Region1 News Release: BOS 2000-067
Friday, May 5, 2000
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
PHONE: (617) 565-2074
OSHA CITES NEW IPSWICH, NEW HAMPSHIRE, MANUFACTURER FOR ALLEGED WILLFUL AND SERIOUS VIOLATIONS; PROPOSES $51,000 IN PENALTIES
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Vanguard Manufacturing, Inc., a New Ipswich, New Hampshire, maker of metal scaffolding, for alleged Willful, Serious and Other than Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at its Temple Road plant and has proposed penalties against the company totaling $51,000.
According to David May, OSHA area director for New Hampshire, the alleged violations were discovered during safety and health inspections conducted between March 3 and April 20 of this year and involve a cross section of hazards associated with this type of manufacturing environment. These included the absence of programs to lock out the power sources for forklifts and band saws to prevent their accidental startup during maintenance, unguarded moving machine parts, employee overexposure to copper welding fumes, failure to ensure that employees wore eye protection where required and several citations involving cranes and lifting slings.
"Cranes and slings which had not received the required frequent and periodic inspections and a defective sling had not been removed from service," said May. "Of particular concern were two cranes, one with a defective load rope, the other with a defective chain sprocket. The company's own inspection of these cranes in January 1999 identified these defects, yet they had still not been corrected when OSHA began its inspection in March of this year."
May noted that the citation addressing this hazard has been classified as willful, then most severe category of OSHA citation, issued only when OSHA believes, based on its inspection, that the employer knew a particular hazard existed yet apparently elected not to correct it.
Specifically, the citations and proposed penalties encompass the following:
One alleged Willful violation, with a proposed penalty of $38,500, for:
- failure to correct previously identified hazards on two 5-ton cranes, including a defective load rope and a defective load chain sprocket.
Eleven alleged Serious violations, with $40,250 in proposed penalties, for:
- required frequent and complete periodic inspections of cranes had not been conducted; load ropes of cranes had not been inspected as required; slings had not inspected by a competent person; damaged synthetic web slings had not been removed from service;
- specific lockout/tagout procedures were not developed for forklifts and band saws; lockout/tagout devices had not been applied to the band saws;
- unguarded shear blade; improperly adjusted tongue guards and work rests on a pedestal grinder;
- an employee was not protected by eye protection while grinding steel;
- improperly wired electrical outlet (reversed polarity);
- an employee was exposed to copper welding fumes in excess of the limit allowed over an 8-hour work day and the ventilating system in use was inadequate to control that exposure level;
- a written respirator program was not established and implemented for exposed employees.
Fourteen alleged Other than Serious violations, with no cash penalties, for:
- a forklift was modified from gasoline to propane fuel without manufacturer's prior written approval; a forklift was not inspected before being put in service; forklift was not equipped with a data plate; synthetic web slings were not marked or coded to show their lifting capacities;
- periodic and regular inspections of mechanical power presses were not conducted;
- grinders were not marked with required electrical information; unlabeled circuits in a circuit breaker panel; ungrounded electrical cords, outlets or circuits; inadequate strain relief on extension cords; flexible extension cords not inspected; damaged insulation on extension cords;
- workers voluntarily using dust respirators were not provided all required information on proper use of respirators; employees passing through welding area did not wear goggles or protective glasses;
- material safety data sheet for a degreasing agent was not immediately available for inspection.
May urged Granite State employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Concord, NH, 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.
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 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.
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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.