Region 1 News Release: BOS 2000-171
Monday, November 20, 2000
Contact: John M. Chavez
PHONE: (617) 565-2075
FOLLOWING WORKPLACE FATALITY INVESTIGATION, WEST HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT, EMPLOYER CITED BY OSHA FOR NUMEROUS ALLEGED SAFETY & HEALTH VIOLATIONS; OVER $100,000 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor has cited Danaher Tool Group, doing business as Holo-Krome, Inc. of West Hartford, Connecticut, for alleged SERIOUS, REPEAT and other violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The federal workplace safety and health enforcement agency is proposing penalties totaling $106,500 for the alleged violations.
According to Thomas Guilmartin, OSHA area director for northern Connecticut, the alleged violations were discovered during safety and health inspections of the company's West Hartford facilities which were conducted between May 18 and October 31, 2000. The inspections were initiated as the result of a fatal accident at the plant on May 18, 2000 wherein an employee working on the black oxide plating line was killed when his head and neck were caught between the machine frame and a computer controlled hoist trolley.
The plant, which fabricates Allen wrenches, hex fasteners and socket extensions, was found to be exposing employees to a variety of hazards, Guilmartin noted, ranging from unguarded machines, to damaged and exposed electrical equipment, to dangerous overhead cranes, to hazardous chemicals. "The violations we found," said Guilmartin, "add up to evidence of a lack of serious commitment to worker safety and health on the part of this employer. The tragic and avoidable death of a worker is just one result. To find an employer exposing its employees to these types of hazards is simply unacceptable."
Consequently, Danaher Tool Group d/b/a Holo-Krome, Inc., is being cited for the following safety and health violations:
Twenty-three alleged SERIOUS violations, carrying proposed penalties totaling $55,000 for: improperly inspected, installed and maintained underhung cranes; damaged ladder not removed from service; lack of specific lockout procedures; lack of overhead crane monthly wire rope inspections; chain alloy slings not provided with identification tags and lack of chain alloy sling inspections; fourteen instances of machine guarding violations for rotating parts, reciprocating parts, inrunning nip points and flying objects; thirty seven instances of inadequate point of operation guarding on hydraulic presses, threaders, trimming presses and cold headers; inadequate guarding of abrasive wheel machinery and inadequate abrasive wheel guard design; abrasive wheels not inspected for damage before mounting; inadequate point of operation guard on mechanical power press and air pressure switch not provided on mechanical power press; partially exposed drive shafts; partially exposed drive belts; exposed chain and sprocket drives; ungrounded welder, six instances of ungrounded electrical equipment and four instances of ungrounded light fixtures; insulation broken off electrode holder for arc welder; three unlabeled electrical disconnect boxes; two instances of exposed live electrical parts; damaged electrical box and electrical conduit pulled from its fitting; three instances of reversed polarity; seven instances of damaged flexible cords; thirteen instances of flexible cords used in lieu of permanent wiring; and, four instances of inadequate strain relief at flexible cord connections.
One alleged other-than-serious violation with no proposed penalty for an instance of electrical wires not provided with outer insulation.
Fifteen alleged SERIOUS violations, including proposed penalties totaling $39,000 for: aluminum dust blown into work area by compressed air and allowed to accumulate there; exits did not discharge to a public way; hose used for propane not "LPG;" propane tanks not protected from vehicular traffic and combustible debris around propane tanks; propane stored near an exit; no hazard assessment for personal protective equipment and rubber boots not provided, rubber apron not worn for work with 50% hydrogen peroxide; safety signs not posted for smoking and acid transfer; confined spaces not marked; several violations related to hazardous confined space entry; eye washes not readily available where employees worked with caustic chemicals; combustibles placed near 50% hydrogen peroxide storage; propane transported across ceiling in unmarked pipe; and, containers of hazardous chemicals not labeled with their identity or hazard warning.
One alleged REPEAT violation, carrying a proposed penalty of $12,500 for failing to provide employees working with 50% hydrogen peroxide and aluminum dust with training on the physical and health hazards of the chemicals they worked with and how to protect themselves. [The company was previously cited for a similar violation in citations issued November 20, 1997.]
Six alleged other-than-serious violations with no proposed penalties for: floors wet and/or slick with waste tumbling fluid and with oil; boiler room door not marked as "not an exit;" abrasive blast cabinet leaked glass bead blasting media; compressed gas cylinder free standing by door; gallon of flammable thinner stored in plastic jug; and washing facilities not provided for employees at plating line.
A serious violation is defined by OSHA as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. A repeat violation is defined as one where, upon reinspection, a substantially similar violation is found. 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 impact on the safety and health of employees.
Guilmartin urged Connecticut employers and employees with questions regarding safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area offices in Hartford or Bridgeport. He added that OSHA's toll-free nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) -- may be used to report workplace accidents and fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially those situations which occur outside of normal business hours.
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, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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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.