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OSHA Cites Colfor for Exposing Workers to Hazardous Energy

Jan. 2, 2012
Four alleged violations would carry fines totaling $51,000

Colfor Manufacturing in Malvern, OH, was issued four citations for plant safety violations by the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration The company is an American Axle & Manufacturing subsidiary that produces forged and finished machined transmission shafts, hypoid drive pinions, propeller shafts, transmission gears, and wheel spindles. It has plants in Malvern and Minerva, OH, where it has cold and warm forging, finishing, and heat-treating capabilities.

The four alleged violations carry proposed fines totaling $51,000, and followed an inspection that began in October. The company has been inspected by OSHA 13 times since 1990, according to the agency. The current citations include a repeat violation for failing to protect workers by locking out energy sources to mechanical and hydraulic forging presses during die changes, services, or maintenance.

OSHA issues a repeat violation when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the preceding five years. Colfor Manufacturing was cited for the same violation in February 2010, the agency announced.

"Employers who are cited for repeat OSHA violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to employee safety and health," stated OSHA area director Deb Zubaty. "Employers are responsible for knowing the hazards that exist in their workplaces and implementing relevant safety standards. OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so."

In addition, Colfor was issued three serious violations for failing to use specific procedures to control hazardous energy, to use group hazardous energy control procedures for multiple exposed workers conducting maintenance on presses, and to inspect energy control procedures at least annually. OSHA issues a serious violation when it determines there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew, or should have known.

Colfor Manufacturing was allowed 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, to request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or to contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.