Region 1 News Release: BOS 98-216
Tuesday, November 17, 1998
Contact: John M. Chavez, (617) 565-2075
Tenax Corp. Assessed Nearly $70,000 in Penalties
DANBURY, CONNECTICUT, MANUFACTURER CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED WILLFUL & SERIOUS SAFETY AND HEALTH WORKPLACE HAZARDS
Tenax Corp., a plastics manufacturer based in Danbury, Connecticut, has been cited by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for alleged WILLFUL and SERIOUS violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The agency has proposed penalties totaling $69,750 for the alleged violations.
According to Clifford S. Weston, OSHA area director in Bridgeport, the alleged violations were discovered during dual safety and health inspections initiated on June 11, 1998. "Our inspections turned up a number of violations," said Weston, "the most serious of which have to do with the employer's failure to protect its employees from excessive noise exposures in the plant. This particular inspection also revealed that the company was well aware of the requirements of our standards in this area, but for some reason chose to ignore those requirements."
Therefore, Weston noted, the company is being charged with a willful violation of the noise standard. He noted that 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.
Specifically, Tenax Corp. is being cited for:
One alleged WILLFUL violation, including a proposed penalty of $49,500, for failing to institute and maintain an effective hearing conservation program; failure to develop a noise exposure monitoring program even though information indicated that noise exposure in the workplace exceeded allowable limits; failure to establish an audiometric testing program for noise-exposed employees; failure to ensure employees exposed to excessive noise used hearing protectors; failure to conduct training for each employee exposed to excessive noise; and failure to make available to employees a copy of the occupational noise standard.
Two alleged SERIOUS violations, carrying proposed penalties totaling $2,700, for: exposing employees to tripping hazards; failing to develop and implement a written hazard communication and training program; failing to ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals was labeled with proper contents and hazard warnings.
Ten alleged SERIOUS violations, including proposed penalties totaling $17,550, for: failure to conduct a hazard assessment of a work process to determine what personal protective equipment might be required; failure to provide appropriate personal protective equipment to protect employees from severe cuts or lacerations; failure to provide employees training regarding the use of personal protective equipment; failure to develop procedures for control of potentially hazardous energy to protect employees servicing injection molding machines; inadequate "lockout/tagout" procedures; failure to provide appropriate hardware to secure machines from energy sources; failure to train employees in the energy control program; failure to provide adequate emergency eyewash equipment for employees working at battery charging stations; improperly guarded bench grinders; compressed air for cleaning purposes not reduced to less than 30 p.s.i.; improperly installed and used electrical equipment; and, multiple instances of improper use of electrical extension cords.
"The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to provide their employees with a safe and healthful workplace," noted Weston. "It is unfortunate and regrettable when an employer, for whatever reason, fails in that regard in so many instances."
Weston urged Connecticut employers and employees with questions regarding safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area offices in Bridgeport and Hartford. 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.
As noted above, 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 substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
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.
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.