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Ohio workers exposed to lead, other hazards

Repeat violations get Mahle Engine Components SVEP status

March 11, 2013
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OSHAWorkers at an Ohio manufacturing company were exposed to lead, according to OSHA – along with electrical and machine guarding hazards.

The OSHA inspection that uncovered those conditions lead to 26 health and safety violations against Mahle Engine Components USA Inc. Eight of the violations were repeats. Proposed fines total $369,000.

"Employers cited for multiple safety and health violations have a responsibility to review their safety and health procedures, evaluate the hazards that exist and train workers to ensure a safe and healthful working environment," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional director in Chicago.

Multiple electrical hazards, failure to monitor exposure to lead

Six repeat safety violations were cited for failing to mount and identify fire extinguishers, provide machine guarding, ensure safe work practices when exposed to electrical hazards, ground pins from electrical equipment, and train workers on recognizing electrical hazards. Two repeat health violations were cited for lead exposure, including failing to record employees' blood lead levels to monitor exposure to lead, and test the clean room for lead contamination. Lead can cause damage to the nervous system and other organs if inhaled or ingested in dangerous quantities.

Mahle Engine Components USA was previously cited for these violations during inspections in 2009 and 2011 at the McConnelsville location as well as at facilities in Manchester, Mo., and Trumbull, Conn.

A total of 18 serious violations were cited for lack of machine guarding; improper storage of acetylene and oxygen cylinders; electrical hazards; lack of load ratings on hook lifting devices; allowing operators to carry loads traveling over people creating a struck-by hazard; improper storage of respirators; failing to provide appropriate personal protective equipment and require its use; and keep the tables in the lunch room clean and free of lead accumulation.

SVEP membership for Mahle

Because of the hazards and the violations cited, Mahle Engine Components has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

The company, headquartered in Morristown, Tenn., has operated the McConnelsville facility since 2008 and is a subsidiary of the Mahle Group, which employees about 50,000 workers and operates about 100 production plants worldwide. Inspected in 2009 and 2010, the McConnelsville facility has been cited with a total of 17 violations.

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