CANTON, OH — Responding to a complaint of unsafe working conditions, federal safety inspectors found a Canton automotive steel mill did not install adequate machine guarding, implement lockout/tagout measures or train workers on safety procedures, all of which exposed workers to amputation hazards.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Republic Steel for one repeat, seven serious and three other-than-serious safety violations. OSHA determined the company did not train workers to operate cranes and forklifts adequately, failed to repair damaged cranes and follow safe electrical work practices, and exposed workers to slip and fall hazards. OSHA has proposed $220,399 in penalties and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. OSHA last cited Republic Steel for similar machine safety hazards in 2017.
“To avoid amputations and other severe injuries, employers must install safety guards on machines and train workers on how to control hazardous energy and avoid coming in contact with operating machine parts,” said OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland. “Republic Steel is well aware of their responsibility to ensure safety procedures are followed, yet once again, they’ve failed to do so.”
In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted 58 percent of the 3,500 reported workplace amputations involved machine hazards.
Based in Canton, Republic Steel manufactures steel bars and other products for use in machinery, cars, trucks and other vehicles. The company, a subsidiary of Grupo Simec of Guadalajara, Mexico, employs more than 2,000 workers. 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.