Company cited after it allowed workers to continue to climb acid tanks despite prior incident

Company cited after it allowed workers to continue to climb acid tanks despite prior incident

A Cleveland auto parts plating facility has been cited after it allowed workers to continue to climb atop acid tanks even after a machine operator suffered burn injuries.

The injured worker was clearing a jam from a conveyor arm above the tank when he fell. An investigation found that the victim had no protection to prevent a fall, nor adequate personal protective equipment to protect him from chemical burns. He had extensive skin grafts to his left foot.

A danger notice was posted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on April 1, 2016 following the worker’s fall in March. The company failed to report the injury, as required.

The company was cited for one willful and eight serious safety and health violations on Friday, September 9. The company faces proposed penalties of $256,545.

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

“Allowing workers to continue climbing on top of acid tanks after knowing an employee suffered a third-degree chemical burn when he fell into a tank is unconscionable,” said Howard Eberts, area director of OSHA’s Cleveland office.

“During our investigation, OSHA found the company was well aware of the dangers of falling into the tank because at least seven employees had fallen, while clearing machine jams in the past five years. This life-altering injury was preventable by following basic safety procedures A-Brite needs to take immediate action to protect workers in its facility by re-evaluating its safety and health programs to ensure they are providing training, procedures and protective equipment to protect workers on the job.”