Ohio railroad parts manufacturer SanCasT Inc. was recently cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for safety violations related to employee safety. The company was found to be exposing workers to machine and fall hazards at its Coshocton plant.
This is the third time SanCasT has been cited for these types of safety violations, which OSHA area director Larry Johnson stated “demonstrate a lack of concern for employee safety.” The administration has proposed $235,879 in penalties. SanCasT has 15 business days after receiving the citations to comply or contest the findings.
Problems Found During Follow-Up Visit to SanCasT
Founded in 1976, SanCasT creates parts for numerous industries, including the railcar industry. They also supply ductile, acicular, and gray iron castings for power generation, utilities, transportation, industrial machinery, marine, agricultural equipment, and automotive industries. The company’s main base of operations is located on 22 acres in Coshocton, Ohio.
SanCasT is a subsidiary of Wabtec Corporation, which is based in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania. Wabtec is a leading supplier of products and services for freight rail, passenger transit, and select industrial markets.
SanCasT’s recent safety violations were discovered on a planned follow-up inspection by OSHA. SanCasT was cited previously for serious safety violations in both 2013 and 2014. OSHA’s follow-up visit was to be sure they had made improvements. Unfortunately, inspectors found more problems.
Ohio Company Fails to Properly Protect Employees
OSHA found that SanCasT had failed to properly protect their employees and to secure a safe and health workplace. Some of the violations included:
- Lack of adequate lockout/tagout procedures
- Live electrical contacts
- Lack of machine guards
- Fall hazards
More specifically, the company was cited for fall hazards because the guardrails lacked a top rail, and floor holes were not covered. On one occasion, an opening was created in the “melt deck,” during the pouring of the furnaces, which exposed employees to a fall hazard of about nine feet. In another instance, an employee was operating a 7/9-inch right angle grinder without a guard, exposing himself to a struck-by hazard.
In total, OSHA cited SanCasT with three repeated and four serious safety violations.
Companies are Responsible for Protecting Employees from Electrical Hazards
OSHA has very clear guidelines on what companies are supposed to do to protect employees from all of these hazards and more. Electrocution, for example, is the fourth leading cause of work-related death for construction workers, with one worker being electrocuted on the job every day in the U.S.
An electrical hazard in a workplace can also expose workers to other potential injuries, including burns and shock, and may lead to dangerous situations such as a fire or an explosion. Burns are common shock-related injuries, and can be caused under the following circumstances:
- When an electrical current enters the body at one point and leaves at another,
- When there is an electrical fire,
- Or when there is a sudden release of electrical energy through the air, such as when there is a breakdown between conductors (called an arc flash/blast).
OSHA recommends that to reduce hazards, companies should train employees on proper safety precautions, should regularly inspect portable tools and extension cords, and should follow lockout/tagout procedures, which safeguard workers from hazardous energy releases.