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Fabrication Plant Draws 3rd OSHA Case

Friday, July 13, 2012

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A nationwide steel fabricator faces $132,000 in fines for a variety of crushing, laceration and electrical hazards at its plant in Augusta, ME—the third round of federal citations at that location since 2004.

 Cives Steel Co.

 Cives Steel Co.

Cives Steel Co. provides structural steel fabricating, blast cleaning, painting, project management and other services for a variety of industries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Georgia-based Cives Steel Co. for 11 willful, repeat and serious health and safety violations stemming from an inspection in January.

The company, with six divisions nationwide, provides structural steel fabricating, blast cleaning, painting, project management and other services for a variety of industries. Several of its plants have histories with OSHA.

"The sizable fines proposed in this case reflect the severity and recurring nature of a number of these hazards," said William Coffin, OSHA's area director for Maine.

"For the safety of its workers, this employer must take effective and expeditious action to eliminate these conditions and prevent their recurrence."

Cives Steel did not respond to a request for comment.

Willful, Repeat Citations

OSHA issued one willful citation with a $70,000 fine for the company’s alleged failure to provide employees with—or require them to use—personal protective equipment while performing diagnostic work on electrical equipment.

Willful citations are OSHA’s highest level of infraction, reserved for violations committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law.

Another electrical hazard—using extension cords as a substitute for fixed wiring—drew a repeat citation and $22,000 fine. A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation at any other facility within five years.

OSHA cited Cives Steel’s plant in Gouverneur, NY, for a similar hazard in 2010.

Serious Citations

Nine serious citations, with $40,000 in fines, include:

• Crushing hazards stemming from the plant's failure to label and test the capacity of a device used to lift 900-pound metal plates;

• Laceration hazards from the unsafe practice of drop starting a chain saw;

• Lack of leg protection for workers using chain saws;

• Fall hazards from standing on raw and fabricated steel products;

• An incomplete confined-space entry program;

• Inadequate egress from a mezzanine; and

• Additional electrical hazards.

Serious violations are issued for hazards that carry a “substantial probability” of death or serious injury.

The inspection was conducted under OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which focuses on workplaces with higher-than-average rates of workdays lost to injuries and illnesses.

Cives Steel Co. has 15 business days to appeal or accept the citations.

OSHA History

Several Cives Steel plants have records with OSHA.

In June 2006, an employee was crushed to death by a 6,750-pound metal frame at the company’s facility in Rosedale, MS. Cives was later fined $19,500 for 15 violations (later reduced to $11,150 for 14 violations).

The Maine plant was hit with 16 citations and fined $31,050 (later reduced to $18,450) in 2009. The plant also received one citation in 2004. The plant was also inspected, but not cited, in 2010 and 2003.

The 2010 case at Cives’ New York plant involved five citations and a $9,975 fine, later reduced to $6,483.75. That plant was also cited and fined in 2002.

The company’s plant in Winchester, VA, was cited for a variety of violations in 2008, 2007 and 2005. Total fines of $8,950 were later reduced to $5,165.

In October 2011, the Virginia plant was cited for eight violations and fined $5,915. That case remains open.

Cives’ plant in Wolcott, IN, was cited and fined in 2005.


Tagged categories: Air abrasive blast cleaning; Citations; OSHA; Protective coatings; Steel

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