Federal authorities have reached an informal settlement with an Ohio-based wall-panel systems maker, sharply reducing the company’s fine to $15,000 for safety violations at its plant.
On July 12, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration hit Marlite Inc., of Dover, with 12 alleged safety violations, carrying $56,000 in proposed penalties.
|The company provides hundreds of finishes and materials for designer wall systems for the commercial interiors market.|
Late Wednesday (Aug. 1), however, the parties reached an informal settlement that reclassified some of the citations, dropped others, and slashed the total fine.
Showing Good Faith
Scott Allen, OSHA spokesperson for the Midwest Region, credited Marlite with correcting the hazards before entering into settlement negotiations.
“It is the Agency’s goal to have workers protected as soon as possible,” said Allen. “OSHA is willing to work with any company that shows good faith in having the hazards corrected quickly. By doing so, OSHA achieves its mission, and work places are free of hazards.”
John Popa, Marlite’s CEO, confirmed the settlement to D+D News.
The agency initially issued a repeat violation alleging failure to provide machine guarding on several drill presses in the factory. The violation still stands, but the original $25,000 penalty was reduced to $3,000.
Marlite was cited for the same violation during a 2008 OSHA inspection, OSHA said.
A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation within five years.
In addition, the company currently faces five serious violations, including failure to guard floor and wall openings and holes, maintain safeguards and operational features for exit routes, maintain general requirements for all machines, maintain general requirements and wiring methods, components and equipment for general use.
Two of the company’s serious violations were reclassified as other than serious, and the total penalties for the serious violations were cut to $12,000 from $27,000. A serious violation reflects “substantial probability” of death or serious from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Finally, OSHA vacated the initial other-than-serious violations, alleging failure to provide injury/illness descriptions on OSHA 300 forms. The $4,000 fine proposed for those violations was dropped.
The company must pay the total penalty on or before Aug. 25.
Marlite provides hundreds of finishes and materials for designer wall systems for the commercial interiors market. The company employs 200 full-time workers.