October 22, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
45°F

Liverpool Twp. company contests OSHA fine, insists safety improved

LIVERPOOL TWP. — A company facing fines for a worker accident in November is appealing the decision, and said it has instituted policies and equipment to make the workplace safer.

Superior Roll Forming is working with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to possibly reduce the $89,000 fine levied against it for the November accident in which an employee’s hand was crushed in a 150-ton press. Tim Synk, president of Superior Roll Forming, said the company spent more than $400,000 in 2013 on safety improvements and $314,000 so far this year to improve safety at the facility, 5535 Wegman Drive.

“We have a robust safety program and a safety committee,” Synk said. “We do everything we can to make our plant safe for employees.”

In November, a worker was injured when removing a metal piece from a power press because safeguards around the press had been disabled and the company had not installed barrier guards. The press assembles metal and other material for automotive and other industries.

On Thursday, Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland, confirmed Superior had requested an informal conference with his agency and said OSHA is working with the company to review the fines and the safety practices it has in place.

“They’ve contested it and we are working towards ensuring that they are providing a safety and health-management system for the employees,” he said.

Eberts said OSHA has noted an improvement in safety standards since the November accident.

“The company is making a lot of effort to improve the safety and health of the facility,” Eberts said.

Eberts said it’s possible some fines might be dropped as a result of the company contesting OSHA findings.

The OSHA report on the November accident found two repeat violations against the company for failing to use lockout/tagout procedures to prevent operation of the power press while a worker is removing a part.

A violation is considered a repeat violation when the company has been charged with any similar standard or violation within the last five years. Superior Roll Forming was cited for machine guarding and lockout/tagout violations earlier in 2013.

But Synk said the company is working to improve safety by adding guards to machines and hiring an outside group to perform safety inspections.

“We’re trying as best we can to make everything as safe as possible,” he said.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com. Follow her on Twitter @lorengenson.