Globe hit with heavy OSHA fines

Published 9:16 pm Monday, April 29, 2013

A death at Selma’s Globe Metallurgical Inc. in October led the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to conduct an inspection of the plant in late October; an inspection that led to the discovery of five safety violations.

The citations from the repeat and serious violations carry a total of $106,000 in proposed penalties.

Selma resident Marvin Bennett was killed Oct. 26, when he fell 16 feet off of a fixed ladder while working in a feeder tunnel at the company’s Selma plant. Following the death, OSHA’s Mobile area office held an inspection of the Selma plant.

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According to a report released by OSHA Monday, three repeat safety violations cited involved failing to ensure workers were protected from floor openings, that all railings on the electrode platform met minimal requirements and all electrical panels, boxes and fittings had closed knockouts. Similar violations were cited following OSHA’s 2009 and 2010 inspections.

Two serious safety violations were also cited in the report. Those serious violations involve failing to ensure workers in the feeder tunnel were not exposed to an unguarded skip hoist, as well as for exposing workers to fire and explosion hazards by allowing combustible dust to accumulate on surfaces, such as electrical panels, ledges and I-beams.

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.

“This incident could have been prevented. Employers cannot allow workers to be exposed to unguarded equipment or fire/explosion hazards,” said Joseph Roesler, OSHA’s area director in Mobile. “It’s imperative that management eliminate hazards from the workplace.”

Globe Metallurgical Inc. is engaged in the smelting of silicon from wood chips and river rocks that are later used in the manufacture of a wide range of industrial and commercial products.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.