The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $155,585 in fines against Signature Aluminum Inc. for alleged safety and health violations. The Greenville, Pa., aluminum manufacturing facility employs 300 people.

OSHA initiated its investigation March 21 in response to a complaint that employees were being exposed to machine hazards. The investigation resulted in citations for two willful violations with a penalty of $112,500; 26 serious violations with a penalty of $43,085; and three other-than-serious violations which carried no penalty.

"Without proper energy controls on machinery, employees are at constant risk of serious injury," said Ed Selker, director of OSHA's area office in Erie, Pa. "It is imperative that the company correct these hazards as soon as possible to prevent a tragedy."

The willful violations cite the company's failure to establish and maintain adequate energy control procedures for employees working on a cut-off saw blade. The serious violations include inadequate and missing handrails and mid-rails, improper flammable liquid containers, no emergency response training for an ammonia system, a lack of personal protective equipment for employees, unmarked or missing emergency fire exits, defective equipment and inadequate forklift truck inspections. The other-than-serious violations address improper recordkeeping, inadequate vermin control and a broken grounding pin on a flexible electrical cord.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Serious violations are 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.

Signature Aluminum has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.