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April 08, 2021
OSHA cites auto body maker, seeking $393,992 in fines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited a Waterville, Maine, auto body manufacturer for 2 willful and 10 serious safety and health violations. The agency is seeking $393,992 in fines from The Shyft Group Duramag LLC, formerly known as F3 MFG Inc.

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“Our inspectors found plant employees without fall protection working atop truck bodies and others exposed to excess noise levels while steam cleaning,” Augusta, Maine, Area Director David McGuan said in an agency statement. “Management's knowledge of these hazards and their failure to correct them led us to cite these conditions as willful violations.”

OSHA conducted an inspection on October 1, 2020, in response to a complaint.

The agency cited The Shyft Group Duramag with a willful, serious violation of the fall protection standard because the employer did not ensure each employee on a walking-working surface with an unprotected side or edge that was 4 feet (ft) (1.2 meters (m)) or more above a lower level was protected from falling by a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system. Inspectors found employees on the production floor, working on top of truck bodies, were not protected from falling from a height of over 5 ft to a concrete floor below.

OSHA also cited the company for a willful, serious violation of the occupational noise standard. The employer lacked a continuing, effective hearing conservation program. Agency inspectors found the employer did not monitor noise levels in chain saw operations, sand blast booth, steam cleaning/acid etch, and forklift operations areas. They found an impact noise level of 112 decibels in the forklift operations area when loads of metal parts were dropped to the concrete floor.

OSHA compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) also cited The Shyft Group Duramag for the following serious violations of the:

  • General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970 for exposing employees to crushing injuries due to the unsafe operation and maintenance of automotive lifts.
  • Ladders standard for failing to ensure that portable ladders, used to gain access to an upper landing surface, had side rails that extend at least 3 ft (0.9 m) above the upper landing surface. A stepladder used to access the top of the truck bodies in order to clean the bodies and add accessories such as roof racks and light bars did not extend 3 feet above the landing surface of the truck body, exposing the employees to falls from 5 to 8 ft to the concrete floor below.
  • Eye and face protection standard for failing to assess whether eye and face hazards were present in the workplace, or likely to be present, necessitating the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), or ensure that employees exposed to eye or face hazards from acids, caustic liquids, or liquid chemicals were provided with appropriate eye or face protection.
  • Respiratory protection standard for failing to develop and implement a respiratory protection program requiring employees to wear N95 respirators and full air-supplying hoods while applying powder coating and bead blasting; failing to provide medical evaluation to determine employees’ ability to wear a respirator or perform qualitative fit testing of respirators; the lack of respirator training and the improper storage of respirators; and an employee with facial hair that came between his face and the sealing surface of the facepiece of a half-face, air-purifying respirator.
  • Hand protection standard for failing to provide hand protection for employees performing steam-cleaning activities in which a compound containing phosphoric acid was used.
  • Mechanical safety standards for tools with rotating parts without machine guards and machines designed for fixed locations that were not securely anchored.
  • Welding, cutting, and brazing standard for workers adjacent to a welding area who were not required to wear goggles to protect them from welding rays.
  • Electrical safety standards for breaker boxes that were not effectively closed; a breaker box hole covered with black, electrical tape; and the use of a flexible extension cord instead of fixed wiring.
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