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Continental Fabricators Inc. is facing $52,500 in fines for 15 citations involving amputation, confined spaces and electrical hazards at its St. Louis-based steel fabrication facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The steel fabricator has an injury rate higher than the national average, OSHA said.

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“Continental Fabricators demonstrates a company culture that does not put safety first. Workers should not be suffering fractures, sprains and muscular injuries on the job. These injuries are preventable by using personal protective equipment and following safety procedures,” said Bill McDonald, OSHA’s area director in St. Louis. “A high injury rate should be a wake-up call for any manufacturer to re-examine its safety procedures and training.”

OSHA’s inspection found several machines in the plant lacked emergency stop devices and adequate machine guarding, which exposed workers to amputation hazards. The company had inadequate lockout/tagout procedures to prevent unintentional operation of dangerous machinery during service and maintenance. Additionally, workers did not have appropriate lockout/tagout devices or training in their proper use.

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Other violations were for failing to provide appropriate flame-retardant apparel to welders, use welding screens and train welders in the hazards of hexavalent chromium. The company also failed to inspect hooks and wire ropes on overhead cranes, used several damaged electric cords and did not comply with respiratory protection standards.

Continental Fabricators failed to comply with permit-required confined space standards, including having an attendant present while another employee was inside a confined space to identify potential hazards and provide a means of rescue, OSHA said.

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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