Region 1 News Release: BOS 2001-059
Tuesday, May 15, 2001
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
Over $62,000 in Fines Proposed against Access TCA, Inc.
OSHA CITES WHITINSVILLE, MASS., MANUFACTURER FOR ALLEGED WILLFUL, REPEAT AND SERIOUS SAFETY VIOLATIONS FOLLOWING WORKER INJURY
BOSTON - The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Access TCA, Inc., a Whitinsville, Mass., manufacturer of trade show exhibits, for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following an April 11 accident in which an employee suffered severe hand injuries while operating an unguarded table saw. OSHA has proposed penalties totaling $62,060 against the employer.
"OSHA's inspection found that the required guard hood that protects operators from the saw's points of operation was not installed at the time of the accident, thus exposing the injured worker and any other operator to the dangers of lacerations and amputation," said Ronald E. Morin, OSHA area director for central and western Massachusetts, who noted that the inspection also found a second unguarded table saw in another section of the plant.
In addition, Morin noted, the inspection also identified several other hazards involving respirators, ventilation, hazardous energy control, hazard communication and electrical equipment. Access TCA, Inc. had been cited by OSHA in March 2000 for substantially similar hazards at its Duluth, Georgia, plant.
"Left uncorrected, these various hazards exposed workers at this plant to the dangers of the unexpected startup of machinery, inadequate ventilation, inadequate respirator selection and exposure to flammable vapors, combustible residue, thinner, laquer, plastic and wood dusts, paints, fast drying cement and carbon monoxide," said Morin (A breakdown of the citations and proposed penalties is attached).
Morin urged central and western Massachusetts employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Springfield at 413-785-0123 and added that OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) -- may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours. He also noted that detailed information about OSHA standards and safe work practices are available via the Internet through OSHA's website: www.osha.gov.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A repeat citation is issued when OSHA has previously cited an employer for a substantially similar violation and that citation has become final.
A serious violation is defined as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. An other-than-serious violation is a condition which would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Citations and $62,060 in Proposed Penalties to Access TCA, Inc. of Whitinsville, Mass.
One alleged willful violation, with a proposed penalty of $49,500, for:
-- table saws not guarded against employee contact.
Four alleged repeat violations, with proposed fines of $9,760, for:
-- the employer's written hazardous energy control program did not include machine specific procedures to prevent the unexpected startup of table saws, bandsaws and other equipment;
-- lack of an adequate written hazard communication program to inform employees working with laquer thinner, fast drying contact cement, wood dusts, plastic dusts, paints and carbon monoxide of the hazards associated with those substances;
-- failure to develop and implement a written respirator program for employees using respirators as protection against vapors and mists generated during spray application of fast drying contact cement;
-- no written certification that the workplace had been assessed for hazards requiring personal protective equipment for workers.
[The company had previously been cited by OSHA in March 2000 for substantially similar hazards following an inspection at the company's Duluth, Georgia, plant.]
Two alleged serious violations, with $2,800 in penalties proposed, for:
-- approved mechanical ventilation and approved electrical receptacles were not in use in areas containing explosive vapors and ignitable residues;
-- failure to evaluate respiratory hazards in areas where fast drying contact cement was applied; failure to conduct medical evaluations to determine workers' ability to use respirators.
One alleged other than serious violation for:
-- lack of an adequate written emergency action plan.
The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.