The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited John J. Steuby Co., located in St. Louis, for more than 50 alleged safety and health violations, and proposed penalties totaling $788,000.
John J. Steuby Co. manufactures machined metal products for the automotive, appliance, bearing, ordinance, hydraulic, plumbing hardware and commercial-fittings industries.
"Worker safety should be a top priority for every employer," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The department will take serious actions to protect workers' health and safety at the workplace."
The company received 12 willful, 37 serious, one repeat and three other-than-serious citations for alleged violations observed during an inspection of the Steuby plant that began on July 13, 2005, in response to an employee complaint. Many of the willful violations related to hazards caused by machine operation. During the inspection, OSHA discovered there had been numerous serious machine operation injuries, including seven finger amputations.
OSHA issued separate willful citations for each hazardous screw machine under its instance-by-instance citation policy because the employer did not address machine guarding issues despite its history of injuries, as well as warnings from workers' compensation carriers about the unsafe conditions of the machines. Numerous hazardous grinders were also cited in another willful citation. The company also received a willful citation for failing to perform lockout/tagout to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance or repair. The OSHA inspector observed workers servicing machinery by putting their arms into the equipment without locking or tagging out the power source.
A willful citation was also issued for allowing cooling oil and water to build up on the floors, creating slippery conditions where employees walked by unguarded, operating machinery and where employees drove forklifts. The remaining willful citations related to failing to provide audiometric testing; the inappropriate use of high pressure air for cleaning; and for failing to train employees in lockout/tagout application, the safe operation of powered industrial trucks, and chemical hazards.
OSHA has inspected the company 10 times since 1993 in response to employee complaints or referrals, or as part of its plan for inspecting potentially hazardous work places. Eight of those inspections resulted in citations for a total of 42 serious, repeat and other-than-serious violations. Previous citations addressed hazards associated with lack of machine guarding, failure to use lockout/tagout, hearing conservation program deficiencies, lack of powered industrial truck training, and other hazards found again during this inspection.