Michigan Engine Manufacturer Fined $137,750 for Confined Space Hazards, More

Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG) recently announced the conclusion of a Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) inspection at Bharat Forge America Inc. of Lansing, Mich. MIOSHA identified 42 alleged violations for failing to adequately protect employees from serious safety and health hazards, with proposed penalties totaling $137,750.

"Conditions found during the MIOSHA inspection were very serious,” said Acting Director Andrew S. Levin. “They must fulfill their obligations under the MIOSH Act and provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. It is imperative that Bharat Forge America correct the serious hazards which are endangering their employees."

As a result of a programmed comprehensive inspection, MIOSHA issued 19 serious, four willful, and 19 other-than-serious violations.

The four willful violations were all related to the Permit Required Confined Spaces standard, which protects workers when they are required to enter spaces that hinder their activity and present serious hazards. These violations include an inadequate written program that does not explain how to and when to use ventilation; confined space gas monitor that does not work; inadequate training on entry procedures, gas monitoring, ventilation techniques, attendant duties, and rescue; inadequate rescue procedures that rely on 911 and a local fire department with no contract with any fire department.

The inspection also identified 19 serious hazards throughout the facility. Some of these serious violations include no guards or inadequate guards on a wide range of equipment and operations; inadequate fall protection; failing to lock out while performing die changing operations for forge presses, and a range of other operations; no air monitoring or forced air ventilation when welding in a confined space and no rescue provisions; exposed live parts and other electrical hazards.

"Taking the time to follow MIOSHA regulations can not only protect workers, it can greatly enhance a company’s bottom line," said MIOSHA Director Doug Kalinowski. "Successful Michigan companies have shown that a strong safety and health program contributes to increased production, improved quality and greater profits."

A willful violation is one committed with an intentional disregard or plain indifference to the requirements of MIOSHA regulations or employee safety and health. A serious violation exists where there is a substantial probability that serious physical harm or death can result to an employee. An other-than-serious violation is a condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.

Bharat Forge America is a member of Bharat Forge Limited, India, a full service supplier of forged engine and chassis components and non-automotive components and systems. With manufacturing locations in India, U.S., Scotland, Germany, Sweden, and China, Bharat Forge is the flagship company of the $ 2.4 billion Kalyani Group.

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