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Published: Friday, 9/17/2004

OSHA fines Allen County company $179,900

LIMA, Ohio - Federal safety regulators have slapped a hefty fine on an Allen County business for alleged serious violations.

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration said in a statement late yesterday that it had fined Allen County Recyclers Inc., which does business as Allen County Pallet Co., $179,900, or one of its larger penalties.

The safety agency cited the company for two willful violations for failing to lock-out equipment before performing maintenance duties and for failing to provide adequate machine guarding. It also was cited for a repeat violation for failing to provide enough guarding on woodworking equipment.

Willful and repeat violations are the most serious citations OSHA levels. The agency also said the firm had serious violations involving forklift operations, housekeeping, materials storage, and electrical cabinet maintenance.

Neither OSHA officials nor anyone from the company could be reached for comment yesterday.

Details of the incident resulting in the citations were unclear. The OSHA statement said the agency last inspected the business in June, 2003 after an accident in which a worker was seriously injured when caught in machinery that did not have proper guards.

A separate health inspection by OSHA, a date for which was not provided, resulted in the agency yesterday revealing it has also cited the firm for a serious violation for failing to inform workers of the need and purpose of specialized testing for hearing and a willful citation for failing to do that testing.

Those citations were also part of the total fine. The fine was among the highest the Toledo OSHA office has issued in recent years. Allen County Recyclers has 15 working days to appeal the findings, upon which the citations and fine could be reduced. The safety history at the business also was not immediately known yesterday.

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