OSHA proposes steep fine for Illinois scrap firm

Scrap metal firm Behr Iron & Steel accused of several safety violations.

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The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed a penalty of $366,400 to Behr Iron & Steel, headquartered in Rockford, Illinois, for five violations it terms as willful and nine termed as serious at the company’s facilities in Rockford and Peoria, Illinois The fines were assessed following a September 2014 inspection by OSHA.

OSHA initiated inspections at three of Behr Iron & Steel’s facilities after similar findings were made during an investigation into the death of a worker at the company's recycling facility in South Beloit, Illinois, in March 2014.

The company received two violations for exposing workers to operating parts of dangerous machinery during service and maintenance at its Rockford operations. The company failed to use energy control procedures such as powering off and affixing locking devices to prevent the unintentional operation of machinery, according to OSHA. Behr also was cited for failing to conduct annual inspections of the procedures for effectiveness.

Inspectors also say workers at Behr’s Rockford facility were exposed to falls and trips from unguarded floor openings and platforms of up to 10 feet in height and had to walk across a conveyor system to enter and exit work stations in a sorting area.

Behr has 15 business days from the receipt of the citations and penalties to either comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before an Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.