The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on July 9 that it issued citations for safety alleged hazards to an Augusta, Maine-based steel manufacturer following an investigation of its facility. According to the safety agency's website, the company also received a fine of $132,000.
The inspection of Cives Steel Co. began in January and was conducted by the OSHA office in Augusta. During the on-site visitations, investigators discovered that the employer failed to provide workers with protective clothing for electrical and arc welder-related hazards. The safety agency designated this a willful violation, which according to its website, is an infraction committed with disregard for employee safety.
Other problems identified by OSHA include the use of extension cords instead of proper fixed wiring for machinery, an unlabeled lifting device that posed crushing risks to workers, a lack of leg protection equipment for employees working with chainsaws, unaddressed falling hazards near steel fabrication machines and miscellaneous electrical hazards.
"The sizable fines proposed in this case reflect the severity and recurring nature of a number of these hazards," William Coffin, OSHA's Maine area director, said in the safety agency's press release. "For the safety of its workers, this employer must take effective and expeditious action to eliminate these conditions and prevent their recurrence."
Companies that receive OSHA citations have 15 days to respond. They can choose to rectify the issues, appeal the decision before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission or request a meeting with the area director responsible for the safety agency's investigation.
Safety protocols and proper gear are vital parts of occupational health policies, and are meant to help workers in industrial fields like steel manufacturing. Businesses that wish to avoid OSHA fines or increased oversight should look at their current methods to ensure compliance and employee protection.
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