US Department of Labor proposes $315K more in fines for Ohio vehicle parts manufacturer that continues to expose workers to dangerous machine hazards
CONNEAUT, OH – An Ohio aluminum vehicle parts manufacturer cited for safety and health violations after a worker in Ravenna suffered fatal injuries in March 2021, continues to put workers at risk.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found General Aluminum Mfg. Co.’s facility in Conneaut exposing workers to similar machine hazards when the agency served warrants on Jan. 3, 2022, and opened an inspection under its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
Inspectors found tilt mold devices, sand core machines, and indexing tables at the plant lacked adequate machine guarding and workers performed service and maintenance tasks on industrial machinery without using energy control procedures – commonly known as lockout/tagout – exposing workers to amputation and caught-in hazards. OSHA cited the company for the same violations at the Ravenna facility.
OSHA cited General Aluminum Mfg. Co. for two repeat, four serious and two other than serious violations, and assessed $315,952 in proposed penalties following the Conneaut inspection.
“General Aluminum’s continued failure to protect its workers is unacceptable, and its refusal to follow industry safety standards and the company’s policies and procedures to prevent injuries or fatalities is incomprehensible,” said OSHA Regional Administrator William Donovan in Chicago. “While the company pledges to improve its safety procedures and training, federal safety inspectors continue to find a lack of accountability by this employer.”
In September 2021, OSHA cited the company for 38 violations with $1,671,738 in proposed penalties after an investigation into the March fatality. The company has contested those citations.
“OSHA will continue to take necessary steps to hold General Aluminum accountable for failing to comply with safety and health requirements until the company takes action and demonstrates it is serious about preventing debilitating injuries and saving lives,” Donovan added.
In addition to the absence of guarding on the mold machinery, OSHA identified problems with machine guarding and a lack of protective procedures throughout the Conneaut facility. Inspectors also found General Aluminum provided workers with insufficient personal protective equipment, including face shields and aprons, and exposed workers to electrical hazards.
Company management signed formal settlement agreements to resolve OSHA citations for machine guarding and lockout/tagout violations found during inspections conducted between 2015 and 2017 and hired a third-party consultant to conduct comprehensive machine guarding and lockout/tagout audits between 2017 and 2019. The audits identified specific machine guarding and lockout/tagout program deficiencies and provided recommendations the company failed to fully implement.
Founded in 1943, General Aluminum Mfg. Co. produces engineered automotive castings. The company employs about 1,200 workers nationwide and 180 employees at the Conneaut location. Owned by Park Ohio Holdings Corp. in Cleveland, the company also has locations in Ravenna and Wapakoneta, and in Freemont and Huntington, Indiana.
The company 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.