Italcementi : Upper Nazareth cement company facing $92K in fines for workplace hazards in Ohio

Byszheng

Updated Wed, 11 May 2016 09:56:28 GMT

May 10--An Upper Nazareth Township cement producer is facing $92,000in federal fines after it exposed its workers to machine, noise and respiratory hazards at its Ohio plant, the U.S. Labor Department'sOccupational Safety and Health Administration said.

The Cleveland Area Office of OSHA issued citations last week to Essroc Italcementi Group for one repeated and 10 serious safety and health violations.

The agency said it opened its investigation in November under its National Emphasis Programs on amputation and silica hazards and after receiving a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions at the Middlebranch, Ohio, facility.

OSHA said its investigators found Essroc failed to: install machine guarding on rotating barrels; develop machine-specific safety procedures to control hazardous energy; protect workers from excessive noise exposure; establish a hearing conservation program including baseline and annual audiograms; develop a respiratory protection program including medical evaluations and fit-testing; train workers to operate powered industrial vehicles; inspect fire extinguishers and cranes as required; and maintain dry, clean floors.

"Employers have a responsibility to protect workers from exposure to noise and respiratory hazards that can lead to debilitating health conditions," Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland, said in a news release. "Essroc needs to immediately re-evaluate its safety and health programs to keep workers safe on the job."

Craig Becker, senior vice president of human resources at Essroc, said the company will be requesting a conference within the 15-day period to discuss the citations as written by OSHA.

"While Essroc has had some concerns at the Middlebranch facility, those issues have been addressed in a timely manner," Becker wrote in an email. "The safety issues that OSHA identified in the citations have not led to any incident that resulted in injuries to any of our workforce.

"Essroc is fully committed to ensuring safety to our employees at each facility."

Becker said the Ohio operation, which he said has a good safety record since Essroc acquired it in 1990, has seven workers and two supervisors.

Locally, Essroc's plant, straddling Nazareth and Upper Nazareth Township, and its North American headquarters employ about 300 people, including about 110 Steelworkers.