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Ohio manufacturer receives OSHA citations after worker falls 40 feet

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An Ohio steel equipment manufacturer deemed a severe violator of federal workplace safety law was again cited by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for another serious injury to an employee.

A 39-year-old employee of Canton, Ohio-based TimkenSteel Corp. suffered multiple broken bones after he fell more than 40 feet while conducting crane maintenance, the agency said Monday in a statement. The August injury was the second life-threatening incident since May 2015, when 1,000 pounds of equipment fell on a worker, fracturing his left foot and breaking several bones.

In the latest incident, OSHA cited the manufacturer for two repeat and three serious violations and proposed fines of $129,500 after finding that the company failed to provide the worker with adequate fall protection, according to the statement. OSHA investigators found crane maintenance workers were exposed to falls due to lack of guardrails and protective equipment, and that workers were not protected from operating parts of cranes during service and maintenance because locking devices, guards and other safety procedures were not used and equipment was not powered down properly.

Prior to this latest inspection, the three plants and corporate offices operated by TimkenSteel had been inspected by OSHA 29 times since 2005, resulting in the issuance of 76 violations. In November 2015, TimkenSteel was placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses resources on inspecting employers who, according to the agency, have demonstrated indifference to their Occupational Safety and Health Act obligations through willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations.

“TimkenSteel needs to fix their safety program immediately,” Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland, said in the statement. “OSHA will monitor these plants until the company makes protecting workers a priority. No worker should die or suffer life-altering workplace injuries because their employer fails in its responsibility to protect their employees.”

TimkenSteel released a statement on Tuesday, saying, “Workplace safety is our top priority. We have and will continue to evaluate our safety procedures, take corrective actions and ensure we're doing all we can to prevent future incidents. We are working closely with our employees and with OSHA to maintain a safe workplace environment.

“We will review and determine if an appeal on any of the citations from OSHA is appropriate. Our focus remains on continuously working with our employees to improve worker safety.”