The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $218,200 in fines against steel frame furniture manufacturer Dehler Manufacturing Co. Inc. following an inspection at the company's Chicago facility.

OSHA opened a follow-up inspection at Dehler after the company failed to show it had corrected safety violations involving power press brakes and mechanical power presses identified in a February 2005 inspection.

The most recent inspection, opened August 2005, found continuing problems with power presses and resulted in one serious, three willful and five repeat citations for violation of safety and health standards. Alleged serious and willful violations involved lack of guarding on mechanical power presses and power press brakes to prevent employees from exposure to amputations or crushing; failing to conduct safety inspections on the machines, and not incorporating the correct type of drive motor starter in mechanical power press controls.

Repeat violations, based on several earlier citations issued to the company, involved inadequate employee training; failure to develop and utilize hazardous energy isolation procedures for mechanical power presses; lack of periodic inspection of resistance welders, and other issues threatening the safety of workers operating mechanical power presses.

"Any one of these violations has the potential to cause serious harm, even death, to workers," said OSHA area director Diane Turek, Des Plaines, Ill. "Amputations, crushed hands and fingers, are far too often the tragic consequence of operating mechanical power presses when employers shirk their responsibility to keep the workplace safe."

OSHA has conducted five inspections at Dehler over the past five years, issuing citations for violations of workplace safety and health regulations in each case.