WI Metal Finisher Failed To Evacuate Workers During A Natural Gas Leak


St. Francis, WI (WorkersCompensation.com) - Badger Metal Finishing Inc. has been cited for 17 safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration at its St. Francis metal finishing facility. OSHA's inspection was prompted by a complaint that workers were not evacuated during a natural gas leak. Proposed penalties total $46,200.

"Failing to evacuate workers during a natural gas leak shows a serious disregard for worker safety and health," said Chris Zortman, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee. "As an employer, Badger Metal Finishings has a responsibility to maintain a safe and healthful workplace for all its workers. Fortunately, no injuries resulted from this careless action."

A total of 14 serious safety violations cited include failing to evacuate workers during a gas leak; unguarded stairways and floors leading to a fall hazard; lack of eye protection; inadequate lockout/tagout procedures to control hazardous energy; and blocked electrical panels and use of damaged extension cords. Additionally, violations of OSHA's respiratory protection program standards were cited, such as lack of a written respiratory program, failing to conduct medical evaluations for respirator use and deficient cleaning. The company also failed to train workers on how to operate powered industrial vehicles and how to remove damaged vehicles from service. 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.

Three other-than-serious violations cited include failing to inspect the lockout/tagout program annually, inadequate labeling of hazardous chemical containers and failing to provide workers with information and training on the use of hazardous chemicals. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Badger Metal Finishing conducts metal polishing and finishing applications and employs 37 workers. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and notice of proposed penalties to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. If the company does not file or contest within that period, it must abate the cited conditions within the period ordered in the citations and pay the proposed penalties.

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