Machine safety hazards, lead overexposure found at Ohio steel plant

Machine safety hazards, lead overexposure found at Ohio steel plant

CANTON, OH (WOIO) - An automotive steel manufacturer in Ohio faces $279,578 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

This comes after agency investigators found workers at Republic Steel's Canton plant exposed to machine hazards and lead.

OSHA found one maintenance worker suffered severe injuries after being struck by an unguarded machine, and at least seven workers were exposed to excessive levels of lead, which can cause serious health issues.

On Dec. 5, 2016, a 64-year-old maintenance worker suffered a fractured pelvis after being struck by a sail -- a large clamp that holds the steel billet -- because lock-out devices were not affixed to the machine's operating parts to stop movement during maintenance.

A second inspection was opened on Dec. 13, 2016, after a complaint alleged workers were being exposed to lead. Investigators documented seven incidents of lead overexposure in the caster facility.

In total, the agency found two repeated and five serious safety and health violations during the two inspections. OSHA found the company failed to implement engineering controls to lower exposure to steel dust particulates; prohibit employees from eating in areas where lead exposure was possible; affix locking devices to machine operating parts during maintenance, and replace damaged guard and stair rails.

In the past decade, Republic Steel has been cited for more than 250 safety and health violations at its facilities across the country.

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