The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has sanctioned a Plantsville-based metal forging company, for serious safety and health violations, some of them repeat offenses.
According to officials, OSHA’s Hartford area office inspected Rex Forge, a division of the J.J. Ryan Corp. in May of 2013 as part of what the agency calls their “site specific targeting program.”
OSHA discovered 21 health and safety hazards at Rex Forge. Fines levied by OSHA total $112,068.
“The safety and health violations are prolific, and this company should be aware of the potential hazards at a work site that forges steel for the automotive industry,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford, in a statement. “Safety and health protocol must be paramount and in place to protect workers.”
According to its website, Rex Forge makes steel and alloy parts for the automotive, trucking and other industries. It employs about 200 people at its 200,000-square foot facility. The company has been in operation since 1867, when it was known as Atwater Manufacturing Co.
Simpson said that following the safety inspections, OSHA noticed two repeat violations involving the use of an extension cord instead of the proper fixed wiring and using damaged electrical cords. Rex Forge had previously been fined cited for the same offense.
Other serious safety violations, according to Simpson, include fall hazards, electrical hazards and a lack of adequate training and safe work procedures to protect workers on or near energized electrical equipment.
Additionally, the company failed to inspect and properly tag chain slings used to lift forging dies and ensure blades on a fan had adequate guarding to protect workers from injury. OSHA considers a serious violation to be one where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard that the employer knew or should have known about.
The serious health violations included failing to train workers properly on how to avoid hearing loss, and ensure the use of noncombustible or flameproof screens to protect workers engaged in welding operations from exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the generated electric arc.
There were also repeat health violations involving failing to have a written hazard communication program available for workers and to use tongue guards properly on machinery.
In 2012 a fire at the Rex Forge plant caused part of their factory building to collapse. Oil spilled into the Quinnipiac River as a result of the fire.
Officials from Rex Forge have not commented publicly about OSHA’s sanctions.•