OSHAOSHA has cited Ball Aerosol and Specialty Container, Inc. with 11 safety violations, including seven willful and three repeat, for exposing workers to machine guarding hazards at its Hubbard, Ohio, metal container manufacturing facility. Proposed fines total $589,000.

OSHA initiated an inspection of the facility on Oct. 17, 2012, after receiving a complaint that alleged Ball Aerosol continued to expose machine operators to unguarded hazardous machinery, even though the employer had been cited by OSHA for lack of machine guarding on the same equipment in 2009. OSHA's inspection found that the company knowingly permitted workers to operate the machines without proper guarding. The inspection revealed that the guarding was not installed or was removed because it slowed material positioning and production output.

Six willful, egregious citations were issued for inadequate machine guarding over the blades of slitter machines. The citations are being issued as willful because the company certified abatement for machine guarding on much of this equipment in 2009 and had a history of machine guarding violations in the past. OSHA also found that the company knowingly continued to violate agency requirements each time the machinery was placed in operation.

Because of the hazards and the violations cited, Ball Aerosol has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. See the news release for the current citations issued against the company.