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Published: Wednesday, 5/18/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Wauseon firm fined $178,500

OSHA says action stems from complaint after injury

BY SHEENA HARRISON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Multi-Cast Corp., a Wauseon metal casting firm, is facing $178,500 in fines from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration after the agency cited it for several safety hazards found during an inspection.

Vanessa Martin, the agency's acting area director in Toledo, said Wednesday the inspection at Multi-Cast in November stemmed from a complaint that was made after an employee was struck and injured by a roll-over mold-making machine at the company.

Multi-Cast Treasurer Michael Jewell declined to comment Wednesday on the alleged violations, whether the company plans to challenge the citations, or the status of the worker who was reportedly hurt.

The company was placed in OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program because of potential lead exposure, fall, and amputation hazards, said Rhonda Burke, spokesman with the U.S. Department of Labor in Chicago. About 40 Midwest companies have been referred to that program since it was established in April, 2010, and each receive added scrutiny.

The penalty for Multi-Cast is relatively stiff among fines issued by the Toledo OSHA office, but the agency has stepped up its enforcement nationwide of workplace safety and health regulations, including protection against falls, amputation hazards, and other risks.

"Across the board, we as an agency have increased the bottom line in terms of the amount of the fine that will be issued, whether it's a serious, repeat, or willful violation," Ms. Martin said.

Companies can contact OSHA for an on-site consultation, she said, to determine ways to mitigate safety risks.

The Wauseon company was fined $147,000 for three "willful" violations, including failing to place machine guarding on the equipment that injured the Multi-Cast employee, Ms. Martin said.

Multi-Cast also was cited for several "serious" and "other-than-serious" violations, such as failing to provide guards on stair railings, failing to provide lead standard training, and allowing an employee to work under a 2,500-pound sand mold.

OSHA defines willful violations as those that are committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for safety laws, or with indifference to worker safety and health. Serious violations are hazards that could result in death or serious physical harm, which the employer knew or should have known about, according to the agency.

The firm has 15 business days to request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the citations and fines. The company had not responded to OSHA's notice as of Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Martin said.

Contact Sheena Harrison at: sharrison@theblade.com or 419-724-6103.



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