The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on April 20 proposed fines of $261,000 against Wilbert Plastic Services, for what the agency said were exposures of employees in its Bellevue, Ohio plant to safety hazards.
Most of the large fine, about $220,000, stems from what OSHA said were repeat violations of standards that the injection molding plant had previously been cited for breaching, including not protecting employees from falls or electrical hazards as they worked on machinery.
Officials with the Belmont, N.C.-based injection molding and thermoforming company did not respond to calls for comment.
OSHA said it determined after inspections of the plant between November and February that the company exposed employees to "crush injuries, burns and fall hazards while they conducted maintenance on plastic injection molding presses."
It also said the company was cited for violations related to machinery and electrical hazards, along with not having proper personal protective equipment for staff and using damaged electrical devices.
"Using proper safety controls, and removing damaged devices from service can protect employees from exposure to known hazards in the workplace," said Kim Nelson, director of OSHA's Toledo Area Office, in a statement.
OSHA said the company has 15 days from receiving the citations to contest them.
The largest proposed fine is $129,000 for incidents in October and February that deal with lockout and tagout regulations.
In one incident, OSHA said the company didn't adequately protect a maintenance employee repairing a hydraulic seal on an injection press from release of energy.
In another the agency said the company failed to use a lockout device when disconnecting electricity, leaving an employee unprotected from release of electrical energy.
And in a third, it said the company improperly exposed employees to crushing hazards from the hydraulic press and robots when the control panel was used to stop machine operations.
In each of those cases, and in two other repeat violations involving maintenance operations where workers could have fallen more than eight feet from the top of an injection machine to a concrete floor or did not have safe access to the top of a press to work on it, the agency said the facility had been previously cited.
In each of the large repeat violation fines, OSHA's complaint referenced previous inspections and final orders for "violating an equivalent" OSHA standard at the Bellevue plant in 2016 and 2017.