Region 2 News Release: USDL: NY 121
Monday, March 22, 1999
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
PHONE :(212) 337-2319
OSHA CITES JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY SOLDER MANUFACTURER FOR
ALLEGED WILLFUL HEALTH VIOLATIONS; $101,000 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Alpha Metals, a division of the Cookson Company, at 600 Route 440, Jersey City, New Jersey, and proposed penalties of $101,000 against the firm, for one alleged willful and ten alleged serious violations of OSHA standards. The company has until April 9, 1999 to contest the citations.
According to David J. Ippolito, OSHA area director, the action results from an inspection of the facility conducted from October 26, 1998 to March 18,1999, following receipt of a formal complaint from an employee on October 23 alleging that workers were being exposed to airborne lead during certain metal cleaning operations; that employees with elevated blood lead levels were working in lead contaminated environments; and that employees had not been properly fit tested for respirators. OSHA also received a referral from the New Jersey State Department of Labor on October 26 alleging that an employee at the plant had an elevated blood lead level.
OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA standards by not properly protecting employees from exposure to methylene chloride in excess of the permissible exposure limit of 25 parts per million in air, and by not providing employees with proper respiratory protection when they were exposed to the chemical.
The alleged willful violation carries a total proposed penalty of $55,000.
Patricia K. Clark, regional OSHA administrator, said, "Lead contamination is an extremely serious health hazard, and methylene chloride is a known carcinogen. This employer willfully allowed his workers to be exposed to very dangerous substances without either notifying them of the seriousness of the materials they were dealing with, nor providing them with the proper equipment to protect them from the dangers associated with excessive exposure. We regard this as a situation which requires stringent and aggressive enforcement action so that the health of employees at this facility is safeguarded."
OSHA also cited the employer for ten alleged serious violations, including:
not properly training employees about the urgency of cleaning up spills of methylene chloride.
not providing properly functioning respiratory protection for employees working in areas containing airborne lead in excess of the permissible exposure limit of 50 parts per million in air.
not determining exposure levels for each employee working in areas containing to methylene chloride.
not properly notifying employees that they had been exposed to methylene chloride in excess of the permissible exposure limit, and of the necessary corrective actions that would be taken to reduce their exposure.
not giving employee representatives the opportunity to observe monitoring of employees for airborne methylene chloride levels.
not keeping food and beverage consumption out of regulated areas where methylene chloride levels exceeded the permissible exposure limit.
not providing appropriate personal protective equipment for employees working with methylene chloride.
not providing appropriate medical surveillance, including comprehensive medical exams and work histories, for employees exposed to methylene chloride in excess of the permissible exposure limit.
not providing effective hazard communication training and making sure that employees understood the principles for safe use and handling of methylene chloride.
The alleged serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $46,000.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA act and regulations. A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Parsippany area office, located at 299 Cherry Hill Road, RM 304, Parsippany, NJ 07054. Telephone (973) 263-1003.
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(212) 337-2319; TDD phone: 800-347-8029; OASAM TDD message referral phone number: 800-326-2577.
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