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August 02, 2019
Manufacturer faces $724K in OSHA fines

An Ohio manufacturer faces $724,380 in fines following an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection under its Site-Specific Targeting (SST) program. The agency cited Fuyao Glass America Inc. of Moraine, Ohio, with 13 serious violations of safety and health standards, including those for confined spaces, fall protection, hearing protection, lockout/tagout, machine guarding, and personal protective equipment.

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“This company’s repeated failure to implement and enforce safety and health programs at the workplace is unacceptable,” Acting Regional Administrator Bill Donovan said in a statement.

The SST program uses data from employer-submitted injury and illness reports to target workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses. The current SST program uses data from OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, submitted for 2016.

Repeated lockout/tagout violations

OSHA cited Fuyao for six repeat violations in addition to the 13 serious violations cited. Proposed penalties for serious violations totaled $161,773, and penalties for repeat violations totaled $562,607.

The agency listed 36 separate instances between February 4 and April 4 when the company’s employees failed to follow lockout/tagout procedures. OSHA previously cited the company for the same violation on May 10, 2017.

Fuyao also was cited for providing inadequate lockout/tagout training that failed to include training in specific methods of isolation and control of energy sources.

Other repeat violations included:

  • Failing to develop, document, and implement lockout/tagout procedures;
  • Failing to evaluate the workplace to determine if any spaces are permit-required confined spaces or to provide training for entering confined spaces;
  • Maintaining insufficient distance between an electrical panel and operators platform;
  • Not labeling several containers of hazardous substances, including a Pepsi bottle, containing an unknown chemical, left on a drill press;
  • Leaving unguarded nip points on belts and sprockets of a conveyor line; and
  • Using extension cords in place of permanent wiring.

Serious violations

Fuyao failed to perform periodic inspections to ensure lockout/tagout procedures were in place; other serious violations cited by OSHA include:

  • Leaving electrical panel open while operating motors hardwired to the panel and grounding prongs broken off of electrical cords, as well as lacking training for workplace electrical hazards;
  • Failing to obtain annual audiograms for employees exposed to noise above an 8-hour, time-weighted average of 85 decibels;
  • Not providing hearing protection or hearing conservation training for employees exposed to high levels of workplace noise;
  • Not posting danger signs on permit-required confined spaces and not providing worker training in confined-space entry or preparing a permit before allowing employees to enter a confined space;
  • Installing stairs at a 59-degree angle—the standard is between 30 and 50 degrees;
  • Leaving sides and edges on walking-working surfaces 4 or more feet above a lower level unprotected in four instances—the highest of the four was 11 feet, 3 inches above a lower level; and
  • Leaving a mechanical shear unguarded.

The agency also cited Fuyao for an other-than-serious violation for its lack of a written hazard communication program. OSHA is not seeking any monetary penalty for this last citation.

Employer takeaways

Fuyao faces nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in proposed penalties. The company was cited for hazard communication, lockout/tagout, and machine guarding violations—three of the most frequently cited OSHA standards. It also was cited for violations of the confined space, electrical safety, fall protection, and occupational noise standards.

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