OSHA has cited COL-Pump Co. Inc., with 10 health and safety violations, including two willful, for failing to monitor workers’ exposure to noise hazards above 85 decibels at the Columbiana foundry in Columbiana, Ohio, a city of about 6,300 residents
Proposed fines total $56,880, according to the Norwalk Reflector.
OSHA initiated an inspection on Sept. 14, after receiving a complaint that alleged the lack of an effective hearing protection program.
The two willful violations involved failing to establish a baseline audiogram within six months of an employees’ first exposure to noise above the action level of 85 decibels and to provide annual audiograms to workers exposed to noise levels at or above allowable levels.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
“Failing to reduce noise exposure and ensure that a worker’s hearing proficiency is documented and monitored demonstrates a lack of concern for the safety and health of workers,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so.”
One repeat violation was issued for failing to implement administrative and engineering controls to lower exposure to noise in the grinding area of the facility.
A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A similar violation was cited at the facility in 2009.
Two serious violations involved failing to maintain ladders in a safe condition and ensure machine guarding was affixed to a sand mixer system. A serious violation occurs 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.
Prior to the Sept. 14 inspection, OSHA had inspected the company eight times, most recently in 2009 when seven citations were issued.
COL-Pump Company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.