Employees at Matalco US Inc. in Canton were exposed to amputation, fall hazards and unsafe crane operations, according to an OSHA inspection which resulted in two willful, one repeat and two serious safety violations, carrying proposed penalties of $130,200. The inspection at the manufacturing facility that produces aluminum material for use in automotive rims and other parts was initiated following a complaint. The company has also been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Workers standing on blocks elevated by a forklift

"This company allowed workers to stand on blocks elevated by a forklift, and that's just one visible example of the total disregard for worker safety and health at this plant," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "By placing Matalco US in our Severe Violator Enforcement Program, OSHA is putting the company on notice that this is unacceptable."

OSHA's March 24, 2014, inspection found one willful violation for insufficient machine guarding on a robot cell that exposed workers to amputation hazards. A second willful violation was cited for failing to remove a crane with broken safety mechanisms from service.

No guardrails over an open pit

Employees were exposed to a fall hazard of more than 23 feet because the company had not installed guardrails over an open pit, and employees that worked in the pit area were not provided fall protection. Matalco was previously cited at this facility for this same violation in 2012.

OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer was previously cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

During the inspection, workers were found standing on aluminum blocks elevated by a forklift to perform tasks on the furnace. This was an inappropriate use of the forklifts, and it exposed workers to falls of at least 8 feet. OSHA found that live electric equipment operating at high voltages was not guarded against human contact. These hazards resulted in the issuance of two serious violations.

View the current citations: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/MatalcoUSInc_965790.pdf

Matalco US, based in Canton, is a subsidiary of Matalco Inc. of Ontario, Canada. The U.S. plant employs 50 workers.