Monday, March 05, 2012

Hobart hit with large proposed OSHA fine

TROY — Hobart Brothers Co., the welding wire and airplane equipment manufacturer in Troy, could be fined $174,600 by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the workplace safety agency announced Monday.

The agency said it cited Hobart with 55 safety and health violations including inadequate lockout/tagout programs, fall protection and noise sampling, among others. A Hobart spokesman could not be immediately reached.

OSHA said it opened an inspection under the Site-Specific Targeting program, which focuses on companies with injury and illness rates that exceed national standards. It said Hobart Brothers’ injury and illness rate in 2008 was 5.9 percent per 100 workers, and in 2009 it was 6 percent per 100. The 2008 national average was 3.9 percent, and the 2009 average was 3.6 percent.

OSHA said the 31 serious safety violations with penalties of $121,500 involve “failing to guard floor holes, provide adequate railings, unlock exit doors, isolate energy sources, guard machines, provide fall protection for workers required to be on the top of ovens, provide lockout/tagout procedures for the energy sources of equipment, train workers on hazardous energy sources, use and install equipment in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, and provide appropriate personal protective equipment for employees performing energized electrical work.”

Twelve serious health violations with penalties of $51,300 involve failing to sample noise levels, train workers on hazard communication and provide confined space evaluations. “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,” OSHA said.

Hobart Brothers Co. 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, the agency said.

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