Earlier this month, Clarion Sintered Metals Inc. of Ridgway was assessed thousands of dollars in fines from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after an employee was injured operating a stationary compactor, resulting in the loss of a limb.
In a report issued by OSHA dated Nov. 3, an investigation from May 12 stated “an employee suffered an injury at the compactor area while the ram was cycling. At the time of the incident, the only E-stop available was located approximately 103 inches (8.58 feet) from the edge of the material feed area. The employee suffered severe crushing/struck by injuries to their right leg which then resulted in an amputation.”
The report also said the powdered metal presses provided “inadequate guards” at and below the point of operation, as well as behind the powdered metal presses. There were also no warning signs in or around the compactor, according to the OSHA report, nor did the company “develop equipment specific lockout/tagout procedures.” There were several violations related to the energy control procedures of specific pieces of machinery within the plant, the report read.
Another OSHA inspection of the facility on May 20 revealed “storage racks with damaged structural components,” a damaged or malfunctioning safety latch on hook in the E–14 dip tank area, and no handrail on a stairway that led to a pit underneath a press.
The report also noted the “employer did not institute an effective hearing conservation program when employee noise exposures exceeded an eight hour average time -weighted average sound level of 85 dbA, in that employees who experienced standard threshold shifts were not refitted and retrained on the use of hearing protectors.”
The report stated “an employee in the sintering oven department performing loading/unloading operations of metal parts was exposed to noise at a level of 99.23 percent of the allowable limit during a 440 minute sampling period on May 21, 2015. The exposure is equivalent to a sound level of 89.9 dbA for the dose and time of employee exposure.”
However, the report said Clarion “did ensure employees annual participation in a hearing conservation training program for all employees who were exposed to noise that exceed an 8 hour time weighted average sound level of 85 dbA.”
Between both inspections, Clarion has racked up $74,000 in fines from 37 violations.
According to Theresa Naim, the area director for the OSHA office in Erie, Clarion Sintered Metals has complied with OSHA thus far. Naim said the company received the notification of the fines on Nov. 10. She said Clarion has scheduled an informal conference with OSHA for Nov. 24.
Naim described the informal conference as a settlement hearing. She said the main concern of OSHA is to keep workers safe.
Naim said the last day for Clarion to contest will be Dec. 1.
Calls to Chris Adamson from Clarion Sintered Metals were not immediately returned to The Era on Wednesday.