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OSHA levies more than $111,000 in proposed penalties against Quinco Steel Inc. (10/7)

October 7, 2009
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OSHA has cited Quinco Steel Inc. of Chicago Heights, Ill., with proposed penalties totaling $111,100, for alleged willful, serious and repeat violations of federal workplace safety and health standards.

OSHA's comprehensive safety and health inspection was conducted at the Michigan Avenue bridge construction site in Chicago where Quinco Steel Inc. was providing steel erection work.

Quinco Steel has been cited with two willful violations, with proposed penalties of $70,000, for failure to use proper fall protection while conducting steel erection activities over 15 feet and while operating an aerial lift. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee health and safety.

The company also has received citations for 11 serious violations, with proposed fines of 32,700. Some of the violations address the company's failure to ensure workers were wearing personal floatation devices while working over water; improper storage of compressed gas cylinders; failure to conduct a proper lead exposure assessment at the worksite, and failure to provide proper personal protective clothing and respiratory gear. 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.

OSHA also issued a citation for one repeat violation with a proposed fine of $8,400 for the company's failure to ensure workers abide safety regulations while working within an aerial lift. OSHA issues an employer a repeat violation when that employer has been cited in the past and the agency finds a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other of the company's facilities in federal enforcement states.

"It is extremely important that companies ensure safety and health procedures are initiated and enforced while employees work over water and at great heights," said Gary Anderson, OSHA's area director in Calumet City, Ill. "OSHA's intention and purpose are to make sure workers return home, safe and healthy, at the end of every shift."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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