OSHA Cites Machining Operation with 24 Safety Incidents

Wisconsin shop faces nearly $106,000 in fines for repeat and serious violations

R & B Grinding Co. in Racine, Wis., a machining, welding, and fabricating operation, has been cited by the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 24 alleged safety and health violations, and now faces penalties totaling $105,930. The incidents in the allegation range from a repeat violation to 18 serious safety violations and five violations cited as “other than serious.”

The notice was issued June 28, and the company was given 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

"Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their workplaces, and ensuring employees are provided with a safe and healthful work environment," stated OSHA’s Milwaukee area director George Yoksas.

One repeat safety violation that investigators found carries a proposed penalty of $24,750. It concerned foot pedals on machines that were not protected from accidental operation, and R&B Grinding was cited for the same violation in 2007, OSHA stated. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited within the previous five years for the same or a similar violation.

R&B Grinding faces allegations for 16n serious safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $69,300. OSHA labels violations as “serious” when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The serious violations at R&B Grinding include exposing workers to struck-by hazards; having an inadequate lockout/tagout program for energy sources to prevent machinery from starting up unexpectedly; modifying a forklift without the written permission of the manufacturer; lacking adequate machine guarding; and missing electrical switch covers and other electrical violations.

Two more serious health violations with proposed penalties of $11,880 include failing to provide audiograms for all employees with noise exposure and to provide employees with hearing conservation training.

The five other-than-serious citations carry no monetary penalties, but they are identified as situations with a direct relationship to job safety and health that probably would not cause death or physical harm.

R & B Grinding calls itself “a one-stop shop” for close-tolerance machining, grinding, welding, fabricating, induction hardening, and assembly work. Its equipment include horizontal and vertical CNC machines, single- and multi-spindle screw machining, and grinding.

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