The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s investigations into an Ohio company revealed multiple safety violations. Amsted Rail Company Inc., a manufacturer of cast steel freight components, has now been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Program and faces a penalty of over $600,000.
OSHA found multiple violations during the two safety inspections including failure to implement engineering controls to lower silica exposure, failure to adequately equip machinery with safety precautions, failure to implement a respiratory protection program, failure to provide personal protective equipment and failure to prevent falls by evaluating permit-required confined spaces, guard floor openings and shafts.
Among the violations was an instance in which a maintenance worker suffered severe injuries after getting his leg caught in a core baker machine. The deputy assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health emphasizes the importance of training on proper machine safety procedures and distribution of protective equipment to prevent such on-the-job injuries.
A second OSHA inspection uncovered excessive amounts of silica and at least four workers were exposed to the dangerous compound. Only small amounts of silica dust are necessary to create a safety hazard and overexposure can cause lung disease or lung cancer. Because of this risk, OSHA implemented standards which dictate respirable silica exposure limits for workers. The Amsted Rail workers were exposed to amounts of silica over the OSHA-permissible limit.
Workplace accidents are more likely to occur in an unsafe working environment such as this one. Those injured in accidents on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits including medical treatment, payments for time away from work, compensation for permanent disabilities and job retraining.
Source: Workerscompensation.com, OSHA Finds Machine Safety Hazards, Silica Overexposure at Ohio Steel Plant, June 29, 2017