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Employees at Matalco U.S. Inc. in Canton, OH, suffered exposure to amputation, fall hazards and unsafe crane operations and the company is now facing fines of $130,200, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Canton-based Matalco U.S. is a subsidiary of Matalco Inc. of Ontario, Canada. The U.S. plant employs 50 workers.

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After an inspection, OSHA issued two willful, one repeat and two serious safety violations. The inspection at the manufacturing facility that produces aluminum material for use in automotive rims and other parts came as a result of a complaint. The company is now on the OSHA Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“This company allowed workers to stand on blocks elevated by a forklift, and that’s just one visible example of the total disregard for worker safety and health at this plant,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “By placing Matalco U.S. in our Severe Violator Enforcement Program, OSHA is putting the company on notice that this is unacceptable.”

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OSHA’s March 24 inspection found one willful violation for insufficient machine guarding on a robot cell that exposed workers to amputation hazards. A second willful violation was for failing to remove a crane with broken safety mechanisms from service. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Employees ended up exposed to a fall hazard of more than 23 feet because the company had not installed guardrails over an open pit, and employees that worked in the pit area did not have fall protection. Matalco faced previous citations at this facility for this same violation in 2012.

OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

During the inspection, workers were standing on aluminum blocks elevated by a forklift to perform tasks on the furnace. This was an inappropriate use of the forklifts, and it exposed workers to falls of at least 8 feet. OSHA found live electric equipment operating at high voltages did not have guards against human contact. These hazards resulted in the issuance of two serious violations. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

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