The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Davis Wire Pueblo LLC in Pueblo, Colo., for alleged willful and serious violations of safety and health standards. With proposed penalties totaling $287,500, the firm is contesting the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The comprehensive investigation began April 3 as part of OSHA's Site Specific Targeting (SST) program and resulted in the issuance of $245,000 in proposed penalties for five willful violations and $42,500 for 17 serious violations.

"Employers must provide a safe and healthful working environment and ensure that all employees are protected from hazardous conditions," said John Healy, OSHA area office director in Englewood, Colo. "This employer is well aware of the standards that will protect workers from the hazards we found during our inspection, yet did not comply with them."

The alleged willful violations address inadequate point of operation machine guarding, unguarded flywheels, unguarded belts and pulleys, unguarded gears, and unguarded chains and sprockets. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirement of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

The alleged serious safety violations address the improper use of ladders, unguarded open-sided floors, improper disposal of combustible waste; unguarded rotating parts, fan blades and grinders, unguarded live electrical parts; and improper use of compressed air used for cleaning purposes.

Alleged serious health violations include failure to enforce the use of required hearing protection; improper respirator use; overexposure to airborne lead; inadequate respirator training; failure to mark permit-required confined spaces; lack of eye wash stations; and deficiencies in the implementation of the required lead program. Serious violations occur when there is probability of death or serious physical harm and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.