Region 1 News Release: 11-643-BOS/BOS 2011-175
May 11, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes nearly $47,000 in fines,
cites Orange, Conn., metal fabricator for repeat and serious violations
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Valley Tool Inc. for 13 alleged violations of workplace safety standards. The Orange, Conn., metal fabrication shop faces a total $46,970 in proposed fines following an OSHA inspection prompted by an employee complaint.
"Chemical hazard communication, personal protective equipment, proper storage and respiratory protection are key safeguards for employees who work with corrosive and flammable chemicals," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "It's imperative that employers take effective steps to address safety deficiencies and prevent their recurrence."
OSHA's inspection found improper storage of materials in a flammable storage cabinet, failure to provide annual training and fit-testing for all employees who use respirators, and failure to provide chemical hazard communication training to employees working with chemicals.
OSHA had cited the facility for similar hazards in 2009 and 2010. Therefore, these latest instances resulted in citations for four repeat violations, with $27,720 in proposed fines. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
The inspection also identified the lack of an emergency eye-wash or shower, and face shields or goggles, for employees working with corrosive chemicals; incomplete respiratory protection procedures; improper storage of materials in a paint spray booth; and an unsecured paint mixer. These conditions resulted in five serious violations with $17,710 in fines. Finally, four other-than-serious violations, with $1,540 in fines, were cited for incomplete record keeping and lack of a "no smoking" sign for the paint room.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office; telephone 203-579-5581. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.