A Michigan company faces $137,750 in fines from the state’s workplace safety agency (MIOSHA) following a recent inspection. The hefty fines also follow recent federal criticism of MIOSHA’s lower than average penalties.
Bharat Forge American in Lansing received 42 citations: 4 willful, 19 serious and 19 other-than-serious.
The four willful violations were all related to the confined spaces standard:
- an inadequate written program that doesn’t explain how and when to use ventilation that relies on a local fire department for rescue; there is no contract with any local fire department
- confined space gas monitor didn’t work
- inadequate training on entry procedures, gas monitoring, ventilation techniques, attendant duties and rescue, and
- inadequate rescue procedures that rely on 911 and local fire department.
Those four willful violations totaled $115,500 in fines.
The serious violations include no guards or inadequate guards on equipment, lack of fall protection, and not performing lockout when required.
There were no reported injuries at the company. The inspection was part of a program to inspect facilities in industries with high injury rates.
The company says it will contest the citations.
Earlier this year as part of federal OSHA’s review of state safety agencies, MIOSH was criticized for a penalty calculation policy that resulted in below average fines. MIOSHA’s average serious violation was for $692, 52% below the national average.
In its response to OSHA’s review, MIOSHA said it recently revised its field operations manual for inspectors, including new penalty calculations. As a result, MIOSHA says its fines will increase.