OSHA has proposed $128,560 in penalties against Nichiha USA Inc.'s Macon, Georgia, plant for 27 safety and health violations.

"Following a fatality in 2008, OSHA inspected this plant and identified several deficiencies," said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "Despite management's agreement at the time, our return inspection in 2009 has found that the company continues to endanger its workers' safety and health. The size of these penalties reflects management's failure to address its problems."

After inspecting the plant in May and June, OSHA issued citations against the fiber cement manufacturer for 11 repeat safety and health, 11 serious and five other-than-serious violations.

Alleged repeat violations from the 2008 inspection include the employer's failure to cover or install guardrails around slurry pits, lack of guards around an exposed chain and no specific energy control procedures for equipment that had more than one energy source. Employees did not receive adequate training when using corrosive and hazardous chemicals, and the company did not identify, evaluate or provide adequate training for employees working in confined spaces. Emergency eyewashes were not available to employees who worked around corrosive chemicals. The proposed repeat penalty totals $97,760.

Alleged serious violations with proposed penalties of $29,200 include hazards associated with falls, lockout/tagout of energy source, improper storage of compressed gas cylinders, electrical dangers, hazards related to confined spaces and the lack of a bloodborne pathogens program for workers responding to emergencies.

Management allegedly committed recordkeeping violations and failed to ensure that workers inspect their full-face respirator for damage, resulting in five other-than-serious violations with penalties totaling $1,600.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal meeting, or indicate that it plans to contest the citations and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office, 2183 Northlake Parkway, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga.; telephone 770-493-6644.