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Republic Steel agrees to $2.4 million settlement with OSHA

Ohio-based Republic Steel will pay $2.4 million under an agreement to settle alleged health and safety violations at four plants, including one in Blasdell, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Monday.

OSHA said the settlement addresses more than 100 alleged safety and health violations found by the agency during inspections in fall 2013. The company “agrees to abate all cited hazards and implement numerous safeguards to prevent future injuries,” the agency said.

Republic has agreed on additional penalty amounts in case Republic is found to be noncompliant with the agreement, OSHA said. The other three Republic plants covered by the agreement are in Ohio.

“By agreeing to the terms of this settlement, Republic Steel has demonstrated a commitment to change its culture, invest in its employees, and work with OSHA and the United Steelworkers to make significant changes at its facilities that will improve the safety and health of its workers,” Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said in a statement. “The Labor Department looks forward to working with Republic Steel to ensure that it lives up to its commitment to improve workplace safety.”

OSHA said it launched the inspections last fall after an employee at Republic’s Lorain, Ohio, plant fell through the roof of a building and was seriously injured. The agency said that it expanded its inspections to all Republic Steel’s facilities under its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA said the agreement calls for Republic to hire additional safety and health staff, conduct internal safety and health inspections with representatives of the United Steelworkers, and establish and implement a comprehensive safety and health management program to identify and correct hazardous working conditions. Republic will also hire third-party auditors to ensure that hazards are identified and improvements are made, and meet quarterly with OSHA staff to assure implementation of this agreement, the agency said.

Republic did not provide a comment on the settlement.

Republic’s Lake Shore Road plant had been part of Bethlehem Steel’s complex, until it was closed in 1992. The plant has undergone ownership changes since it was restarted a few years later. Since 2005, Republic has been owned by Mexico-based Industrias CH.

Republic’s plant in Hamilton, Ont., was not part of the OSHA settlement.