Auto Parts Maker Hit with $151K Fine for Lack of Personal Protective Gear

Willful safety violations are failing to train workers on safe electrical working practices for voltage testing and the use of required personal protective equipment.

OSHA has cited American Showa Inc. with 13 safety and health violations, including two willful violations, for assigning maintenance personnel to work on energized equipment without personal protective gear and failing to train workers to recognize unsafe electrical work practices. Proposed fines total $151,300.

OSHA initially opened an inspection of the company's automotive parts manufacturing facility in Blanchester, Ohio, on Nov. 6, 2011, under the agency's National Emphasis Program for Amputations, and then expanded it to a joint safety and health inspection to examine the facility's aluminum die-casting operations.

"American Showa is responsible for ensuring that its employees wear personal protective equipment and receive proper training on electrical safety hazards to prevent injuries in its manufacturing plant," said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so."

Specifically, the willful safety violations are failing to train workers on safe electrical working practices for voltage testing and the use of required personal protective equipment.

Seven serious safety violations involve failing to provide adequate machine guarding, ensure that workers locked out all energy sources while making repairs inside robot enclosures, de-energize a robot trim press to perform repairs, replace missing grounding prongs on conductive metal-framed pedestal fans that could have become energized and close unused openings on electrical boxes.

One other-than-serious safety violation is failing to develop adequate and understandable confined space permits. Three other-than-serious health violations involve not labeling spray bottles with the identity of dangerous chemicals and hazard warnings, as well as not mounting portable fire extinguishers.

Sunbury, Ohio-based American Showa Inc. has plants in Sunbury and Blanchester, as well as Corona, Calif.

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