The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Republic Engineered Products Inc., a steel manufacturing company in Lorain, Ohio, with one alleged willful, four repeat and eight serious safety violations for exposing its workers to fall hazards, failing to provide protective equipment and failing to maintain equipment at its Lorain facility. The company faces penalties totaling $143,000.

"Steel mills are very dangerous working environments, and Republic Engineered Products Inc. has repeatedly demonstrated a blatant disregard for its employees' safety by continually failing to provide fall protection in the plant," said OSHA area director Jule Hovi in Toledo, Ohio. "Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in the workplace, and failing to correct these issues is not acceptable. OSHA is committed to seeing that the workers at this facility are provided a safe and healthy workplace."

As a result of a May inspection by OSHA, the company was issued one willful citation with a proposed fine of $70,000 for exposing workers to fall hazards when changing out blades and removing debris from overhead saws. 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.

The company also was issued four repeat violations with fines of $47,500 for not having functioning safety latches on hoist hooks, using cranes and hook lifting devices that were not marked with their rated capacity and failing to maintain dry floors in front of electrical panels. OSHA issues a repeat citation if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility within the last five years.

Republic Engineered Products Inc. received eight serious citations with proposed penalties of $25,500. Alleged violations include operating overhead cranes without functioning brakes, operating a malfunctioning hoist controller, using damaged voltage testing equipment and extension cords, and failing to provide insulated gloves and electrical protective equipment. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

The company's Lorain location, which employs about 250 people, has been inspected 25 times and received 59 safety violations since 1999.

Republic Engineered Products Inc., which is headquartered in Canton, Ohio, also operates manufacturing facilities in Canton and Massillon, Ohio, as well as Blasdell, N.Y.; Gary, Ind.; and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It employs more than 1,000 workers company-wide and its facilities have been inspected a combined 52 times since 1999, resulting in 139 total violations.

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.