Occupational Health & Safety

Dangerous Fumes, Fire Hazards Lead to $83K Fine for Auto Parts Maker

An Oct. 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 has cited auto parts manufacturer Sanoh America Inc. 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.

An Oct. 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 utilize 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.

The company has been inspected by OSHA 10 times since 1990, resulting in various citations for failing to provide machine guarding and personal protective equipment as well as to implement and utilize lockout/tagout procedures.

"Sanoh America is responsible for ensuring that its employees are properly protected from fire and inhalation hazards associated with painting and plastics processes, and ensuring procedures are in place to control hazardous energy," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so."

Sanoh America, which employs about 700 workers, manufactures automotive parts such as brake tubes, fuel tubes, and brazed products at plants in Findlay and Mount Vernon, Ohio; Scottsboro, Ala.; Carthage, Miss.; and Orangeville, Ontario.

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