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St. Louis Cold Drawn is facing $51,800 in fines for 26 safety violations after a worker was electrocuted May 15 when he reached into an energized electrical panel box to retrieve work gloves stored in the box at the company’s St. Louis steel bar manufacturing facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“Allowing workers to be exposed to live electricity without enforcing electrical safe work practices is inexcusable,” said Bill McDonald, OSHA’s area director in St. Louis. “Employers, such as St. Louis Cold Drawn, have a responsibility to train workers in safe electrical work practices, such as recognizing unsafe conditions when exposed to hazards.”

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As a result of the fatality inspection, OSHA cited 19 serious safety violations. Several relate directly to safe electrical work practices, such as exposing workers to live electricity; open grounding of electrical equipment; using electrical equipment in disrepair; failing to train workers who may be exposed to electrical shock on safe work practices and lockout procedures for equipment; and not providing personal protective equipment for workers exposed to the danger of electrical shock or arc flash.

Other serious violations included lack of machine-specific lockout procedures, no annual inspection of the lockout program, missing lockout devices, multiple instances of locks not being on machines to prevent unintentional energization and lack of machine guarding. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

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Seven other-than-serious violations were for failing to keep accurate injury and illness records, lockout/tagout training documentation was not available for all employees, and the employer failed to maintain a list of hazardous chemicals used in the workplace. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

St. Louis Cold Drawn faced similar citations with seven violations at this facility in 2002. The facility is the company’s headquarters and employs about 90 workers. The company has a second facility in Mexico.

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