Illinois Company Faces Proposed $117K Fine for Unsafe Working Conditions

December 16, 2013
Safe Working Conditions

Arlington Metals Corp. in Franklin Park, Ill., has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 38 safety and health violations, which carry proposed penalties of $117,000.

OSHA initiated a safety and health investigation in June in response to a complaint filed by the United Steel Workers Union alleging unsafe working conditions at the Franklin Park metal strip and coil processing facility.

Violations include lack of a respiratory protection program, multiple instances of inadequate machine guarding and unsafe electrical work practices.

A total of 17 serious violations, carrying proposed penalties of $88,200, were cited Dec. 5, and involve failing to provide machine guarding on slitters and radial arm saws; complete periodic inspections of overhead cranes within the past 12 months; and to provide guardrails and energy control procedures.

Several violations relate to electrical safe work practices, such as failing to provide covers on live transformers; prevent use of extension cords when fixed wiring is required; and provide electrical protective equipment, such as gloves, fire-retardant- rated clothing and eye and face protection.

In addition, the company failed to evaluate and determine whether any of the five production pits were permit-required confined spaces.

Twelve other-than-serious violations involve failing to conduct personal protective equipment assessments; provide a written emergency evacuation plan; post load rating signs; maintain records of crane and rope inspections; train workers on energy control procedures; and poor housekeeping practices that allowed wood dust to accumulate and create a fire hazard.

OSHA issued several citations in August and October, carrying proposed fines of $28,800, as part of the concurrent safety and health investigation. In August, OSHA cited three serious violations for lack of fire protection training; lockout/tagout procedures to control the unexpected operation of equipment during service and maintenance; and guarding against immovable fire hazards during welding operations.

In October, the company received five serious citations for modifying a powered industrial truck without written permission from the manufacturer, and for failing to develop a written respiratory protection program, including medical evaluation, training and fit testing workers for proper respiratory equipment.’

Additionally, one-other-than serious violation cited in October involves lack of effective hazard communication training.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Arlington Metals Corp., which employs approximately 110 workers, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, ask for an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


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