April 20, 2015BOS 2015-084
Follow up OSHA inspections identify new and recurring hazards for
employees at New Hampshire sign manufacturer
MF Blouin faces $63,700 in penalties
Employer name: MFB Holdings LLC, doing business as M.F. Blouin, a manufacturer of acrylic and wooden sign holders and displays
Inspection site: 710 Main St. Rollinsford, New Hampshire 03869
Date inspections initiated: The Concord Area Office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened safety and health inspections on Dec. 1, 2014, to verify that M.F. Blouin had corrected violations cited during OSHA inspections in 2013. The earlier inspections resulted in citations for violations involving chemical safety, hazard communication, electrical equipment and emergency exit access. The company agreed to correct the cited hazards and paid $21,100 in fines.
Investigation findings: The follow up inspections found that plant employees were overexposed to the toxic chemical Methylene Chloride during wood laminating work and the plant lacked engineering controls to reduce those exposure levels below permissible exposure limits. The company also failed to determine if employees were exposed to methylene chloride, provide them with respirators, proper eye and face protection and with medical surveillance.
Exposure to methylene chloride can result in lightheadedness, mental confusion, nausea, vomiting and headaches and, with continued exposure, unconsciousness and even death. Methylene Chloride is a suspected human carcinogen. Other hazards included a too-narrow aisle leading to an emergency exit, mislabeled containers of hazardous chemicals and electrical outlets and equipment located within 20 feet of the spray area where volatile flammable liquids and gases are used. As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited MFB Holdings for six repeat and three serious violations of workplace health and safety standards.
Proposed Penalties: $63,700
Quote: "The recurrence of hazards similar to those we cited in 2013 show that this employer still needs to take additional steps to effectively address these hazards and protect the health and well-being of its employees. Information and assistance is available to help employers comply with health and safety requirements. These violations should not be happening again," said Rosemarie Ohar Cole, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "We remind Granite State employers that we can and do conduct follow up inspections to verify that hazards have been eliminated. Never assume that OSHA will "go away" after a case is settled."
Next: MFB Holdings LLC, doing business as M.F. Blouin, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), or the agency's Concord Area Office at 603-225-1629.
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Release Number: 15-673-BOS
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