An Alabama steel fabricator is facing a $48,510 fine as well as repeat and serious federal citations for spray and blasting booth hazards, chemical exposures and other conditions at its facility in Talladega.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Weaver and Sons Inc. for 16 safety and health violations at its fabrication and sheet metal shop after an inspection triggered by OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program, which focuses on industries with above-average injury and illness rates.
The facility performs industrial painting, machining, shearing, rolling, laser cutting, CNC punching and other services for industrial manufacturing, foundries, aviation and other industries.
Weaver and Sons
|Weaver and Sons’ services include welding and industrial painting.|
The company did not respond Friday to a request for comment. Founded in 1945, Weaver and Sons Inc. manufactures precision sheet and plate metal components, specializing in custom and contract fabrication and machining jobs.
The company was cited for one repeat health violation carrying a $6,160 penalty for failing to conduct medical evaluations of employees who were required to wear respirators. The same violation was identified during a 2009 OSHA inspection.
In the 2009 case, Weaver paid $4,500 in fines for four serious and one other-than-serious violation involving air contaminants and unguarded floor and wall holes and openings.
A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation within five years.
Two serious health citations, carrying $6,930 in penalties, were issued for allegedly:
• Exposing workers to iron oxide fumes above the permissible exposure limit (PEL); and
• Failing to monitor exposure to chromium, which OSHA detected on lunch tables.
Ten serious safety violations, with $35,420 in penalties, were also issued. The allegations included:
• Not protecting spray booths with automatic sprinklers;
• Using a lacquer thinner with a flashpoint of less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit to clean spray nozzles and equipment;
• Allowing employees to use a lathe, drill press, band saw, mechanical power press and milling machines that lacked proper guarding;
• Lack of rails on stairs;
• Exit doors not marked;
• Not performing frequent crane inspections;
• Not load-testing a hook after it had been welded;
• Using compressed air that was stronger than the required pressure for cleaning machinery;
• Using electrical equipment not in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions;
• Allowing use of a damaged electrical cord; and
• Allowing an uncovered opening in the electrical panel.
OSHA issues serious violations when there is “substantial probability” of death or serious harm from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
‘Risk Their Health for a Paycheck’
Three other-than-serious citations (which carry no fines) include failing to maintain a log of injuries and illnesses for 2009, accumulation of abrasive blasting dust on the exterior floor of the blasting booth, and having an inoperable pressure measurement instrument.
"Employees do not need to risk their health for a paycheck," said Roberto Sanchez, director of OSHA's Birmingham Area Office.
"We found that employees were being exposed to both immediate amputation hazards by working around unguarded machines, as well as long-term hazards from breathing in iron oxide fumes that can cause irreversible health effects."
Weaver and Sons has 15 business days to contest the citations.