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OSHA fines Ohio engine plant deemed severe safety violator

Federal safety regulators from OSHA have a special term for companies they deem particularly problematic when it comes to safety issues. They are termed "severe violators," and the agency mandates especially close scrutiny and follow-up remedial actions on them pursuant to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

One company recently tagged with that designation is Tennessee-based Mahle Engine Components USA Inc., a global enterprise with about 100 production facilities, including one in Ohio at McConnelsville. That plant was singled out recently for a number of broad-based problems that OSHA states increase the risks for construction accidents and other on-the-job injuries.

In fact, Mahle was cited for more than two dozen violations relating to safety and health, with 18 of those being deemed of a "serious" nature. That label is applied by OSHA inspectors when they see safety issues that an employer should know exist that, if left unremedied, bring about a substantial probability of death or serious injury to employees. Regulators say they have noted a number of those at the Ohio plant, including lack of machine guarding; electrical hazards; dangerous loads being transported over workers; and improper storage of acetylene cylinders.

A number of observed violations were also deemed as repeat occurrences, which inspectors cite as a primary reason that Mahle was placed into the Severe Violator program.

Under that program, OSHA inspectors have a liberally free rein to enter a worksite and conduct spot inspections to gauge compliance with safety edicts.

Mahle was fined $369,000 for the cited infractions.

Source: Controlled Environments Magazine, "OSHA fines Ohio company $369K," March 6, 2013

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