Auto Parts Company Cited After Worker Falls Into Acid Tank

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By Christopher Brown

Sept. 13 — An Ohio auto parts maker that allowed employees to continue working in dangerous conditions in the wake of a recent accident has been cited for safety violations and is facing $257,000 in fines, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Sept. 12.

The company was A-Brite Plating, a division of the Plasman Group.

In a statement, OSHA said the company failed to report the March accident in which a machine operator at A-Brite’s Cleveland facility suffered third-degree burns to his foot after falling into an acid-etching tank. After learning from of the injury independently of the company, inspectors who arrived at the facility weeks later found that A-Brite was allowing workers to continue working atop the same acid tanks after the incident.

Inspectors immediately posted an imminent-danger notice at the facility and carried out an investigation, concluding hat the injured worker had not been provided protection to prevent a fall and had inadequate equipment to protect him from chemical burns.

The inspectors also found that the company failed to develop a confined-space program, despite requiring workers to climb into tanks to clean them on a routine basis, or implement machine-safety procedures to protect workers from operating parts during service and maintenance.

OSHA cited A-Brite for one willful and eight serious safety and health violations.

In a statement, the Plasman Group said it disagreed with OSHA’s characterization of the accident and the company’s response. “Safety is a priority to A-Brite Plating and our extended Plasman Group teams,” it said. “We take these allegations provided by OSHA very seriously and respect our partnership in safety. Since OSHA’s inspection began, we have been conducting our own thorough investigation. We look forward to presenting our side of the story at the appropriate time.”

By Christopher Brown

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Brown at ChrisBrown@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

For More Information

The citations to A-Brite Plating for safety violations can be found at http://src.bna.com/iwZ. The A-Brite citations for health violations can be found at http://src.bna.com/iw0.

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