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OSHA fines US auto parts and chemicals companies for fires and safety violations

02 April 2012

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited auto parts manufacturer Sanoh America with 13 violations, including one repeat, for exposing workers to fire hazards, dangerous fumes, and other safety hazards at the company's Findlay, Ohio, plant. Proposed penalties total $83,000.

Sanoh's Findlay, Ohio, plant has been cited for 12 serious violations by OSHA
Sanoh's Findlay, Ohio, plant has been cited for 12 serious violations by OSHA

An October 4, 2011, inspection—initiated based on a complaint—determined that the facility's plating line had caught fire during production earlier in the year. OSHA cited the repeat violation for failing to develop, document, and utilise procedures to control potentially hazardous energy in relation to the incident. No injuries were reported. Similar violations were cited in 2009 at the company's Mount Vernon, Ohio, facility.
Twelve serious violations involve failing to install energy-isolating devices where needed, isolate energy sources, conduct periodic inspections, develop and implement safety-related work practices, provide necessary personal protective equipment and periodically test electrical protective equipment, and provide a heat-actuated, shut-off device on a paint pumping system.
Osha has also cited the Magnablend Chemical company for seven serious violations and and levied a $45,000 fine for last year’s explosion and fire at the company’s Waxahachie factory.
The report concludes a six month investigation, in which OSHA says workers at the plant were exposed to fire hazards by a ventilation system that was inadequate for what the company was doing.
“Magnablend exposed its workers to fire hazards by failing to provide adequate ventilation that would have removed flammable hydrogen and other vapors,” said Jack Rector, OSHA’s area director in Fort Worth. “OSHA’s standards must be followed to prevent injuries and illnesses. It is fortunate that no one was injured.”
The violations are for failing to conduct a hazard assessment, install a sufficient ventilation system, train workers in specific hazardous chemical protection procedures, evaluate respiratory inhalation hazards, ensure that the fire sprinkler system was adequate, use electrical equipment in accordance with its labelling, document the classification of hazardous locations for electrical purposes and ensure that electrical equipment was considered safe for the location where it was used. 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.


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