A Sinking Spring, Pa., company's failure to adequately protect workers has resulted in a proposed penalty of $114,300 from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Hoffman Industries is a union shop that manufactures steel tubing and produces fabricated zinc plated and powder coated tubing components for various markets.

OSHA initiated its inspection on June 22, 2006 under the agency's "Site Specific Targeting" (SST) program. SST is one of the tools OSHA uses to target industries with high injury and illness rates.

According to Robert Fink, OSHA's area office director in Harrisburg, Pa., the company received 31 serious citations and three other-than serious citations. "Each of these violations contributed to a potentially dangerous work environment for Hoffman Industries' employees," Fink said.

The alleged serious violations involved hazards associated with spray finishing using combustible powder coatings; confined spaces and lockout/tag out procedures; powered industrial trucks; failure by the company to provide machine guarding; inadequate housekeeping; electrical hazards; walking and working surfaces; failure to provide exit routes; improper storage of compressed gas cylinders; and failure to provide employees with personal protective equipment. Proposed penalties for these violations total $111,600.

A serious citation is issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious injury could occur from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The alleged other-than serious violations address the company's failure to record approximately 20 occupational hearing losses on "OSHA- 300" logs in 2004 and 2005; failure to utilize standardized lockout and tag out devices within the facility; and failure to certify periodic inspections of energy control procedures. Proposed penalties associated with these citations total $2,700.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by the OSHA area office in Harrisburg, Pa.