The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration wants to fine Alabama injection molding company Arkal Automotive USA Inc. more than $47,000 for a series of violations, including not properly protecting employees around molding machines and robots.
OSHA announced July 20 that it inspected the Auburn, Ala., company in response to a complaint, and issued six serious violations, some with multiple complaints.
"Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe injuries when they are not properly guarded and safety procedures are absent," said Joseph Roesler, OSHA area office director based in Mobile, Ala. "Arkal Automotive USA Inc. failed to identify and correct hazards to ensure the safety and health of their employees."
Company officials could not be reached for comment.
OSHA accused the company of not having proper lockout procedures for working with robots or molds, including when removing parts or cleaning molds, as well as not having enough of the required lockout equipment for employees.
Additionally, the OSHA complaint said the company failed to ensure that if more than one employee was working in a robotic area, each employee had individual lockout devices.
As well, it said the company failed to ensure continuity of lockout procedures on shift change and did not have adequate machine guarding when employees reached under a portion of a robot cage to retrieve parts and pass to the operator while the machine was running.
According to records on OSHA's website, the agency inspected the same facility in 2017 in response to a complaint and issued four serious violations, initially proposing fines of $24,000 for lockout, hazard communications and other violations. That amount was reduced to $14,400 at settlement.
Arkal is based in Israel, with production plants worldwide. The injection molding plant, which opened in 2011, is the firm's only production plant in the United States. It produces door carriers, wheel liners and other functional auto parts.