Republic Steel is facing a $1,138,500 penalty after a February
inspection discovered 24 alleged safety violations at the
companys Canton, Ohio, facility.
The U.S. Department of
Labors Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) inspection stemmed from a formal complaint filed by the
United Steelworkers union following injuries at the plant in
June and August 2012.
"Republic Steel is
committed to providing a safe and healthy work place for our
employees and takes these allegations seriously," Chad
McClimans, Republic Steels director of environment,
health and safety, said Aug. 13. "We are currently reviewing
the alleged citation items to determine an appropriate course
OSHA noted that two
workers had been seriously injured in falls at the Canton melt
shop last summer, and claimed that Republic had a history of
failing to address fall hazards.
OSHA issued Republic
Steel with willful citations in 2011 after an employee was
seriously injured in a fall at the companys Lorain, Ohio,
plant. The agency and company settled those violations, with
Republic Steel pledging to address fall protection at its
plants, including the Canton facility.
"It is unacceptable
that Republic Steel has not taken more effective steps to
improve safety at the Canton plant, particularly in light of a
2012 settlement aimed at exactly that," OSHA assistant
secretary of labor David Michaels said in a statement.
OSHA cited Republic
Steel for 15 alleged violations at the Canton plant, including
lack of fall protection while working on walkway girders 66
feet above the ground and potential fall hazards of 30 feet due
to missing and damaged guardrails. Workers also were exposed to
falls of up to 30 feet above the slag pit and falls of 20 feet
above the electric-arc furnace and molten steel ladle, OSHA
said in its complaint.
Republic Steel also
was cited for allegedly failing to post danger signs indicating
the existence and location of permit-required confined spaces
in the melt shop. Republic Steel was cited for the same alleged
violation in 2009 at its Lackawanna, N.Y., rolling mill.
OSHA said that
Republic Steel will remain in its severe violator enforcement
program, mandating follow-up inspections to ensure compliance
with the law. Under this program, OSHA may inspect any of
Republic Steels facilities if it has reasonable grounds
to believe there are similar violations.
Republic Steel can
accept or contest the latest citations and proposed penalties,
or negotiate a settlement.