Ohio Grate Maker Company Faces Over $183K in Fines for Workplace Safety Violations

Toni Sutton-Deangelico

Canton, Ohio (WorkerssCompensation.com)- Ohio Gratings Inc., described as ‘the industry leader in the manufacture of steel bar grating and aluminum’ has been cited by OSHA following an inspection that took place back in December.

The Canton, Ohio-based company is facing penalties of $183,748 for exposing its employees to chemical, respiratory, and other hazards. The inspection was initiated when OSHA received a formal complaint alleging that there was a lack of training on chemicals used at the facility as well as poor ventilation for workers.

According to court documents obtained by WorkersCompensation.com, the company was cited for 17 serious and five other-than-serious safety and health violations. Some of the serious citations included:

  • Failing to ensure an approved self-closing valve was used when transferring Water Reducible Alkyd Dip Enamel — a Category 3 flammable liquid — to a metal dip tank from a plastic tote.
  • Failing to ensure that periodic inspections were conducted of all dipping and coating equipment, including drains, covers, overflow piping, as well as fire-extinguishing and electrical systems. During an inspection by OSHA, it was noted that the dip tank operation was not equipped with the required safety features, such as fire-extinguishing systems.
  • Failing to ensure that employees that operate the dip tank containing Water Reducible Alkyd Dip Enamel were using the right eye and face protection.
  • Failing to require that employees working with chemicals were wearing chemical resistant gloves
  • Failing to provide employees with sufficient training on the hazards associated with the chemicals they were working with, including but not limited to a Category 3 flammable liquid, Water Reducible Alkyd Dip Enamel, at the time of their initial assignment when working in the dip tank operation.

After receiving the Citation and Notification of Penalty, Ohio Gratings filed a Notice of Contest. “We anticipate that many, if not all, citations will be vacated,” said Tod Morrow, an attorney for the company, in a statement. “OSHA citations are a preliminary opinion by OSHA that there were violations of the OSH Act. It is not uncommon for citations to be thrown out by the reviewing Judge.”

In the same release, the company’s CEO said “Ohio Gratings is focused first on the safety and well-being of our employees. We employ a full-time safety manager and work with an outside firm as well. We are committed to providing the appropriate tools, communication, and practices to keep our team members safe and productive.”

Cleveland, Ohio OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts said, “OSHA standards require employers to regularly conduct hazard analyses of the worksite, train workers to recognize hazards and provide appropriate personal protective equipment to minimize exposure to materials that can cause long-term health issues.”

An OSHA spokesperson told WorkersCompensation.com that the company was cited back in June of 2018 for four serious violations, which are under contest.

Since Ohio Gratings has contested these new citations and penalties, the case will now go before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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