Fenton tool and die company fined after worker electrocuted

FENTON, Mo. (KSDK) - A Fenton-based tool and die company faces nearly $80,000 in fines after one of its workers was electrocuted in March, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said Monday.

According to a news release, OSHA cited Davis Tool & Die for 17 safety violations. OSHA noted the same violations occurred at Poplar Bluff Tool & Die in January 2012, under the same ownership.

Nine safety violations related directly to the worker's electrocution, which occurred when a maintenance worker came into contact with exposed energized parts while examining malfunctioning heating components. The safety violations include:

- failing to evaluate the need for personal protective equipment and insulated tools and provide them as necessary;
- modifying the oven wiring of heating elements from the manufacturer's design;
- lack of safety-related work practices and worker training in those concepts;
- failing to de-energize parts and verify de-energization prior to maintenance;
- failing to ensure worker qualifications for performed duties;
- allowing conductive articles of jewelry or clothing to be worn near electrical components.

Seven additional safety violations involve a lack of machine guarding and an emergency eyewashing station for workers exposed to corrosive materials, as well as safety measures to control hazardous energy. OSHA says the company also failed to install electrical equipment properly, periodically test electrical protective equipment and evaluate forklift truck drivers at least once every three years.

By OSHA standards, a serious safety 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.

OSHA has proposed approximately $77,000 in fines be levied against Davis Tool & Die. The company has 15 business days from receiving these citations to contest them before a review board. If the company does not contest the ruling, the must pay the proposed penalties.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's St. Louis Area Office at 314-425-4249.


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