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Cleveland auto coatings plant cited for 15 serious health and safety violation

By Marcia Pledger, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Hurst Auto-Truck Electric Ltd. has been cited by a federal agency for allegedly exposing employees to hazards including combustible dust and amputation potential.

The citations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration carry penalties of $62,300 in fines for the Cleveland auto coatings plant. The plant specializes in chrome plating and powder-coating finished accessories for the automotive industry.

OSHA has cited the company for 15 serious safety and health violations following a March inspection. Workers were exposed to combustible aluminum and steel dust while working, according to the report. If this dust is suspended in the air in the right concentration, under certain conditions, it can become explosive. Amputation hazards included a lack of machine guarding and failure to implement specific lockout/tagout procedures, OSHA said.

"Combustible dust can burn rapidly and explode with little warning, putting workers at risk for severe injury and death," Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland, said in a statement.

"OSHA's inspection found that Hurst Auto-Truck Electric failed to maintain areas free of combustible dust and used ignition in areas where combustible dust was present. When the stakes are so high, employers must recognize and eliminate these hazards."

Companies get 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, contest the findings or request an informal conference.

Hurst Auto-Truck Electric Ltd., could not be reached for comment.

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