The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $150,700 in fines against Kate Corporation of Berea, Ohio, for two willful and 21 serious alleged violations of federal workplace safety standards.

OSHA opened an investigation in December 2006 following the amputation of an assembly employee's thumb and discovered numerous alleged safety violations at the plant where metal stamping, fabricated metal products and welded assemblies are manufactured.

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

OSHA issued citations for two willful violations with proposed penalties of $112,000 for alleged failure to provide point of operation guarding to the side and back sections of 18 mechanical power presses, and for not providing brake monitoring and control reliability for 15 mechanical presses where the operation required operators to do hand-in die feeding.

OSHA also issued citations for 21 serious violations with proposed penalties of $38,700 for a variety of violations. In addition to storing oxygen and acetylene gas cylinders together, issues covered in these citations include failure to fully enclose or guard band saws used to cut metal products; to provide appropriate machine guarding for press brakes, lathe machines, rivet machines, belts and pulleys, a metal shear and a pipe bender; and to provide training, communication and certification on the energy control program for affected employees.

Kate Corporation is a supplier to a large range of businesses dealing with military vehicles, golf carts, commercial lighting and numerous other products, and employs 60 permanent workers. On three previous occasions, OSHA inspected this company under the name J.B. Medias Manufacturing Company and issued, as a result, 18 serious, one repeat, five other-than-serious and one failure-to-abate violations.