Masonry Block Manufacturer Fined $119,625 for Machine Guarding, More

OSHA has issued Harbison-Walker Refractories Co. of Vandalia, Mo., 17 workplace safety violations with $119,625 in proposed penalties.

OSHA's inspection of the masonry block manufacturing company's facility, initiated under OSHA's site-specific targeting program addressing employers with high injury and illness rates, found 16 serious violations and one repeat violation.

"There is no excuse for such a lack of attention to safety and particularly a repeat violation," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for all of their employees to prevent accidents from occurring."

The serious violations stem from deficiencies in floor guarding, wall openings, mobile ladder stands, exit routes for emergency egress, powered industrial truck operation, machine guarding, use of compressed air, and electrical wiring and equipment. A serious citation is issued 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.

The repeat violation addresses a hazard associated with the working space around electrical equipment. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facilities in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Harbison-Walker Refractories Co. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in St. Louis or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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