Are OSHA’s safety citations of Midland Davis Corp. unfair?

| July 25, 2013

Midland Davis Corp., a Moline, IL based scrap metal recycling company, has decided to contest the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) safety citations for 19 violations.

OSHA inspected the Moline scrap metal recycling center in April as a part of its Site-Specific Targeting Program, targeting employers who have recorded a higher than average illness and injury rate. Upon inspection of the Midland Davis Corp., OSHA found severe safety infractions that include 13 serious, two repeat, and four other-than-serious violations – all carrying a total fine of $64,680.

Tom Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria says, “Failing to conduct periodic inspections and remove damaged equipment creates an atmosphere in which the workers are vulnerable to injury on the job.” He further stated that Midland Davis has demonstrated a lack of commitment to employee safety and health by failing to correct previous deficiencies.

Mitch Davis, co-owner of the recycling company, argues, “We are conscientious and I think we operate safely. I wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.”

Serious violations

OSHA inspectors have found 13 serious violations that involve the absence of fall protection for workers operating on elevated platforms, absence of machine guards, and no management to take away damaged vehicles and other equipment from service.

According to Davis, certain charges like a $4,000 fine for a crack in the floor and a similar fine for a cut in the cord of a hand grinder power tool weren’t justified. Electric tape was covering the exposed wires, and such violations call for a $3,000 fine. He also explained that the elevated platform that lacked fall protection is just four feet off the ground.

“It’s not a hideously dangerous thing,” Davis says. “I can’t deny the fact they cited us for all of this, but I think everything has been fixed.”

Caution Lockout Sign

View this sign here.

Repeat violations

The company has also been cited for two repeat infringements including failure to conduct regular inspections of energy control procedures and lack of proper training and evaluation of each power industrial vehicle operator. The firm was cited for the same violations at its Pekin, IL., facility in April last year.

Other-than-serious violations

OSHA has also mentioned four other-than-serious violations that have a direct connection to job safety and health. These violations include failing to submit completion of hazard assessment in writing, provide workers with safety information about voluntary use of filtering face pieces, maintain inspection records for ropes on the locomotive crane, and ensure proper marking of powered industrial vehicles.

The 121-year-old scrap metal recycling company had 15 business days to contest the proposed penalties and safety citations. An informal hearing with OSHA happened yesterday, July 23rd, where the citation and notification of penalty served by the agency was discussed. Davis, who is the fourth generation owner with his brother and nephews, hopes that the penalties will be reduced.

Companies must file Notice of Intent to Contest with an OSHA area office even if they have stated a disagreement with the citation, penalty, or abatement during an informal conference. The notice must be submitted within 15 days of receipt of the citation or penalty.

Category: OSHA