Region 3 News Release: III-99-03-08-017-CP
Monday, March 8, 1999
Contact: Kate Dugan
PHONE : (215) 596-1147
BIRDSBORO, PA COMPANY RECEIVES SAFETY AND HEALTH CITATIONS; $106,800 PENALTY PROPOSED BY OSHA
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations for alleged safety and health violations to Universal Concrete Products Corp., Birdsboro, Pa., and proposed penalties totaling $106,800. The firm manufacturers pre-cast concrete products.
According to Bob Fink, area director of the OSHA Harrisburg office, Universal was cited for two willful violations, with a proposed penalty of $88,000; one serious citation with 12 violations and a penalty of $18,000; and one other-than-serious citation with eight violations and a penalty of $800.
"The willful violations concern the company's failure to provide employees with proper abrasive blasting respiratory protection and lack of a written respiratory protection program," said Fink. "The employer was also cited for not providing an abrasive sandblasting operator with a functional emergency shut-off valve. A resultant accident could seriously injury the employee."
"Chronic overexposure to high levels of silica dust generated during sand blasting without the use of adequate respiratory protection may cause silicosis within a very short period of time," Fink added.
The serious violations include broken portable ladders; poor housekeeping; tripping hazards; unsecured cylinders; improper storage of oxygen and fuel gas; lack of respirator training and fit testing; improper guarding on table and radial arm saws; and, lack of a hearing conservation program. Other violations associated with abrasive blasting include lack of engineering or administrative controls to reduce employee exposure to silica dust and failure to provide the operator with an adequate abrasive blasting helmet.
The other-than-serious violations include poor housekeeping in restrooms and lunchroom; employees not trained to render first aid; cranes did not receive annual inspections; lack of a hazard communication program and lack of training on fire extinguishers.
The inspection was initiated on Sept. 15, 1998 after receipt of a formal complaint.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH act and regulations.
A serious violation involves a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to either decide to comply, to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The inspection was conducted by the Harrisburg area office, 49 North Progress Plaza, Harrisburg, Pa. 17109, telephone (717) 782-3902.
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