serious citations were issued against the company for failing to post an annual summary of injuries and illnesses at the facility and not retaining OSHA logs for 2006 and 2007.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. 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. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. Penalties from the citations issued to AP Specialty Metals total $65,900.
AP Specialty Metals has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed 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.