Wisc. steel fabricator faces $100K+ in OSHA penalties
Koser Iron Works employees exposed to machine, fire and explosion hazards
Once again, workers were exposed to dangerous amputation hazards* while fabricating metal products because safety mechanisms were not in place at Koser Iron Works Inc. Responding to a complaint, OSHA inspectors found-- during an inspection initiated on Oct. 1, 2014 -- two willful, four repeated and 12 serious safety violations, including lack of training and personal protective equipment. The agency has proposed fines of $102,180 for the Barron, Wisconsin-based company.
"Workers pay the price when companies fail to follow safety standards," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire. "Machine hazards are among the most frequently cited by OSHA. All manufacturers should examine their procedures to ensure they are in compliance. It takes seconds for a worker to be severely injured, but often a lifetime to recover."
LOTO, training violations
While Koser employees made die changes on punch presses, the company failed to use energy control procedures, including powering off and affixing locking devices to prevent unintentional operation of a press. The company also failed to ensure safety mechanisms were in place on its power presses and lathes. Similar hazards were found in a 2013 investigation after a complaint prompted an inspection at the same facility.
Inspectors also found that lift truck operators were not trained before operating equipment, a violation also noted in 2013, which produced a second repeated violation.
Workers were also found to be exposed to explosion and fire hazards because Koser failed to store flammable liquids properly; electrical equipment and lift trucks were not approved for areas with flammable atmospheres; and the company failed to install a required ventilation system in the storage room.
In total, 12 serious violations were issued. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
To view the current citations, visit http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/KoserIronWorksInc_998042.pdf*
Koser is a steel fabrication company that primarily cuts, forms and welds steel and steel products.