The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $105,700 in fines against Barberton Steel Industries Inc., of Barberton, Ohio, for alleged multiple serious, repeat and willful violations of federal workplace safety standards.

OSHA opened an investigation after receiving information concerning an electrical explosion that occurred at the facility in November 2006. OSHA issued one willful citation with proposed penalties of $49,000, alleging that the company failed to establish or implement a program designed to protect employees who service or maintain equipment for unexpected energization, start up or release of stored energy. The agency issued citations for 26 serious violations with proposed penalties of $44,100 covering a variety of issues including fall protection, improper handling of LP gas cylinders, overhead crane and powered industrial truck use, electrical issues, and failing to keep standing water from the core room floor.

Repeat violations, based on citations issued in 2004 and alleged by the company to have been corrected, covered a discharged fire extinguisher, illegible control labels for two overhead cranes, and employee training deficiencies. Proposed penalties for repeat violations total $11,400, and an additional $1,200 in penalties is proposed for five other-than-serious violations.

"Foundries are potentially dangerous workplaces," said Rob Medlock, director of OSHA's area office in Cleveland. "Employers must remain dedicated to keeping the workplace safe and healthful, or face close scrutiny by this agency."

 

Barberton Steel Industries manufactures bronze bushings, and a variety of metal and alloy castings.

OSHA has conducted inspections at the Barberton facility multiple times since 1991 with citations covering many of the same issues including electrical and overhead crane hazards. In February 2003, a fatality inspection was initiated when the company vice president was electrocuted while investigating a power outage in an electrical distribution substation.