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Recent OSHA Fines in Ohio

Occupational Safety and Health Administration fines Ohio business

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has regional offices around the United States, including in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo. This federal agency is charged with enforcing federal safety and health laws. When employers do not provide a safe and healthful workplace as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, they are penalized and fined by OSHA for their violations of the law.

Although OSHA provides workplace safety training and consulting services, it is the enforcement of federal workplace safety laws that makes the news. OSHA provides oversight for most businesses and institutions, with the exception of individuals who are self-employed, family farms without outside employees, employers covered by another federal agency (such as the Federal Aviation Administration or the Mine Safety and Health Administration), and Ohio state and local government employers.

Fines In Ohio

Recent OSHA actions in Ohio show the wide scope of OSHA's coverage. In 2014, OSHA has already fined numerous Ohio businesses for workplace safety violations.

ConAgra Foods was fined $117,000 after OSHA inspected its Columbus, Ohio, flour mill. It found 13 safety violations, three of them repeat violations. The violations included lack of machine guarding on horizontal shafts, failing to correctly complete OSHA injury and illness logs, and exposing employees to falls of more than seven feet. The company was cited for similar violations at ConAgra plants in Cranbury, NJ (2011), Turners Falls, MA (2010) and Carol Stream, IL (2009). The other violations were categorized as serious and included seven instances of inadequate machine guarding.

G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Inc. was fined $86,900 for OSHA violations that included two repeat violations of failing to use personal protective equipment (PPE) in electrical work. Another violation was failing to provide lockout/tagout procedures that prevent unwanted startup of machinery during maintenance and servicing. The company had been fined for similar violations in 2009 at its Hamilton facility. G&J has 11 locations in Ohio and Kentucky, including Winchester, Lexington and Harrodsburg, KY, and Columbus, Portsmouth, Hamilton, Ripley, Hillsboro, Athens, Chillicothe and Zanesville, OH.

Beck Aluminum, with headquarters in Mayfield Heights, OH, was fined $77,472 for 13 serious violations at its Racine, WI, plant These included failure to establish lockout/tagout procedures designed to prevent accidental release of chemical energy. The company failed to calculate employee exposure if chlorine was released, failed to train employees to perform emergency response procedures, lacked annual inspections and stacked packages of crushed aluminium casts in an unstable manner.

Two companies face OSHA fines for safety violations that occurred when their employees were removing lead paint from the MacDonnell House, which is part of the Allen County Museum complex. Durable Slate of Columbus and Spectrum Painting of Bellefontaine face a total of $168,000. OSHA charges that workers were exposed to dangerous levels of lead and serious fall hazards.

Durable Slate was cited for a willful violation for failing to conduct initial exposure monitoring to determine if employees scraping lead paint were exposed to lead above permissible levels. It also received seven serious violations that violated OSHA's lead exposure standards. Spectrum Painting was cited for two willful and eight serious violations that included failing to provide respiratory protection and personal protective clothing.

Companies facing fines have 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with the area director or contest the findings. Companies cited for workplace safety violations may not pay the entire fine levied by OSHA, depending on the outcome of an informal conference or formal dispute.