Region 6 News Release: USDL-OSHA-99-31-3-8
Monday, March 8, 1999
Contact: Diana Petterson or Beverly Sepulveda
PHONE : (214) 767-4777 ext. 222 or ext. 221
OSHA PROPOSES $112,000 PENALTY AGAINST ALLEN CANNING COMPANY OF VAN BUREN, ARKANSAS
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor has cited Allen Canning Company, Van Buren, Arkansas for alleged safety and health violations resulting from the investigation of a complaint concerning the removal of asbestos-containing ceiling material. OSHA has proposed penalties of $112,000.
Allen Canning Company, which employs about 200 employees at its facility at 700 South 13th Street in Van Buren, Arkansas, is a low-acid cannery, processing and canning products such as potatoes, spinach, and green beans. The company's corporate headquarters are located in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
According to Paul J. Hansen, Jr., Area Director in Little Rock, the alleged violations were discovered during an investigation conducted from September 10, 1998 to March 2, 1999.
Maintenance employees were removing asbestos-containing ceiling material without taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves, or other workers, from the asbestos particles. This practic exposed the employees to the hazard of inhaling airborne asbestos fibers. The inhalation of asbestos fibers has been proven to cause asbestosis, lung and other cancers. The company was cited for 16 serious violations. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result.
The serious violations consisted of the following major groups of hazards:
Failure to establish a regulated area where the asbestos was being removed
Failure to monitor work areas to determine level of exposure to employees
Improper cleanup and disposal procedures and techniques
Failure to provide and ensure use of personal protective equipment including respirators and other protective clothing
Failure to train employees in the hazards of asbestos removal
Hansen stated "It is imperative that employers be aware, and make their employees aware, of health hazards such as asbestosis, and to insure that workers are protected from those hazards." Employers or workers who have questions concerning safety and health hazards, or other OSHA requirements may contact the Little Rock Area Office at (501)324-6291. They may also take advantage of the free consultation offered by the Arkansas Department of LaBOR Consultation Service at (501)682-4520.
Allen Canning Company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to request an informal conference with the Area Director to discuss the citations and any concerns or to contest the citation before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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